Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 80: The easy way for MSPs to get more reviews

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 80: The easy way for MSPs to get more reviews
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In this week’s episode

  • What’s the best way to build trust with prospects quickly? Lots of genuine reviews from your clients. Getting them can be a challenge, so this week Paul explains how to do it
  • Also on the show this week, in-depth guidance on starting your own podcast – whether it’s worth the hassle and how to get started. You’ll get a peek behind the scenes of our podcast
  • Or if a podcast isn’t right, could you do more with video instead of audio? There’s a special guest who has really embraced video marketing for his MSP and he reveals how it could work for you too

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
Welcome to episode 80 of the show. Here’s what we’ve got coming up for you this week.

Christian Fleming:
Never record it if you’re not in the mood because it’s bloody obvious on camera.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to look at an easy way for you to get more positive reviews from your delighted clients. And we’ve got a book suggestion about making yourself uncomfortable in order to achieve your big goals.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
I feel like this week’s show is the AV show. The audio visual show because later on our interview is with Christian Fleming who started his own YouTube channel in order to get new clients for his MSP. And now I want to talk about, should you start your own podcast? One of my clients has recently started his own podcast. He works within a very specific vertical and could see not only was there no IT support company in that vertical, certainly not dominating it, but there was no one doing a podcast on technology for that particular vertical. And actually technology is pretty important to them. So he very smartly started his own podcast and it’s been fun following him as he gets that started up. In fact, I think I appeared as a guest in either episode one or episode two of his podcast, but here’s the thing. Podcasts are difficult.

Paul Green:
You might listen to this every week and think, “Oh, that’s easy. I could easily knock that out of the park, 20, 30 minutes every week, just banging on about stuff.” But there’s actually quite a lot of preparation that goes into it. Before I sort of pull back the curtain and tell you what happens behind the scenes here with the MSP Marketing Podcast. Let me tell you about the benefits. Now we started this podcast in November 2019, and pretty much this podcast has been the leading light of our expansion into the U.S. I’m obviously based in the UK although some people think I’ve got an Australian voice, which is a bit bizarre, but I’m based in the UK. And we had our service, the MSP Marketing Edge, which was very successful in the UK, but we desperately wanted to move that out into the states and we kind of launched it in the states and we were spending a lot of money. I mean, some serious money on traffic. And we picked up 20, 30 clients, but it wasn’t really the big success that I wanted it to be.

Paul Green:
And then we launched the podcast. And the beautiful thing about a podcast is there’s no selling. Although I do drop in things that obviously are for sale, the primary goal of the podcast is to educate you and to entertain you, edutainment. I absolutely love that word. And this podcast has allowed us to kind of reach people in the United States that we just wouldn’t have reached otherwise. And in fact, now we have more clients on our MSP Marketing Edge service from the states than from the UK or any other country. And I firmly believe that the podcast has paved the way for that. It hasn’t done all the work itself, but what it’s done is it’s allowed me to build a new audience and you’ll know from listening to the podcast in the past that my three-step strategy, both for my business and for your business is very simple.

Paul Green:
It’s to build multiple audiences, then build a relationship with those audiences and then commercialise that relationship that works very well for MSPs. And because I operate B2B as well, it works very well for me. So the podcast here we are, then in episode 80, I can’t see us stopping this podcast. The goal was never really to do seasons of it. It was just to do it every single week of the year. So should you do a podcast? Well, the answer is actually probably no, unless you serve a very specific vertical, a very specific niche audience. This is a niche within a niche. MSPs is a niche and doing marketing for MSPs is that niche within a niche. What niche have you got? Because the problem with just general podcasts is there are a lot of podcasts out there. There’s a huge amount of edutainment that’s vying for people’s attention. And people only have a finite amount of time to invest into their entertainment, into their education.

Paul Green:
The beauty of a podcast and certainly an audio only podcast is they can listen to it while they’re doing something else while they’re driving, even working in the office, certainly going out and taking exercise, but people are picky. They will pick the audio that is absolutely relevant to them, and that educates them and entertains them. So I wouldn’t bother doing a podcast unless either you’re deeply passionate about a subject or you’ve got a very specific niche with which to serve. So you might be very passionate about cybersecurity for example, you could launch a cybersecurity podcast. Now the challenge there is making it interesting to ordinary people, because I’m assuming with any podcasts you do, you don’t really want to reach other tech people. You want to reach ordinary people who are going to give you money and become clients of yours.

Paul Green:
And this is why focusing on a specific vertical makes it very, very easy. In fact, I would argue a podcast allows you to go in and potentially dominate a market very, very quickly because being a podcaster kind of makes you, I wouldn’t say famous, but it makes you well known, kind of raises your profile. This is something I experienced on a kind of a different basis when I was a radio presenter. I did that for about 10 years across a number of different music, radio stations. And I was never famous in any way, but their was certainly some amounts of recognition when you’d meet people in a shop and they’d look at your credit card and say, you’re not the one on the radio, are you? And that was kind of cool. And for anyone who’s ever been on the radio finds that kind of thing very, very cool. And it’s kind of the same thing with your podcast.

