10 Marketing Mistakes Managed Service Providers Make
Posted at Oct 8, 2019 10:04:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share
A managed services marketing strategy needs communication and coordination. Everyone starts out knowing this, and yet there are many unpredictable ways that these elements can break down. Perhaps you have an unclear idea of the shape of a team you're talking to, or you overlook a strength you should be marketing as a priority. There are a number of MSP marketing mistakes to avoid. Make sure you avoid 10 of the biggest pitfalls:
1. You focus on one person in an organization
There is rarely one person making a decision for an organization. You have to treat leads as entire accounts, and not just a single individual. A buying team alone can number more than 10 people – nearly a third of them do. That's before they bring in IT managers and staff who may each have their own input. You have to look at responsive and coordinated communication as an investment. Make sure your team is prepared for this and has the technology and resources to be able to sort it all out quickly.
2. You are short on content
Content is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to build trust with a team. When a manager comes across your content and finds it useful, they'll often share it with their team. The path to converting a lead involves on average 7 to 13 clicks, so that means multiple visits. Ensure that you have the content to hold their interest. If you lack content, they'll have no reason to continue visiting. Whether that's fair or not, it means you'll fall of shortlists simply because you don't have their attention anymore.
Remember the silver lining to this reality. When you have more content than your competitors, they're more likely to fall through the cracks while you hold someone's attention.
3. You think all distribution strategies are the same
They can't see your content and won't think of checking in on it if your distribution strategy doesn't remind them to do so. Email marketing to leads in precise groups, retargeting high-quality leads, developing popular regular features – all of these nurture leads so that they keep coming back.
4. You forget to market to existing clients
Existing clients will be some of your best customers. Don't forget to maintain engagement with them. Keep them on lists to receive important content. Make sure they receive press releases and feature updates that concern products and services they've purchased from you. You won't be spending the kind of time or money marketing to them because you're not developing them as leads, which is resource-intensive. Yet if you help them grow, they'll have new needs. They may not even realize all the ways you're in place to help them meet these needs if they aren't aware of your expanded products and services.
5. You lack patience
A good managed services marketing strategy relies on inbound marketing. A good inbound marketing strategy builds over time. Sure, a single article here or there can rocket up SEO rankings in a heartbeat, but if you rely on that alone, your site as a whole won't climb as much as it can. Your most successful content stands on a foundation of extensive content. That's what helps your site continue to climb up SEO rankings and brings in new leads.
Most content is an evergreen investment. You pay for it once, and it will continue to deliver fresh visitors. Each piece of content builds on the next, and leads to more and longer visits, as well as more sharing within organizational teams. A large foundation of content makes you a learning resource for prospective clients, and if they're always coming to you to learn, they're increasingly likely to seek out your services.
6. You allow gaps in lead generation
Lead generation is your business's lifeblood. One of the biggest MSP marketing mistakes to avoid is allowing your lead generation and inbound marketing to have a gap. If someone key is away for a few weeks, schedule content ahead of time. Have someone else collect and organize lead information. Automate content to go out via email marketing. A gap in lead generation won't impact you now, but in six months you're going to discover you're in a desert where you can't see a lead anywhere. That can lead to a revenue gap, which results in resourcing gaps, which often leads to more lead generation gaps, which becomes a vicious cycle. Keep your lead generation consistent.
7. You rely on shotgun marketing
What do you do if your lead generation is slow, or you're trying to make up for a gap? You blast out a ton of marketing at once, right? Wrong. Keep focusing on steady, long-term growth that will keep on paying off months down the road.
Shotgun marketing can work fine if you're a retailer selling a product someone can take home with them today, but you're not selling furniture to impulse buyers. Remember that teams of several people are making decisions about whether your services can help them with everyday business operations, sales, and growth. That takes nurturing and fostering trust. A promotional campaign that relies on immediate response and impulse decision-making does not build the elements that help organizations choose your services.
8. You think having a lane is a weakness
The idea of having a lane is often looked at as a weakness. It shouldn't be. It doesn't mean you're limited to that lane, but if your business is skilled at something many of your competitors aren't, or provides a service they don't, embrace that lane. There's a difference between focusing on a strength and getting trapped in a niche. If there is something that you can provide in your services that is unique and rare in the industry, capitalize on it and market to those who have a particular need of it.
That may involve a specialization in training personnel, particular language skills, expertise in specific industries. Whatever you can do that others can't gives you access to customers in ways that competitors can't match. Embrace that advantage.
9. Your marketing and sales teams don't communicate
Think about it. The marketing team has specific enough information to be able to know exactly what a prospective client is looking for. That client finally engages the sales team only to start with basic questions about what they're looking for. That's a clear indicator that two teams within your business are not communicating. If two teams within your business aren't communicating, it's a red flag that your business won't be able to communicate with an entirely separate organization. Make sure your sales people have access to all the marketing information you have on clients, so they can hit the ground running and impress those clients with their precision.
10. You market in ways that contradict your strategy
There's a reason your marketing team has everything budgeted out. Now, maybe there's something last minute that you need and it's outside the budget. That's fine, but make sure it complements your marketing strategy. You don't want messages going in opposite directions, or leads to suddenly be flooded with too much content at once. When you engage in additional or last-minute marketing, fold it into the marketing strategy so that your marketing team can use their expertise and the technology they have to fully capitalize on and develop it.