MSPs Adapt or Die: Darwinism is Apparent in the Channel
In part one of this blog, we talked about how the law of Natural Selection is a force in the MSP world at this time. We also mention two of the five key points you’ll need to address as you evolve your MSP marketing.
Now, let’s look at points three through five for an evolved MSP marketing strategy, according to two sources: Your Sales Energy and MSP Ignition!
Five Key Points on Evolved MSP Marketing: Continued
3. Do you have the right marketing mindset?
There will come a time when you can’t handle your own marketing. For many MSPs, that time came and went years ago, but they’re still trying to do it all themselves. Having the right marketing mindset means understanding how important your marketing is to the success of your business and then budgeting accordingly.
Simply put, the DIY marketers are getting edged out in most cases. The channel has evolved beyond what they’re capable of doing in their spare time. Those who hire quality in-house marketing staff, leverage the vendors they use for marketing materials and support, outsource to professionals, and invest wisely in their marketing are projecting a much more professional brand image, reaching their ideal prospects more effectively, and landing the contracts.
4. Are you measuring the effectiveness of your current marketing?
It seems like the answer to this question is always “no”. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a “well, but, uh, sometimes…”, but the answer is still not ideal.
I’m not just talking about reports showing how many people opened your emails or how you’re ranking on select keywords. I’m talking overall efficacy of your marketing machine as a whole. There should be constant evaluation here.
This is critical because a lot of popular marketing methods either won’t work for everyone or won’t work at all. You could very easily be paying thousands of dollars for marketing services, SEO, website upkeep, canned blogs, or any number of other things that are doing absolutely nothing to grow your business.
Make sure you’re not wasting money!
5. Are you using custom content?
The heyday of canned content is over for MSPs. Templated marketing materials, websites that all look the same, syndicated blog posts — these are relics from the “any marketing is better than nothing” era.
Do you regularly update your website to reflect your offerings, news and regular blog posts? Do you have an updated logo? Do you contribute online with posts, video and other types of content?
All of these things are really just a step up from DIY, and they’re more effective at taking work off of your plate than they will ever be at growing your business. Most templated marketing material is not that good, simply because it’s impossible to make really great marketing that works well for 500 different businesses.
There’s another reason why templates and canned copy is obsolete: pricing. When we examined what most MSPs are paying for mass-produced, canned marketing materials, we discovered that they could have been getting custom-created content for the same amount of money or even less. The only advantage that canned marketing offers is convenience, and that dog won’t hunt in a competitive market.
Bringing It All Together
The above are very fundamental marketing questions, not next-level concepts. The fact that so many MSP owners are lacking in the above means that they’re operating on very shaky foundations. If a business is not doing well with the basics, the entirety of the marketing machine is going to suffer.
This brings to light a different sort of challenge, and something we’ve identified as a unifying thread between most MSPs who come to us because they’re struggling with their marketing and their growth.
They’re trying to do too much of it themselves. This effect is even amplified in cases where the MSP outsourced various aspects of their marketing to different third parties.
What we’ve seen is that when an owner hires Company A to design their website, Company B to handle their SEO, and Company C to handle their email marketing, they’re just creating more balls for themselves to juggle.
They inevitably lose track of what’s going on, and there’s usually no integration between separate parts of their marketing machine that should be working in unison. And who among those isolated third-party companies is actually working with them to create a functioning marketing strategy?
Let’s not even mention the countless MSPs that are paying for canned content and not even using it because they don’t have the time.
Effective marketing requires a solid strategic approach, and it takes a cohesion to execute such a strategy. The website must work with the email marketing. Social media must work with the blog posts. Everything must be tracked, measured, weighed, and adjusted. It’s all one, big organism — and it needs one brain to run the show.
Are You Ready to Swim with the Sharks?
Where does your MSP stand in the evolutionary scale of marketing?
If you haven’t given your sales and marketing engine a good, hard look in a while, now is the time. We’re about to head into a new year, and I can’t think of a better resolution to commit to than this one: I will not be eaten by the sharks.