Do I Need a Marketing Plan for a One-Man Show MSP?
Where to start with marketing your services if you’ve just launched your MSP business and are doing everything by yourself? Or maybe you are not planning to hire any employees at all, enjoying that you only rely on yourself for success? You probably can’t afford to create and follow an in-depth marketing strategy. That’s fine and you are not alone for sure. But you might want to check out a few easy recommendations to follow while trying to outline a plan on how to market your MSP services.
(You might also need to read our MSP Marketing Beginner’s Guide for the explanation of the key marketing terms and concepts.)
Build an MSP Website
Websites are an effective way to help potential customers learn about the types of services you offer they are easy to create if you use a platform like WordPress.
A website is a marketing asset that is always working for you -- even when you are asleep! Once it is set up, potential customers can visit it at any time. You can quickly refer prospective leads to it: If you meet someone at a trade show who could be interested in your services, for example, a simple business card or text with the domain name of your website is all it takes for you to do quick marketing outreach.
Here is a short list of what your website should contain:
- Main page that outlines who you are and what services you offer
- Services page with a full list and more detailed description of your services
- Contacts page with details on how you can be reached, your physical and email address, phone number, etc.
One important tip to keep in mind regarding websites is that you shouldn’t overthink them. Especially if you’re a small MSP, it is rarely worth the investment to create a custom website design or hire someone to create fancy graphics. A simple, informative site will get the job done just as well.
Further reading MSP Website That Works — 4 Key Points
Partner with Other Small MSPs
You might think of other small MSPs in your local area as the competition. But the fact is, partnering with one or two of them can deliver important benefits, in a couple of ways.
First, the other local MSPs that you work with can help you out in an emergency.
Second (and more important from a marketing perspective), having a partner means you can tell leads that your MSP business works with other partners. It makes your brand look larger, more established, and more reliable.
Third, you can complement each other's services. If you are doing networking and your partner - storage and backup services, you can bundle those to gather more perspective clients.
Networking is critical. Not only is it one of the most powerful ways to generate leads that turn into new clients, but it is also free (at least in terms of direct marketing costs).
So, like it or not, you should plan to invest some time in networking. Go to local events and regional trade shows, and seek out customers.
Consider also networking with employees at larger MSP companies. They might send clients your way in the event that they don’t want to take them on (which often happens if they consider a client too small for them to work with).
Rely on Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Once you have built a network and established some customers, use them to drive word-of-mouth marketing. Getting referrals from clients or partners is a great way to generate leads. And it costs you nothing.
Ideally, those referrals will happen on their own. But don’t be afraid to incentivize word-of-mouth marketing by offering a reward (like a discount on future services) for referrals.
Another popular tactic for new MSPs is to check their contact lists. Chances are, you are an experienced IT specialist and some of your acquaintances know that and happen to be looking for managed IT services. Many MSPs find their first clients this way.
Further reading How to Get Managed Services Client Referrals
Keep It Simple
While marketing is important, don’t make the mistake of trying to bite off more of a marketing plan at once than you can swallow.
New and small MSP businesses don’t have to spend time and money on unnecessary efforts that bigger businesses might need. If you develop a bigger IT shop, you’ll need bigger budgets for marketing and dedicated specialists. At the point when you are a one-man show, you can stick to one marketing endeavor at a time. If you launch an email campaign, let it run its course before you start building a social networking presence, for example.
By investing in low-cost marketing initiatives that pay off big -- like websites, networking, and word-of-mouth marketing -- you can make a big splash while keeping your MSP marketing plan manageable.