Years ago, I worked as an independent computer consultant — back when that was still a pretty novel idea. Computers weren’t ingrained into every small business the way they are now. Not every organization, large and small, was connected to the cloud, but technology was still a big part of the lives of many people. Back then, you could count the number of MSPs in any metropolitan area on one hand.In the early days of that chapter of my career, I regularly grew pretty frustrated — not with the progress I was making, but the lack thereof. No matter what unique promotion I came up with, or what new certification I obtained, or what interesting approach I took to my services, I always felt like I was stuck in stasis. I was incredibly grateful for the clients I already had, but getting new ones was always an uphill battle.
A shift in thinking
One day, I made a slight change in the way I thought about things which triggered what turned out to be a massive change in my approach, although I didn’t realize it right away.
The website I’d spent so much time developing included a laundry list of all the systems I was intimately familiar with and the services I delivered. It took me a long time and a lot of hard work to get to the point where my services list was so long. Which, of course, is why I threw it all out and started over.
What caused this? One morning, I realized one simple truth that I’ve lived by every day since. My website was just a services catalog, and clients didn’t really care about that as much as I did. To turn my business into what I always wanted it to become, I had to turn my website into a lead generator, instead. Now, in the era of managed services, I want you to do that, too.
Your website is more than just a virtual business card
Far too often, I feel like MSPs are still using their websites the way they did back during the Web 1.0 days — as a virtual business card, or brochure if you will. They list service after service and product after product, all under the assumption that their customers care about technical specifications, the cloud, backup and disaster recovery as much as they do.
I did the same thing, and I ultimately paid a price for it. My website during my computer consulting days fit that description to a “T”. Because of that, it was the perfect tool for me to refer leads to after I’d already spoken with them and made my sales pitch. This, of course, is totally backwards. My website should have been generating leads for me, but it couldn’t because it was functioning as an IT services catalog and nothing more.
It’s time to tell the story beneath the services
As you begin to re-think your marketing strategy for 2019, I want you to think about your website as the lead generation engine that it was meant to be. This doesn’t even require you to tear everything apart and start from scratch, either. It simply requires the subtle change in point of view that I once made, all those years ago.
Every time you talk about a service, go beyond what it does. Outline specific pain points that your prospects are feeling, then go into detail about how this approach, service, or asset will solve them. Spend time going over how your IT services will benefit someone’s business, making their lives easier in a variety of ways. Then, talk about how all of this will be backed by your own unique blend of reliable and sophisticated customer service.
If people want technical specifications, there’s no shortage of places where they can get them. They came to your website because they want to find out what you do differently from everyone else. They want to know whether or not you’re worth their time and that you understand the unique challenges they’re facing. They want to know if you believe in their goals every bit as much as they do and if you are willing to think outside the box in order to solve them. You’re not going to get that if your website still reads like a CompTIA certifications brochure.
A new era of lead generation is you
Once you’ve reworked the copy on your website to take this approach, as opposed to the now antiquated “digital brochure” approach, you’ll have accomplished a few key things, all at the same time. First, you’ll have instantly established yourself as an authority in your marketplace. Everyone else is busy selling services, while you’re selling value. Believe it or not, that alone is often enough to make all the difference in someone’s decision-making process.
Secondly, you’ll have instilled a sense of trust in your audience. They’ve got goals that are important and challenges that are difficult. You understand this — now, you can start figuring out how to meet these needs, together. Finally, by including a “call to action”, giving people an opportunity to connect with your business or request more information, you’re clearly telling people what the “next step” is and how to take it when they’re ready.
By including a “call to action”, giving people an opportunity to connect with your business or request more information, you’re clearly telling people what the “next step” is and how to take it when they’re ready.
In other words, you’ve created a rock-solid foundation upon which a modern-day sales process and lead generation strategy begins. Your services didn’t change a bit, nor did your approach to your IT business. It’s just that the message you’re sending out into the world is finally the one that your prospects want to hear.
By using your website as a tool to inform people about the problems you solve, how you do it, and why it’s so important, you’re also automatically qualifying and disqualifying leads. Every conversation that begins thereafter is starting from a much more reliable place. That in and of itself will help make sure that your 2019 gets off on the best foot possible.
Is Your Website a Lead Generator?
At my MSP marketing agency, we’re helping our clients build websites that generate leads all the time. If you’re interested in speaking with myself or one of my colleagues about your website, and learning what specific changes you need to make to start generating leads yourself, then I encourage you to apply for a complimentary one-on-one strategy call and we’ll schedule a time to connect.
Photo: Andrey Popov/Shutterstock