The Complete Guide for MSP Marketing<br/> — Celerium (Dark Cubed) (2023)

In this guide to marketing for MSPs, we will discuss the core marketing techniques you need to know to generate new leads and appeal to your ideal target market and buyer personas. If you are just starting out or if you already have some marketing strategies in place, this guide can help you fill in the gaps in your MSP marketing approach and begin generating high-quality leads.

Why do MSPs need a marketing strategy?

Although most MSPs build their business from customer referrals, and MSP marketing can seem daunting, building an MSP marketing strategy is a great way to actively grow your business on your terms, not on the whims of your referrals. If you are reading this article you are already on the way to differentiating yourself from competitors in your market. There may be 10-50 other MSPs or IT service providers in your area competing for the same customers. However, with the right marketing strategy, you can take advantage of potential customers that other MSPs leave on the table by ignoring these strategies.

What marketing tactics can you use to boost your MSP Sales?

Here are some common marketing terms and tactics that we will cover in-depth in the article:

MSP Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing is used to draw potential customers towards your website, services, or products. MSPs can use digital marketing to drive lead generation through inbound marketing. Collaborate with your sales team and engineers to create white papers, hold webinars, and craft other high-value content they think your potential customers would use.

MSP Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing often uses digital advertising, cold calling, video commercials, cold emailing, Linkedin cold outreach or other marketing strategies to potential customers without knowing if they are a qualified lead. Paid search and PPC or pay-per-click advertising to help customers find you when they search “MSP Denver” or with ads on social media sites your potential customers use like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit.

MSP Email Marketing: Email marketing sends messages including advertisements, sales solicitations, and any other business requests to potential or existing customers. For busy MSPs, email automation is one great way to ensure your marketing campaign can run smoothly without taking up too much of your valuable time that could be spent with customers. IT marketing lends itself well to automation and you can easily set up automated email workflows from your CRM.

Leads: A lead is simply a person or an organization who is interested in your MSP IT services. Your MSP gets leads by using the processes described above, which is considered lead generation.

Establish Your Core Messaging Framework

One of the first steps for effective MSP marketing is to ask yourself, What are you offering to new clients that is valuable and unique? What differentiates your MSP marketing plan from the many others out there? What pain-points are you helping your potential clients solve? If you can answer those three questions, you’re well on your way to having a solid core messaging framework that you can reflect across your website and all marketing materials in some way. You want to have a core message that will appeal to your ideal customers and help attract new leads. Although you may receive most of your business from referrals, you can grow your IT business faster and this simply means telling them how you will solve their problems.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about the problems on their mind that your MSP can address. For example, the IT services you offer may include network monitoring. What is that service actually doing for them? It allows them to relax and focus on their day to day business activities instead of worrying about security. You do the job for them in the background while they focus on their work. You’re selling your service, but more importantly, you’re selling peace of mind and security. Emphasize that in your core messaging framework. This leads us to our next tip - website optimization for MSP marketing.

MSP Website and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The next step for MSP marketing after you’ve decided on a core messaging framework is to make sure it’s reflected across your website especially on the homepage. You want to state it succinctly and clearly right off the bat so it’s one of the first things someone sees when they navigate to your site. An example of this could be something like, “We provide IT management so you can focus on what really matters”.

Another component to keep in mind is your target market for new customers. Hopefully, you’ve done some research and identified your target audience, and you can use that knowledge to improve the messaging on your website. For instance, the language on your site will look different depending on if you are appealing to SMBs or enterprises. Always consider your target audience when writing copy for your website. You’ll want to spend significant time investing in your content marketing and making sure it appeals to your target market.

To get your content ranking on Google when potential customers are searching for an MSP business, you’ll want to optimize the content on your website for search engines. Search engine optimization is key, especially when so many people find businesses online nowadays. SEO may seem complex but it basically comes down to two main things - 1) Putting out regular high-quality content (such as blog posts, white papers, and case studies), and 2) Building backlinks to your website. Besides these two strategies, there are many small technical website changes that can increase your chance of landing on the first page of Google. These include having the correct meta-description length (the description that shows up beneath the header of your website on Google), including keywords in your meta-description, and having at least one H2 on your page.

However, all of these small SEO details are subject to change as Google regularly alters their algorithm. It can be hard to keep up with all the little details, but the core strategies that will consistently help you rank on Google remain the same. Invest in building backlinks to your website (a great way to do this is to write helpful content that people will share online), and generate consistent high-quality content.

As an MSP business, it’s especially important to focus on local search engine optimization. Local search engine optimization simply means that your website is optimized to rank when someone searches for “MSP New York”, “It Services New York”, or “Managed Service Providers in New York”, for instance. To accomplish this, you’ll want at least one page on your website that is specifically optimized to rank for local searches. Aim for a local page on your website to rank for key search terms such as “IT Support (in X city)” and “Top IT Companies near me”.

