Tech Providers Need a Marketing Strategy to Drive Growth
We here at Sherweb love working with managed service providers. And as Sherweb’s vice president for sales and marketing, there’s nothing I love more than helping MSP partners grow their businesses.
Some providers may have just launched and are looking for initial customers, others have lost a “tent pole” customer and need new revenue, and still others are successful but can’t figure out how to get over a plateau in their growth.
But no matter what stage they’re in, MSPs tend to make one common mistake: They don’t market their services strategically enough. Let’s look at how to avoid some common marketing pitfalls (spoiler alert: not having a marketing strategy) and discuss some simple steps MSPs can take to get more customers.
What Is Strategic Marketing?
Strategic marketing is when you develop and implement your marketing efforts so they align with an overall plan for growing your business. When you market strategically, you get the right message in front of the right audience much more often. Every piece of marketing content and every asset work together and deliver more value for your audience, and therefore for you.
The key to a successful strategic marketing campaign is planning, planning and more planning. I have to be honest: This is something I’ve seen all too many MSPs fail at. They focus too much on individual marketing efforts. And those efforts are usually inconsistent and abandoned when the business doesn’t see immediate returns. (For more on this topic, read our blog “Why MSPs Fail at Marketing.”)
Productive marketing campaigns take time, but they’re well worth the effort.
Why You Need Better Marketing
There are some compelling figures that show why MSPs need to take a more strategic approach to their marketing. Gartner found that 94% of B2B buyers do their research online. And about the same number, 80% of buyers, prefer their information to come from articles rather than traditional advertising materials.
On top of that, most B2B buyers get 57% of the way through their purchasing decision-making process before they even contact a seller. So, this means you shouldn’t be waiting to spring your marketing content on prospects until after they contact a sales rep. You need to make marketing materials freely available to those prospective buyers online if you want to properly cultivate them.
But how do you do that strategically?
Strategic Marketing 101
Your marketing efforts should all have one goal: guiding your prospects down the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel is a way we describe a customer’s progress toward buying your services. I recommend you use this six-stage funnel model to guide your marketing efforts:
- Awareness: At this stage a prospect is aware that your services exist.
- Interest: The prospect has developed an active interest in a particular service group (like managed IT services).
- Consideration: The prospect is willing to consider using your services specifically.
- Intent: The prospect intends to buy a service from this particular group.
- Evaluation: The prospect is evaluating their shortlist of services, including your MSP, to decide which one to use.
- Purchase: You’ve converted that prospect into a customer–they’re ready to buy!
So how do you go about aligning new marketing efforts with this model? Start by