Four Tips for Developing a Marketing Strategy for Your MSP

Scott Calonico

In light of our upcoming webinar on marketing strategies, we here at MSP Business Management just wanted to give a brief overview on some thoughts on how to develop a marketing strategy.

Before you get started, you'll need a couple of tools:

  • Your brain
  • Something to write with/on (pencil, paper, crayon, charcoal, computer, old newspaper)

Got it? Let's go.

Developing a marketing strategy for your MSP or IT support company isn't as difficult as you think. Just because you're selling a high-tech product, the strategy that you should follow will generally follow the same strategies as low tech industries.

1) Unique Selling Proposition

The first thing that you need to work on is to find the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your service. This is the one thing that makes your business different than others in the same field. For example,

  • Are you vertically integrated in a certain industry, such as medical?
  • Are you looking to serve SMBs with only a certain number of employees.
  • Are you trying to offer the lowest price
  • Are you the only MSP offering Managed Online Backup or cloud services?

One way to do this is to take a look at your current customer base and see why they're choosing your service. Send out a survey or host one online to help gain customer insight. If you're starting out with a new business, one of the best ways to do research is by checking out the competition. See what the other guys are up to, not necessarily to copy them, but to see why customers choose their service.

Still stuck? Use that pencil and paper or whatever else you have on hand and just start writing. Write down what makes your business different form other people in your field. Don't block anything out. There are no wrong answers.

2) Target Market

Determine your target market. This will be made easier after you've developed your USP. If you've decided to concentrate on the medical industry, for example, then your target market will consist of medical offices and care centers. Another popular choice for specialization in MSPs is entertainment. Bars and pubs increasingly have HiDef TVs, VOIP phones, MP3 servers, Point of Sale registers running Windows, and many other high end appliances.

3) Market Position

In developing a marketing position for your MSP, you will be concentrating on what is known as "Functional Positioning". That is, you have a product that provides a functional service (solves their tech problems, allows them to run their business more efficiently).

When thinking about position, you'll also need to do some studying on your market competitors and see what they're currently offering. How can you offer a service or product that's different? Do they offer integrated antivirus or patch management in their tech solutions? If so, what do they charge for the service?

4) Marketing Dissemination

How are you going to sell your services? Any self respecting MSP has to have a website, right? Optimize your site for search engines, especially if you're concentrating on the local market. PPC (Pay Per Click) is another option and easily scalable.

Using the PPC method, you can set a monthly budget for your campaign, without having to worry about going over target.

Traditional direct marketing methods, such as flyers and postcards, though more expensive than electronic methods, are just as popular as ever. 

Putting It All Together

Once you've got everything all written down, get it all prettied up. This is especially important if you've written your marketing plan on The Racing Post with a burnt umber crayon.

Share this document with the rest of your business team. Ask for their opinions. They might come up with some ideas or positions that you haven't even thought of yet.

If you haven't even started the business yet, this would be a great appendix or addition to a business plan.

Do you have any tips for developing a marketing plan? We'd love to hear from you!