If we spoke to each of our customers individually, they would all claim that they are the best at what they do. That’s not a bad thing by any means. In business, you have to be confident that your services are better than your competition’s. But confidence only goes so far. You need to be able to showcase your expertise to your prospects. And even more importantly, when it comes to new customer acquisition, that expertise must be conveyed through your online channels.
When it comes to finding new business, referrals certainly go a long way. But if you’re interested in consistent growth for your MSP business, you can’t rely on only referrals. You have to be able to go out to prospects and sell yourself, not wait for someone else to introduce you. To be successful, it’s crucial to effectively convey your expertise and your value to the people who don’t know you.
The Internet is a gigantic community where there is lots of potential to find new business. However, it’s very easy to get lost amongst the crowd, and many MSPs don’t know where to begin when it comes to marketing themselves online. To that point, we’ve decided to pull together some tips and strategies that you can use to start building your online marketing programming, and make your expertise shine on the web.
Sure, you are tired of hearing about how you should do it. You are tired of hearing how important it could be. Do you know why you keep hearing it? It’s because it works.
Consistently writing about the issues in your particular industry is a great way to broadcast your expertise online. The more that people read your content, the more they start trusting you (assuming you provide sound advice – which we know you will). Not only does this help drive traffic and new website visitors, but it helps you establish an opinion on certain issues within your industry.
This can also be particularly useful for your sales people because blog posts are great content for them to send to prospects as a way to help educate them or reestablish a sales conversation.
You have to be consistent with your blogging and give it time to build momentum. But if you give it its due attention, you will see your web traffic and your leads grow.
If You Blog It, SEO Will Come
The other benefit to consistent blogging is that you build SEO value within your industry, which allows people to find you easier on search engines. There are a lot of best practices and tips for SEO out there; however, the best thing you can do about SEO is simply write for your audience. By using their terminology and writing about what they’re reading, you will naturally hit the right key words and phrases that allow you to be found.
Don’t go crazy over SEO. Search engines were built to help people find what they’re looking for, and if you write about what they’re looking for, the search engines will do their job and make you found (there’s a reason why Google is so successful – they’re good at what they do!).
Whether you like it or not, businesses need to establish a presence on social media. Social media sites are the airwaves of the web, and if you’re not there, you’re not taking part in the conversation.
This doesn’t mean you need a profile for every social media site, and you don’t need to be posting updates every day. But you should find the right channels and make sure you’re available on them. Find out where your customers are and start sharing interesting statistics, relevant articles, recent blog posts (which you will be enthusiastically writing) etc.
It’s also a good idea to follow many people as well, including industry thought leaders, customers, partners and even competitors. It will help you grow your social reach and keep up to date on news within your industry.
There are a number of best practices MSPs can use on social media, but as long as you’re sharing good content and engaging with your fans, you will build a following.
Don’t Be Camera Shy
Video watching/sharing is one of the most popular online activities. YouTube is another great online channel for reaching new people and sharing your expertise. Sure, people like to watch cat videos and blooper reels, but they also share good content that educates them, especially with peers in their industry. Videos are a great source of content to mix in with your blog, and they help put a face to your company name.
People like knowing who they’d be working with, so don’t be afraid to put your mug in front of the camera.
Another great strategy for video content is recording any events that you may be speaking at. For example, if you host a chamber event talking about the latest computer virus, you can film that and upload it to the company account. This is a great way to reach more people and re-purpose your content.
Stay Active in the Online Community
Once you start building your online initiatives, the last step is to proactively reach out and promote your channels in order to gain a following. If you don’t put in the energy to promote yourself, all of your other work will be for nothing. This is like building a car and then not putting gas in the tank. You need to fuel the engine, and when it comes to online marketing, you need to be the fuel behind your marketing initiatives.
Here are some good actions to take in order to promote yourself:
- Email your current database. This is a great place to start when trying to build a following. Encourage your current customers and prospects to follow your social media pages and subscribe to your blog.
- Reach out to industry thought leaders about content partnership opportunities. Can you guest blog on their site? Can they return the favor and blog on yours? Can they retweet some of your articles?
- Find and follow industry thought leaders on Twitter. Not only will they feed you good content and best practices, but there’s also a 31% chance that they follow you back.
- Look for speaking opportunities. Industry conferences are a great place to meet new prospects and spread the word about your blog, social media pages and website. You might not be able to close them as a customer at the conference, but driving them to your site will allow you to engage with them further and nurture the relationship with them. If you find a speaking opportunity, don’t forget to record it! It makes a great video blog post for after.
Online marketing can seem daunting, especially when first getting started. However, if you’re looking to scale your business, it’s a key piece in the new-customer-acquisition puzzle. Online marketing is not an instant fix; it takes time to build momentum and a critical mass of followers. But putting in the time and effort has significant benefits and will allow you to reach new people. Don’t be afraid to get started; you’ll learn a lot as you go and try different strategies.
What online marketing strategies have worked for you? Share with us in the comments section.