Welcome to our comprehensive MSP Marketing Guide. In this guide, we strive to equip Managed Service Providers with valuable insights, practical strategies, and actionable tips to excel in their marketing efforts. Regardless of whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your existing marketing plan, this guide offers a wealth of knowledge tailored to the unique needs and challenges faced by MSPs in today's digital landscape.
The global Managed Services market size continues to surprise many and is now expected to surpass the US$ 700 billion mark in the next 7 years. Another report by Research And Markets indicates that most of the growth in the MSP market will be driven by Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) who increasingly want to take advantage of the value that MSPs bring to businesses. Manufacturing SMBs will contribute a larger share as they are starting to appreciate the importance of big data in increasing efficiency.
So if you have been wondering whether this is a good time for your MSP business to thrive, there you have it. There’ll never be a better time than this, and don't forget that businesses worldwide have picked lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Going forward, no serious business would want to take chances with their IT infrastructure. They know too well that outsourcing to MSPs is not debatable.
But there is a catch — these businesses will not outsource to any random MSP. You must position your company as the very best, so that they find you as they look for the best. Only one task stands between you and the opportunities that are now ballooning in this industry, and that is MSP Marketing.
Where do you start? Right here!
What Is MSP Marketing?
In a nutshell, MSP marketing is a strategic marketing plan that is geared towards promoting the service offerings of Managed Service Providers (MSPs). It's all about targeting businesses that are in need of managed IT.
MSP marketing is different from other forms of marketing because it focuses on the needs of the customer rather than the product or service. It's all about understanding what your ideal target customer wants and needs, and then creating an MSP marketing strategy that will appeal to them.
No matter how great your MSP business is, you won't be able to attract new clients or keep the ones you have without a strong, consistent MSP marketing system. This takes time, effort, and money, but is essential for growing your MSP. If you don't plan to invest in marketing, you will struggle to compete against those that do. Whichever way you look at it, you’ll have to view MSP marketing as an essential part of your success.
The Benefits of MSP Marketing
These are the core benefits you will enjoy when you make the right decision to get into the ring of MSP marketing.
- New Clients: First and foremost, marketing your MSP business will help you attract new clients. With a solid MSP marketing strategy in place, you can reach more potential customers and generate leads that you can turn into paying clients.
- Brand Awareness: Marketing your MSP will help you build brand awareness. The more people know about your company and what you offer, the more likely they are to do business with you.
- Competitive Advantage: Marketing your MSP will help you differentiate yourself from the competition. By establishing yourself as an industry leader, you'll be in a better position to win new business and grow your company.
Make No Mistake: MSP Marketing ≠ Selling
We have seen many MSPs confuse marketing with selling. The two are interrelated, but fundamentally different and it’s important to understand what you are doing at all times. MSP Marketing is about promoting your services to potential clients in a manner that builds trust so that some of these potential clients eventually show interest to work with your company. MSP selling on the other hand is about engaging the clients who have shown interest (leads) and convincing them to convert to paying clients. So, MSP marketing feeds to MSP selling.
5 Steps to Effective MSP Marketing Strategy
Follow these five steps to attract new clients while keeping the ones you have happy.
Step 1: Define Your Customer
The best way to define your customer is by creating a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a profile that best depicts the ideal customer you are targeting. This is an extremely valuable tool because it allows you to better understand your customer's needs, wants, and behaviors.
When you know who you're targeting, it becomes much easier to create content and messaging that resonates with them. You'll also be able to better identify opportunities for building relationships and expanding your business.
How to create a buyer persona
The first step in creating a buyer persona for your MSP business is to do some research. What are they looking for in a managed service provider? What kind of language do they use when discussing their IT needs? Answering these questions will help you to better understand your target market and create a persona that is realistic and relevant.
You can collect this data in a number of ways, including surveys, research, interviews, feedback forms, and social media listening. Once you have a good understanding of who your target buyers are, you can start crafting your messaging and sales strategy around them.
For example, you'll want to know their age, gender, job title, income level and marital status. You'll also want to know what motivates them and what factors influence their buying decisions. Once you have this information, you can begin to craft a persona that is representative of your target market.
Again, remember that your buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. This person is based on real data, but is also a composite of all of your ideal customers.
Step 2: Align Your MSP Website with Your Buyer Persona
Your website is often the first impression a potential customer has of your business, it’s the home of your MSP. So it's important that it's high-quality and reflects your brand. An MSP website that is not aligned to your buyer persona will cost you time and money on online MSP marketing campaigns that will bring good customers who will end up being out of sync with the site.
