I think everyone can agree on the importance of marketing today, but many IT service providers struggle with how much money and resources they should allocate to it. Marketing is an investment—it’s a collection of activities that must be continuously worked at and updated. But how can you ensure you’re making the most of your efforts if you’re limited on time and resources?
If this is a big concern for you, you’re not alone. I’ve helped many of our MSP partners optimize and scale their marketing strategy, and with these three essential tips I’m about to share, you too will be able to get the best return on your marketing investment. Keep reading to learn how to increase your overall marketing performance and define what metrics you should be tracking for long-term success.
Make Your Funnel Client-Centric
Marketing won’t be as effective if it doesn’t resonate with your ideal audience. Therefore, the first step in getting the most out of marketing is to ensure you’re presenting the right information at the right time. This can be done by aligning content with each stage of the sales and marketing funnel.
Let’s put this into perspective with an example. Say a small business owner is struggling with their internal IT team—it’s becoming too much of a burden and they’ve decided to look for ways to optimize its performance. This business owner does a quick Google search and comes across your website in hopes of learning more about the value of outsourcing their IT support. They’re intrigued by what they see, but the only forms on your website say “Contact Us” or “Request a Consultation.” Seeing as they’re not quite ready to have a sales conversation with you, they return to their initial search and move on.
What went wrong here? Well, you’re not exactly catering to prospects who might be toward the top of the buying funnel. Not every person that visits your website is ready to buy. However, if you were to have a downloadable datasheet or white paper detailing the benefits of supplementing an internal IT department with managed IT services, you might be able to capture contact info for these top-of-the-funnel prospects and nurture them towards a sales conversation. Opening your website to more conversion opportunities—at all stages of the funnel—can help you increase sales velocity and collect more actionable data.
Leverage All Channels
While your website is the perfect marketing tool, there are other channels you can take advantage of to accelerate your sales. The three that come to mind first are email, blog and social media.
Conversions don’t just happen in one day, and certainly not in one touch. You need to continuously nurture leads and pull them through your marketing funnel, and email is a great way to do that. For best results, you should set up emails that align with your funnel. If a lead converted on a top-of-the-funnel piece of content, you should send them a webinar invitation or an eBook to guide them to the next stage. Case studies are another great asset to leverage in email nurture campaigns, as it helps you build credibility and establish the value of your services. Essentially, you want to set up email campaigns that gently push your leads through the funnel so they finally sign up for that network assessment or consultation.
Another channel that can be very helpful with conversion is a blog. When prospects are looking for answers to their problems (ahem, you're still reading this...), blog posts are a great way to attract them to your site—especially if you have a solid SEO strategy and target certain keywords. To take this one step further, you can present a call-to-action at the end of each post to encourage conversion and capture you visitor’s information.
All of the great content and information you produce shouldn’t be done in a silo, and this is where social media can be so beneficial. You can push out company updates, product information or new assets through your social media profiles to increase engagement. Additionally, you can utilize social selling tactics to make more connections and build out your prospect base.
Report on Marketing KPIs
How can you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing if you don’t track it? There are a handful of marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) you should be recording and reporting on regularly. Doing so will help you identify what's working well, and use the time and resources you’ve devoted to marketing more wisely.
If you’re unsure of where to start, here are a couple of high-level metrics you should be tracking each month:
- The amount of traffic you drive to your website
- Where this traffic is being generated from (i.e. organic, social, etc.)
- How many form submissions you are generating
Tracking the performance of these metrics will help you establish a baseline and begin to work towards growing and optimizing these numbers. From here, you will able to determine exactly how much return you’re getting on a given project or investment—enabling you to make adjustments to various strategies and budgets and grow your business.