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There are two questions that come to mind when an MSP owner/Marketing Manager first starts trying to grow the business. The first one is, “Should I cold call all day?” I hear it from a lot of potential members, and we went through this as well, but cold calling is one piece of the pie after you know what you are doing. The second thing is “Should I start spending money advertising?” Sometimes the answer is yes, but usually, the answer is no. Neither of those ideas should be on your radar until you have a solid marketing foundation. MSP Advertising depends on where you are in your marketing journey.
You can have the best advertisement pop up on google/Facebook/LinkedIn, etc., and someone sees it and goes to your site. But if your website is underdeveloped and you have no way to follow up on that lead, the advertisement is essentially wasted money. Just because the ad looks nice, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will get you, clients. Your website needs to be able to convert, and you need to be able to make the sale as well. Get some experience with leads from referrals and organic marketing and building word of mouth. Then, once you are comfortable with your sales process, you can start thinking about expanding into MSP advertising.
To give an example, our MSP was a $3 million company BEFORE we started advertising. We were already developed and growing consistently with inbound leads before we added MSP advertising. You will shoot yourself in the foot if you try to rely solely on MSP advertising or cold calling. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Build a foundation first. Go to our Ultimate MSP Marketing Guide and just go through the checklist. Start working on doing those consistently first.
Once you feel like you have a solid foundation and have consistent growth without advertising, then you are ready to add fuel to the fire. There are a ton of different ways to advertise for MSPs, we are just going to go over a few of them here. We recommend just focusing on a couple of these. Don’t spread yourself thin.
Remarketing, in simplest terms, is staying in front of prospects. After someone visits your website, they get a tracking code and can be sent follow up ads. This keeps you in front of them for much longer, and staying in front of them means that they will remember you. As a personal example of this, we are looking to print a life size cutout for a video. I visited a bunch of different sites, and only one of them has remarketing set up. I can guarantee that’s the one I’m going to buy from. They stayed in front of me, so I remember them and not all the other businesses I looked at. However, keep your remarketing ads varied. The last thing you want is the person you are staying in front of to get annoyed by seeing the same ad over and over again.
We run remarketing ads on YouTube, Google Display Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It’s easy to get started with each of these. Listen to our podcast If You’re Not Doing Remarketing You’re Being Lazy to learn more about the importance of this step in MSP advertising, and how to get started.
There are three sections of the marketing funnel: top, middle, and bottom. The top of the funnel is entertaining content: funny videos that grab attention and show a little bit about who you are. The middle of the funnel is more professional and polished. You can have prospects moved to this part of the funnel if they have a remarketing tag, either by visiting your website or watching 30 seconds of a previous video. Some ideas for this content would be a professional-looking video or asking them to download a checklist. Then they can move down to the last step which is booking. Give them a clear call to action asking them to book a consultation or book a 10-minute phone call or on-site visit. Even if they don’t make it all the way to the end, you are putting good content out there and people will start to know your business.
YouTube ads are top-of-the-funnel content. You need to engage the viewer in the first five seconds, so it needs to be memorable. These ads should be entertaining or educational. You’re just trying to get the viewers’ attention, so you stand out above your competitors. One cool thing about YouTube ads is that you could have it play certain ads if someone watched most of a previous ad. It has those tools to help move people down the funnel.
Pay per Click
This is the most expensive form of MSP advertising, but it also can have the highest potential. You can end up paying $3000-6000 a month easily. We don’t know very much about pay-per-click, but we’ve heard some people say it doesn’t work (usually those who don’t have a solid marketing foundation), and some people say it gets them 8 leads a month. We will come back to this at some point after we have implemented it and know more about it, but we have heard some good things about it. Just know that it will probably require a big budget to really shine.
LinkedIn is a place for high-intent marketing. This is further down the funnel content. You should be more specific in your MSP advertising here. Focus on specific problems that your target market has and tell them how you can fix them. This content is more professional than humorous YouTube and Facebook ads. You won’t get as many clicks, but you know that whoever is clicking is a very high-intent lead. For example, some of the content we use for LinkedIn advertising includes:
- How to audit the technology expenses at your business
- How to conduct an RFP for Managed IT Services to pick the perfect provider
There may not be a lot of people downloading these, but those that do have very high intent.
Be careful not to get stuck on the technical aspects of advertising. People tend to think the backend of advertising is extremely complicated, but it’s really not. You can learn everything you need to know in a 30-minute YouTube video. The content requires far more attention. The content that you are advertising needs to be quality, or it can hurt your brand. Prospects notice quality content because it is so rare. If you want access to the quality marketing content that helped us grow our MSP to over $4 million in annual revenue, check out MSP Camp with full access, completely free, for a week.