Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 24: MSPs that niche their marketing, sell more

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 24: MSPs that niche their marketing, sell more
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In this week's episode

  • It's natural to baulk at the idea of turning away perfectly good clients, but specialising in a market niche doesn't mean you need limit your options. Join Paul as he explains how you can still maintain a broad range of clients whilst boosting your business by marketing within a specific niche
  • Not only will we be looking at the traffic that you drive to your website and how to improve your conversion rate, but Paul also answers a brilliant question from a listener about the best kind of 'call to action' to put on your MSP website
  • Plus a special guest joining Paul to to explain how you could boost your monthly recurring revenue by selling a whitelist antivirus solution, rather than a traditional blacklisting one. It's called PC Matic and we find out how their whitelisting process means it's all ready to re-sell

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: Hello, here's what's coming up in today's show. Corey Munson: Even for the least tech savvy out there, I think it's easy to consume and appreciate the benefit. Paul Green: We're also going to be looking at the marketing super power of niching, particularly when you do it in a single vertical; and I'm answering a question for an MSP about the best call to action to put on your website . Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: Sometimes as business owners, we think the answer is just to send more traffic to our website. "Let's get lots more traffic. Let's drive some Google ads. Let's do some Facebook. Let's do some more LinkedIn. Let's get traffic, traffic, traffic, traffic, traffic going to the website." And sure, getting more of the right qualified traffic can help and qualified traffic is the right kind of traffic. It's people who could go on to buy from you at some point. Paul Green: Not all traffic is equal, but the way I see is that traffic alone is pointless. Traffic without conversion is just a waste of your time and money because traffic costs these days. The days of free traffic are long gone these days. You've got to pay for it in some way. You've got to pay for it either in cash or in sweat. Go back five, 10 years ago, and you could get loads of traffic from Google organically for virtually no cost, perhaps a little bit of investment in SEO. These days you've got to spend that money on either on the Google ads or spend the money on SEO on someone optimising the campaign for you. The traffic is more expensive and we actually need to make sure that that traffic is turning into something. Paul Green: Let's talk about conversion. For most MSPs that I speak to, if you can get someone on the phone just for 15, 20 minutes, you can have a quality initial conversation. Which if it's appropriate for you and for your new lead, your new prospects that can lead to an offsite meeting when that can happen. And obviously, once you're in front of people at that point it can lead to an offline meeting when that can happen. And once that happens, then you know they're in your sales process from there. Paul Green: Most MSPs, even if they don't enjoy selling, they don't have a problem with selling at all. The issue is just simply getting enough people to talk to. And that's why I believe that traffic without conversion is completely pointless. Because if you have a website which simply doesn't convert, tripling the number of people who come to that website is still not going to convert. Just because you're chucking more people at it doesn't mean it's going to perform any better. Paul Green: I think those are the two areas that go absolutely hand in hand. You have to make sure that you're driving quality traffic and that's about having a plan, and you've got to know where are we going to get our traffic sources, how are we driving traffic? How much are we willing to invest in that traffic? That's the first thing. Paul Green: But then secondly, you need to look at the conversion, and that's about looking at your website and saying, when someone comes onto this website, what does it tell them that makes us different from all the other MSPs that they could go and speak about? Does our website, at the same time, talk to them in their language and engage with them at an emotional level? And also is it very, very clear what it is that they have to do next? Paul Green: Now there's an old marketing formula called AIDA, A-I-D-A, and it stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. This was created, I think it was more than a hundred years ago, and this was a formula for you to create marketing collateral with. You had to make sure that each piece of marketing that you did grabbed their attention, and we do that with a headline. You had to make sure that each piece of marketing collateral built up their interest and their desire to have whatever it is you're selling or to do whatever it is you want them to do. Paul Green: And then the final one, A, action is the call to action. It's the thing that you most want them to do. In fact, we're going to be talking about that later on in the podcast, what's the best call to action on your website. But you need to make sure that it's easy for people to get in touch with you. Whether that's booking an appointment directly filling in a form, doing a live chat. There are