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As someone who has spent 5,000+ billed hours working with IT businesses on their marketing strategy, there are three fundamental trends that I see crop up time and time again. And they aren’t necessarily positive.
Even at a cursory glance, it’s easy to see how the world around us has changed in the last two decades. Go back to 1998 and tell yourself that one day, you’ll be carrying around a portable supercomputer in your pocket that is literally more powerful than the tech that was used to send Neil Armstrong to the moon in the 1960s – you’d swear you were crazy. Yet at the same time, here we are. But at the same time, for whatever reason, far too many MSPs seem to think that their business and their marketing techniques haven’t changed with the times, at least not in any type of appreciable way. This has led them to fall into the same traps over and over again.
When you’re immersed in your business it’s often difficult to take a step back and assess your marketing efforts in a holistic manner. However, by addressing the following list you’ll go a long way to improving your overall output and generate more good leads to drive your business to the next level. Let’s look at 3 common marketing mistakes made by MSPs today.
1. Lack of Overall Marketing Direction
We must start here because although most MSPs doing it wrong will no doubt think it’s super important, it’s very easily overlooked. Perhaps the number 1 biggest mistake that many MSPs seem to make time and again ultimately comes down to a general lack of marketing direction. Now, to be fair, we’re all aware that not every managed services provider has the ability to have a full marketing department in-house. And yes, you’re selling to an audience that is already more tech-savvy than most. But none of this means that you can just sit back and hope that your services sell themselves – even the most eager prospect will still need converting and without a clear marketing direction, you won’t be able to do that. Developing an effective marketing strategy is beyond the scope of this article but something you should consider often.
2. Lack of Meaningful Content
Your leads want to see authoritative content. They want to see industry expertise. They want to read thought-provoking and thought-leading content. Do you have the ability to: A) make sure that this content is available, and B) make sure that this content is actually aligned with your long-term goals as an organization?
This type of content needs to be able to check a few different boxes, all at the same time. Something like a blog post is more than just words on a page. It needs to:
- Sell your services
- Establish your brand as an authority
- Line up with where a particular customer is on their journey AND
- Push the audience farther down the line to your long-term goals
Without thoughtful marketing direction, you’re not going to be able to accomplish any of those things. You WILL literally be left with “just words on a page” and that isn’t doing anybody any good.
If you constantly find yourself trapped in the day-to-day marketing grind and feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to actually run your business, this is maybe the biggest reason why. This also outlines the major benefit you get from having a strategic MSP marketing plan in place – so you can focus on the types of content that can convert your prospects into leads.
3. Selling the Service and Not Its Value
This one is not a logical as the other two and can require a fundamental shift in the way you market your product but it is integral to developing an effective marketing strategy. Far too many MSPs are still relying too heavily on selling services when what you should really be selling is raw, tangible value. For example, let’s say you were an MSP who wanted to expand their business by selling managed cybersecurity solutions. Yes, you would want to talk about things such as intrusion detection and pen testing because it’s important for your own customers to get a better understanding of what they’re getting for their money. But at the same time, this is largely selling what you can do, not what your services can do for your customers. Communicating value is a far more effective marketing strategy as it allows you to stand out from the competition offering a similar service and present a more genuine company focused on solving your problems than one wanting your money.
You would want to talk about the fact that global ransomware damage costs hit a massive $5 billion at the end of last year. You would want to outline the fact that there were 1,579 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2017 alone. You would want to make sure they were aware of the fact that the average total cost of a single data breach incident hit $3.62 million last year. None of this is an attempt to scare your customer into investing in your services – far from it. It’s to make sure they know the types of situations that they now face and how your particular blend of cyber security solutions can help them avoid them.
This is how you sell based on value rather than the technical specifications of your services.
It’s my personal belief that mistakes aren’t something to be feared – they really are learning opportunities in every sense of the word. I’ve made more than a few over my 20 years of experience, but every time I’ve come out all the better for it. If you’re making any of the mistakes outlined on this list, don’t worry – you just gained the type of hands-on experience that will absolutely serve both you and your audience well for years to come.
If you have questions and would like to find out more information about some of the mistakes that MSPs are still making when it comes to their IT marketing, leave a comment below, and I’ll either provide an answer or cover it in a future post.
Thanks for reading!
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