Yes, marketing is a pain point for most MSPs. But it doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to assess what you really need to get done, doing it will become that much easier.
The fact is, no one knows your customers and business value better than you do. Sure, an experienced marketing communications pro will help you better articulate your answers and nail your pitch. And if for whatever reason you don’t think you’ve got the right answers, ask your customers this simple question: “Why do you do business with us?”
Get Your Online House in Order
As you plan for growth in 2016 and beyond, one of the first steps you need to take — outside of developing a relevant, believable, and defendable brand promise — is to make certain your website is worthy. So many partners spend pant-loads of cash on driving customers and prospects to a website that sucks. Not good.
Make an investment and spend your time and your dollars to build a website that works for you, not against you. If you want to attract successful SMBs or Fortune 500 companies, your
Assess What You Want and What You Need
Take a close look at your business and assess where you are today in your MSP marketing efforts. For some that may be the easiest thing you do all day. For others, it may take a little herding to see what is really being done throughout the organization — some of which may surprise you.
For example, when there’s no sign of life around a company’s marketing efforts, associates will often take it upon themselves to market the company. If you’re lucky this effort will uncover a few unsung marketers among your staff with great ideas, or it might point out some rogue cowboys that are doing more harm than good. Either way, an assessment must be made so you aren’t building blindly.
Once you know what you have, think about what you need and, ultimately, what you want. One way to streamline that list is to answer these questions:
- What are we looking to do?
- Who are we targeting? Be specific.
- Where are we specializing?
- What business challenges and opportunities do our customers, partners, and prospects face, and how are we helping them address it all? And how we do that better than our competitors?
- How can you best communicate with or market to these audiences? What are they reading to get smart and make an informed buying decision?
Once you have a better understanding of what, who, why, and how, the pressure of your business relevance should lift, and your team can start building a marketing plan that will work.
It’s OK to Start Small and Keep It Simple
If you’re new to proactively marketing your business, it’s absolutely OK to stick to the basics. Focus on getting your message right and sharing that message with your team, your partners, your prospects, and your customers. Work on your brand image — the website, the email signatures, the marketing collateral, the T-shirts. And don’t forget to spread the good work about all the great work you do with your associates, partners, press, social media, and of course with your existing customers and targeted lists of prospects.
Keep this in mind: Your marketing efforts don’t have to be massive to be effective. Even the funniest million-dollar Super Bowl ads are just that … funny. Not many people remember what company, product, or service they were promoting, and if they do, it still might not evoke the right call to action.
Be deliberate, consistent, genuine, and professional with your brand and complementary marketing efforts, and the businesses you serve — and are targeting — will take notice.
About the Author: As president and founder of WhiteFox Marketing & Communications, Marie Rourke is recognized throughout the IT channel for her straightforward, business-minded approach to channel marketing, PR, and communications. With more than 15 years of experience in the IT channel, she is a friendly face at industry events and a respected advisor and colleague to many of the channel’s most innovative companies and business partners. Marie launched WhiteFox in 2005 with the vision of bringing channel relationships, marketing, PR and communications to the forefront of companies’ business growth strategies and tactics.