MSP marketing is hard.
That’s partly because managed IT services still aren’t fully understood by the market – especially if you’re selling to non-technical people. It’s partly because the MSP market is very crowded – there are 40,000 MSPs in the US alone (or about 100 per US metro area).
And, finally, MSP marketing is hard because there are a lot of different marketing services to pick from.
But don’t give up hope.
You can market your MSP effectively. We know because we’ve helped dozens of companies to do it. You can use marketing to win your region, get more leads, and, if you want to, grow to get acquired.
In this article, we’ll cover seven MSP marketing services that can help. We’ll define each service, and then provide recommendations for where it should fit in your MSP marketing strategy.
Let’s dive in.
1. Search engine optimization
What it is: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing websites so that they can be found when people search online.
This involves identifying valuable keywords (what people are searching for to find a product or service), creating content that’s applicable to those keywords, adjusting the website to perform well for search engines, and acquiring backlinks from other websites.
The end goal is that, when someone searches on Google for something like “IT service in [your location]”, your company appears at the top of the page.
Where it fits in: SEO helps to make your market aware of your company. It’s a long-term strategy; it usually takes MSPs at least 3-6 months to see results. But it’s an effective one. We’ve worked with companies that have built most of their clients bases using this tactic.
We nearly always recommend SEO for MSPs.
2. Website optimization
What it is: Website optimization is the practice of making websites more user-friendly so that they encourage users toward desired actions (most often, this means getting people to reach out and request a quote or consultation).
It involves reviewing website performance and user behavior on the site, then adjusting messaging and page components – like design, photos, and calls-to-action – to improve results.
The end goal is that more of your website visitors reach out to request information about your services.
Where it fits in: Website optimization helps to convert website visitors into leads. Any company that’s investing in digital marketing should optimize their website.
3. Email marketing
What it is: Email marketing is the practice of sending emails to build relationships or inspire action.
It commonly takes the form of regular newsletters, where lists of contacts receive product updates, technology tips, or relevant company content with the goal of keeping the MSP top-of-mind and driving engagement.
It also takes the form of email sequences or automations, where contacts receive a series of emails designed to incentivize action.
Where it fits in: Email marketing helps to engage contacts and is an effective driver of action. We recommend email marketing in some form for virtually all of our MSP marketing engagements.
4. Video marketing
What it is: Video marketing is the practice of creating videos that position a company in a market and inspire action.
One common form of MSP video marketing is to create a “Tech Tips” series, where technicians offer tactical, timely advice (often in response to product updates or news events) to position the MSP as a thought leader.
The avenues for video marketing are endless, though, because video can be used to tell any kind of story.
Where it fits in: Video marketing helps to engage viewers and build brand perception. It can be highly effective for brands that are driving web traffic but aren’t engaging that traffic effectively.
5. Organic social media marketing
What it is: Organic social media marketing is the practice of creating social media content to drive engagement and inspire action.
This often involves sharing blog posts or website content to social media platforms. Many MSPs use social media as a place to feature company culture (i.e. pictures of social events, service projects, and so on).
Where it fits in: Social media does not usually play a major role in driving leads for MSPs. However, it can be effective in helping MSPs to build their brand. We typically recommend that MSPs have at least one active social media platform, but we don’t usually make organic social media marketing a primary tactic.
6. Paid search advertising
What it is: Paid search advertising involves spending on platforms like Google Ads to appear in the top of search engine results for relevant keywords.
This involves setting a paid search budget, targeting keywords to appear for, creating search ads and landing pages, and then optimizing campaigns as data comes in.
Where it fits in: Paid search functions similarly to SEO, but it’s faster (because you can pay to appear instantly) and, over the long run, usually more expensive. We usually recommend that MSPs use paid search as a strategy to enter a market and test keywords.
As SEO takes effect, you may ease off of paid search a bit, but you’ll likely continue to run paid ads in some capacity, because it’s the best way to appear at the very top of search results (read: above your competitors).
7. Paid social advertising
What it is: Paid social advertising means paying social platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn so that your content appears when users access the platform.
Different platforms offer different targeting and placement options; for example, you can place your ad in a Facebook Stories feed or within the LinkedIn posts feed, and you can choose to show it to people based on geographic area, demographics, job titles, and more.
Where it fits in: Paid social advertising is most often used to capture contacts higher in the funnel; for instance, you might advertise an ebook or an entry-level service (like a “Dark Web Review”).
It’s also effective for retargeting (the practice of showing ads to people who have visited your website). To see this in action, go visit your biggest competitor’s website and then check Facebook. The chances are pretty good that you’ll see an ad in your Facebook feed for their services.
We often use paid social media as part of account-based marketing campaigns.
Need help selecting the right MSP marketing services?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: MSP marketing is hard. Hopefully, this review of seven key MSP marketing services has given you a better understanding of the tools in the toolbox – but if you want more help, let’s talk.
At New North, we’ve helped dozens of MSPs with goals like lead generation, dominating new markets, and getting successfully acquired. Schedule a free consultation today and we can discuss how to effectively market your MSP.