Paul Green:
At least two or three times a week I’ll get an email from a stranger. Someone who has listened to me for a number of weeks, but they’ve never been in touch. And then they’ve dropped me an email and they say, “Hello.” And it’s lovely. I absolutely adore that. And by the way, if that’s you, if you have listened to the podcast for a while and you just want to say hello, if you drop an email to hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com, it is the real me at the end. And I will reply and say hello to you. So your podcast, then how do you actually do it? Well, the first one, as I say is having your target audience is knowing who you’re going to target.

Paul Green:
The second thing is figuring out how long are you going to do this for? So when I started this in November 2019, I made a mental one year commitment, a minimum of one year. And I said to myself, look, if we don’t have any traction within a year, then I’ll stop, but I’m not giving up on the way because here’s the thing. When we launched our first episode, it had about seven listens, maybe 10, something like that. I can’t remember now, because it’s hard to see historical stats in the hosting company that we use. But that first episode perhaps had 10 listens, episode two maybe had 12, episode three was maybe 15, 20. It was really small numbers. Now, if I go back and look at those, those are some of the most listened to episodes because a lot of people like to start at episode one of something.

Paul Green:
So those have huge listening figures now, but it was really slow to get going. And I mean really, really slow. We’re talking the first 15, 20 weeks the listening numbers were stupid and there were a number of times I’d look at them and think, “Oh no, one’s listening. I’m banging this podcast out and no one’s listening.” Well now we have much higher listening figures than that. In fact, a good episode for us, will get more than 2000 listens and average episode you get round about 1500 listens, which is absolutely great. In fact, as I’m talking now, I’m looking at the stats for all time. We use a host called castos.com, I’ll come on to suppliers in a second and I’m looking at it and I’m seeing that it really started to take off around about early 2020. In fact, it coincides with the lockdown, looking at the figures and our figures just start to take off where we’re building more and more and more listeners.

Paul Green:
And then you get peaks and you get troughs. My special episodes always get more listens than average episodes, but it’s absolutely fascinating to see how the listenership of the podcast has grown over time. And it certainly feels to me as though it is worth it now. It’s very much worth the hassle and the effort and all of the work that goes into producing a podcast. So you need to know who your audience is and you need to be in it for the long run, do at least a year because the benefits really do come in the longterm. Now, the next thing to ask yourself is what content are you going to put in your podcasts? Right from day one, I knew I didn’t want one of those podcasts that was just where the guests was the podcast.

Paul Green:
I have to say and no offense intended if your podcast is like this, but that feels lazy. You literally get someone on an interview, you interview them for 20, 30 minutes, you top and tail it, which means you take off the bits at the beginning and the bits at the end, and there’s your podcast. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s very entertaining. The downside of that format is if the guest that week isn’t of interest to the person who’s listening, then they’re going to skip a week. And certainly on a podcast like with any kind of regular entertainment, you don’t ever want to encourage someone to skip a week. So right from the start, when I sat and planned this with my wonderful producer, James. Say, hello, James.

James Lett:
Hello. Some would say, I’m actually the one that makes Paul sound good.

Paul Green:
All right, don’t overplay your part. When James and I sat down and talked about this and planned it, we wanted it to be a specific format with lots of different bits. So I always start by just talking about something, which is this segment. And then the next segment, I always talk about a clever idea and that we’ve changed it slightly over the last couple of years, but then we get onto my blatant plug. And then we have, of course our guest interview followed by a book suggestion and a tease for next week. And that’s an evolved version of the format that you can hear right back in the podcast episode one back in 2019, you are very welcome by the way to pinch that format for your podcast. So as long as your podcast, isn’t aiming at the same audiences mind, because that would just be kind of a bit weird.

Paul Green:
So if you’re aiming at other MSPs, come up with your own format, but if you’re aiming at ordinary business owners and managers pitch this format, it really is a great format and it makes it very easy for people to dip in and out of the podcast. So what about the production then? Well, I’ve got to into a very lovely situation of constantly working around about four to six weeks ahead, depending on holidays, I tend to work about six weeks ahead and then I’ll take a holiday and don’t record an episode. And so we sort of dropped down to about three weeks ahead, but we’re constantly working ahead. So this is episode 80, which is going out on the 25th of May and I’m recording it on the 29th of April. And there are some downsides to that. The big downside is that you can’t be contemporaneous. It’s very hard to put in content from now.

Paul Green:
We couldn’t talk about something that was in the news for example, but that’s not what this podcast is. And I find that my producer, James finds that when we work ahead, it just makes life easy for everyone. There’s no rushing. We can take our time to make sure every podcast sounds as good as we can make it, that all the promo stuff is done properly and there’s no rush. So we come out every single Tuesday and we come out on multiple platforms. I suggest for you as well if you’re going to do a podcast, pick a specific day of the week, or if you’re going to do one every two weeks, still do it on the same day, getting people into the habit of listening to you on a regular basis is a very good thing to do. How do I record this?