Website-buyer persona alignment may mean changing the design, adjusting the copy, or adding new features to the website. It's also important to keep track of how your website is performing and to make adjustments based on feedback from your target audience.
Visuals like videos and images have become huge in today’s digital marketing context. The anger though is that most companies make the mistake of using videos and images that do not reflect the persona of their buyers. You can avoid this by engaging an MSP marketing agency that is already immersed in this.
Step 3: Plan the Online MSP Marketing Methods
There are so many marketing methods you can use to promote your MSP business. But from our experience, the top-tested favorites for MSPs include SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, online reviews, webinars, and podcasts.
Each of these methods has its own benefits, and it's important to choose the ones that will work best for your business. For example, if you're looking to reach a wider audience, then social media marketing and search engine marketing are good options. If you want to create more leads, then email marketing and content marketing are ideal. You can still use all the methods if you have the resources to roll them all at once.
Here is a much more comprehensive look at each of these methods;
MSP Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
MSP SEO is all about optimizing your website and content for search engines so that you can rank higher in search results and attract new customers to your website, where they will find your services and engage you directly. There are a few key things to keep in mind:
First, you want to make sure your website is properly configured and that all of your pages are allowed for indexing by search engines. You can use website audit tools like Screaming Frog or SiteBulb to help you check this.
Next, you need to make sure your website content is high quality and relevant to your target audience. You can achieve this by focusing on creating valuable, informative blog content that will help you rank higher in search results.
Finally, you should use keywords and phrases relevant to your specific MSP services in your website titles, meta descriptions, and header tags. Use a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find the right keywords for your business.
MSP Email Marketing
Email marketing uses email communication to promote products or services. It’s one of the most powerful ways to build relationships with potential and current customers. It has been proven to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business. If you were looking for a digital marketing method that is not expensive, consistent and quickly scalable, then email marketing is it. Thanks to email marketing, even a small MSP can compete with giants in this industry by reaching a wider audience, faster.
Before you start emailing your list, it's important to make sure you have permission from your subscribers. This means they've opted-in to receive emails from you, and that you're not spamming them.
Once you have permission, there are a few things you can do to make sure your email marketing is effective:
- Make sure your subject line stands out and catches people's attention
- Keep your emails short and sweet, with a clear call to action
- Use images and videos to break up the text and keep things interesting
- Experiment with different types of content (articles, infographics, case studies, etc.)
- Use automation tools to make the process easier
MSP Social Media Marketing
MSP social media marketing allows you to communicate with your customers and clients in a casual, informal setting, which can help to build trust and loyalty.
Twitter is a great social media platform for MSPs because it's quick, professional and easy to use. It also provides a casual way for customers to reach out to you. You can share updates, news, and articles related to your industry in a fun casual way that lightens up the usual corporate seriousness.
Facebook is another great platform for MSPs as it offers a variety of features that can be used to reach your target market. You can create a custom page for your business, share updates, run ads, and even host live chats.
LinkedIn is also huge for MSP marketing, a perfect platform for B2B companies as it allows you to connect with the kind of businesses you would want to target in a professional setting. You can share articles, post updates, and even run ads targeting the businesses that are likely to use your MSP services.
MSP Content Marketing
There is a saying that those who discovered content marketing in the early days of digital marketing made unbelievable fortunes. It’s one of those marketing techniques that you should actually spend time comprehending inside out. The key is to produce high-quality content that's relevant to your target audience.
Your content can take many different forms, such as blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, case studies, infographics, social media posts, and more. Try as much as possible to mix things up and experiment with different formats to see what works best for you.
One of the best ways to produce quality content for the MSP industry is by leveraging the expertise of your technical team. Ask your engineers to write blog posts about their latest projects, or have your sales team create case studies about successful clients. By tapping into the knowledge of your team, you'll be able to produce great content that resonates with your audience.
Review platforms are a great way to start generating buzz for your MSP business. They're also a great way to show potential clients that you're an authority in your field.
Start by posting your services across various review sites and request existing customers to rate them. Potential customers can then use these reviews to compare your services against your competitors. You can also use review sites to post testimonials from satisfied customers, which can attract new business.
Webinars have quickly emerged to become a disruptive marketing tool that smart businesses are now using to promote their services to surprising success. And like any other new approach, the businesses that adopt it early will always walk away with prime benefits.
Unfortunately many MSPs assume that webinars are complicated and therefore give them a bind eye. This is not true. Getting started with webinars is as easy as pre-recording your sessions and posting them on your website, blog or social media for on-demand viewing. This approach will take away the expected pressure that comes with a live audience, allowing you to present quality materials within your comfortable settings.
