Managed service providers (MSPs) face fierce competition to attract new customers and hold onto their existing clients. A targeted marketing strategy can help MSPs to gain a competitive advantage, stand out from the crowd and generate and convert more leads. Employers, business owners, team leaders, and marketers should be interested in revamping and implementing marketing strategies. Most importantly, they should establish a positive reputation, spread the word to reach more customers, and facilitate engagement and interaction with their current customers.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the value of drawing up a bespoke MSP marketing strategy. We’ll also provide some top tips to help your business benefit from a refreshed marketing strategy.
What is MSP marketing?
MSP marketing is the process of informing prospective customers about the services you offer, raising brand awareness to generate interest in your business, and facilitating the sale of managed IT services. Seeing the results from your MSP marketing activities takes time and patience. However, with the right strategy in place, you can set your MSP on a pathway to steady growth month over month.
How to build an effective MSP marketing strategy?
Building an MSP marketing strategy can help you increase sales and profits, enhance your brand image, boost consumer trust and confidence, and set your business apart from competitors.
Here are 5 easy ways to build your MSP marketing program:
1) Identify and understand your target audience
One of the most crucial steps of any marketing strategy is to define your ideal customer.
Here are few steps to identify your target audience:
Your first step is to understand how to segment your customers.
You could use age, job title, company info, the technology they use, or type of business.
For example, your ideal client could be a healthcare company in the US or Canada that has a team of at least 50 people and annual recurring revenue of a minimum of $500K.
Next, create your ideal client profile and research your target market to get to know your customers.
Once you know more about your clients you can tailor your strategy to their needs. Customer profiling is important to understand who your customeсr are. This way you can build tailored offers for the various segments of those you want to target.
For example, you may decide that your MSP will focus on dentistry and insurance companies. Both of these verticals have different business set-ups, different needs and concerns and use specific software which is crucial to business operations.
You can use the findings of your research to choose marketing methods and techniques, set price points, and identify the most effective ways to generate leads. In other words, your goal is to reach out to prospective clients and create unique selling points (USPs) and features that will persuade clients to choose your business.
One key point here is, don’t try to be all things to all people. You need to focus.
And don’t forget – as many services move to the cloud, many clients’ needs change constantly so you should be re-evaluating your audience on a regular basis.
Establishing a connection with your audience is one of the primary roles of MSP marketing. A significant challenge for MSPs is differentiating their business from others. In many cases, you may offer the same services as your competitors and have a similar track record in terms of history, experience, and customer reviews. In a crowded marketplace, how do you make your business stand out and persuade customers to choose you over your rivals? MSP marketing can play a critical role in helping your business to stand out.
2) Invest in SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) enables you to leverage Google or any other search engine to drive targeted traffic to your website and improve your MSP marketing. Over 90% of online activity starts with search engines, and over 84% of smartphone users will either visit or call a business within 24 hours of conducting a local search. If you don’t already utilize SEO to get your business noticed, it is very important for you to realize the importance of a local SEO. Investing in this type of marketing could have a positive impact on sales and lead creation.
One thing you want to keep in mind when using any of the following SEO elements is to keep in mind your goal. Optimize your web content to boost search ranking, create high-quality, informative, engaging content, and utilize keywords and popular search terms.
Here are some of the key elements to consider when building your SEO strategy:
- Keyword selecting: Use keywords and keywords variations to build your website content and keep your content focused. Be sure to include the keyword in the title and at least two or three times in the body of the text. Most of all, make sure that your copy reads naturally and don’t overuse that keyword. If you’re not sure what keywords to use, this guide will help you find some great keyword research tools. You can also consider using some free Google keyword research tools.
- Website improvement: Your website should act as a storefront for your business. Clients who search for MSPs online expect to be impressed when they land on your homepage or open your services page. Ensure that your site looks professional, pages load quickly and that your content is optimized. Make sure all your website elements are in place and up to date including title tag, meta description, headings, and image alt tags.
