Digital marketing is essential to keep your MSP business visible and to help you cover as many touch-points as possible with your prospective buyers.
We are all talking about digital marketing – but what does it really mean? And are we ‘doing it’ as well as we could be?
I liked the following definition of digital marketing in a recent CompTIA presentation:
“[Digital marketing is] reaching out to people online in a human way to learn if your value proposition matters to them.”
It appeals because when asked about digital marketing, we generally talk about SEO, websites, social media, email marketing and online advertising. But these are just the digital marketing tools; we shouldn’t forget that digital marketing is essentially all about people; about identifying and connecting with the type of people most likely to be experiencing the IT challenges that you can resolve. And, going about it in a non-‘hard sell’ way.
Your prospective buyers must be able to find and connect with you through the channel(s) of their choice. This means you need a presence in all the places they are likely to look for information about managed services or other IT solutions. To achieve this, you need an effective, digital marketing strategy.
Just setting out a digital marketing strategy?
In the course of putting together our own digital marketing strategy, I have spoken to a number of specialist agencies, seeking clarification as to what I should be doing. I found digital agency Dragonsearch particularly helpful and am borrowing from one of their presentations to set out their three-pronged approach to getting started. I hope you may find it as helpful as I did.
The three prongs are:
By which Dragonsearch means your ‘digital real estate’, including:
- Business listings/directories that matter to your target market.
These are important because they are heavily localised and results show prominently in search engines.
- Social media that are used by prospective buyers: for MSPs, typically Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter and YouTube.
These are good channels for building your company brand and are also important for SEO because they are picked up by search results pages (particularly Facebook and LinkedIn).
- Your website
This is the cornerstone of your digital strategy and the end destination of visitors from other channels.
A clear, easy to use website is essential. Traffic across it needs to be monitored constantly to reveal, for example, where visitors are coming from, which pages are attracting most interest, whether users ‘bounce’ after the first page or stay to look around, whether they take up calls to action (CTAs) and so on. Tools are available to help you track activity, including Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster tools and Google Tag manager.
Your online brand presence is important because it can enhance your credibility at each stage of the buying process, from awareness right through to action. Dragonsearch suggests that the inclusion of the following four elements are essential to building up a strong brand presence:
- Social media
- Business reviews
- User experience
This refers to driving lead generation, by marketing to each stage of the sales funnel, using different techniques and content at each step to reflect the stage reached in the buyer’s journey: Awareness; Interest; Consideration; Action.
Been there; done it?
You may already have a digital marketing strategy in place, but don’t forget to carry out regular audits of each element to make sure you’re still on track.
Marie Weise, President of Marketing CoPilot, suggests carrying out a ‘digital inventory’, detailing:
- Where you are present online; and for each of these,
- What you want to achieve from being there.
It is important to set real (and measurable) objectives for each element.
Finding it challenging?
Digital marketing undoubtedly has its challenges for MSPs – particularly when you are ‘doing it’ alongside your day job.
One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that your prospective managed services customers can find you on the web. In other words, that you are visible to the main search engines.
Look out for our next blog: SEO: How do you know if your SEO strategy is not working – and what can you do?
If your website is not being found online, or it ranks low-down in search result listings, then your SEO is not delivering for you and it’s probably time to take another look at your SEO strategy. We will provide six pointers to get you started.