Let’s face it: time and money are always in short supply. As MSPs juggle their competing priorities, investing precious resources to upgrade the Web site is the thing that is often allowed to hit the ground. However, there are some real significant gains to be had by enhancing your business’ Web site. By doing some basic blocking and tackling online, MSPs can start to leverage their Web presence to boost their pipelines.
How can MSPs score more customers through their Web site? My colleague, Nimsoft Marketing Director – Ken Vanderweel, just penned a white paper on that very topic. Entitled “Web Marketing 101”, the paper offers MSPs some practical guidance on generating more business through their Web sites. Following is a summary of the four key requirements Ken covers in the paper.
Your Web Site Needs to Get VisitorsWhen prospects are searching for service providers, your Web site needs to be easy to find, and today that means showing up when folks do searches online. Fundamentally, there are two ways to make this happen: “organic” listings and sponsored listings. Following are some tips and considerations for each of these routes.
Organic SearchShowing up in organic search listings is free, which is the good news. How businesses can get their site pages to show up in specific organic search results is the subject of scores of books and millions of articles, but here’s the net for MSPs:
Identify targeted keywords. A search in Google for “IT outsourcing” returns 4,130,000 pages. If you plug “IT outsourcing” into your site text and page attributes, will your site show up at the top position by this time next week? No chance. The key here is focus. Many prospects may opt to do a more specific search for services. They may use a term like “outsource server administration”, or even more specifically, “outsource windows server administration.” The more specific the term, the more targeted the traffic will apt to be, and the more likely an MSP will be able to get their pages to show up in the results.
Optimize your site. Based on the keywords identified, you need to do search engine optimization (SEO) so your site shows up in searches. To do so, page titles, page content, page metatags, and links should all feature prioritized keywords.
Paid AdsWhile models vary, businesses that do paid advertising on search engines typically advertise on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, so they only pay when a searcher clicks on an ad and goes to their site. Compared to the traditional models of advertising, where advertisers pay based on impressions (and readers who may or may not be paying any attention to the ad in question), PPC enables businesses to pay for results.
The tradeoff with PPC is cost, however. Depending on the term, advertisers can pay anywhere from pennies to $20 or even $30 per click for some highly competitive search terms. That’s why, as with SEO, identifying targeted, well-defined keywords is a critical way to ensure marketing dollars are spent wisely.
Engage VisitorsYour Web site needs to be visually appealing, credible, and communicate your value, so visitors stay, learn, and act.
Will a well-designed site guarantee you more business? Not necessarily. Here’s another way to look it though: When prospects are in the early research stages, they need to quickly come up with a short list. This means they need to rule out a lot of MSPs quickly. An old, unclear, unappealing site will give prospects plenty of excuses to remove you from consideration. Making your site the best it can be helps boost your chances of making prospects’ short lists.
Collect LeadsSo now that your Web site is humming with activity, and is providing a clear, compelling value proposition, you’re done right? Not quite. Turning this buzz into dollars takes sales, and sales takes leads. Whether a prospect comes through a pay-per-click ad, organic search, word of mouth, or any other vehicle, the site they come to needs to have compelling calls to action, and those calls to action need to require the submission of contact details.
To submit their contact details, prospects will need to feel they’re getting something of value. Build an objective white paper on a relevant topic that will help them in their work. Deliver webcasts that assemble industry experts to share their wisdom and insights. Offer an ROI calculator for IT outsourcing. Offer free assessments that will help prospects determine what their needs are. Offer a free monthly newsletter that offers ongoing guidance. Then, convey the value these resources will deliver, along with a brief registration form that’s required to access the resource.
Cultivate LeadsLast, but certainly not least, is the area of lead cultivation. In my experience, it’s been bewildering to see how common it is that, after investing a lot of time and effort to bring leads in, many of those leads come in and promptly fall through the cracks, and are left to languish. To make sure their marketing investments really pay off, businesses need to ensure they’re equipped to maximize the value of every lead that comes in.
To do so, just about every MSP should have some sort of sales force automation (SFA) or customer relationship management (CRM) solution in place. Without such a solution, it is far more time consuming and challenging to ensure that sales consistently and diligently follows up with incoming leads, and to realize the full value of the prospect database.
ConclusionBy driving traffic to a compelling, credible Web site, and using the site as a means to generate and cultivate leads, MSPs can significantly increase their lead flow, funnel, and recurring revenues. To learn more, be sure to download Ken Vanderweel’s white paper: Web Marketing 101: A No-nonsense Guide to Sales Generation for MSPs.
Phil LaForge is VP and GM, service providers at Nimsoft. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of Nimsoft's guest blogs here.