- Image usage: One way to help search engines find your website in image searches is to make sure you’re including keywords in your image titles and write SEO-friendly Alt text. In addition, you have to pay attention to create unique images, choose the right format, and make sure your images are mobile-friendly
3) Get social
Both new and well-established MSPs should be using social media to grow their following, for lead generation (such as building connections on LinkedIn) and building their brand awareness. Social media is a great way for MSPs to provide educational content and build better relationships with their customers. Apps and networks enable MSPs to show the human side of the brand, connect with people, and build trust. Social media marketing can also drive website traffic, generate leads, and provide additional customer support options.
Create a strategy for social media marketing based on your target audience and your key business objectives to establish your brand.
A few tips:
- Follow your customers’ businesses on social media and engage with their content
- Include your social media profiles on your business cards and other marketing collateral
- Publish positive customer reviews on your social media channels to build credibility
- Schedule posts using different types of content, for example, video clips and images, and consider featuring real-life customers. The human brain processes visual content up to 60,000 times faster than text. Video marketing statistics for 2021 show that social media posts with videos have 48% more views, and 92% of mobile users will share a video they view on a smartphone.
Learn more on the benefits of social media for MSP in our blog post about social media tips for MSPs.
4) Boost customer engagement
Customer engagement is an emotional connection between your customers and your brand. Create connections that matter with your clients so they can help do the marketing for you.
Firstly, think about how to create a great customer journey. Identify your customer’s needs and pain points to understand your customers better and improve your marketing strategy.
Secondly, make sure your brand is reliable to your customers. Ensure they feel secure with your services. To go above and beyond in terms of customer service, you could adopt a remote network monitoring & management software like Domotz. Such a system will help you proactively identify network and device issues before things go wrong and become real problems.
Next, consider using an incentive to get reviews for your business. Did you know that over 90% of consumers now read online reviews before making a purchase or contacting a business? Clients will often look for high customer service ratings and positive feedback before getting in touch with an MSP. Encourage existing clients to share reviews on Google+, Trust Pilot, Facebook Business Reviews, etc. so you can share them on your website and social media accounts. To make this an attractive thing to do, use incentives in your review program. Read more about how to get more online reviews.
Finally, focus on retention by making sure your customers feel engaged with your business. For example, capture their hearts and minds by sharing with them a video showing your technicians working together on a new project. In addition, you could organize a semi-annual lunch with them, schedule a quarterly site visit or one-to-one meetings with your customers to build a connection with them.
5) Build a long-term relationship
If you’ve been in business a while, you’ve learned how difficult it can be to develop your MSP marketing and build a long-term relationship. Long-term customers generally do far more than buy your products.
Here are 3 simple steps to build a lasting relationship:
Choose your clients with attention
All companies claim that their strategies are customer-driven. But are they designed for the right clients? Take a closer look at your business and measure your clients in terms of time, effort, opportunities, and profits. Don’t invest in customers who are monopolizing your time. They’re preventing you from dealing with other clients who might help you grow your business. Allocate resources to win the customers who will fit best your services.
Provide a high-quality service
Show your clients you care about them by providing high-quality service and excellent customer support. For example, if you use Domotz network monitoring software, you provide to your customers over 500+ integrations with the hardware and software systems they already use. Some examples are access points, network switches, PDUs and firewalls, documentation systems, and messaging apps. By bringing together various types of tools, Domotz creates a single unified system to save time, troubleshoot and resolve issues faster.
Build trust over time
Fundamentally, if you provide a good service, your clients will be happy with your services. But to build a long-term relationship, you need to achieve more than that. Make them feel at home. Satisfy all their needs – practical and emotional. The practical type of trust can be earned by being fast in resolving their issues and providing high-quality systems that they can rely on. Developing emotional trust is obviously more complex. However, emotions are the key to successful customer relationships. Understanding how powerful emotions are will help you find the right way to treat your customers and create an engaging brand narrative.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”
Effective marketing for MSPs can boost sales, enhance reputation, increase lead generation and conversion and help to build strong, long-lasting ties with your customers. If you’re struggling to attract attention online, or you’re looking to expand your client base, revamping your marketing strategy is a great place to start.