IT managed service providers need a robust marketing strategy that reaches leads with persuasive, useful content over a multi-touch sales cycle. Here are 7 managed services marketing ideas, tips, and strategies that will boost your lead-generation campaigns.
Marketing 360® works with a lot of business verticals, and on occasion we identify one that consistently has problems developing marketing plans. IT managed services is one of them.
The problem, at its core, is that there is a gap between the way the managed service providers communicate and the way business decision makers respond. Managed service providers are techies – and they like to communicate with that voice. But most of the decision makers they need to influence aren’t techies, so they’re not persuaded by technical jargon that details the features of a solution.
Your managed service company may be a proud group of tech geeks, but you’ve got to communicate in a way that influences how people feel. To market successfully, the buttons you have to push are emotional. Here are 7 marketing ideas that will help you do this through a variety of marketing channels.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #1: Communicate Value With Clarity
IT managed service marketing material suffers from a kind of disease. This disease is characterized by jargonistic, buzzword-heavy word choice. It causes businesses to use stilted, vague language. It sounds like this:
(Business name) is the leader in delivering managed IT services as well as cloud IT support services. Network management requires the allocation of several valuable resources, which may hinder your ability to grow and develop your business the way you want. Our IT consulting team takes a holistic approach to network support that provides our clients with strategic innovation within their organization, cost savings and higher end user productivity.
The allocation of several valuable resources…team takes a holistic approach…with strategic innovation. What does any of this really mean?
The disease causes managed service business to sacrifice two vital things for marketing communications: specificity and clarity.
You’d be hard pressed to find a managed service website that doesn’t use the term “state of the art”. Instead of being clear about the value they deliver, they fill content with phrases like mission-critical, best-in-class, or solution-driven.
These buzzwords are just filler. They make the solutions sound fancy, but they have no emotional impact on your target audience.
Business owners don’t care if your technology is solution driven. They care if you can solve the active problem they have at that moment.
Look through your content and begin to edit out jargon and buzzwords. Explain the value of your solution in a way that a 5th grader would understand. Instead of trying to impress people with industry jargon, influence them with precise language.
Do this, and you’ll have a huge advantage over all your competition with their feature-rich designs and best-practices scalability.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #2: Create a Unique Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition directly connects to communicating with clarity.
Your UVP should be as long as it needs to be to accomplish three things:
- Communicate something specific of value.
- Clarify the benefit(s) customers derive from your offer.
- State or imply why you’re the best choice.
You provide answers to these questions:
- What do you do? Can you help me?
- What’s in this for me? Why are you worth it?
- Why should I choose you instead of another service or method of solving my problem?
It doesn’t take long to realize that a managed service with “cutting edge” technology that offers services so “you can get back to running your business” doesn’t have a crisp, effective value proposition.
Some training course on marketing managed services must have taught the value proposition of “focus on your business while we handle your IT”, because just about every managed service provider out there uses that idea as their main value proposition. It’s not a terrible value proposition, but the problem is it isn’t unique – at all. That statement gives a business owner no reason to choose a particular business.
Here’s an example of a better UVP:
In this case, they’re making a direct comparison to the competition. The reason to choose them is they’re more experience. It’s a nice touch to have the number of service calls in the statement.
Leads that check out your website will compare you to other managed services in the area. It’s up to you to give them a compelling reason to choose you instead of the competition. Consider your strengths and highlight them with specificity in your UVP.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #3: Develop Your Call To Action
Your call to action is the next – and most important – step in getting leads from your website.
Your website’s job is to get leads to identify themselves to you. You’re not actually selling managed services on your website. You’re just trying to get visitors to reach out so you can assess their IT and create a proposal.
The call to action literally tells the visitor what to do. It uses the imperative voice and provides a compelling reason for the person to take the action.
Again, most managed services do a poor job with this website element. Many, in fact, don’t really have a call to action. They provide a phone number or a contact form, but do nothing to motivate visitors to take immediate action.
The result? Most visitors don’t act. We’ve audited many managed service websites with conversion rates under .05%. That’s not a website doing its job.
To get much higher conversion rates, develop a strong call to action that stands out on your website.
For example, most managed services talk about how they save clients money on technology. But few are specific about it. You might try a call to action like this:
We save our clients up to 20% on their annual IT costs.
Schedule a free network assessment to learn how much you can save.
A lot of business owners fear that issues with their computers or network will cost them business. You can use that fear to motivate action.
