In this age of rapidly increasing media consumption, it isn’t hard to find what you’re looking for. Whether that’s the best restaurant in a new city or the best managed service provider (MSP), the path to get there is strikingly similar. Your potential prospect conducts some searches, tries to get recommendations, researches some competitive differences, and ultimately looks for a connection that leads them to your door. This is where marketing comes in—it’s what gets you noticed amid all the noise.
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to marketing, and while some of them can be quite complex, especially in the digital landscape, you don’t need a complex plan to be successful. You need to be sure you’ve covered all the basics first to ensure a quality outcome. Think about technology. It’s no different; if you don’t have the basics covered, all of your efforts are for naught.
This blog series will focus on the five fundamental steps you need to take to effectively market your business. They look something like this:
Let’s start with perhaps the most important piece: messaging. Your messaging should convey your company’s personality, what sets you apart, and what makes someone compelled to work with you. If you can’t clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and why it matters—you’re going to struggle with getting the attention you want for your business.
The core components of your messaging typically consist of:
At its most simplistic, your top line messaging needs to be centered on the value you deliver. Try not to fall into the “feature/function” trap, where you focus on what you do instead of how it helps your customers.
Your tagline is your smallest, and therefore, hardest message to write. That’s why it’s helpful to save it for last. When building your messaging, it’s best to start with the easiest (longest) thing to write and end with the hardest (shortest) thing to write. So, we’re going to go in reverse order from above.
Begin with your “about statement”. This is a paragraph of about 100 words that says who you are, what you do, and most importantly, why you do it (read: why the customer should care). Here are some examples of about statements that work well.
Next up is your mission statement. It encapsulates, in one sentence, what you’re looking to achieve as a business. Remember, keep the customer as the focal point and ensure alignment with your about statement. Some good examples are:
Notice how: each of these are centered on the value they deliver, vs. the “things” they deliver.
Now that you’ve conquered the easier stuff, it’s time to write your tagline. This is where you want to grab someone’s attention with a hard-hitting three- to six-word phrase that captures the spirit of who you are. Here are some perhaps recognizable and value-driven taglines:
While a bit more esoteric than a mission statement, each of these still speak to the customer and what they will get out of the relationship.
Note that the development of these messages typically involves some whiteboarding and you may need to employ the help of a marketing expert. In addition, given its difficulty factor, you may find the tagline something that you want to parking-lot for now. That’s okay. If you can only get as far as a solid About Statement and Mission Statement, you’re far enough to start marketing. You can always add a Tagline later.
It can seem a bit overwhelming. But, here is an easy way to test your messaging. Ask someone you trust to read your messages with an open and honest eye. Better yet, ask a trusted customer. Does your about statement clearly communicate what you do, without a lot of fluff, but with enough benefits woven in to get your point across? Does your mission statement say how you are trying to improve your customers and not just their technology, but their actual business? Does your tagline captivate and provide a sense of trust?
Build your messages correctly, and you’ve completed step one of marketing. Now you can tell people who you are in the right way, you can move on to promoting yourself in the right way.
Stacy West is Vice President, Marketing—MSP at SolarWinds
For more advice on growing your MSP business, click here to visit the MSP Institute