I recently chatted with someone who had been in the IT industry for a very long time, and as our conversation moved away from his personal experiences and towards what I do, he made a statement that left my jaw on the floor.
“Oh, Cloud’s not really that big. I don’t think I’ll bother with it.”
It’s probably safe to assume that not a lot of you reading this share that opinion, but just to be clear, I’d like to offer a couple of numbers for your consideration:
- AWS increased their revenue by 69% in 2015
- Morgan Stanley predicts that 30% of Microsoft’s revenue will come from the Cloud by 2018
- Forbes reports that global Public Cloud spending is expected to reach $141B by 2019
Yes, Cloud is that big. And if you want a piece of a market that is about to explode and change the way the majority of your clients view IT, you want in now. But you know that already. So why am I still talking? Jump on in.
You Need a Marketing Strategy
Sadly, you and I are not the only two to notice the profound opportunities Cloud presents, and just as more and more of your potential clients begin to realize they might want a Cloud solution, a growing number of your competitors are coming forward to meet those demands. So how do you step up, differentiate yourself as an MSP selling Cloud, and stake your claim?
The short answer: MSP marketing materials.
It may sound a bit unsexy, (Who am I kidding? It sounds downright dull!) but marketing is your megaphone. A strategic campaign to engage potential customers and educate them about what you have to offer is by far the best way to ensure your success in an evolving market. I’m not talking about just having a company Twitter account or some mad one-and-done ad blitz. You need professional MSP marketing materials – an MSP marketing tool kit even – and a strategy to go with them. Doing this right can mean the difference between success and failure.
You Need Skills and Resources
Oh, you’ve got skills. But do you have marketing skills? The competition is heating up and asking your administrative assistant to put up a monthly blog post somewhere isn’t going to get your name out there. You need to know your strengths (and play to them) and know where you need to add resources and expertise. And marketing is an area where many MSPs need a hand.
Some of the benefits of outsourcing the task of creating MSP marketing materials include:
- Cost: Just as you can provide IT and managed services more cost-effectively than your clients can do on their own, expert marketers can enhance your efforts and help save you money
- Expertise: Your clients come to you because they value your experience in your field; similarly, a marketing team knows your audience, the channels, what works and what won’t
- Time: Cloud opportunities are here right now. Sure, you could learn how to create a marketing campaign yourself, but it won’t be ready when you need it. (Hint: that’s now.)
You Need to Educate Your Audience
Cloud is changing the world – literally. Your position as an MSP or VAR is evolving, as are the roles of many of your clients. You understand this, of course – and you make it your business to stay current. But your customers (and potential customers) have their own non-Cloud-focused businesses to run and don’t necessarily understand every new development inside and out.
That’s great – that’s where you come in, right?
Yes. But only if those clients and prospects know you’re the one who can answer their problems. A major part of what your MSP marketing materials need to do is educate your audience about what’s out there, and what you can offer. I’ve talked to far too many MSPs who have admitted that:
- Existing customers only associate them with old services – like telecom or IT services – and assume they need to look elsewhere for Cloud
- Prospects and customers alike don’t really understand Cloud or their own needs – and are seduced by lower-priced offerings that aren’t really well-suited to them
- Prospects only see Cloud services as an expense, not an investment, because they don’t fully understand the benefits Cloud offers them
You Need to Leverage Partnerships
One of your best assets is your ability to negotiate the path to the Cloud and guide your clients to other industry experts they can trust.
Hear me out. Odds are, you don’t offer every single Cloud-related service under the sun. You have your specialties; you focus on being the best at those particular aspects of Cloud. So what do you do when a client comes looking for a service you don’t offer? Even though you can’t directly address their pain, your intimate industry knowledge means you’re better positioned than they are to locate someone who can. Building a network of industry partners can help you:
- Position yourself as the source of answers to questions and solutions to problems. Even if you don’t provide the service yourself, clients will remember that they asked you for help and received it
- Gain warm leads from other companies: master agents or firms in the same boat as you – you refer clients to them for their services; they refer clients to you for yours
- Build a relationship with your customers that will keep them loyal. Your willingness to assist – even when there’s no sale in it for you – will let clients know how much you value them and keep them coming back for more
You Need MSP Marketing Materials
Don’t know where to start looking for help with your MSP marketing materials? Worried that you can’t afford a pricey agency to take your marketing to the next level? We’ve heard you, and we’re here to help. We’re proud to announce an affordable, all-in-one marketing solution designed specifically for MSPs and VARs: Five Pilots. Sign up for your free trial now or get in touch with us for more information.