Most businesses out there realize the importance of investing in an MSP through facts, figures and references. They’re aware of the IT and infrastructural costs an MSP vendor can save annually and how that impacts their business.
However, the key concern that stops many of them from taking the final call is trust.
For starters, having a remote vendor manage their IT infrastructure raises the question of the security and safety of their company's confidential and sensitive data. Secondly, there’s always skepticism around the reliability of the MSP vendor during downtime.
Naturally, this makes getting new customers and spreading the good word for MSP vendors more challenging.
That’s when MSP marketing comes into play.
With the right marketing management process, you can:
- Make your brand visible.
- Find new customers.
- Increase your sales as an MSP vendor.
And most importantly, you can establish trust with your potential customers so they understand your values and morals and find you a credible player in the market.
What is MSP marketing?
Marketing for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is all about making your presence known in the market as a third-party IT service provider. Your role as an MSP is to manage specific IT operations for businesses, freeing them from the burden of technical tasks.
Note that an MSP sales process is highly consultative, which means it takes time to close a customer. We're talking weeks and months — and sometimes, even years!
You need to apply effective MSP marketing strategies to engage and educate your leads to expedite this sales cycle.
By executing effective marketing strategies, you can:
- Increase visibility among your target audience and prospects.
- Drive sales and attract new customers.
- Foster engagement with both new and existing customers, leading to referrals and sustained growth for your business.
Another important aspect here is to have a solid MSP marketing plan that expands on your end vision and goals of your MSP marketing. With it, you can make informed decisions that will help you get in touch with qualified prospects interested in outsourcing network monitoring and maintenance.
Check out our top picks for the best managed service provider examples for ideas on how to build and execute effective marketing plans.
Why marketing for MSP is crucial today
The MSP industry has reached a staggering $243.9 billion valuation by 2021.
These numbers make sense, given how many organizations changed how they worked in the last decade (not to mention the years since the COVID-19 pandemic).
Think: on-premise data moved to the cloud, software became SaaS, and AI emerged as the core infrastructure in business.
Naturally, MSPs became their go-to resort to outsource IT operations to manage their business during the pandemic. However, with remote and hybrid work came many more challenges.
- Cybercrime was at its peak. Since most of the IT infrastructure moved online, it was easier for them to break into company networks and access their confidential data. This is why businesses started relying on MSPs, who can thrive in such environments and help businesses sustain at all costs.
- Technology kept evolving at a dynamic rate, making businesses expect their IT support providers to be up-to-date and adept at the latest technology trends in the market.
You see where we’re getting at?
Businesses today need their MSPs to be resilient and capable with outstanding track records to showcase their credibility in the crowded MSP market today. And for that, MSPs must know how to market their services effectively to showcase their abilities and, more importantly, be present where their customers are.
Types of MSP marketing techniques
MSPs use a variety of marketing techniques to reach their target audience and attract new business. From a digital marketing flow and content creation to networking and events, the options are plentiful based on whether you choose traditional marketing or online marketing.
Traditional offline marketing
Online tactics like video marketing are super effective in influencing a customer’s purchase decision, but 56 percent of customers still find print marketing the most trustworthy.
Clearly, both traditional and online marketing work their magic for most successful brands out there when used right.
Here are some effective traditional marketing approaches that still work like a charm.
In a world where most businesses are leaning toward online marketing channels, telemarketing still works wonders! Especially for an MSP, telemarketing is considered an important part of the business development process that involves taking a potential opportunity with an internally qualified prospect to establish trust.
Let’s be honest: for an MSP, building an audience and relationships with them is a slow burn. People buy when they’re ready to buy. Telemarketing lets you get the message in front of the right person at the right time instead of waiting for them to reach out to you.
- Find a great source for generating your list, ensuring the information is accurate. You can use a sourcing tool if you wish to save more time.
- Make a calling schedule and commit to it.
- Hire internally or outsource telemarketing if required. Look for people with customer service experience.
