Many MSP leaders struggle with marketing. The good news is, B2B marketing is not black magic. There is a clear success formula. B2B marketing requires laser-like focus, measured investment, and lots of persistence. Unfortunately, however, there is no one silver bullet for success.
To get you started, here are the five most important strategies and tactics to help you re-focus or jump start your marketing efforts.
1. Focus on Your Ideal Client Profile
Most businesses struggle with identifying their ideal client profile (ICP). MSPs are no different. Ask an average MSP business owner for their ICP and you may hear something like, “businesses with 20-200 employees in Colorado Springs…”
Suffice it to say, that is way too imprecise. A crisp and focused ICP makes everything in B2B marketing easier, from list purchases to content creation, to media placements, to event marketing. On the other hand, if you have a vague or overly broad ICP, targeting is imprecise and precious resources can get easily wasted. With an expansive target market, your lists are likely too broad, too expensive, and too large. Moreover, with limited budgets, your media spend will likely not even put a dent in your target market.
The solution is to focus and narrow your ICP. If you operate in a single metro area, it is useful to plot the actual radius of your current clientele. Most MSPs will discover that your clients cluster strongly in a narrow geographic radius. The same can be said for client size. For example, a sweet spot is a narrow range of 20-40 employees, not 20-250. Yes, winning a monster account is great, but it is rare. More commonly, you should hunt within a narrowly defined swath of the market.
Another thing to consider is honing your efforts to a single vertical market. With a vertical market, your content can be more focused and relevant to your target audience. Building target lists with a vertical focus is also vastly easier. Focusing on a vertical doesn’t mean you bet the business on the vertical or jettison existing clients outside the target vertical. It just means for a given period – say one whole year – you may do well to focus your marketing and new client acquisition efforts on a single vertical market.
2. Leverage Sales Intelligence Software
After you narrow your ICP, B2B data investments and list purchases become more affordable and manageable. Don’t get us wrong. We are not advocating list purchases to spam business prospects with unsolicited email. Rather, high quality business data can be used in a dozen different ways other than email marketing. First and foremost, business data can help you validate and confirm your ICP thesis. Are there enough firms in your target ICP? Are the companies the right size from an employee count and revenue perspective? Without quality B2B data, answering these questions is difficult.
Sales Intelligence software, such as Zoominfo, is a top source for B2B business data and a very logical next investment, after you have narrowed your target market focus. A highly focused list can propel prospecting and telemarketing efforts; high-end, VIP direct mail; event marketing outreach; business owner networking; and so much more.
3. Build Your Website into a Lead Generation Machine
People spend way too much time obsessing about the looks of their business website. While tons of emotional energy get exhausted over branding, copy, and aesthetics, most fail to realize that your website should really be a lead generation machine first and foremost.
If your website tells your story well and is a thing of beauty, but can’t capture a lead, you are doing it wrong. Getting messaging and branding right is vital, yet it is equally important for your audience to interact with content on your website and leave their tracks. Your website should be connected to a marketing automation platform, such as Keap or Hubspot. You should have a goodly number of content assets, some gated and some available for free. Your events should be properly merchandised. But at the end of the day, the most important job for your website is to capture leads.
4. Create the Right Content with SEO In Mind
Next, the key to making your website relevant to the Internet at large is lots of rich content. And when we say rich content, we really mean blogs. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important discipline, but many folks invest in SEO to try to out game the search engine system. Many people try to buy their way to relevance through SEO tricks. Simply put, you can’t out game Google. Done right, it is more useful to view SEO as a series of good habits in web design, keyword selection, and page construction, making sure the good content you have on your website is fully maximized and fairly indexed by search engines.
To ensure your website content is maximized for SEO you will want to construct your content strategy based on search algorithms. Google’s current algorithms favor a topic cluster methodology, also known as the pillar-and-cluster technique.
The reality is, for SEO to work effectively you need relevant content. And in B2B, this means blog articles. Once again, if you have a focused ICP, it is a lot easier to write for your targeted audience. To create a relevant blog, think about all the burning questions your prospects and clients bring to you and your team every day. Answer those questions on your blog and over time, your blog will turn into a useful resource for your target audience. In turn, your SEO efforts will bear additional fruit because you are optimizing original and useful content, rather than trying to out game the search engine system.