Managed service providers (MSPs) are usually great at handling the IT concerns of their clients, but some MSPs never get the chance to show off their talents due to poor marketing. Many MSPs tend to rely on referrals and luck to win over new clients which is always a hit or miss. Other managed service providers have embraced content marketing in an effort to make their marketing efforts sustainable. However, even this tried-and-true approach falls flat with the MSP industry.
So why is content marketing so disappointing for MSPs and what can be done to fix it? Generally, content marketers struggle in applying good content practices to an MSP business because they aren’t grounded in the correct strategy. To resolve this problem, a managed service provider should invest in creating and implementing a content marketing plan that fits their business’ needs.
Content marketing is one of the most vital tools any B2B business could have. It offers businesses visibility on the Internet as well as the opportunity to build trust and credibility with their audience. It should go without saying that MSPs should adequately invest in their content marketing or risk getting kicked off the first page of search results.
Since managed services are primarily focused on technology, this type of venture typically attracts people who are highly skilled with computers but may not necessarily have the business acumen to match. Because they lack the confidence or know-how, a lot of MSPs outsource certain functions like marketing and this is where the problem begins. Some outsourced content writers:
Have you ever read a piece from an MSP that didn’t make a lot of sense? Maybe it seemed off because the tone was too fluffy or the jargon sounded managerial but didn’t say anything useful.
Some content writers come from backgrounds that are vastly different from what they’re supposed to write and readers can sense that.
In other situations, the content might be too technical to the point that it’s no longer engaging to read. Even if it correctly discusses an IT concept, it gets boring. Readers don’t feel the urgency to read it because the writing style doesn’t hook or interest them.
The last problem is that some content marketers work on instinct rather than strategy. They’re implementing campaigns and writing content with no clear purpose in mind. This is why the articles they create may seem more like fillers for the website rather than an opportunity to connect with prospects and identify quality leads. This is a sign that they’re operating in a vacuum and aren’t aligned with your overall business strategy - which is a waste of resources and potential.
If your content marketing isn’t grounded in a strategy that focuses on achieving a tangible goal, then you would definitely miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Without a strategy in place, it’s difficult to create content for your managed services that can stand out from the crowd and actually address what your potential customers are concerned about. Here are three basic criteria of what strategic content for MSPs should be:
A common issue that affects organizations is that they get super excited for an idea but they struggle executing it consistently. For example, you decide that your company will be more active on social media and post on Facebook every day. You do this enthusiastically for the first few weeks until you hit a busy month, then forget. Without consistency and a well-formed plan, your content will have a hard time getting off the ground.
Your content should be aligned with the goals of your business. Let’s say you want to have 10 new clients by the end of the year and you’re planning to support that goal with your content. Maybe your content marketing goal should be to find at least 3 quality leads every month. That way, you would have a vision of what you want to achieve and can make smarter decisions with the content your marketing team produces.
No one will read or watch or listen to any form of content if it doesn’t spark interest in them. It’s crucial for your content marketing team to figure out what matters to your target audience so they can produce custom content with useful, relevant insights. This is where content marketing should be more attuned to what’s going on in your day-to-day business. If you’re getting more questions from clients about cybersecurity, then you create content that answers these questions. Chances are, a lot of people might be having a similar problem and are looking for a helpful resource discussing it.
If you’re a beginner to content and want to maximize this approach to marketing, here are six tips to get you started:
Even if you are outsourcing content production, your marketing and sales efforts need to be aligned. While marketing is tasked to convert prospects into leads, sales reps are in charge of closing those deals. If the content creators don’t understand what the sales’ teams goals are, they won’t be able to prepare content that can actually grow your business. These two groups have to be on the same page.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are a valuable part of any website because this allows you to answer questions even before being asked. The FAQ page is important because it shows customers that you anticipate their needs ahead of time and can respond to their concerns immediately. Having an FAQ page ready also reduces instances where prospects ask you the same question over and over again.
Sending out cold emails is kind of like knocking at someone’s door when you weren’t invited to their house. It feels intrusive for many people. The trick to softening their reaction to your visit is to bring them a gift. Supplement your cold emails with valuable, free content that more recipients would be interested in. With infographics, blog posts, or listicles, cold emailing doesn’t have to be a cold sales pitch either.
When you’re onboarding new clients, you can save yourself time and effort by preparing a set of contents to help them get started. Develop your content around the services or products other clients have had issues with. You can film a how-to video or a troubleshooting guide that can ease them through your services.
Freebies or lead magnets can attract leads to subscribe to your emails and newsletters. A lead magnet works when visitors drop by your website and see you’re offering free content in exchange for their email address. These free lead magnets are usually whitepapers, eBooks, industry insight reports, infographics, calculators and other valuable contents. Most people are willing to give their email address to you if they feel like they really need to have the content you’re offering.
The best way to incorporate all these tips into actions is to prepare a comprehensive content plan. This may include a list of contents you want to produce and topics you want to pursue. You should also have a content calendar, a budget, and a point person in charge of managing your content. With a concrete plan, your content would make much more sense when you look at the big picture and it would be much easier for you to show potential clients that you are a put-together industry authority.