- Make your own database of people to reach out to your LinkedIn connections, your email list, and referrals from ex-clients, friends and colleagues.
Both print and online marketing can complement each other when used strategically. Print marketing allows you to register into your potential customers’ haptic memory (memory associated with touch)—building an emotional connection for the reader.
- Leverage billboard marketing for MSP.
- Print out flyers for your business.
- Get an article highlighting your expertise printed in reputable publications to establish thought leadership in the industry.
- Publish your MSP ad campaign in popular newspapers and magazines. Those who may have missed your email may just open a newspaper and see your ad.
Online marketing is how the business world thrives in competitive times like these, and MSPs are no exception.
Businesses need to take advantage of the massive population using the internet today and cater to their target market effectively. As for MSP businesses, since your target market is looking for tech-savvy and experienced vendors, they’re likely to look for you online.
Here are some popular online marketing channels that show results today:
Email marketing is cost-effective and a great way of reaching your customers in a more personal setting, especially if you already have a list of qualified leads you want to build relationships with. On the other hand, if you’re just starting your MSP business, cold calling might be a better option.
Here are some email marketing best practices to boost your MSP business:
- Make sure your emails contain relevant information about your services and nothing spam-triggering.
- Consider the frequency with which you send your emails. This will depend on the type of campaign you’re running.
- For a cold outreach campaign, it’s best to indulge in an eight-email (welcome + follow-up) sequence to seal the deal with a prospect. On the other hand, for a lead nurturing sequence, it’s best to send emails less frequently, say once or twice a week.
- Track important metrics of your campaigns, such as email deliverability, open rates, bounce rates and click-through rates, to understand the effectiveness of your emails.
- Follow best email writing practices to ensure your email copy always hits the right spot with your leads.
In a world where around 68 percent of online experiences begin with an online search, you would be missing out on a lot by not incorporating SEO in your marketing strategy.
We’re talking SEO on a complete level — on-page, off-page, link-building and technical SEO.
- Start by collecting a list of keywords you want to rank for—make sure these are low-competition keywords with high search volumes.
- Analyze the SERP for each keyword and pay special attention to the “people also ask” section.
- Check the number of backlinks each top contender in the SERP has got—analyze the gap in their content.
- Target long-tail keywords to get more specific with your audiences’ search intent.
Off-page SEO & link building
The idea here is to have websites with high domain authority to link your website, which helps increase your authority. Make sure you’re reaching out to such websites for link building of ‘do-follow’ links instead of ‘no-follow’; the latter will restrict authority transfer between two sites.
Alternatively, you can also hire a B2B SEO agency to take care of link-building for you.
You cannot reach your full SEO potential if your site has technical issues, making it difficult for Google to crawl and index your site.
- Access the index coverage report by Google Search Console.
- Analyze the pages with errors on your site, including 404s, broken links and duplicate content errors.
- Update information about fixing a type of error in your robot.txt file to let the crawlers understand the changes made.
Social media marketing & MSP advertising
The majority of the world of online marketing hangs out on social media—LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter — and you must too if you want to catch (and hold) your target market’s attention fast.
- Build a presence on platforms frequented by your target audience.
- Understand how your competitors roll on each platform and develop your own unique style.
- Devise a content strategy based on your marketing goals.
- Outreach your potential customers via DMs or connect with them to nurture them through your content.
- Get your voice out whenever you get the chance, be it in live sessions, post comments or DMs.
Check out these social media marketing SOPs for tactical tips on how to move your MSP social media program forward.
Some unique MSP marketing tactics
Incorporating unique tactics into your MSP marketing strategy can give you an edge. Let's explore innovative MSP marketing strategies you can use to differentiate your brand, reach new prospects, and build long-lasting relationships with customers.
1 — Networking works wonders
When it comes to marketing for MSP, networking and participating in social events get you great ROI!
