Staying top of mind with your SMB audience isn’t easy, even with the best branding. To really stand out to prospects and customers, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy. This could include email campaigns, webinars, newsletters, direct mail campaigns, social media posts, and more. But, truly capturing customers’ attention and creating something memorable is a goal every marketer is always trying to achieve.
One marketing tactic that caught our attention came from MSP business owner Josh Wilmoth. He recently published The IT Survival Guide for Business Owners. This book speaks specifically to SMBs to educate them on what they should look for in an IT provider. Last week, we read it and published actionable advice in our MSP’s Bookshelf column. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Josh to talk about where he got the inspiration for this book, how it has helped his MSP accelerate business, and what other marketing tactics have worked well for them.
Q&A with Josh Wilmoth of Central Texas Technology Solutions
Can you tell me a bit about your company?
Central Texas Technology Solutions (CTTS) was founded 15 years ago. We started off small and wanted to make sure we didn’t take our clients for granted. We worked hard on doing anything we needed to do to make sure they were happy with the level of support and products we were offering them—and most importantly to earn their trust.
I have never been really interested in project work, and when I meet someone, I want their long-term business. So, it’s important to create that relationship from the get-go by gaining their trust and providing that value for them moving forward. That has been our strategy ever since, and we have grown organically through the years.
Writing a book is an interesting way to deliver your message to prospects. How did you decide that this is the route you wanted to take?
The book is a conversation starter simply because not a lot of IT people have put together a book. There are a lot of business people out there, so it’s important to try to connect with them on different levels. We wanted to create a book to give peace of mind to business owners and to communicate with them at a business level—not just talking to them in “geek speak.”
The book gave us the opportunity to talk to larger and potentially more profitable clients and to move from our realm of small businesses to medium businesses. It really helps set the stage before you walk into a meeting, and it gives people an opportunity to learn a little bit about us and our philosophy before we present products and pricing to them.
What was the inspiration for this book?
We have been very lucky throughout the years to be very selective with our clients. What I mean is, we want to have clients who value technology and understand we are the experts. It is our job and our responsibility to provide them with the best products and solutions to help them move forward.
We want to engage with folks that see IT as an integral part of their business, who need and understand the value those services provide. So, we wanted to create a guide that put a summary of information on a lot of different topics—such as security, disaster recovery, and future technology that they need to be watching out for, such as cloud technology. The real driver of the book was to get in front of more potential clients who valued IT.
How has the book helped your business so far?
The book has really helped us gain respect in the IT industry. There isn’t a lot of regulation in the IT industry, which means anyone can open an IT consulting business and computer repair shop. You just need a client, some skill, and then there you go. What we wanted to do was have something that set us apart from the competition and helped show our expertise.
Are there any marketing tactics besides the book that have worked well for you?
Facebook and Facebook Live are a tremendous part of our business and allow us to stay top of mind with our clients. I personally friend and like each one of my clients and their businesses. This allows me to get to know and interact with them on a more personal level.
We like to do a variety of things on Facebook Live to keep things fresh, get people to click, and keep their attention. We always try to provide something of value. Topics range from anything happening in the IT industry, news and events, better password practices, or talking about our involvement with non-profits. The non-profit community is very close knit, and a considerable portion of our business comes through the community. One of the things we do to help is we refurbish in-house computers to give to local non-profits (whether they are a client or not).
We try to use Facebook Live as an opportunity to communicate certain things we are seeing or hearing in the industry, and provide overall value to our clients. I’m having these conversations anyway, but now I’m turning the camera on myself and reaching a larger audience. It generates a lot of responses from our clients, and they share our content with their friends. Facebook Live has been a lead generator for us and something we continually look to do.
Do you have any other advice you’d like to share with other MSPs?
My biggest piece of advice is to build your team wisely. If you are a one-man show, make sure your first hire is someone that complements you. Build a team around providing results to your clients. If you are hiring your best friend because he is your best friend, it’s going to be tough. If you are the operator and you need a technical person, you need to find the best technical person—but make sure your vision of the company and your clients’ needs are never forgotten. Understand the business and who the next person needs to be. Is it a technical person? The strategy that has worked well for us is being thoughtful about the process of hiring and what that next person’s role and responsibilities need to be, and making sure that they mesh both internally and externally with our clients.
Photo: ra2studio / Shutterstock.