Data breaches can result in lawsuits and bankruptcy. Make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
Contact us for a free network security audit to determine if you’re vulnerable.
Notice that there is also a value offering here of a free assessment or consultation. Online consumers respond to upfront value offerings. They want to know they’ll get something for their time without having to commit too much initially.
If you want to motivate visitors to turn into leads, you need to give them a good reason to contact you – and tell them to do it.
Work on your call to action and test it with different ad campaigns. When you discover what triggers action, you’ll get far more leads from your website.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #4: Develop a Modern, Mobile Responsive Website
Let’s be honest. A technology company with an outdated website has about as much chance at being successful as a vegetarian burger restaurant.
You must present yourself as modern and effectual. Your website is an initial demonstration of your “cutting edge” technology.
Also, it’s critical that your website is mobile responsive. Expect over half your traffic to be on phones.
With today’s website templates like UXI®, it’s fast and affordable to update your website design. Here’s an example mockup:
There is no reason for your website to be overly complex. Simple navigation, clean design, and clear content will do the most to win you conversions.
If it’s time for a new website for your business, contact us today. We can hook you up with a free mockup.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #5: Master Search Marketing
To drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to show up for IT and computer repair related searches in your area. There are three ways to dominate the search results.
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These ads are run through auction-based systems like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. The main advantage here is that you show in the top positions (reserved for paid ads) and that you can control the ad copy and landing page. For example, you might want to run an advertisement for VOIP solutions. Your ad and the page it goes to on your website can match that offer. You can even target the ad so it only displays in areas with a lot of businesses and office complexes.
Next, you need to set-up and rank for Google My Business. This is the maps listing and review platform Google uses for geo-targeted searches. It’s a free listing you can optimize with your descriptions and by getting customer reviews.
Then you have the organic website listings. These are also free clicks, with ranking gained by optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links, getting social media traffic, and adding content to your blog.
If you do each of these tactics effectively, you can show up in three places on page one:
Pro Tip: Run Retargeting Ads
Even if you do the things we discussed so far, many people who visit your website for the first time won’t convert. It’s just the nature of how people “surf” online.
But you can get some sales persistence in play using retargeting ads, which are banner ads that display to people after they’ve visited your website. These ads display on Google or Facebook. For example:
These ads serve as a reminder for people to follow through and look into their IT needs, and they also create more awareness for your brand.
The ROI on these campaigns tends to be high, so they’re well worth trying.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #6: Manage Your Reputation
There is one other type of online content that will have a considerable impact on your managed services lead-generation. However, this isn’t content you create yourself.
It’s reviews and testimonials written about your services by your clients. These reviews appear online on sites like Google, Facebook, Top Rated Local, and Yelp.
Make no mistake, reviews influence leads. If you have a positive review profile across the web, it will be a huge boon for your lead generation. If you’ve been hit by too many poor reviews, it can ruin you.
The secret to getting great reviews is no secret. It really comes down to the quality of the service you deliver. If your solutions and help desk are really easing the tech burden of your clients, you’ll get positive reviews. If you’re failing to meet expectations, you won’t like what you read about yourself.
Because of the importance of reviews, you’ll want to be proactive about them by asking happy clients to review you. We’ve had success using email follow-ups with this type of template:
When they click on “excellent” it links to a review platform. “Needs Improvement” opens up a feedback form (so this email favors getting positive reviews).
In addition, use testimonials on your website from your best clients, and the Top Rated Local Badge:
This allows you to present testimonials and reviews without leads having to leave your website.
Review content is a major factor in getting potential clients to trust you. Get them working in your favor.
Managed Services Marketing Idea #7: Use CRM and Marketing Software
As an IT company, you’re well apprised of what a game-changer software can be. This is also true for your marketing.
Marketing software platforms like Marketing 360® bring all these channels together so you can track results from your website, search campaigns, email marketing, and social media marketing. It helps you understand what’s happening with your marketing so you can make adjustments to optimize your efforts.
You’ll also want to use CRM software to track your leads and existing clients. With Marketing 360®, this all ties together with your marketing programs and email software.
In fact, this state-of-the-art, paradigm-shifting, industry-leading innovation…just kidding. It’s just well-designed software that makes it simple to manage and track your marketing efforts.
Contact us today to get a free demo. You’ll have more data on IT managed services marketing efforts with it taking far less time out of your day.