Marketing basics - Marketing options for MSPs

Debbie Thomson

There are many things that could be stopping you from making the most of marketing for your MSP business, it could be that you’re too busy dealing with clients and running your business to think about marketing, or perhaps you feel that you don’t have the budget to invest in a marketing drive just now, or it could simply be that with so many different ways of marketing your business, you just don’t know where to start!

Whatever the reasons may be, with so many opportunities available to you there is always something you could be doing to help you get your name out there and grow your business. We’ve compiled an overview of some of the basics here – and we’ll be bringing you more detailed marketing tips for your MSP over the coming weeks and months.

WebsiteWebsite:

Your website is at the core of your online (and most of your offline) marketing activity.  You need your website to be able to clearly explain your company values, the MSP services you offer and give a feel for the company.  Especially when you consider that according to a post from Brafton 83 percent of B2B buyers find the companies they purchase with online – if they don’t like what they see the sale is going to be more difficult, or perhaps the sale will be lost before you get past first base!  Especially in the MSP marketplace where clients will be looking for well maintained, professional websites – after all they see you as the tech guys…

Event Marketing:

Being part of a niche market as you are, you will likely find that word of mouth such as customer referral is the best and most useful way to find new clients. In fact in a post by Constant Contact they state that 82% of small businesses have suggested that referrals are their main source of new business.

A great way to encourage this type of promotion is by attending or hosting events. These can include anything from industry networking events to customer conferences. Doing so will enable you to meet with and demonstrate your expertise in the Industry to both new and existing clients, raising your company’s profile and encouraging good recommendations for your service.

socialmediaSocial Media Marketing:

Another great way to get your message heard is by using social media. Social media tools are free, easy to maintain and enable you to really engage with your customers – however, you must consider the time cost of social media. When using social media to promote your business it is important to be consistent, make the effort to post regularly and be sure your brand message is the same across all platforms.

It is also worth considering which platforms are most appropriate for your business. In a survey conducted by Pardot it was found that LinkedIn actually generates more leads for B2B business than other platforms and yet many B2B companies focus their social media marketing on Facebook or Twitter.

email-womanEmail Marketing:

If budget is a concern it is worth considering email marketing as another option alongside the use of social media. In a recent post by Salesforce it was suggested that not only do 77% of consumers prefer to receive marketing communications through email but emails containing the words “profit”, “money” and “revenue” in the subject line were the best performing for B2B businesses. It was also suggested that emails which include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click through rate than those without, showing that a combination of social media and email marketing is a cost effective and easy way to communicate with customers.

Look at platforms such as MailChimp to get you started – you can use email to communicate new products and services to clients, or purchase lists to send out to potential new customers.

Direct Mail:

There is still space for direct mail in the world of MSP marketing – we hear of some great success for MSPs sending out postcards to prospective customers. There’s no doubt that with the rise of digital marketing that direct mail has fallen out of favor with many marketers but the lower volume of direct mail landing on your prospects desks actually presents an opportunity!

Always ensure you have a simple message and give the prospect an easy first action to take – offering a free audit of their networks can work well.

seoSearch Engine Optimization (organic traffic) - SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about making your website focused around the keywords that a prospective client might search for, and making your site popular from mentions from other websites and in social media. You certainly can do the work yourself but some knowledge about what is required is always going to be useful. The world of SEO moves on quite quickly and things that you could do 6 months ago are now frowned upon by Google and the other search engines.

If you stick to the principals of creating quality, engaging, useful content on your site – and ensuring your site is well linked from other places you’ll have a head start on your competition. We’ll be running an in-depth series on SEO for the MSP, starting in late August 2013. This will provide you with step-by step instructions on the best methods to optimize your site – and is written directly for the MSP business. Alternatively we’ll also be writing about how to select an agency if you’re ready to outsource your SEO work.

Pay-per-click (PPC) – Google AdWords:

Google AdWords is a platform that allows you to show adverts on the Google search results pages – these adverts are shown at the top and right hand side of the screen. AdWords can be a great way to engage directly with your audience when they are searching for your product or service – by adding the keywords you think people will type, providing an engaging advert and sending them to a page on your website you could be driving new leads within hours.

A word of warning though – in competitive markets such as the MSP space you can waste a lot of money very quickly unless you plan your campaigns out very well. Be wary of using Google AdWords automatic setup service – without controlling it yourself you run the risk of brining in unwanted traffic which again can just be a waste of your money. Again we’ll be doing a series on PPC marketing for MSPs using Google AdWords over the coming months.

These are just a few of the many opportunities which are available to you but, over the next few weeks we will be taking a more in depth look at the various different ways you can use marketing to grow your MSP business to help you develop a marketing strategy that’s right for you.

The GFI MAX Business Tips material provides you with free marketing advice, templates & sales collateral and is available to all GFI MAX customers. Sign up for a free trial and ask your account manager about BizTips to find out more!

If there are any areas of MSP marketing that we’ve missed or anything you’d like us to write about just let us know in the comments below or by contacting us directly.