lots of different things that you can do, and some work better than others for MSPs right now. Paul Green: There are a couple of tools that are worth embedding into your websites. I've mentioned, I think, both of them are on the podcast before. One of them is something called hotjar.com, definitely mentioned that one before. It's a great piece of technology. You embed it in your website and it takes videos of people using your website. Well, there are two aspects to is it. It will video user sessions, so you can't see the person but you can see what action they've been taking within your website. Paul Green: The other thing that it does is it does something called heat mapping. Heat mapping shows you where people have been looking on your website and it's kind of terrifying because it makes you realise how little content people actually look at. You put Hotjar into your websites and you realise that they don't go down the page as far as you think they do. What that knowledge allows you to do is to reorganise your website so that the call to action is what they see. It's why call to actions need to be typically higher up a page because they typically get more conversions up there. Hotjar.com is the first piece of software I suggest you use. Paul Green: The other thing you can use is something called Google Optimize. Now there's a separate standalone piece of software called Optimizely, if you'd prefer not to use the Google version. But to be honest, the Google version is absolutely great and isn't going to cost you anything. And what Google Optimize will allow you to do is to set up split tests on your website. Split tests sometimes called an AB split test is where you have two different versions of the same page. Paul Green: For example, if you had a page with a headline which said, "We are great at IT," which is a terrible headline of course, and you decided to test that with a split test. You would create within Google Optimize a second version of that page. It would be absolutely identical to the first version apart from the headline. And then you'd change the headline to say, "You found the right people for your IT," and then Google Optimize will split your traffic for you. It will split it. Paul Green: Let's say you send 100 visitors to version A, 100 different visitors to version B; and version B has a slightly higher conversion rate, as in more people book an appointment with you online. We can tell now that that headline outperforms the original headline, and that's the beauty of split testing. You can optimise and optimise and optimise your website just off the back of doing something like this. Paul Green: To sum up, most MSPs don't spend nearly enough time on their websites and you can see that by the state of most MSPs' websites. But if you want to be absolutely, genuinely serious about driving more traffic to your website and making sure that it actually turns into more prospect meetings then you've got to focus on the conversion as well. Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: I discovered the super power of niching in a single vertical around about a decade ago. Back then I was running my very first business, which at the time was a general PR and marketing business, and we would take any client on, anyone that did anything. And as long as they had around about a thousand pounds a month, then we'd quite happily service them and do some of their marketing and do some of their public relations for them. Paul Green: The problem with that was we never really got to know our clients particularly well because we had such a diverse range of clients. We did have some IT companies. In fact, that was the first introduction I had to IT support and MSPs and how wonderful your world is. But we also had some random clients, like a guy that printed charity greeting cards. We had a training school, we had an engineering company. kind of you name it, we had an accountant, we had a lawyer. It was your classic marketing agency with lots and lots of different clients doing lots of different things. Paul Green: And the two main problems with that were inefficiency and lack of perceived expertise. So I had a team of I think three or four people at the time and they were constantly, all of us were running around creating marketing materials for our clients. And yeah, okay, that was our job. That was what we were supposed to do. But it was exhausting because you'd be writing something for the lawyer, and then you'd flip and you write something for the engineering company, and then you'd flip and you'd be trying to sort something out for the charity greetings card company. And it was a constant slog and your mind was constantly flitting from, "Right, what do our lawyers prospects want? What do people who buy from an engineering company, what do they want?" You're constantly flitting. It's exhausting. You never build any traction with it. You never get any momentum going. Paul Green: And I had an epiphany, which was actually down to an optician that I was working with at the time. He was an optician who was doing very well for himself. In fact, he turned up at one of our meetings in an Aston Martin. Side note, never turn up for a meeting in an Aston Martin because your rates up. Anyway, we sat chatting and then we went out and had lunch. And he said to me, "You guys are really good at what you do. The problem is your flitting around all these different subjects. You should niche. You should just do this for one sector. And you know what, opticians would be a