One top challenge MSPs face today is net new customer acquisition and marketing. In a recent Twitter survey, we asked what percentage of gross revenues MSPs saw as healthy to spend on marketing. The results were heavily weighted in the 6% to 15% range. So, the next question is this: What’s the game plan for spending this marketing money?
Do you hire in-house? Do you outsource? Do you do both? The answer varies, but the best practices remain constant. Here are five marketing plays every MSP can run with to put their best marketing foot forward – now and in the future.
1 Make marketing a priority
Again, whether handling in-house or using an outside agency (or both), your business needs a marketing strategy and a team – or a dedicated individual to execute and refine the plan. Too often, marketing gets passed over as unnecessary or too expensive to scale. Both are huge misses by the MSP. Marketing has to be part of the growth process and a top priority for the company’s leadership team. Remember, in today’s digital world, everyone is a marketer.
2 Establish a digital presence
MSPs without a strong digital presence do themselves a disservice. Whether we’re talking about integrated, digital, social, or targeted marketing – it’s all marketing and relevant. For better or worse, today’s customers are far more digital-savvy, often doing exhaustive research before agreeing to meet with an MSP. Many make snap decisions based on the information they see on your website and social accounts. So, if you fail to optimize your online presence and are not using social media as a listening tool, you’re missing out on more than just the money left on the table. The key to establishing a solid digital presence is relevance matched by consistency. Ensure your energy is everywhere your customers are and your marketing message and deliverables are on point. Use common dialogue versus industry jargon, and like Robert Herjavec told our EMPOWER listeners, “Ask for the business.”
3 Keep the look and conversation fresh
Having a digital presence isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. Digital media is dynamic, requiring ongoing attention. Your website should have a modern design and content sections that are refreshed regularly. Use blogs, whitepapers, and technical and service updates to keep people interested in the website. Leverage social media to promote your web content and keep people engaged by responding to their questions. Interactive content, such as quizzes or a question of the week, can be very effective. Encourage people to share their experiences and successes with your company to boost interest in the business and build brand recognition.
4 Be intentional
Marketing needs to make it rain with opportunity. This means knowing exactly whom you are trying to reach and what actions you want them to take (do business with you). If, as an MSP, you are targeting specific vertical markets, such as retail, healthcare, or finance, your promotions and communications should reflect that. The same goes for whether you are targeting enterprises or small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). First, create a profile of the ideal customer, then build your marketing efforts around capturing that customer.
5 Be consistent
Marketing requires time and patience. It’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t get immediate results. Still, resisting the temptation to change course or give up on campaigns too early is essential. It also helps to learn what doesn’t work so you don’t repeat mistakes in the future.
Remember, marketing only accomplishes so much on its own, so back up your efforts with sales initiatives, including cold calls and telemarketing. The more successful your marketing efforts are at boosting brand recognition, the likelier prospects will already know about you when they get a call. This translates to better sales leads and higher potential to grow the business – so you can use that budget to build your brand.
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