Managed service providers (MSPs) are a critical business enabler for small and medium sized businesses who don’t have the resources for an in-house IT department, and the market shows it: Globally, the managed services market size was estimated at $267.35 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.6% until 2030.
The MSP landscape is going through a period of true transformation right now: MSPs are continually increasing their focus and offerings around cybersecurity, infrastructure, cloud, and more. Digital transformations are in full swing and AI is taking the technology world by storm. In the fast-paced world of managed IT services, effective MSP marketing to boost visibility and grow your business is a critical factor for success in this competitive space.
In this comprehensive MSP marketing guide, we will explore 10 actionable strategies to enhance your digital presence and drive growth. If you’re a seasoned MSP looking to revamp your marketing approach or growing via acquisitions and needing to integrate, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to create a robust MSP marketing strategy.
Note: It’s important to have a marketing team that understands your business and targets. If you’d like to learn more about finding the right marketing partner to support your MSP business, download our eBook.
Before diving into marketing efforts, precisely defining your target audience is vital: You need to understand exactly who you are targeting so you can determine where to find them and how to tailor your strategies to better resonate. To determine your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), first think about the best customers that you currently have: Which characteristics of this customer apply more broadly across your potential prospect base? Areas to consider include:
In addition to coming up with your current ICP, you should also think critically about your target audience for expansion opportunities: Would you rather work with bigger or more mature companies? Consider emerging or expanding industries, compliance and regulatory needs, level of IT and security maturity, and shifting your target company size to home in on exactly who you want.
The right MSP marketing agency partner should assist by conducting comprehensive market research and providing valuable insights into your target audience’s preferences and behaviors, in addition to TAM and helping understand the best angle for success.
A compelling brand identity forms the cornerstone of successful MSP marketing: it’s who you are. There’s more to a brand than just a nice logo—keep the following components in mind when building your brand:
A consistent brand that resonates with your target audience instills trust and recognition, setting you apart and drawing in prospects. Additionally, don’t forget to take a look at your closest competitors’ brands to see how you stack up. An MSP marketing agency can partner with you to help refine your brand identity and messaging and create a cohesive strategy aligning with your business goals.
Your website serves as the virtual storefront for your business—it’s where your prospects get their information about your company. The number of buying interactions, or “touchpoints” before prospects are ready to make a purchase decision, has grown enormously in the last few years—during the pandemic, it jumped from 17 to 27! This includes self-guided interactions—mainly internet research, advertising, social media, and personal interactions. The majority of these interactions will drive prospects directly to your website, which means that your site must be: these interactions will drive prospects directly to your website, which means that your site must be:
In addition to the visual and usability factors on your website, there are technical pieces to consider as well to be sure your site can be found and used. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and employs SEO best practices to improve visibility in search engine results. Confirm that your website and company information pulls correctly into local business listings and maps—Google Maps, Apple Maps, Google Business, and Bing Places, for example.
There are a lot of components to a high-quality website that performs. A reputable MSP marketing agency can design and develop a high-converting website that attracts and retains visitors, maximizing your online presence.
On a related note, a well-executed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is fundamental to improving your online visibility. Improving your SEO the right way helps drive the right people—prospective customers—to your website so they can find your business, learn about your services, and reach out to your team.
SEO is a long-term play, and there are a lot of considerations to get it right. The first step is to conduct keyword research to identify relevant search terms used by your target audience. Then, you can work to optimize your website and content with these keywords to rank higher in search engine results. Investing in content generation, working to build relevant and quality backlinks, and ensuring your website loads quickly and is mobile-responsive can also help drive a higher search engine ranking.
An MSP marketing agency with SEO expertise can conduct a comprehensive audit, implement technical optimizations, and execute a content-driven SEO strategy for better rankings.
Effective content marketing that aligns with your brand helps you to establish yourself as a thought leader and attract potential customers. But don’t just write content for the sake of content: Always start with your content marketing strategy first (an MSP marketing agency can help guide your strategic process), then use it as a guide as you select your topics and content formats.
Share insights and expertise using informative blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, and videos addressing your audience’s pain points—then promote the heck out of it! Email and social media are a great starting point for promotion, but you can also distribute your content through industry publications, content syndication, paid advertising, video, and more. Additionally, think about how you can repurpose your pieces to get more bang for your content generation buck: Could a great blog post be shortened and turned into an infographic or tip sheet? Can you pull snippet videos from a webinar to share on social media?
A note about AI: Generative AI tools like ChatGPT have been a game-changer for content marketing, and can be a valuable tool to help you in crafting content, providing ideas, and even helping with the editing process. However, it’s important to remember that while AI can enhance your productivity, it can’t replace the need for your unique insights and expertise in thought leadership. Originality and the human touch are essential in establishing your unique voice and perspective—and in staying ahead of SEO trends as AI-generated content becomes more prevalent. So, while AI can be a helpful collaborator, the responsibility of shaping and owning your thought leadership remains with you, ensuring your content reflects your authentic ideas and experiences.