great sector." Paul Green: And off the back of that, we formed a little bit of a partnership and we went off and we started doing marketing just for opticians. And within a year, we'd fired all of our general clients because suddenly those general clients were a real pain in the backside. Whereas with the opticians, we could do a piece of work once and then we could sell it multiple times. And in fact, we replaced the net profit that we'd been making from those general clients within a year just focusing on opticians because it was so efficient. There was a very, very clear route to market because they all read the same magazines and blogs and went to the same trade shows. It was very easy for us to gain momentum and traction and expertise in the marketplace. We just kept going and kept going, and learning more and more and more about opticians, and learning more and more and more about the marketing that works and what their clients responded to. Paul Green: And the only reason that we went off and then worked in a couple of other niches, which turned out to be veterinary and then dentistry was because at that point, 10 years ago, the market for independent opticians in the UK just wasn't that big. It had been decimated by a company called spec savers, which then went on to do the same in Australia. And for my US listeners, it's the equivalent of LensCrafters. It's the big national chain. So we sidestepped into veterinary and dentistry, which are kind of similar sectors to optics, and that was it. Those were our three sectors. Paul Green: We dipped our toe into some other sectors along the way. I lost a lot of money trying to do it for restaurants. Restaurant owners don't respond and act the same way as professionals do, professionals like vets and dentists. But we essentially, we stuck to those core three verticals. And again, the same thing happened. We could do a piece of work once. We could sell it multiple times to lots of different people. The routes to market were clear. It was beautiful. And it was one of the reasons why I was able to grow the business and we were doing a random at a million a year off the staff that we had. It was 15 staff. It was a systemised delivery and sales and marketing because we understood our audience. We were deep diving into our audience and the people that we needed to speak to, and that's why I recommend that you do exactly the same thing. Paul Green: Now I've recommended this to virtually every MSP that I've ever spoken to, which is if you've got one, go find your niche, go find your vertical, and as much as you can marry that market because it's so powerful. And most MSPs will obviously still take on anyone that comes along, and quite right too, and you keep your general clients. You don't have to fire off your general clients. Because actually for you, the work that you do is 80% similar for every single client, but it's from a marketing point of view that the niching, the verticalisation becomes so powerful. Paul Green: I have clients who specialise in lawyers. I have clients who specialise in accountants, recruitment, call centres, manufacturing, engineering. I've got a client who's doing very well in veterinary, another one who's doing very well in dentistry. They all have general clients on the side, and in fact most of them they've got more general clients than they've got niche clients. But from a marketing point of view, they can go and reach those people in a really, really clever way. It's so much cheaper to reach people when they perceive that you are the expert at what it is that you do for them. And this was the thing I found when I started working with the opticians. Paul Green: Whereas the charity greetings card guy would say to me, "What do you know about marketing charity greeting cards?" Which actually the truth is very little. When the opticians just didn't say that. They never asked the question of, what do you know about optical marketing? Because we had a website that was just about optical marketing. We had staff that knew all about optical marketing. We had examples that we could show them. We got case studies, we got testimonials. It's very, very, very powerful. Paul Green: The thing to do is to look at your existing business and say, is there a trend anywhere? Do I have two or three clients that happened to be within the same niche or the same vertical? Do I have two or three clients that seem to be the same? It could be professional services. Or it could be actually we've got three lawyers, not by design. We just ended up with three lawyers. That's when you can say to yourself, "Ah, I've got a hidden niche. I've got a hidden vertical. I'm already super serving lawyers and I've got a great relationship with them." So then you go and get some testimonials from them. You perhaps get a case study done. Better still, you get a video done and you either adapt your existing general website. Or better still, you set up a new website and on that new website you show that you are the expert at IT support for that vertical in your area. Paul Green: One tip on creating the marketing materials for that is all you got to do is use a little bit of inside language. You don't want it to be completely overboard. Let's say it was lawyers that you specialised in. You don't need to say law and legal and practice every sentence. You just need to kind of mention it once. Paul Green: For example, in a headline you might say, "Specialist IT support for lawyers in area." Now that's not a particularly clever headline, but