Marketing 101: How to Brand Yourself As An MSP

What if you launched a new product or service and never bothered to tell anyone? VARs and solutions providers make that mistake over and over again, because they don't know how to shape their marketing messages, nor are they sure how to get the word out about a new product or service. Some VARs, however, are savvy to free PR and marketing opportunities. One prime example: Total Tech of San Diego knows how to blitz the media (including MSPmentor) with its PR messaging. Here's a bit about their approach.

My email in-box this morning contained an email from Total Tech, announcing that the company had launched its patent-pending Secure Office Managed Web filtering and Web security service. Unlike a lot of messages that hit my inbox, the Total Tech release was concise and well-organized. It described the managed service in everyday terms, highlighted the target customer market (small and mid-size businesses), identified key technology components (from Websense), and described why SMBs were largely at risk to security issues.

I suspect a lot of small software companies and VARs still send press releases like this over the business wires and PR wires. That can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 or more, depending on how many services you use. I wouldn't spend my money on that type of effort. Instead, create an email distribution list targeting bloggers (like me) and other Web 2.0 journalists. And used the money you saved on distribution to hire a good freelance PR writer.

Not sure where to find one? Speak with your technology vendors. Very often, they can point you to boutique shops or independent freelancers who can write clear, concise copy.

The most important move is to make your first step: As you ramp up your managed services business don't do it in a vacuum. Use Web 2.0 technology -- and the blogosphere -- to get your message out, both locally and regionally. And get your technology vendors to plug you in their press releases as well.

When it comes to managed services initiatives, silence can be deadly.

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