Website design doesn't have to be complicated

Building a website doesn’t have to be complicated in 2020. There are many businesses now that allow you to quickly and easily design a website so you can begin to take advantage of online marketing like SEO (search engine optimization) and present potential customers a beautiful first impression of your business. A polished, attention-grabbing, and professional website is no longer optional. Your MSP website should be easy to navigate, quickly and clearly explain your service offerings, and provide a CTA so customers can provide you with their phone number and email address. This begins the sales process and gives you sales leads to follow up with. Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, and other services allow you to create a great site without any website design knowledge by offering pre-built templates you can change and customize. These website builders can be an affordable place to host and build your initial MSP website.

Building landing pages

Gathering contact information from qualified leads is made much easier with landing pages. By directing customers to a landing page you can A/B test different messaging and test your CTA’s (calls to action) and eventually arrive at the ones that resonate the most with your target audience. As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. By tracking and measuring your conversion rates you can improve marketing results by 10%, 20%, or even more. More qualified leads mean more potential customers in the sales funnel for your MSP. Services like Unbounce or Instapage allow you to use templates to create well-optimized landing pages and A/B test different messages to optimize your marketing results. These services allow you to add actionable data to your buyer persona profiles for potential clients.

Should you publish your pricing on your MSP website?

Many new businesses, especially IT Services Providers struggle with this question. When you publish your pricing information directly on your website creates more transparency between your IT business and your potential customers. However, many marketers, and especially those in IT marketing will advise you not to publish specific pricing information publicly. This is because it can drive away potential clients who are set on a fixed price but may not understand the value your MSP can provide. In the sales process, it is usually much easier for you or your sales team to close a deal after you’ve had time to discuss your unique value proposition and the benefits your MSP offers. We suggest listing a range of services and their rates on your website so potential clients can be better prepared and informed before a consultation with your team. Once a customer is on the phone you can negotiate and find a price and service offering that works for both businesses. This strategy helps weed out new leads from the sales cycle who would try to nickel and dime you and allows qualified leads to move easily through your sales funnel on their way to becoming a customer.

MSP Marketing Services for Email

A critical step for your marketing strategy is to make use of your email list if you have one or start building one if you don’t. Incorporating email marketing into your marketing campaign has the potential to substantially enhance your lead generation. When emailing prospects, it’s important to personalize your outreach. You need to identify their pain points and help solve their problems. Explain how you will solve their problems clearly and forcefully. Here are several important tips to keep in mind for MSP email marketing:

First, make sure to segment your email list by your prospects’ roles and responsibilities. For instance, your messaging will be different if you are appealing to IT professionals or CEOs. You should segment your email list by business size, the prospects’ positions, and industry type. Secondly, make sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant. There are 7 requirements for emails under the CAN-SPAM Act that are relatively straightforward to follow. Make sure to look it over to ensure your emails adhere to each item before sending them. Lastly, make sure you include a clear call to action in your email. For example, you could include a link to a recent blog post on your website with helpful follow-up information related to your email’s content.

Should I buy email lists?

The short answer is no, we don’t recommend it. Be careful with the methods you use to obtain email addresses as there are many compliance requirements that surround email now. Any marketing agency worth your time (and money) will not try to sell you an email list because of the liability it can bring to your business. According to CAN-SPAM, in many cases, it can be illegal to buy or sell email addresses. Either you or the seller of the email list can be liable for a CAN-SPAM violation if he, she, or it transmits emails to those addresses Violation of CAN-SPAM can result in fines up to $16,000 per email. We cannot offer you legal advice, and we wouldn’t encourage you to take legal advice from a blog. However, we do recommend consulting with a lawyer familiar with email compliance before spending money on an email list.

Use GoogleAdwords to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Lastly, another key part of your marketing efforts should be assessing how well your digital advertising is working. You may want to invest in a tool like GoogleAdwords as a core part of your MSP marketing strategy to boost your lead generation. The best digital marketing tools to use will depend on your specific market niche, but in general, Google AdWords is always helpful to use. One of the biggest advantages of Google AdWords is that it enables you to generate ads that a specific audience will see, and then you can track how they interact with those ads. This helps you optimize your outreach approach to fit how your target audience is responding to it. Over time, this can help you increase your conversion rate as you figure out what works best. Having the hard data provided by Google AdWords is extremely helpful for finetuning your messaging and generating more leads.

What is Digital Advertising?

First, a quick definition. Digital advertising sounds fancy, but it’s basically the presentation of
ads to those on-line. Digital advertising differs from conventional advertising only in the
medium. A billboard, a radio or television ad, or a poster in the outfield of your local Little
League field would be considered conventional advertising mechanisms. Google ads would be
a classic example of digital advertising. Another example would be banner ads on websites, or
even pop-up static or video ads that have become more and more ubiquitous, especially on
sites that provide their content free of charge.