that's what we call a name and address headline where you literally say who you are and what you do. "We do IT support for lawyers in area," and it's very, very clear for lawyers what you do and who you do for and in which area you do it. And that's actually quite appealing to some people even though he's not a particularly clever headline. You then drop in a little bit of their internal jargon. Paul Green: For example, I don't know about any legal examples, but with opticians and vets and dentists, the software that they use to run their business is called a PMS, a practice management system. If for example you were verticalising in those niches, you would drop in very high up the page, because remember what we were saying earlier about people don't get as far down the page as you think, very high up the page you'd drop in that you can work with all the major PMSs and then you'd name a few. Because if you name them, well, hey, hang on, you've got inside knowledge. And that's the whole point of verticalisation. Paul Green: Real experts have inside knowledge. So if you've used the word or the niche and you've dropped in one or two little pieces of their internal jargon early on, the rest of your website can be normal, and this is the beauty of verticalisation. It's verticalising the marketing only. It's focusing on them and the fact that they want to hire perceived experts and positioning you as that perceived expert. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: At times like these. We all need as much help as we can get with our marketing and with drawing prospects closer and turning them into leads to have a conversation. I know that marketing is the single biggest headache for most MSPs because they're just not good at it. And if you're in that situation where you want more new clients, you want to have more conversations, it's just a case of "how do we do that", then I promise you, you're not alone. Paul Green: It's where most people are. And because most people are there, that's why if you can get a little bit better at marketing, it can make quite a distinctive difference to your business. It can give you a huge advantage. Because you don't have to beat everyone, you've only got to be slightly better than some of your competitors. Now, that's the thinking behind my service called the MSP Marketing Edge and more than 130 MSPs worldwide now trust this service. What we do, there's two sides to it. Paul Green: The first side is every month I give you fresh marketing content that you can use to appeal to your prospects. You get an educational guide every month, you get an advertising pack with adverts for Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You get a video that you can put your logo on and you can put that into your website. And by the way, we do UK and US versions of that video. Paul Green: We do social media content, so stuff that you can put on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Instagram if you're on Insta, you can put it on Facebook as well. We give you some prospect emails to send out to people who are in your list. They've opted into your marketing list, and in fact, we teach you how to get them to opt in as well. And then we do versions of those emails to go out to clients. And these are educational emails to warm your prospects up and to retain your clients. Paul Green: There's a sales letter that you can physically post out to people. There's a press release that you can send to your local media. There's a whole bunch of support libraries to help you with these, and there's daily support from me in a Facebook group. We have a secret Facebook group, there's only for active members of the MSP Marketing Edge. That's all the stuff you get every single month. Paul Green: There's also a second side to this, which we call MSP Marketing Edge Plus, and it's a whole series of extra tools. They don't come out monthly, but they're there to help you just to get more new clients for your MSP. For example, there's an educational book that you can put your name on and use as a marketing tool. It's called Email Hijack, and it's about how people's email is the single most used point of entry for some kind of hack and it teaches non-tech people how to secure their email. What it actually does is it drives them to you because it all seems very, very difficult. There's a Have I Been Pwned data capture plug-in for your website. You've heard of Have I Been Pwned. It's a great free service and there's a plug-in that we've created which uses the API. If you've got a WordPress website, you stick it in your website and then you have data capture using Have I Been Pwned? Paul Green: There are extra marketing materials based on events in the news. During coronavirus, I've been giving marketing materials, fresh new marketing materials almost daily to my MSP Marketing Edge members. There's a video which comes out every week, which talks about how you can grow and market your business, and there's a whole bunch of other stuff that we're adding as the next couple of weeks go by. There's a quarterly printed newsletter for you to send to your clients and prospects. There's free entry on a lead generation website, which at the moment is UK only, but we'll be spreading that out to the US at some point. There's a quarterly campaign in a box. The first one is based around backups and the need for backups. It's whole series of different materials that you can send out to your prospects. And then coming in a few weeks time, we've got weekly tech tips