When planning a webinar, make sure to choose a topic that's relevant to your audience and that will be of interest to them. You'll also want to make sure that you have a strong focus on the content and that the presentation is high quality.
Next, promote the webinar aggressively. Make use of social media, email marketing, and paid advertising to reach as many people as possible. And, of course, be sure to follow up with everyone who registers to attend.
Like webinars, podcasts are also a recent marketing phenomenon that is drawing more and more audiences. Busy business owners may not have a lot of time to read or even watch stuff, but they can listen to insightful subjects while relaxing, traveling or as they drive to work.
Podcasts have become so popular because they offer a unique and intimate way to consume content. Unlike radio or TV, listeners can choose to hear a podcast at any time, pause it if they need to, and even rewind if they want to catch something again. This sort of flexibility is appealing to busy people who want to be able to control their media consumption. Second, podcasts tend to be highly engaging and often tell stories that wouldn't be possible in other formats.
Because you will be producing your podcasts from information that you already know so well and love to talk about, you’ll have a lot of room for experimentation and creativity in terms of format and subject matter. This will give you the opportunity to create some truly amazing podcasts that will hook your potential clients.
Focus on quality over quantity, and strive to create valuable content that will resonate with the sort of pain points that the market is struggling with. their target audience.
Step 4: Execution: In-house or Outsourced?
So you've defined your ideal customer and planned out the online MSP marketing approaches you want to start with. Congratulations! Next is execution. This is where MSP marketing works or fails flat. One of the most critical execution decisions you will ever make is whether to roll out your MSP marketing in-house or outsourced.
In-house marketing means that your team will be responsible for all marketing activities. This can be a lot of work, but with the benefit of more control and the opportunity to tailor your online MSP marketing strategy to your unique business.
Outsourced marketing, on the other hand, means that you'll be working with an MSP marketing agency. This can be a great option if you don't have the time or resources to do everything in-house. Plus, MSP marketing companies have a lot of experience and knowledge, so they can help you achieve your goals.
So which is right for you? The trends we have seen indicate that most managed service providers now prefer to work with MSP marketing agencies. Your core business is already too involved to allow you to run all the marketing operations you will need to power your business to the top. An MSP marketing agency on the other hand will not struggle to execute your marketing. After all marketing is their core business and chances are they are already running successful MSP marketing projects.
MSP Marketing Budget
Execution needs a budget to take off. Luckily you don't need a huge budget to see results, but you do need to be strategic about where you allocate your funds.
Here are a few tips to best budget for your MSP marketing:
- Make a list of your marketing goals and objectives. This will help you determine what areas you need to focus on and which of the specific marketing methods we have highlighted above you should start with.
- Evaluate where you can make adjustments to free up some funds.
- Understand that some activities such as content marketing will need to be continuous and so you’ll need to set aside money for ongoing efforts.
- Prioritize wisely. You'll need to prioritize your spending in order to get the most bang for your buck. For example, investing in market research is typically more effective than buying ads in a local newspaper.
- Stay flexible. Always be prepared to allocate additional funds when necessary, especially during peak sales seasons.
Step 5: Track, Review, Iterate
It’s always surprising how so many businesses neglect tracking yet it’s the only way to tell what your marketing budget is actually delivering. To put it even better, failing to track it is akin to running a business on guess work. Tracking is the ultimate measure of any successful digital marketing strategy and MSP marketing is no exception. By constantly analyzing your results, you can determine what's working and what isn't, and then make the necessary changes.
Some of the key metrics you should track include leads, conversion rate, website traffic, and social media engagement.
- Leads are potential customers you generate for each online marketing tactics you deploy. Track the number of leads you generate from each marketing channel, allocate more resources to those channels that bring the most leads and find ways to improve those that bring the least leads.
- The conversion rate is the percentage of leads you can convert into paying customers. Tracking this metric gives you valuable insights that you can then use to improve your sales funnel and increase revenue.
- Website traffic is the count of visitors that come to your site. This metric will help you improve SEO and attract more visitors.
- Social media engagement is the number of interactions that your business gets on social media. This metric offers pointers to the kind of content that you need to produce that is interesting and engaging for your audience.
Crafting a Comprehensive MSP Marketing Plan
A successful MSP marketing strategy begins with a well-thought-out MSP marketing plan. This plan serves as a roadmap, guiding your efforts and ensuring that every action aligns with your business goals. Here's how to craft a comprehensive MSP Marketing Plan:
- Define Clear Goals: Whether it's increasing leads by 20% or boosting conversions by 10%, set clear, measurable objectives.
