Many MSPs and VARs are great at marketing, but for some, marketing continues to be a daunting and nebulous affair filled with buzzwords and hype. Love it or hate it, the reality is marketing is a fundamental (and dare I say fun) part of business. And as the competition among service providers heats up in the race to the Cloud, an effective MSP or VAR marketing strategy will become even more critical to success.
To survive, MSPs and VARs will have to adopt strategies to differentiate themselves within the competitive fray. If you want to differentiate, you must avoid the common marketing mistakes that often impede growth.
Here are three of the most common MSP and VAR marketing strategy mistakes today, as well as actions you can take to overcome them.
Mistake 1: Trying to Be a Jack of All Trades
As businesses increasingly rely on the Cloud, the need for customized computing solutions has become critical. To meet these evolving client needs, MSPs today can no longer apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach to serving their customers. Instead, MSPs must focus on delivering a high degree of customization with services designed to meet the unique needs of their clients.
To deliver customization, I recommend MSPs and VARs focus their efforts on a specific market that aligns with their strengths as a service provider. By narrowing their target market, MSPs and VARs will:
- reduce their competition,
- become more valuable by cultivating specialized expertise,
- and be better able to anticipate and quickly respond to clients’ distinct needs.
Action Point: Know your core strengths and leverage those skills to become the best in a particular market (not all markets).
As part of your MSP and VAR marketing strategy, develop strategic alliances with partners and suppliers that complement your offerings. Focus on being the best for a specific market and earn a reputation for thought leadership that will give you authority in that market.
Mistake 2: Creating Content of Little Value
Content marketing certainly isn’t a new concept. It is, however, often poorly executed. Many companies take the ‘more is more’ approach, churning out reams of content that offer little value to readers.
But to really work, content must do just that: add value. Whether it’s a blog post or an ebook, content must focus on solving the needs of a customer as the number one priority.
Value-focused content is essential to an effective MSP or VAR marketing strategy as it gives service providers the opportunity to position themselves as thought leaders to their clients. Consider for a moment that many MSP and VAR customers are likely not IT experts. For these customers, the Cloud is still a highly abstract concept. While they are hunting for IT solutions, many also need help defining just what their IT needs are in the first place. As IT experts, MSPs and VARs can nimbly answer both. And it’s the MSPs who can deliver those answers through helpful and engaging content that will win.
Action Point: The more value you provide customers through your content, the more likely they’ll be to give you their business.
In a nutshell, your information earns you the right to sell. It’s essentially a two step process:
- Gain a deep understanding of the growing challenges and pain-points of your customers, and frame your content to solve their problems.
- Share informative content, such as blogs or webinars, that address pain-points and give useful advice while also positioning you as a thought leader in computing.
Mistake 3: Sporadic Bursts of Marketing
To be truly effective, marketing must be executed as an integral part of a business, with consistent delivery.
Without regularity, marketing quickly loses its edge, leading to confused, bored, and easily distracted customers. In fact, without consistent delivery, you might as well skip the MSP and VAR marketing strategy altogether.
Maybe the following sounds familiar:
- You hurriedly write and send a press release about a new customer.
- Draft an email, but get busy…
- Find the email in your drafts folder two weeks later and send it out
- Buy some ad space on MSP Mentor
- Hope for results
- Nothing happens
- You quietly sit back and wonder where your leads are
Sound like your way of marketing? Well, this approach isn’t marketing. It’s a ‘hope and pray’ approach that will likely get you nowhere fast.
By consistent delivery, I mean that whatever marketing tactic you choose, commit yourself to executing it with high proficiency, on a regular basis. If it’s a blog, commit yourself to sharing at least one post per week. If it’s an email subscription (like a newsletter), send updates with predictable frequency.
Action Point: Gaining leads depends on a consistent and strategic marketing approach.
Develop a marketing strategy that will keep your content and efforts purposeful and focused on reaching your targeted leads. Start by identifying your targets and set a timeline of marketing action items to achieve within a certain timeframe (e.g. 1 email and 3 targeted blog posts within a two-week period).
Build Your MSP or VAR Marketing Strategy with TPM
Looking for new ways to bring your MSP or VAR marketing strategy to life? Our experts are here to help. At Total Product Marketing, we specialize in marketing for Cloud and managed service providers. Get in touch with us today.