With the amount of competition in the managed service provider (MSP) sector these days, it won’t be enough to simply have a better product set. Of course, you want to deliver the best product but may companies with the best service offering struggle while less talented companies thrive. Why is that?
It often comes down to one word: marketing. As the world of IT infrastructure changes rapidly so does the world of marketing. No longer is it enough to simply advertise your service. Marketing has changed dramatically in recent years and MSPs that adapt to the new rules of marketing will have a distinct advantage over their competition.
So what’s different?
Basically there has been a shift from outbound marketing (traditional advertising based on demographics and the hope that a prospect sees your message when they are in need of your product or service) to inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is about content creation and distribution, which allows your prospects and customers to find you when and where they are looking for specific information that relates to your product or service offering.
Did you know that, according to the Sales Benchmark Index, when a prospect speaks to an organization about their products/services that they are already close to 60% along the way to making their decision? It’s what you are doing to get in front of your prospect during that research period that could determine whether you even get a chance at winning the deal.
What is inbound marketing?
It is a combination of techniques that include content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email marketing, lead nurturing through marketing automation and more.
Let’s take a look at a few of these techniques in some greater detail.
Have you heard the expression that content is king? Well, it’s true. If you want to be found by your prospects, you can’t depend on placing an ad and getting lucky. Instead, you should be producing content like blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, videos and more that address the specific needs of your target market. The idea is simple. If they are looking for expertise using search engine or social media, you better have something for them to find and share.
Not everyone needs to be on every social media channel but there does need to be a presence by an MSP in the place where their customers and prospects are most likely to be. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and more could be options to put content on so it can be shared. Determine which one makes the most sense for you and your business then plan your strategy and go for it.
Once you have earned someone’s attention, one of the best ways to help them learn more about you is email marketing. Drip campaigns can help build a relationship that could ultimately lead to a purchase. Why not get involved with it?
There is much more to the world of inbound marketing. In the end, it’s about generating leads, creating interest in your services and products, gaining the confidence of your prospects and ultimately turning them into customers.
In such a competitive marketplace, is marketing an option or a necessity? If you think it’s optional all we might say is “Think again!”
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Gretchen Hoffman