Like for many small businesses, it is not easy for MSPs to allocate a significant amount of resources (time, money, staff) for marketing. And sometimes, even with those resources, MSPs find their marketing is not as effective as they would like it to be. With rising competition in the IT industry, effective marketing is the key to success for small and medium-sized IT service providers. But how to crack the code to success?
Here are four ingredients for the effective marketing “secret sauce”:
- Have a marketing goal
- Have a target
- Be consistent
- Measure what you can
Let’s go over each of them and see why they are so important.
Have a marketing goal
Before hiring an agency or assigning marketing tasks to your internal team, ask yourself WHY you need a marketing program for your business and WHAT you want to achieve with it. Here are some good ideas:
- Increase the amount of new business by generating more leads
- Gain brand awareness to have an impact in the industry
- Gain the reputation of a great place to work to attract top talent
- Increase the customer retention rate by improving the company’s reputation
The goals can be as modest or as bold as a business owner decides. Knowing what you want to achieve will help you clearly define the requirements for the marketing hires or set KPIs for an agency.
Have a target
Not having a marketing target is like hunting for sparrows with a cannon. This is why all the inbound marketing gurus recommend creating “buyer personas.”
A buyer persona is simply a description of the ideal person you would like to attract to your business. Whether it’s a potential customer, a potential employee, or a business partner (reseller, supplier, shipper, etc.), you must define their pain points and interests to craft a compelling marketing message.
You can have as many targets as you want, and each of them requires its own message and approach:
- Prospects in specific vertical markets
- Leads with specific job roles
- Potential employees of different levels
- Potential business partners
- And more…
The more details you put in the buyer persona description, the easier it will be to create an effective marketing communication program. It requires some research in advance and ongoing adjustments to keep on the same page with them over time.
People are creatures of habits and patterns. Repetitive actions/events create habits. For example, restaurants and consumer stores know this and leverage tactics like Taco Tuesdays or end-of-month clearances. The same principle works for any kind of marketing. It is also easier for a marketer to stick with a regular schedule and make it a habit.
Here are some ideas for types of regular content that will help you keep your marketing consistent:
- Weekly newsletter
- Tip-of-the-day on social media
- Monthly digest of best articles
- Holiday greetings
- “Friday with Fred” (or any other day and name) videos
- Annual customer appreciation event
Marketing must be consistent in order to be effective. Even if you can’t invest in many marketing channels, choose one and be consistent with it.
Measure what you can
Running a marketing campaign and not checking on people’s reactions to it is like collecting the bricks and not building a house.
Not all of us are lucky to have a properly maintained CRM integrated with an all-in-one marketing platform. But it is important to use the tools that you already have to their full potential so you don’t waste your marketing resources by guessing what could better engage your audience. Here are a few minimal essential analytics tools you should learn and use regularly:
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console: to analyze your website performance
- Built-in social media analytics tools: to analyze your social media performance
- Built-in email platform-of-choice analytics tools: to analyze your email campaign performance
These four essential rules—have a goal, have a target, be consistent, and measure what you can—are the keys to successful marketing even with limited resources. Assess your current marketing situation to find out which of these rules are being followed properly and which marketing areas need to be tuned up.