There’s something missing in the world of MSP marketing.
I’m not talking about a lack of materials or resources. I’m definitely not referring to a want for motivation or effort.
What’s missing is simple: The message. In marketing, the message is everything.
Your prospects don’t care that you got their email address from a list. They don’t care that you have a powerful social media machine that attracted hundreds of followers. They couldn’t care less about your web traffic or your ranking on Google.
The people who you are trying to turn into customers only care about one thing: what you can do for them.
It’s not because they choose to ignore everything else. Their selection process is just so subconsciously guided that they can’t make a decision any other way. Like it or not, that lead has decided whether or not they’re going to become your customer well before they’ve clicked into the second page of your website.
They might not even know it yet, but we do. Because we’re salespeople and marketers, and we understand the magic involved in what we do.
To put it simply, our most important skill is the manipulation of the human subconscious. Through a well-honed understanding of people, we’re able to bypass mental blocks, stimulate desires, and alleviate fears.
Our purpose has very little to do with informing your customers about services and prices and where your office is located. If we’ve done our job right, they’ll figure out where you are and they’ll pay what you’re asking. The details are irrelevant. That’s how powerful a good marketing strategy can be.
Getting to this point is accomplished first and foremost through the crafting and skilled delivery of the message.
The message tells the audience why they need you. It makes them realize, undeniably, that they cannot live through another day without you. The message is about inspiration, not information.
Proper marketing inspires and uplifts the audience above their worries and their doubts. It puts them in a frame of unyielding, consumerist bliss. Once this state is achieved, the only surviving objection comes when it’s time to plumb their bank account — and this can usually be overcome if you offer financing.
Knowing this, I want you to think about the current state of MSP marketing. Where is the bliss? Where is the sex appeal? Where is the driving force that compels a business owner to drop everything they’re doing to call an IT provider?
There isn’t one.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice the reactionist trend in MSP marketing. When ransomware attacks, we promote antivirus software. When natural disasters strike, we advertise data backups. We talk about how quickly we can fix your computers when they break, or how secure your customer data will be.
What’s the fundamental problem here? No one cares about any of this. Sure, it’s important, but no one who dreams of starting their own business fantasized about what kind of cloud service they’re going use.
To be perfectly honest, current MSP marketing is sending two messages: IT is incredibly boring and the boogeyman is coming to get you.
No wonder no one is salivating over the idea of calling an MSP!
MSP Marketing: They Don’t Care Until You Make Them Care
If you doubt my assertion that people don’t care about these “hot-button issues”, just take a look at how many medical practices have data breaches. Thousands of intelligent, educated people are willingly choosing to ignore MSPs and the Federal government because they don’t want to think about data security.
These are medical doctors who stand to lose thousands of dollars, their reputations, and their patients, and even they aren’t receptive to the current message! How receptive do you think a business owner with less on the line is going to be?
The current message is incredibly negative. It’s all about the monsters under the bed and how such-and-such MSP can get rid of them. But there are so many things wrong with this approach. For one, you’re sending this message to people who don’t believe in monsters, plain and simple. For the average person, ransomware attacks and data breaches are no more real than Bigfoot, and we have to accept that we’re fighting a losing battle by trying to inform them into submission.
Why do we expend so much energy and so many resources trying to force people to believe that the monsters are real and that they need to pay handsomely for protection?
What’s needed is a shift to a positive message. Remember, the goal is inspiration, not information. Our best approach is to inspire the imaginations of our audience. Allow them to feel the good things that we have to offer rather than strong-arming them into fearing the boogeyman.
I want to offer a couple of examples here.
First, let’s think about cosmetics and beauty products. Such are well known for playing up the “standard of beauty”, and they’re often criticized for their advertising. Many accuse cosmetics companies of sending the message that if you don’t use their products, you won’t be beautiful.
But that’s not what cosmetics companies do. They don’t show an unattractive person and say “if you don’t use our makeup, you’ll look like this slob.” Not at all.
These companies show purely positive imagery, centralized around the notion that if you use their products, you will feel beautiful. Their message is confidence, happiness. It’s visceral and quite powerful. It’s inspiring.
When an MSP harps on the downfall of businesses who failed to backup their data or install ransomware, they’re pointing at the poor schlub and saying, “Look at this fool. Do you want to end up like him? DO YOU?” Their message is intimidation.
There’s a huge difference.
The difference is the response. In the case of intimidation, there’s an incredibly high chance that the audience will shrug the whole thing off by saying, “This won’t happen to me.” You know damn well that it happens all the time.
But in the case of inspiration, there’s an almost certain chance that the audience will say “How can I make this happen to me?”
Inspiration makes people want what you’re selling. How nice would that be?
Now, a second example. This one involves something a little more dear to me than makeup. Cars.
BMW sells amazing automobiles. We all know it, and it’s hard to dispute the quality and performance of their product. There’s a legacy behind them, and a slew of raving fans.
But BMW doesn’t sell thousands of cars based on the reliability of their vehicles or the sticker price. (In fact, one of things my dad told me when I was a kid was to go to a BMW dealership and ask about the gas mileage on a car. He claimed there was no faster way to make a salesman leave you alone.)
To a certain degree, BMW sells for performance. There are few vehicles as ready for the track off the assembly line as an M-series Bimmer; but being a car enthusiast, I can assure you that the vast majority of BMW owners have no clue what sprung weight or camber means.
BMW sells on status. They sell because people who want to have a nice car know that they can’t go wrong with the blue and white badge and kidney grills.
No one has to say, “our cars are made in Germany and they’re finely-tuned machines, and you need that because if your car breaks down, you can’t go to the grocery store.”
There’s nothing that needs fixing. It’s not about patching a hole or putting out a fire. It’s about elevating the buyer to something greater. Again, it’s inspiration. It’s positive, exclusively.
Where does this leave MSPs? It’s easy to draw loose comparisons with cars and cosmetics, but where’s the true parallel?
IT services can’t make someone feel beautiful, and I seriously doubt there’s a business productivity suite that can get someone’s heart racing as much as a cruising down the highway in a 335i.
How To Make MSP Marketing Compelling and Engaging
That’s the challenge. When it comes to MSP marketing, it’s the greatest challenge. It’s Everest. Delivery through technical marketing skills is critical, of course, but SEO and Google AdWords are child’s play compared to crafting a great marketing message.
The team at MarketStash is dedicated to this exact task. We work tirelessly to create effective MSP marketing content so that business owners like you can leverage a worthwhile message.