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5 Smart Ways to Build Your MSP Brand

Author: Stacy West, VP of marketing, SolarWinds MSP

Apple. Amazon. Google. Each of these companies has built a strong brand over the years that helps them stand out in the market. The big question is, how can your MSP practice build a brand that distinguishes your company from your competitors?

Here are five tips to help make it happen sooner rather than later:

1. Define who you really are: One of the biggest mistakes an MSP can make is trying to be all things to all companies. To avoid this, focus on the highest business value and most important customer experience your company delivers. Build a mission statement that clearly communicates this and focuses on the benefit to your customers. Do you focus on a specific type of technology? If so, how are you different in what you deliver and in how you deliver it? Is there a specific vertical market?

2. White label your managed services: Another common practice among MSPs is highlighting their vendors’ logos on their websites and in their marketing literature. While this is a tried and true form of branding for consumer companies—like Lincoln using the actor Matthew McConaughey to endorse its MKC—it can have the opposite effect for MSPs. It would be like Chevrolet, Chrysler, and BMW all having the same actor, Matthew McConaughey, on their websites touting their vehicles. To differentiate your MSP practice, consider white-labeling (or custom branding) your IT bundle with your value-add services. That way, all the vendors that make up the bundle can take a back seat and your company and the additional services you offer can become the primary focus.

3. Don’t just tell—show: Blogs and other thought leadership articles are an effective means of telling prospects who you are and what you do, but to create an effective brand, you need to complement your story by showing your audience that what you’re saying is true. One way to show your company’s success and help support your brand awareness is through customer success stories and testimonials. People tend to trust brands that have success stories and testimonials from their customers because it shows that the product is what the brand says it is and that customers are satisfied with the product. If you’re an eBay or Amazon shopper you can attest to this yourself by recalling the times you read product or seller reviews prior to making a purchase. It’s one thing if Amazon or eBay tell you how great they are, but it’s a whole other thing when their customers vouch for them.

4. Take social media seriously: In less than five minutes an MSP can create multiple social media accounts for free. But, just having a Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t do you any good and copying/reposting other content isn’t much better. You have to engage with your audience to reap the benefits. Stay on top of what is trending in your industry and share your thoughts and opinions on these topics. It’s important to be consistent. Start out with one or two social media channels where you know your customers go for information and post, update, and comment there. There’s nothing worse than a stale social profile…it’s not enough to set them up. Social profiles need constant care and feeding, so start small and expand from there. The other key is to monitor responses and anything that’s being said about your brand, so you can nip anything negative in the bud and capitalize on positive feedback.

5. Follow SEO best practices: Considering the fact that a large percentage of website traffic comes from a search on Google or other major search engines, optimizing your website, press releases, links, landing pages, and all your online content is essential. Applying the previous four tips will give you a good start. If you don’t have this expertise in-house (and many won’t), there are many reputable agencies that can help manage this and will work within your budget. Additionally, be sure to frequently update your website (especially your content and any links) and give your audience a compelling reason to come back

Even if you never achieve the branding status of a Fortune 100 company, it doesn’t mean branding isn’t important. The aforementioned best practices may not be achievable now, but the sooner you can start embracing smart marketing, the sooner you’ll see the results. The more efficient it is for prospects to find your company and realize your value, the more quickly they can be converted to customers.

Stacy West is VP of marketing at SolarWinds MSP. Read more SolarWinds MSP blogs here.

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