In fact when I press most IT businesses for details on what MSP marketing efforts they are currently undertaking to bring themselves and their services to the attention of potential new clients, the answer I most frequently hear is “none”. The other common answers I’ll list below.
So let me ask you now, what MSP marketing are you doing for your IT business?
Relying on Word of Mouth
If your answer is “Word of Mouth” then please understand that waiting for referrals from existing clients is not a marketing strategy. Referrals can certainly play an important part in the growth of any MSP, but even when you’re actively seeking referrals – and 99% of MSP’s never actually ask for referrals, they just wait for them to happen – then such referrals will only generate some of your new business, not all.
Only doing Social Media and Business Networking
If your answer to the MSP marketing question is “Social Media” or “Business Networking events” then certainly, both on-line and traditional networking are great ways of starting conversations, meeting new people and bringing yourself to the attention of potential new clients. Both Social Media and Business Networking should definitely be a part of any MSP marketing activity plan – but if you’re relying on Social Media or Business Networking alone, you’ll find acquiring new clients a (probably painfully) slow process.
If you avoid answering the question and tell me that “We’ve tried direct mail and it doesn’t work for us” or “We’ve tried telemarketing and it doesn’t work for us”, or more simply “We’ve tried marketing and it doesn’t work for us”, then I understand this sentiment.
As a former MSP owner myself, I know that juggling the day to day responsibilities of running a business – dealing with client requests, managing IT infrastructures, handling suppliers, chasing overdue invoices and everything else that falls on our plates – can leave very little time to “do” marketing. Often though (invariably when we’re becoming desperate to find new clients) you place a focus on “doing” marketing – you make some telephone calls, you send out some email newsletters, you post some direct mail – and disappointingly you hardly get a response.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
If you’ve been down this road and find this familiar story familiar, then I’d like to share one important idea with you that might change your outlook on what marketing is and how it can work for you.
Marketing is a system, not an event
Marketing is a system, not an event [TWEET THIS]. You want to be marketing consistently as part of a structured and thought out plan, not just doing marketing when the mood takes you.
If you aren’t consistently undertaking marketing activities, then you won’t consistently attract new prospects who might become clients. You may try to “do” marketing when your existing pipeline is empty – or worse, when the company coffers are empty and you’re desperate for new clients and fresh income – but the results of this flurry of marketing is unlikely to generate new business for you in the short term. Those results sometimes come later, and often only after you’ve done other marketing activities that compliment your original activity.
For instance, sending out an email shot alone is unlikely to win you many new clients. Dispatch a batch of direct mail letters in isolation won’t usually produce any leads. Making sales calls alone is not only painful for most of us in business (who doesn’t hate making sales calls!) but it rarely yields instant results. But a targeted campaign of email shots, direct mail and sales calls all undertaken as part of a mixture of activities – executed well and consistently – that will result in new business coming your way.
I don’t have the time to do marketing!
If you understand that your MSP marketing activities need to comprise of a strategic plan that is consistently executed, then the dawning realisation may hit you that all of this effort takes time and effort.
Let’s be honest here, if growing your MSP business is really important to you then you’ll make the time. Spending just 30 minutes a day on marketing activities can yield great results – and if you commit to doing this, then I’d suggest doing this work before you do anything else each day – focus on these business development activities before you get distracted by emails or the demands of clients.
And if you’re wondering whether you can outsource this type of marketing work, then you might be interested in details of an upcoming project I’m involved in. More details to come in my next blog post, but if you’ve read this far then take a sneak peak at the MSP Marketing Academy.
In isolation, undertaking Social Media, Business Networking, Direct Mail, Telemarketing or any other marketing activity is typically not enough to generate the number of new leads you probably want to achieve for the growth of your MSP business.
Yet, planning to undertake a mixture of these types of activities and consistently executing upon those plans in a joined-up and thought out way will produce a steady stream of new clients for your IT business.
Make sure that your MSP marketing is a system, not an event.