MSP Marketing: Moving Beyond Word of Mouth

BY IT GLUE | April 09, 2020

We’re talking marketing this spring, and there’s a really good reason for that. Business as usual is now business unusual, and when we come out of the pandemic and all the economic and social fallout, you still want to be in business. In fact, now you can see the value of not just scraping by every month – you need to be built to last. The only way to make sure you’re built to last is to master marketing. Deep down you know this – no matter how good your service is, if nobody knows about it, you don’t make money. So let’s talk first about word of mouth, because for some MSPs, it’s the only tool in their marketing toolbox. But even for the best MSPs, it’s one of the most important.

Word of mouth is an interesting marketing technique. On one hand, it’s the most powerful. You tend to get pretty high conversions because you’ve got one of your existing clients selling you to a prospect, and so they’re often coming in pretty hot. On the other hand, word of mouth is slow, and you don’t have a whole lot of control over the process. Now if you’re staring down a recession and you’re down a couple clients, you need a marketing strategy that works a little more efficiently, and that means moving past word of mouth as your primary marketing strategy.

Rule #1 – Lead generation and sales are completely different things

Every small company has this “aha” moment when they realize that sales people sell stuff, and shouldn’t spend their time randomly prospecting. If you find someone good at both of these things, rock on. Pay them whatever they want and make them happy. But most people are good at one or the other. So, from the beginning, look at splitting these roles. If the owner has to do one of them, then pick one and hire for the other.

Rule #2 – Modernize everything

There’s still a lot of MSPs (you know who you are) walking around with websites built ten years ago and barely updated since. It literally says copyright 2010 at the bottom. Your Twitter account has three tweets and your only follower is your mother. Honestly, you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but you do want to appear to prospects that you are fully engaged across all aspects of your business. That means keeping everything up to date.

Rule #3 – Organize your efforts

Marketing is a structured activity. You engage in a regular set of activities at a specific cadence. Create a monthly newsletter, promote everything you do on your social media accounts. Give people a reason to notice you – be an expert in the field. Think about search terms people might use (okay, you can research this rather than guess) – so if Windows 7 is reaching EOL, talk about that. People will be searching for anything topical, so get out there and be an expert. make sure to gather names and emails for people to access your best stuff.

Rule #4 – Leverage MarTech

Most marketing these days is done on SaaS applications and a lot of these have free versions that will work for a smaller business. You can do almost anything on a pretty skint budget, and automate a lot of that work, too. Yes, there’s a learning curve but if you’re serious about growing your business either you learn it or hire someone who already knows it. In a modern marketing organization, one person today can do what three or four people did ten years ago. Kids fresh out of school don’t need ten years of seasoning to be productive. Embracing the martech of 2020 will let you ramp up your marketing much faster than you can even imagine.

These are just a few quick starter points. We’re putting together a series about MSP marketing over the coming weeks to share some of our knowledge. We can’t give away all of our secrets of course, but we can definitely share enough to help you get your lead generation engine humming along beautifully. And if we enter a deep recession you will be very glad that you invested the time to get better at marketing.

At IT Glue, we’re good at marketing but we’re amazing at documentation. So why not take a look at our tips for getting your documentation tied up and in shape. You’d be amazed how powerful beautiful documentation can be. It influences every part of your business.

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