Effective marketing is a challenge for businesses of any size and industry today, and IT service providers are no exception. You could have a rock-solid infrastructure, fast and accurate procedures, and proactive support, but none of it’s any good if you can’t generate and capture new business. Without effective marketing, it can be very difficult to grow your business and break into new markets.
At Arvig, marketing is at the core of our business’ success. Marketing, sales and IT all need to be aligned in order to effectively communicate our unique services and express the value we’re offering our clients. If you’re looking to become a master of MSP marketing, here are our key tips for success!
Exploring the MSP Marketing Challenge
Over the last 20 years, marketing has shifted significantly. Evolutions in technology have brought major changes to businesses and consumers alike, and also to the way we market managed services. It’s no longer enough to assume that excellent products and IT support are sufficient to get referrals. This may have worked in the past, but now IT providers must adopt a new way of marketing.
I think we can all agree on the importance of marketing today, yet it’s still a challenge for many of us. One of the biggest reasons why boils down to one thing: time. Whether it’s managing time, allocating time, or not having enough time, this is the one thing that’s holding most of us back. To help you overcome this challenge, though, let’s explore how you can use your time more wisely in your marketing strategy.
3 Tips for Marketing Success
Plan and Strategize First
Successful marketing can’t go according to plan if you don’t have one! If you’re rethinking your marketing approach for 2018, or even if you’re starting from square one, this presents a great opportunity to take a step back and ensure you have a well-thought-out plan.
Start with an overall strategy that aligns with your sales goals, and then develop a marketing plan to support that strategy. At Arvig, our main marketing goal was to drive conversion and nurture prospects down the funnel to a purchasing decision. To do this, we identified and focused on our target customers by developing buyer personas. This helped us solidify our message to ensure it resonated with the right people at the right time.
You should also plan for your marketing needs. For instance, consider the role that content plays in your overall strategy. Informative and educational content has been a key component of our marketing strategy because it helps us convince clients and prospects why managed IT should be included in their business plan.
Create Alignment Between Sales and Marketing
The actions you take in marketing should be informed by your sales needs. Get your sales team involved and meet with them to identify the questions, comments or objections they hear most often from clients. Try to understand what problems prospects are facing or what a client’s reasons are for both making and not making a purchase. Doing so will help you create content and/or messaging that addresses these questions, while also ensuring that you’re not wasting time on materials that your sales team won’t use.
Additionally, creating alignment means creating an open flow of communication. As our marketing team dove into building up our strategy around managed IT services, we communicated constantly (and still do) with our sales and IT teams to let them know what we had for materials, asked them what they needed and asked for feedback from them and our clients.
Leverage Marketing Materials and Campaigns
In this day and age, content is king. Therefore, any successful marketing strategy will incorporate content and make full use of it with different marketing campaigns.
As a Continuum partner, we have access to a variety of valuable marketing materials that we can customize and brand as our own. Continuum’s content library is excellent, and it contains many tools that have helped Arvig educate its client base and win new business. When we’re not leveraging Continuum for marketing support, we try to keep at least one piece of content on deck so we’re always building our resources. Plus, the majority of our content lives online, so overtime we’re becoming known as subject matter experts.
When it comes to marketing campaigns, we’ve found the most success with two in particular; digital advertising and direct mail.
With digital advertising, we identified and targeted keywords that our target audience would be searching for, such as “backup and disaster recovery solutions,” or “computer and server IT.” These advertisements linked to a landing page with a form, which we used to collect more information about the lead—including email address. We then used that data to email the client or prospect with relevant product information and content.
For direct mail, we customized different content pieces based on our buyer personas. Each one directed them to a webpage where we could collect an email address and provide them with targeted emails on our managed IT products. This helped us provide highly relevant content to each persona, keeping them more engaged and ultimately leading them to a purchase decision.
At Navigate 2017, Arvig walked away with the Excellence in Marketing award for our outstanding use of Continuum’s white-labeled marketing tools and campaigns. Winning this award validates the effort that our team has put into effectively marketing our managed services, and we couldn’t be prouder.
Our marketing strategy has evolved over the years to address the needs of our team as well as our existing and potential clients. We use well-honed marketing communications strategy along with digital marketing, educational content and marketing automation to engage prospects and nurture them through the sales funnel. We’ve had a lot of success with this approach, and by following the tips we discussed, you too will be able to find success and become a master of MSP marketing.
By Courtney Swift
By Scott Wittstock