videos for you to put on your website and social media. You'll get a total of five, maybe even six videos per month because we all know that this is the year of video and videos are so important. Paul Green: Now all of this is really, really cheap. We deliberately made it cheap because do you remember that concept I was talking about in verticalisation and niching where you make something once and you sell it repeatedly? That's exactly what we do. We make all of this stuff once and then we strictly only sell it to one MSP per area, and that means in the UK it's yours for 99 pounds plus VAT every month. And in the US and other parts of the world, because we do already have clients in Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, Canada and a whole bunch of other territories, the US one is just $129 per month. And for both of those I've made it very easy for you to try it for a month virtually risk-free and the UK pay just a pound, try it for a month. In the US, it's free. It doesn't cost you anything to try it for a month. All the details are at mspmarketingedge.com. Voiceover: The big interview. Corey Munson: Hi, I'm Corey Munson. I am vice president at PC Matic. Been around for approximately 20 years. Solely dedicated to endpoint security and remote management tools. Increasingly involved in the MSP community. Paul Green: And I know today we're going to be talking about security through white listing rather through black listing. Most devices by defaults are open to everything unless you blacklist something. Whereas your approach from PC Matic is that actually everything is blocked by default unless you white list it. Corey Munson: Exactly. What we're setting up is default deny, as most people know it. We're simply dropping an agent onto an endpoint. We're monitoring for anything that attempts to execute on that endpoint. If it happens to execute and it's not on our white list of known go to applications, we'll block it from executing. The real difference to what we're doing with our white listing approach is we have that baseline of what we've curated as a list of known good to start from instead of requiring our partners to go out and build those lists on behalf of their customers. We're out there actively identifying what those known good applications are. If something attempts to execute them that's not recognised as part of that list, we'll simply block it. Paul Green: From the MSP's point of view, they essentially get to lock down their client's devices just through the single application. But as you said, they don't have to actually do all the hard work of building the white list for themselves. They just have to add on any new applications that their clients are using that perhaps aren't on your list already. Corey Munson: That's exactly right. The whole concept around white listing in itself is not necessarily new, but it's typically been rejected because it does involve some heavy lifting if you're doing it manually. That's what we've done is to try to give our MSP partners a running start. And if there are things that are proprietary for a particular customer, giving them the easy access to add those things, add deployment so they're not dealing with false positive later on. Paul Green: Is this used as an advanced revenue generating opportunity or is it just becoming a standard tool for them? Corey Munson: It's really two-fold. We have partners that are ripping and replacing their current endpoint security solutions for their customers and replacing it with what we're offering. And in some cases, they're simply adding this as an additional layer to their security stack. But I think even at its core, the value proposition in terms of a simple thing to explain to end customers that our MSP partners are doing to improve their security, it makes a lot of sense. And even for the least tech savvy out there, I think it's easy to consume and appreciate the benefit. Paul Green: Okay, now you announced something about a month ago, which was what caught my attention because I could see this was, again, a massive revenue generating opportunity for people who are using and reselling your products. Tell us what you're going to be doing differently from June. Corey Munson: What we've elected to do here in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we really recognise that this makes the role of our MSP partners even more vital. We know for a fact we're hearing from companies of all sizes every day now that need additional support to deploy remote workforce. Knowing that our MSPs are going to do a lot of that work, what we've announced is any of our MSP partners, current or future, can add unlimited number of customers and/or end points to their accounts at no additional charge. This allows them to really go out there and meet the needs of people that are, in some cases, very desperate to get their remote workforces in place and be able to benefit from both the security features, and we even have some remote management features as part of our platform as well, benefit from all of those without having to worry about seeing that as a part of an invoice. Paul Green: That's a great idea. Thank you for that, Corey. Tell us what your website is and how we can get in touch with you. Corey Munson: Sure. The best way to get in touch with us is pcmatic.com, pcmatic.com/msp, or you can email us at partners@pcmatic.com. Either way, we're happy to have a conversation, provide a full demo of the platform trials or simply get our partners up and operational. The other thing we take a lot of pride in, especially given these challenging time is we have a very robust onboarding and support team that is there to stand behind our partners as they're trying to ramp up to meet the needs of their customers. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP marketing podcast. Ask Paul anything. James: Hello, My name is James from Connection. What's the best call to action on my website? Paul Green: Great question, James. Thank you very much, and it does tie in very nicely with what we were talking about earlier on when we were talking about traffic and conversion. The goal is to get people to talk to you, is to get them on the phone with you. Once they're on the phone with you, then you can do the hard job of converting them into a face-to-face meeting or whatever is your appropriate next step. Paul Green: There's a couple of different things that you can do on your website and my personal favourite is to embed your live calendar. You all have heard of calendly.com or there's of course the Office365 equivalent, the calendar equivalent, and it's a little plug-in which goes into your website and it shows your live calendar. They can go and book a 15-minute phone call, and that's all it should be, that's all the call to action should be, book a 15-minute phone call with you or whoever handles the selling in the business. That is the best call to action because it's direct. Paul Green: Now you don't get quite that many people doing it, but the people who do do it are the highest quality prospects. Essentially, the people who book 15 minutes with you are dramatically more likely to turn into clients than someone who just fills in a web form say or something like that. I would recommend that as the first call to action. Put it on every single page of your websites and put it high up the page as well. In fact, you could choose to have it high up the page and down at the bottom of the page. You could choose to have it all over the place. There's almost no way you can have too much of that on your website. Because remember, people only see a couple of pages of your website. They're not looking at every single page. They're not sitting reading your entire website, Getting that call to action in front of them, so they've got that desire to take action, it's very easy for them to do so. Paul Green: The other things you could do is call to actions is of course you'd have your phone number and you can say to them, "Call us any time." The downside is if they're looking at your website at eight o'clock at night, they're not going to pick up the phone or if they do, there'll be no one there. And we do know these days that people don't like picking up the phone in the way that they did 20 years ago. It's because it's a commitment, isn't it? It's it seems more of a commitment to do something. Paul Green: You can, of course, have just your email address. Again, this is quite a weak call to action and you'll just get a little spam off the back of it. You could also have a form for people to fill in. Ordinary people kind of don't like filling in forms because it's sometimes feels like what's happened to the form? What's happened when I fill in that form and at the other end? Paul Green: Oh, I forgot one other, live chat, now is perhaps worth experimenting with live chat. A number of my MSP masterminders have experimented with it and their results haven't been great. To be completely honest with you, they found that it's more existing clients using live chat to try and talk about tech problems than it is prospects. But it's something worth trying because that could be a regional thing. It could be, live chat hasn't quite reached the right moment for B2B yet, but live chat certainly worth having a look at as well. But if I was going to start anywhere with your website, I would definitely just embed your calendar in it. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: Thank you so much. If you've already sent in an email about the show or some kind of feedback, I do read every single one myself and I make sure to reply personally. If you'd like to get in touch, go on, drop me an email. It's hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com. Or if you want to engage with me in a slightly less scary, "I'm going to email a stranger" kind of way, then there is a Facebook group. If you open up your Facebook, tap in MSP Marketing at the top, go into groups and you'll see there, we've got nearly 700 people now, all MSPs from around the world. It's a vendor-free zone and you're welcome to join me in the MSP Marketing Facebook group. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Scott Springer: Bad guys always find a way in, and we identified the primary ways that that happens and we built a plug-in that makes taking care of those vulnerability really easy to do. Paul Green: That's Scott Springer from Third-Wall. It's a new cybersecurity plug-in for ConnectWise Automate, offering you a new way to lock down devices and respond to threats. We'll be talking next week about using it to create new revenue streams for your business. I'm also going to be talking about when something works don't fiddle and faff with it and break it. And we're going to be looking at how much you charge contract clients per hour for ad hoc work. Because the good news is, you're probably not charging enough and you can put your prices up. See you next week. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast.
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