In today’s digital landscape, social media is an indispensable tool to build a legitimate online brand and connect with potential prospects and partners. However, it’s not enough to merely have social media accounts. Consistency in your social media efforts, such as sharing valuable content, interacting with followers, and actively participating in relevant discussions not only amplifies your presence but also nurtures meaningful relationships with potential clients.
To take it a step beyond posting consistency, there is truly a lot of potential on social media, and if you aren’t leveraging it fully, you might be missing the boat on numerous opportunities. From social selling and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategies to branding and awareness campaigns, building individual expert profiles, and more, there is a wide spectrum of activities and priorities to explore.
What platforms should you focus on? Most MSPs have the best success with LinkedIn (including Sales Navigator for sales focus) and Facebook. Depending on your target audience, you may also want to experiment with X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, or newer tools like Mastodon. To efficiently manage multiple social media channels, try social media scheduling tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite, or Buffer. Partnering with a specialized MSP marketing agency can further streamline the process of social media planning, content curation, audience targeting, and posting.
“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does” – Steuart Henderson Britt
While Steuart Henderson Britt wasn’t around to account for the intricacies of organic SEO and free social media exposure in his teachings, the point remains: For many businesses, paid advertising is mission-critical for generating leads and hitting growth goals. Two of the most common methods for advertising are:
Regardless of your chosen platform (or mix of both), we typically recommend two methods:
The world of paid media can be complex, and many have tried it, only to discover that it didn’t yield the expected results. If you haven’t tried paid advertising before—or tried without success—we highly recommend working with an experienced MSP marketing agency who can manage your PPC campaigns, allocate your budget effectively, and optimize ads to drive qualified leads to your website.
Your educational content is valuable—turn it into a lead magnet to start generating prospects and growing your network and mailing list. Lead magnets like eBooks, templates, whitepapers, and webinars entice prospects to fill out a form to get the valuable information inside.
What makes a quality lead magnet? Your prospects aren’t going to give you their contact information for free. Include thought-provoking, valuable content, proprietary information, new statistics and research, and expert insight to make it tempting and worth the download—and don’t forget to make your piece visually appealing for that professional touch.
While it is not appropriate for every content piece, we recommend having at least a couple of lead magnets that are intent-based—like we discussed for advertising, they indicate interest in your services. This is a little tongue-in-cheek, but here is an example from Magnetude’s own resource library: A Step-by-Step Guide To Finding The Right Marketing Firm for Managed Service Providers. Consider how the title and landing page copy indicates to us, as a marketing agency, that a person who downloads this eBook is likely in need of our services. Inside the eBook, you’ll find advice on how to gauge if an MSP marketing agency is the right fit for your business—and a clear call-to-action to contact us if you need marketing support. Think through how a similar concept could apply for your business—what eBook topics would indicate that a prospect is thinking about working with an MSP?
Email marketing has gotten a bit of a bad rap as inboxes are flooded with notifications, offers, and true junk. But despite all this, email marketing done the right way continues to stand out as a powerful tool for nurturing leads and building lasting customer relationships. Remember the statistic we mentioned above on the number of touchpoints needed before a sale? As you begin to generate all those great leads through your advertising, organic efforts, and lead magnet promotion, you’ll need a strong email nurture program to keep leads in the fold before they’re ready to speak to sales.
Effective email is not just about sending generic messages; it’s about creating meaningful connections. Be sure to tailor your emails to your audience’s preferences by sharing personalized and pertinent content, from the latest industry updates to educational resources and exclusive offers.
Segmenting your email list based on your recipients’ interests and their past interactions with your emails is the secret sauce. By doing so, you’re ensuring that your messages hit the right mark, resonating with each reader on a personal level, which not only boosts engagement but also enhances the likelihood of conversions and customer retention.
If you made it this far, you clearly see the sheer amount of expertise and resources required for an effective MSP marketing strategy. Many MSPs choose to partner with a marketing agency that specializes in MSPs, IT, and technology to leverage their specialized marketing expertise and resourcing power. In fact, working with an outside marketing partner brings a lot of cost efficiencies and specialized expertise in the same way that your clients benefit from working with an MSP for their IT needs—in a way, the right MSP marketing agency is managed services, just for marketing.
When looking for a marketing partner, it’s important to find the best fit for your company, industry, pain points, and culture. Subject matter expertise, a well-defined strategy paired with impeccable execution, custom-tailored plans designed specifically for your business, and a metrics-driven approach are all essential considerations in your search. Your chosen agency’s industry insights, resources, and commitment to these principles will have a significant impact on your marketing strategy and your results.
The world of managed IT services is rapidly evolving, and a robust marketing strategy is essential for success in this dynamic landscape. We hope these 10 actionable strategies have been helpful as you plan your MSP marketing strategy to enhance your online presence, define and reach your target audience, and achieve growth. We often find that partnering with the right MSP marketing agency is the key to success for our clients. If you’re ready to take your MSP marketing to the next level, contact us for a free consultation.