- Target Audience Analysis: Understand the demographics, needs, and pain points of your potential clients. This will help in tailoring your MSP marketing strategies.
- Prioritize Channels: Based on where your audience spends most of their time, allocate budget to channels like SEO, email marketing, or social media.
- Return on Investment (ROI) Estimation: Predict the ROI for each channel to ensure you're investing wisely.
- Content Calendar: Plan your content in advance. This includes blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and other content forms.
- Keyword Research: Divide keyword research according to different levels of the sales funnel. For core service pages, incorporate keywords such as «MSP solutions», «IT managed services», and, of course, «Managed IT Services provider» to enhance search engine visibility. For content in the middle and top of the funnel, focus on keywords that address your audience's pain points, such as «how to reduce downtime».
Engagement and Outreach:
- Networking: Attend industry events, webinars, and seminars. This not only boosts your brand but also helps in understanding market needs.
- Partnerships: Collaborate with complementary businesses to expand your reach.
- Surveys and Feedback: Regularly collect feedback from your clients. This will help in refining your MSP Marketing Plan.
- Adjust and Adapt: Based on feedback and the changing market scenario, be ready to pivot your strategies.
- KPIs: Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like website traffic, lead conversion rate, and customer acquisition cost.
- Regular Monitoring: Use tools like Google Analytics and CRM software to monitor these KPIs. This will help in understanding the effectiveness of your MSP Marketing Plan.
- Stay Updated: The IT industry is ever-evolving. Regularly update your knowledge and adjust your MSP Marketing Plan accordingly.
- Training and Workshops: Invest in training your team. A well-informed team can execute the marketing plan more effectively.
The Role of Consistency in MSP Marketing Roadmap
Remember we started with the good news that the MSP market is booming? We purposely left out the bad news for where it matters most. And what is that bad news, you may ask. Well, the bad news is that the MSP market is more competitive than ever with many companies vying for the attention of the same customers. Competition follows opportunity, so hopefully this does not surprise you. But here is the point: It’s difficult to stand out from the crowd without consistency plus a unique edge.
A consistent message will reach more people and create a stronger impression than a sporadic one. Additionally, consistent marketing is more likely to build permanent trust with potential customers, which is the true essence of marketing. They will know what to expect from your company and will be more likely to do business with you as a result.
Daily average tweets are better than a one off excellent tweet. An average email once a month is miles better than sporadic emails. Of course this should not give you the license to send out low quality materials. But the point is to make sure that once you start, you’ve got to keep the lights on.
MSP marketing is all about building relationships with potential and current clients. The trick is to find and consistently execute the right mix of marketing tactics that works for your business and target market.
MSP Marketing FAQ
What Is MSP Marketing?
In a nutshell, MSP marketing is a strategic marketing plan that is geared towards promoting the service offerings of Managed Service Providers (MSPs). It's all about targeting businesses that are in need of managed IT.
What is an MSP Marketing Plan?
An MSP Marketing Plan is a strategic roadmap designed specifically for Managed Service Providers to promote their services, attract potential clients, and establish their brand in the market.
How is MSP marketing different from traditional marketing?
MSP marketing focuses more on the needs of the customer rather than just the product or service. It's about understanding the specific IT needs of businesses and creating strategies that appeal to those needs.
What are the core benefits of MSP marketing?
The main benefits include attracting new clients, building brand awareness, and gaining a competitive advantage in the market.
What's the difference between MSP marketing and selling?
MSP marketing is about promoting services and building trust with potential clients. In contrast, MSP selling involves engaging with interested clients (leads) and converting them into paying customers.
How do I define my ideal MSP customer?
You can define your ideal customer by creating a buyer persona, which is a detailed profile representing the characteristics, needs, and behaviors of your target audience.
Which online marketing methods are most effective for MSPs?
Some top-tested methods include SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, online reviews, webinars, and podcasts. The effectiveness of each method can vary based on the specific target audience and business goals.
How do I budget for my MSP marketing?
Start by listing your marketing goals and objectives. Evaluate your current expenses and see where adjustments can be made. Prioritize your spending based on expected ROI and always be prepared to allocate additional funds when necessary.
Why is tracking essential in an MSP Marketing Plan?
Tracking allows businesses to measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. By analyzing key metrics like leads, conversion rates, and website traffic, businesses can refine their strategies for better results.