- Be out there as much as possible
- Organize small events and get-togethers
- Meet new people in your industry often and talk up your services to them
- Call in favors from your trusted sources to get your business running
As an example, check out how a Redditor (Marketing Manager at an MSP) used their social network to get leads for their MSP business.
2 — Always look presentable
Make sure your prospects always find you at your best, whether they’re searching for you online or meeting you in person.
Always have an up-to-date website that talks about:
- Your current services in detail
- Your case studies of successful projects you’ve been a part of
- Make your website flawless; pay special attention to making it easy navigate and mobile-friendly
3 — Participate in online forums
Got strong opinions on something?
Take part in interesting discussions happening on online forums like Reddit or Quora. Jump in on relevant conversations to build your presence. The idea is not to make direct sales but to influence people and garner many eyeballs with your thought-provoking and expertise-driven answers, exactly how this Redditor has done in the example below.
4 — Referral programs
Referral programs are effective in both retaining your existing customers and finding new customers for your business.
Consider offering incentives to your existing customers or exclusive discounts to new customers to tap into a network of trusted referrals and expand market reach. Think of it as enabling your customers to take a step toward associating with your brand for a long time.
MSP marketing tips and best practices
Here's a quick rundown of MSP best practices you can use to enhance your marketing strategies:
- Figure out your USP. If you don’t have one, try to bring in one differentiating factor in your service offering. Moreover, list every reason people should buy from you and how that factor makes you unique from the competition.
- Reach out to your prospects on multiple touchpoints—emails, calls, in-person meetups, DMs, and whatnot—and make sure you’re following up alright
- Be out there and build a network, including offline and online channels. Never underestimate the power of good old word-of-mouth marketing for MSP.
- Know your target market by mapping out your buyer’s persona. You should know their goals and what they do for a living, and their values should align with yours. In short, don’t target everyone under the sun.
- Invest in the right tools to improve client and team collaboration and streamline workflows.
Scribe, for instance, lets you record your process flows while working to auto-generate professional, editable step-by-step guides with text and screenshots.
In seconds, you can create branded process docs that your team or clients can use again and again.
— Carl Storms (@theBIMsider) December 8, 2022
Mind blown 🤯 by what @ScribeHow can do.
You do a web screen recording, and it does the rest. I did this in 26 seconds! Then spent less than a minute updating it to my liking.
Then with the free version, you can share it as a PDF or URL 👇https://t.co/oAKfIAE0Uz pic.twitter.com/lZxx1BdFdo
Use it to build visual MSP process SOPs or handy documents.
Here's what a Scribe looks like:
And with Scribe Pages, you can combine Scribes with video, images and more to create client-facing templates that are unique to your business and process flows.
Here's an example of an MSP how-to article template made with Scribe and Pages.
Use Scribe to:
- Address the objections of your target customers through your marketing collateral and content.
- Have a dedicated website and landing page for your services — so when you’re running an MSP advertising campaign online, your audience must land on an authentic and fully functioning platform.
- Showcase your cybersecurity skills. Talk about how you helped organizations boost their security and, if possible, also share past case studies showing how you implemented a cybersecurity practice with a previous customer.
Here are some more MSP templates you can use today to kick off your internal and external MSP communications.
Take your MSP business to new heights
While businesses simplify the lives of their customers, their IT engines power their growth. That’s where you — an empowered MSP — comes into the picture and ensures their devices, networks, software, and infrastructure function properly.
To be more visible to your target customer, you need to market yourself as a viable and reliable solution to their IT infrastructure-related problem.
- Address all their objections, regardless of whether it's related to security, reliability or credibility.
- Showcase your past success stories.
- Leverage the offline and print marketing medium as much as online marketing for MSP to cover more ground.
- Stay on top of trends, especially in cybersecurity and in the MSP market, to be the differentiator in the industry.
- Build a robust brand to have an endless flow of inbound customers for your business.
In short, even in a world where most MSPs generate business via referrals and word-of-mouth, fill gaps in your existing MSP marketing strategies. Be extra proactive in promoting your services and generating high-quality leads for your business!