Building a successful marketing strategy for your MSP in the "new normal"
Last year, if someone asked me to make a list of some of the most consistent and reliable lead generation efforts available to MSPs, it may have included things like "lunch and learns." Conferences. Community events. Things like that.
Illustration: Karthikeyan Ganesh
My, what a difference a year makes.
Thanks to the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all of these types of events are pretty much off-the-table for the foreseeable future - to the point where 2020 has been something of a transitional year for many MSPs. Businesses have shifted drastically from offline marketing strategies to online-focused campaigns, in large part because they really didn't have another choice. Yes, this has represented in a massive (and not always easy) change from the way most people are used to doing things. But it's also important to see this shift for what it really is:
MSPs are nothing if not savvy, and people have already learned how to adapt to this "new normal" that we're all firmly a part of. It's gotten to the point where - even once a vaccine is readily available, and COVID-19 has thankfully left us behind - it's very unlikely that the pendulum will swing back in the "in-person event" direction. People are seeing that you can be more efficient using these digital meeting strategies. You can work smarter, not harder. You can reach out to more people than ever, and you don't have to leave your computer chair to do it - why would anyone want to go back to an era before all of that was possible?
For proof of the fact that people are not only adjusting to this new "virtual meeting" era that we're now living in but that they have actually embraced it, look no farther than the fact that Zoom's stock price is up nearly seven times what it was this time last year. This, coupled with the idea that between 25 and 30% of the United States workforce is predicted to work from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021, illustrates that this is one trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
But again, in my opinion, it would be a mistake to see this as anything other than what it really is: an opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of by savvy MSP marketers who know what they're doing. As the CEO of a marketing firm specifically dedicated to serving the MSP market, it’s my job to be a savvy MSP marketer who knows what they’re doing. I’m going to share with you not one but three components that I feel can help you build the type of successful marketing strategy that takes full advantage of the "new normal" we're all a part of.
1. It's time to start leveraging LinkedIn
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: LinkedIn is one of the biggest opportunities that MSPs have for B2B lead generation that far too many of them are STILL not paying enough attention to.
Consider the fact that out of all the B2B leads generated on social media, a massive 80% of them come from the exact same place: LinkedIn.
More than anything, LinkedIn is a really great way for you to come across not only as a real and credible person but also one who is operating with genuine intentions as well. Your profile, including how you've designed it and the information you've chosen to share on it, can be a great way to establish your authenticity in a way that also builds trust. Your history, including the types of interactions you've had in the past, says a great deal about your character as a professional.
Even your recommendations and your general behavior on LinkedIn give people a great impression about what it's like to do business with you - and it's all by way of a profile that will continue to "sell" your MSP 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
2. Email marketing is more powerful than ever
For years, people have been saying that email marketing is either dying or has officially keeled over. Not only have I never personally bought into that, but the pandemic has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the reverse is true - to the point where for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can reasonably expect an average return of about $42 according to one recent study.
Email marketing is again a great way to take your message directly to your customers in a way that is consistent, that builds trust, and that establishes yours as a voice worth paying attention to. It's also highly intimate, as most people are getting emails on their smartphones, and they're taking those phones with them literally everywhere they go.
Whether you're using email marketing to organically distribute content like the types of blog posts you're writing for your site, or if you just use it as a chance to "check-in" with people and send a personal message to find out how you can help them, it doesn't matter - you need to be using it regularly because it's only going to become more important once the pandemic is over.
3. Leveraging webinars and virtual events
Finally, consider the fact that a lot of the in-person events like "lunch and learns" that we'd all gotten used to aren't necessarily gone forever... it's just that moving forward, a lot of them are going to be taking place online.
Think about all of the "virtual" events that have been incredibly successful since the onset of the pandemic. Charity events that were previously exclusive to a limited group of people are now going online, and they've seen tremendous results because of it. There are entire YouTube channels devoted to reuniting the cast and crew of famous films and television shows over Zoom — something that would have been seen as pointless last year - that are getting millions upon millions of views. There's absolutely no reason why you can't take the same approach, especially since you're going to have a hard time finding anyone who is really enthusiastic about commuting anywhere once the pandemic is over.
Embrace the fact that in the future, "lunch and learns" will be more "eat lunch at your own desk while learning over a virtual platform." Get used to the idea that a lot of those in-person meetings you used to have are going to be taking place online. Is it disruption? Yes, but disruption doesn't have to be negative if you don't choose to see it that way.
Gain a competitive edge in the “new normal”
More than anything, it's crucial for you to understand that this "new normal" is here to stay - so if you haven't already started planning on how you were going to take advantage of it, now would be an excellent time to start. If you're having a hard time getting to that point, you can request a free MSP marketing strategy call with one of our MSP marketing experts to help you figure out the moves that will allow you to take 2021 (and beyond) by storm.