Marketing 101 for Managed Service Providers

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Many managed service providers (MSPs) have never had to promote their services. As we explained in the first article in this series, they were able to depend on word of mouth to generate revenue. In today’s more competitive environment, this is no longer the case. They must actively market their services to attract new subscribers and retain the ones they already have.

That’s why we created this guide. It explains all you need to know to market your business successfully across multiple media channels. It’s unlikely that you or the other tech pros on your team will be handling everyday marketing tasks. However, it’s important to understand the basics of MSP marketing so you can hire the right people to do the work and ensure they’re getting the job done correctly.

Multichannel marketing is necessary because people interact with many types of media every day. Experts believe it takes 13 impressions for a brand to register with people. In other words, they have to see your company at least 13 times in social media, on the news, through digital ads, via email and in other places for them to become aware of your MSP. It could take many more interactions after that to get them to contact you.

Marketing doesn’t stop once prospective clients express interest in your business. You must arm your salespeople with the materials required to close deals.

Even then, marketing has to continue. Keep connecting with clients so they renew their subscriptions with you and don’t jump ship. Ongoing marketing may also increase the business they do with you.

Let’s take a look at the four key marketing steps and some of the tactics that support them.

1. Awareness and education

How can someone do business with your MSP if they don’t know it exists or understand how a subscription will make their work lives better? Building awareness and educating prospective subscribers are the foundation of any good marketing program.

Start by figuring out who you want to do business with, the best media to reach them and the key messages that will get your MSP noticed. If you haven’t figured this out, the first article in this series will help.

When it comes to initial awareness advertising, keep it simple. Alert prospects to a single pain point your service solves or highlight one benefit of subscribing to it. Doing more will muddy the message and make it less likely you’ll breakthrough.

Once people decide to learn more about your MSP, add additional information and greater complexity to your messaging. For instance, a page on your website should go much deeper than a social post or digital ad. Still, say only what you need to say to move someone forward in the sales journey. Any more could give them reasons to not move on.

The most common awareness and education marketing tactics include:

  • Social media. People spend a LOT of time on social media. It’s a cost-effective way to reach them with many simple messages. It’s a perfect medium for increasing the number of touchpoints.
  • SEO marketing. If people are searching online for a solution to an issue your MSP solves, you have to earn — or buy — a top position in the search results to become part of their consideration set.
  • Videos. Much like social media, people spend a great deal of time watching short videos. If you get yours into the right streams, you’ll be able to introduce your business to prospects in your target market.
  • Trade shows and events. This is a perfect way to connect with people who are predisposed to subscribing to your service. It all depends on selecting the right events. It’s also important to pick a prominent position for your booth and keep the messages and images on it simple so people “get it” when they pass by. Bonus points: Use Mobile Locker’s app to develop interactive experiences that will get prospects to pay attention to you while you learn about them.
  • Industry organizations. Becoming a member of the right groups — and taking an active role in them — could get you a lot of inexpensive exposure to people in your target market.
  • Webinars. Does your MSP solve a specific problem or address a workplace pain point? Explaining what your MSP does and how it helps in a webinar is a good way to build awareness about your solution and educate people about its benefits. Plus, you’ll collect participant contact information.
  • Press releases. Has your MSP done something awesome? Cover it in a press release. Share it with industry thought leaders, publications and blog writers. You may earn free media coverage, endorsements, and impressions.

Tip: Mobile Locker’s app will help your team stay organized while developing marketing campaigns and distributing materials.

2. Action and lead generation

Once people in your target audience are aware of your MSP and know what you do, you need to get them to take action and become a lead. At this point, you can go deeper into explaining what you do and what makes your MSP unique. Your messaging should be compelling enough to make prospects want to contact you. Here are some proven tactics:

  • Web page optimization. Is your website performing at its peak? Monitor data and track user behavior to ensure people are engaging with it as you intend. It will identify online barriers to people becoming leads.
  • Website visitor tracking. Are certain people visiting your website frequently? Not sure? Tag visitors, so you know who is sniffing you out or kicking the tires. It gives you the information needed to take a more aggressive approach to market to them.
  • White papers and case studies. Both of these marketing tactics take a lot of effort to create, but they’re usually worth it. They demonstrate expertise in your field, and if people are willing to give up contact info to access them, who could ask for more?
  • Email marketing. For many MSPs, the sales cycle is long. Prospects may stall out during the sales process. Email marketing keeps you front and center while they’re going through the decision-making process.
  • Direct mail. Despite rumors of its demise, direct mail can be successful in certain situations. The right follow-up piece delivered in an unexpected way could get prospects to take action.
  • Appointments. Often missed, even by the most tech-savvy entrepreneurs, making it easy to schedule a call or request contact is a critical part of any successful marketing campaign.

3. Closing the deal

Once your sales reps connect with prospective clients, you need to provide them with tools to help close deals, including:

  • Interactive questionnaires. These help reps get to know prospective clients and their needs so they can tailor sales pitches to them. Mobile Locker’s app makes it fast and simple to develop them.
  • Customizable presentations. No two prospects are alike. That’s why it’s critical for you to be able to develop flexible sales presentations that can be personalized on the fly. Mobile Locker’s app makes it possible to do this with or without a wifi connection.
  • Demonstrations. Many managed services are difficult to explain. Give reps tools that let them show what you do rather than explain it.
  • Contracts and forms. Salespeople should have easy access to the documents needed to sign up new subscribers. Have marketers give them a fresh eye to ensure they’re attractive and easy to complete.

4. Ongoing marketing

You can’t stop marketing to people once they become clients. You must stay front and center to prevent them from moving to competitors who are actively marketing to them. Some proven tactics include:

  • Social media. Ask your clients to follow you on social media so they regularly see your posts in their feeds.
  • Email newsletters. Regular emails should report on your latest tech advancements and offer tips on how clients can do their jobs better.
  • Invitations. Ask clients out every now and then. Getting together with them informally will help you and your reps learn whether they’re still happy with your service.

Need help getting started marketing your MSP? Contact a helpful expert at Mobile Locker who will advise you on how to make your MSP a marketing powerhouse in no time.

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