Marketing and communication strategies are essential to ensuring you’re reaching the right audience with the right messages. In this post, I will share five tried-and-tested tips that will help you establish consistent and effective communication between your MSP business and your prospects and customers.
1. Take an inventory of your external communications and centralize into one calendar
As an MSP business, the first step in optimizing your external communications is to get a comprehensive view of everything that is being sent externally to your customers. This can be done efficiently by having a conversation with every team in your organization to see what types of communications they send to prospects and customers and at what frequency.
Make sure to get as in-depth as possible. It’s worth discovering whether your team is always sending email, if there is an existing newsletter or whether communications are being sent from specific team members or through an email automation tool.
This is also an opportunity to gauge what types of content are being sent. For instance, can people subscribe to your blog or podcast? Are there resources such as webinars or eBooks that prospects and customers can view? Do you share specific information only at external events? What demand generation programs or nurture streams are running at any given time?
Once you’ve taken this inventory, no matter if the results are sparse or overwhelming, it will help you level set for the future and can present two great opportunities:
- If you aren’t doing much in communicating now, you could start with a monthly newsletter or using email as a channel to invite customers or prospects to an upcoming event or to set up a meeting with your sales teams.
- If you are overly communicating on several channels, this presents the chance for you to centralize your communications into one calendar and provide a better communication experience for your clients as well as more clarity for your employees to know what is going out, from who, and when.
Make sure to follow your calendar, adding any type of communication that goes out. You can also share it with internal stakeholders or company-wide so everyone has a clear line of sight into what is being shared externally.
2. Take the time to think about segmentation
Segmentation is key because it allows you to personalize your communications to many different audiences. It can really work however you’d like, and there are many different ways to split your base to provide more targeted communication. If you work for a global company, you could create lists for Customers and Prospects—or maybe you segment your audience by North America, APAC & EMEA regions.
Additional ways to segment your base include:
- Contact type: This could include a business owner, human resources contact, technical contact, a marketing contact and more.
- Buyer Persona: Are you wanting to communicate to a decision maker or a technician who might need to provide additional buy-in?
- Content Engagement: Do you want to send to specific people who opened an eBook or attended an event or webinar?
- Web page views or conversion: Maybe you want to segment people who have only looked at specific product pages on your website, or individuals who have attended a demo in the last 6 months.
3. Consider which channel is most appropriate
It’s likely that your main channel of communication is email, and that’s completely understandable. Email can be an extremely effective way to target your prospects and customers. If you haven’t utilized email as a communication tool, it’s definitely a good idea to consider when looking to reach your audience.
However, if email is your only mode of communicating with customers, you may want to consider how much you’re sending—especially since it’s likely they could be working with other vendors or even directly communicating with various members of your own sales team on top of what the company is sending out.
Here are a few other channels or content vehicles to communicate through that can help you reach your audience:
4. Think of the entire journey
Effective communication doesn’t stop once you’ve landed a new customer. It can be a key part of building trust and better relationships for years to come. Consider the entire journey when trying to optimize your communications.
One thing you could do to start is create a clear and communicative onboarding strategy that will help your new customers begin using your services, educate them on the best channels to utilize to get more information they need on your products or additional materials (like sales and marketing collateral), or show them where they can stay updated on critical information that might need to be communicated.
Once customers are onboarded, maybe your strategy changes to include more education around how to best utilize your services, such as a tip or trick of the month. At this point, it’s a good time to consider communications that would upsell or cross-sell something else that can also help their business.
As you continue to work with customers, make sure you’re including them when requesting feedback or input on new products or services, the latest eBook they read or event they attended. This will help keep them engaged and feeling as if they are in a true partnership.
5. Test and report
Throughout all of your communications – it’s important to test and report on your findings to continue optimizing the tactics you’re using. This will help you refine messaging and discover the best ways to communicate with prospects and customers.
Consider setting up a few simple A/B tests. An A/B test will allow you to send one version of a communication to one sample group, and another version of your communication (the test) to a second sample group. Then, after a certain amount of time, the winning version of the communication will be sent to your remaining audience.
Some examples effective and informative A/B tests that can help you optimize your communications include:
Subject Line: Do more people open your emails if you shorten the subject line or use something catchy to gain a person’s interest? What about if you insert a recipient’s first name? These are just a few ways to test what subject lines can work best.
From Sender / From Email: You can also test whether your sender makes a difference in how many people open your emails. Sometimes recipients are more likely to open or respond to an email if it’s sent from a specific person instead of a company name. This is an easy test to help you increase your open rates! Additionally, you could try multiple individuals from your company to see if one sender works best for more product focused emails and maybe another gets more opens on marketing emails.
Images in emails vs. no images: Depending on who you’re marketing to, testing images within your communication or content can help you better engage with prospects and customers who have already opened an email or downloaded a piece of content. Try testing images or even gifs to help illustrate a new eBook you’re promoting, or an event you’re hosting to see if it will help the audience to click through and convert.
Ultimately, as you test, it’s okay to have a hypothesis and have it disproven. That’s the whole point of testing! But as you learn and report on your findings, it will help everyone who is sending communication to be on the same page.
With these tips and tricks, you’re now set up to create a consistent and effective communication strategy for your prospects and customers!
By Scott Wittstock
By Nate Freedman