Companies that sell managed services are often operated by teams that are rich in IT expertise, yet limited in PR and advertising knowledge. Fortunately, a diverse marketing background is not required to thrive in this fiercely competitive field. The following guidelines explain how MSPs can secure new clients and enjoy steady growth using tactics that work for practically any company.
Leverage Word of Mouth
Word of mouth may be the most effective marketing tool at your disposal. From email to social media, it drives messages in today’s most prominent channels. But word of mouth works both ways. It can help an MSP attract new clients, and attribute to why existing clientele is leaving as well. A client who runs their website on your server might forward your monthly newsletter to colleagues looking for a managed hosting solution when things are going well. On the other hand, a client who has suffered downtime one too many times on your server may run to social media and complain about their experience to anyone who will listen.
MSPs can harness the power of word of mouth by:
Identifying key influencers. Some people are better suited to spread the word about your business than others. The people you want are called influencers. These people will not only spread word, they have the kind of pull that compels others to listen – meaning they can send customers your way.
Empowering clients. Influencers aren’t always clients, but your clients can be some of the best influencers on your team. Analyze your client base so you know just who has the potential to be brand ambassadors. Once you find them, give them the tools (and incentive) to generate new leads, conversions, and customers.
Creating incentive. Word of mouth only works when you give people a reason to be passionate about your business. As an MSP, giving incentive could be as simple as delivering a top notch service, treating your clients with respect, and having passion for what you do.
Learn to Mingle On the Event Scene
From MSP World to LabTech Automation Nation, there are several annual events that demand the attention of MSPs. Of course you can’t attend them all, but you should make the most of those you are able to crash. With a little luck, you can leave these tech-focused events with insights on the latest marketing trends, key industry contacts, and new clients. Whether you’re attending as a vendor or working the floor as a guest, simply being there is a grand opportunity to sell your business as the solution to a given IT problem in-person. Make sure you show up ready to network with your game face intact.
Embrace Social Media
Social media is where word of mouth does some of its most impressive work. Facebook alone has more than a billion users. If you snagged just a tiny fraction of that pie, your business would probably be in pretty good shape. We can dedicate an entire post to this topic, but for now we’ll focus on three fundamentals of client acquisition in the social space:
1. Channel selection: Not all social networks are created equal. Facebook is the largest, but your ideal customers might be camped out between Twitter and LinkedIn. Take the time to understand where your target audience is most active, and work to establish a presence there.
2. Brand integration: How deep you choose to integrate social media is up for debate. At the very least, potential fans and followers should be able to connect to your website or blog, and obtain general contact info from your social profiles. Make the path from lead to conversion an easy one.
3. Consistency: Showing up to the party is merely one part of social media marketing. Active participation is where results are made. Make a habit of dropping links to your latest blog posts. Occasionally share stats your audience might find interesting. Ask fans for feedback on how you can improve customer service. The more consistent you are, the more people will come to see your company as a brand they can trust with their business.
Draw Up A Content Marketing Plan
Every business needs a comprehensive content marketing strategy, and MSPs are no exception. Content is what helps you turn prospects into clients and keep them coming back. It could be a blog post that provides expert insights into a topic like cloud computing, disaster recovery, or virtualization. Or maybe it’s a video that visually explains how users can navigate the admin panel of your backup software. Good content not only offers undeniable value to its target audience, it’s easy to consume and versatile, meaning the message is equally powerful whether packaged into a newsletter or podcast.
Don’t Dismiss the Old School
The pulse of direct mail is proof that traditional marketing has a place in today’s digitally dominant landscape. Statista estimated that U.S. marketers are on pace to spend $45.7 billion on direct mail this year, nearly 5 billion more than the $43.8 billion spent in 2009. People still look forward to receiving mail and the staggering marketing spend shows that they’re still responding. Armed with a targeted mailing list, relevant content built around your managed services, and a crystal clear call to action, direct mail can help you generate new customers and deliver an awesome return on your investment.
Clients are the lifeblood of your organization. Committing to some tried and proven practices will help you find and retain the right clients in the ongoing mission to grow your business.
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