Does Digital Advertising make sense as an MSP Marketing strategy?

Potentially. The challenge with digital advertising is it can be expensive. The cost is derived
from the competitiveness of the platform (the more popular the platform with the target
audience, the more the cost of the ads), and false clicks, or viewers of your ad that click it, but
are not - and never will be - prospective customers. In digital advertising, the advertiser often
pays for clicks, and the publisher of your ad doesn’t distinguish between clicks from actual
prospects, and those from the benignly curious.
That having been said, a well crafted and - most importantly - well-targeted digital marketing
campaign can generate compelling results, and unlike SEO, those results can be nearly
instantaneous. The key is to leverage the expertise of a digital marketer to set up your digital
advertising campaign, an expense that will 1) be less than you might think ($1,000 to $3,000
depending on your market), and 2) will be the difference between a successful digital marketing
campaign for your MSP, and one that squanders your precious marketing dollars on poor leads.
Should I consider Re-Targeting for my MSP Marketing?
The short answer is yes, you should “consider” everything, but a retargeting campaign would be
graduate-level marketing for most MSPs.
First, “retargeting” in digital marketing is the process of embedding a cookie in the browser of a
visitor to your website (with their permission). The information on the cookie can then be used
by digital marketing platforms (like Google, for example) to deliver that visitor ads about your
MSP while they are visiting other, completely unrelated sites (like a news or sports site, for
example). You’ve most likely been the recipient of retargeting ads. Have you ever shopped for
a car or appliance and then found ads for cars or appliances on every website you visited for
weeks (even after you’ve made your purchase)? When you searched for “SUVs” or “Coffee
Makers”, Google recorded that search and then systematically fed you ads for those items of
obvious interest.
The same tactic can be employed for visitors to an MSP’s website, digitally staying “top of mind”
for visitors to your website who decided not to engage during their initial visits. Retargeting, however, much like digital advertising in general, can be a money pit for MSP marketing if not et up properly by a consultant with experience in that area.

Is branding important to MSP Marketing?

The short answer is yes. But the key to successful branding is not what many business owners
may think. When we think of branding, we think of logos, colors, and taglines, generally. And,
indeed, those are all part of branding, especially for large consumer brands. But at its core,
brand is another word for reputation, or the image that is conjured by those who hear your
company name. When we hear Volvo, we think safety. When we hear Ritz-Carlton, we think of
luxury and 5-star service. We may or may not recognize the company’s logo, colors, or most
recent tagline, but we associate them with a certain brand. Large consumer companies work
hard to cultivate these positive perceptions, and spend great amounts of money doing so. For a
small or mid-sized MSP, that kind of branding is not critical to MSP Marketing. It’s unlikely that
your choice of logo or website colors will greatly impact your business growth, so paying a great
deal of attention to those details is not a good use of time or resources.
The importance of reputation may sound obvious, but it might mean more than just whether or
not you’re reliable. Your MSP might be known for its rapid response to issues. Perhaps you
are exceptionally technical and take pride in all your clients using the latest and greatest
technology. Maybe you add custom application services, or you’re especially committed to
security. Cultivating a brand means selecting one of these and building all messaging around it.
Thus, when someone says “have you heard of xyz MSP?”, the answer is, oh yeah, they’re the
“blank” company. You want blank to be positive, of course, but you also want it to be obvious.

What is Differentiation in MSP Marketing?

Differentiation and branding, as you might have guessed, are closely related when considering
MSP marketing. If your brand is the same as your competitors’, it won’t be obvious to
prospective clients which company is best or right for them. Admittedly, differentiation is the
most important - and most challenging - aspect of marketing. One element of differentiation that
is not appreciated by many in MSP marketing is the following: differentiation has as much to do
with what you don’t do than what you do. What do we mean by that? It’s probably best
explained using an example. MSP A offers its services to any and all vertical markets:
healthcare, law, manufacturing, professional services like accounting firms, etc. MSP B focuses
exclusively on SLED (State and Local government and Education). MSP B is differentiated from
its competitors less for the market it focuses on, but more for the ones it doesn’t. Yes, they may
be limiting their market presence, but if you’re a municipality looking for IT help, which MSP
would you choose, all things being equal?

That’s an example of differentiation on the basis of market segmentation, but there are other
ways to differentiate your MSP as well. Perhaps on the basis of technologies used or deployed,
a unique service contract concept, or geographical coverage. A useful thought exercise to think about why the MSP was founded in the first place. Was there a gap in the market that the founder identified and pledged to fill? That gap could be the foundation of the MSP’s differentiation. The great thing about differentiation is that, yes it’s difficult to establish, but once it is, branding and messaging flow much more easily afterward when it comes to MSP marketing

Interested in differentiating your MSP with Cybersecurity? Dark Cubed offers a high-margin opportunity to provide cybersecurity to your customers. Stand apart from the competition.

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