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That piqued your interest, right? I’m not just saying that as a way to get you to click, and I’m most certainly not trying to offend you. I’m saying this because I’ve seen it time and time again. But mostly, I’m saying this because it happens for the wrong reasons.

I’ve talked with partners who have been running unsuccessful PPC campaigns for their IT business and have asked them what they promoted. I asked them if they looked into their local market to see competition before picking an angle. I asked what sets their business apart and why a lead would pick them over someone else. Most of the time, I don’t get the answers I’m looking for—not because the business owner doesn’t know but because no one helped them win their online marketing game.

I’ve heard some of our partners say they hired a marketing resource and fired them after 90 days because there were no results. I’ve heard them say, “Oh, I tried AdWords. What a money suck!” They told me, “I have a blog on my site, but the aggregator isn’t bringing any leads.”

And we’re not talking about isolated cases.

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Reading between the lines, you start seeing a common issue: other questions that have not been asked. What I hear as a marketer with over 10 years of experience is:

  • “How to hire a marketing professional?”
  • “How to run an AdWords campaign for an IT business”
  • “How do I create a blog for my MSP business?”

And the sum of all this, and more, is just one question concerning marketing for MSPs: how do I make it work?

Stop playing Operation and start operating strategically

After talking with so many MSPs, I think I’ve figured out where some of the issues lie. Most people are being too operational and not sufficiently strategic when it comes to MSP marketing!

You need to set the tools properly before you start operating. You can’t just pick the Water on the Knee piece, hold it, and expect to see results. You need to get all the pieces right to win the game. MSPs doing marketing usually start with one isolated tactic instead of doing the whole process. It’s a rookie move and very normal, but it doesn’t work!

We know that most of you barely have time as it is to do your job, so devoting yourself entirely to marketing is understandably difficult. But to keep winning at Operation: Special Marketing Edition, with the shiny limited-edition box, you’ll need to pick out all the pieces carefully and make sure nothing buzzes:Operation

  • Adam’s Apple: Figure out why your company is different. Why should a potential client pick you over a competitor?
  • Broken Heart: Define your unique value proposition.
  • Wrenched Ankle: Build a potential client profile based on the client you want to pursue.
  • Butterflies in Stomach: Check out the local competition and figure out what they’re doing.
  • Spare Ribs: Update your website to reflect your findings.
  • Writer’s Cramp: Analytics! Connect Google Analytics everywhere. Data-driven marketing is good marketing!
  • Water on the Knee: Look at what content pieces like e-books and whitepapers you could create on a regular basis to get leads. Find something that resonates true to you and your brand.
  • Funny Bone: Build a page that’s separate from your website with a contact form on it with the goal of booking you for a quick IT assessment. Use it as a way to convert leads. (That’s called a landing page.)
  • Charley Horse: Run a blog around unique content. Link back to your site and to the conversion page.
  • The Ankle Bone Connected to the Knee Bone: Choose your social media carefully. Don’t over-do it.
  • Wish Bone: Promote your business and content through the proper channels.
  • Bread Basket: Analyze the performance of everything you’re doing
  • Brain Freeze: Optimize what you do so it performs better.

You don’t know what you don’t know

“…if growth is part of your business objectives, then marketing is a must.”

I’m sure you know that marketing isn’t a one-day job. Just like you need to constantly monitor a network against threats, you need to monitor the performance of your marketing initiatives to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. It is possible to do this without a professional; you just need to set yourself up for success. It is more work. It will take a lot of time. You will need to invest in it. And you know what? That’s normal. You might need to shuffle some tasks around in your team or make sure you have enough people, but if growth is part of your business objectives, then marketing is a must. Word of mouth can only get you so far!

Went the agency way?

Work with them to maximize the impact of your investment!

I think next time I write a piece, it’ll be about what to expect from an agency and the red flags you should watch out for. I’m in a good position to tell you what those red flags are: I used to sell yearly marketing as a service packages. Agencies tend to bend the rules and be a little sneaky at times with the MRR and what’s quoted in. So, we’ll talk more then and try to equip you to face their sales team! In the meantime, start thinking about your strategy.

Need help figuring out how to beat the competition? Take a look at what a partnership with Sherweb can bring to your business.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb