IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Outspend Your Competition on Marketing—Or Else

It’s not just about dollars; you must dedicate brain power and time to hone and promote your content. By Jim Roddy

AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT to solution provider growth is outspending your competition on marketing. When I say “outspend,” I’m not just talking about dedicating more budget to attend new trade shows or drop more mailers. That could be part of the equation, but more important is dedicating your brain power and employee time to building your brand, sharpening your messaging, and promoting that content to your target audience.

Here’s a list of tactics that have been effective for solution providers I’ve engaged with. Note that many of these activities don’t have hard costs associated with them.

First, effective content creation and content marketing will improve your engagement with your target audience and build trust with prospects. Determine what your audience cares about and create content about best practices for handling those issues. A white paper distributed via email is a good start, but don’t stop there. Repurpose that content into a series of blog posts, webinars, online videos, direct mailers, handouts, social media posts, and maybe even a conference presentation. Oftentimes when MSPs move down the content marketing path, they discover they have a staff member who has the skills to generate and distribute content quickly. Share your market insights with them, create a content creation/distribution schedule, and then start building your brand.

After you create several pieces of online content, analyze your search engine optimization (SEO) results and create additional content based on the most popular ones.

Next, embrace marketing automation tools that guide you toward best practices, streamline marketing activities, and track results of your efforts. Hire an adviser from your marketing automation provider as well to help you design campaigns and show you how to maximize the software’s features. One MSP told me he used this method to jump from 10 leads per year to 100 unique leads per year—and these new leads had a 15% higher closing rate. He spends $15,000 annually for this service but said there’s no doubt he achieves a significant ROI on that expense.

While I’m a fan of marketing automation, I’m also a fan of personal, individual outreaches. Email content to individuals you believe will be interested in that topic. Encourage your sales team to do the same. Be judicious about who you engage with; don’t share everything with everybody because that’s spamming, not content marketing.

Another idea: Convert client testimonials into a word cloud of comments. Ask in marketing materials, “Can you say these things about your IT support? If not, call us.”

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