Paul Green:
Well, I have a special microphone that I use I’m recording here in my house. If you’ve ever seen any of my videos or chatted to me on a video call, I’m standing at exactly the same desk, exactly the same desk, where I do my videos and do my work, but I have a different microphone. I have a microphone that’s absolutely wrapped up in insulating material just to keep the sound quality better. You see, I’m actually recording in a very big room with lots of glass and it’s not an ideal room to record in at all. In fact, I’m going to have the bottom half of my house remodeled later on this year if my architect will finally come back to me with the plans. And one of my goals is to have a special office of myself with a voice booth. I actually want to have a little voice booth, which has got all that kind of stuff that you get in radio stations on the wall. And I want to have a proper microphone and a mixing desk and be able to do my podcasts in there.

Paul Green:
And you probably won’t notice the difference in the sound quality, but I will and producer James will. So I just literally record. I set out in advance, what it is I’m going to talk about. I record my pieces and as I’m doing it, I create a word document for James, which shows him what’s going in the show this week, although the format doesn’t change so it’s fairly easy for him to slot in what I’m talking about with all the production, which is that lady that says what’s coming up next. That’s what we call production. It’s called that in the radio world. You might know them as jingles. It’s the same kind of thing really. So that’s all sent off to producer James. Now I have never edited a podcast and I never will. It’s not my superpower. Whereas it is James’ superpower.

Paul Green:
He has the ability to hear things and fix things and make my nonsense sound great. And believe me, if you could hear it behind the scenes of how long it takes me to do every segment, a 10 minute segment might actually be 15 minute segments. Oh see, there we go. I’ve just made a mistake again. Leave that one in James because that’s a good example. A 10 minute segment might take me 15 minutes to record. And I’m sure that there must be days that James is sitting there with his head in his hands thinking, “Ah, I’ve got to listen to this again.” Yep. Sorry, James. You are wonderful at what you do though.

Paul Green:
So I just record I talk and I know what I want to say. I don’t script it because I just know what it is that I want to say. And I just want to get that down onto the recording. In terms of the technology, I just record it into my Mac. I record into QuickTime actually I find the quality on that is absolutely great. And then I Dropbox it all off to James and he produces the final thing. Now what he then does is he loads that into the host. And if you do a podcast, you’re going to need a host. We use something called castos.com. It has its ups and downs. We’re fairly happy with it. There are lots of different things we’d like to do, but we’re not uncomfortable enough with it or unhappy enough with it to move to a different host, but make sure you look at two of three different hosts when you are putting your podcast together.

Paul Green:
And you’re looking for one that will syndicate it out to all the platforms for you because we’re on all the platforms. We’re on Spotify, Apple, Amazon on my own website. And we don’t actually do anything. I think YouTube as well. We don’t do anything. Castos does all of that forest. They essentially syndicate it out. So we upload the episode and we’ve got castoffs integrated into our websites. We just actually add it to the website and Castos does everything else for us. It’s actually a very simple and lovely solution, but all the technicals of recording and hosting your podcast mean nothing if no one is listening and this is almost 50% of the job, which is you’ve got to promote your podcast endlessly, you’ve got to constantly be pushing it and pushing it and pushing it. There are a number of clever little tricks like this.

Paul Green:
So for example, every single guest that I have on the show, I’ll always tag them on LinkedIn, ask them to promote it to their audience, send them an email when it comes out. That’s why we have books suggestions at the end as well, because that means there are two guests every week that can plug it to their audience. I send out an email to my audience. I put it in my Facebook group. I put it on my LinkedIn and we did I think it was from about week five or 10 of the podcast onwards for about two, three months. We actually did some paid advertising. So we did some Facebook advertising aimed at MSPs, people just like you to actually promote the podcast. So you can’t assume the field of dreams syndrome. You know, what field of dreams is?

Paul Green:
It’s that film from the nineties with Kevin Costner, where a spirit guide told him, “If you build it, they will come.” And they were talking about a baseball stadium, but it kind of doesn’t apply. It doesn’t apply to any marketing these days. If you do a podcast, they will listen is really not a good way of marketing a podcast. You’ve really got to hustle it and hustle it and hustle it and it needs to become a routine thing. A systematic thing. The recording for me is systematic. I record every Thursday or Friday, depending what else I’ve got on this week. And systematically, we put it out every Tuesday and promote it in the same way every Tuesday.

Paul Green:
And that’s why we’re starting to see some degree of traction and some degree of success with this podcast. It’s really exciting to think where it will be in two to three years time, but you need to do exactly the same thing with your podcast. Of course, in the spirit of DOA, delegate, outsource, automate. You personally, we probably wouldn’t do all of this yourself. You would maybe just get someone to do it for you. You could be the voice of the podcast that get other people to do all of the rest of the work for you.

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
In 1984, Dr. Robert Cialdini, a psychology professor who focuses only on marketing, released a book called Influence, your six weapons of influence and in doing so, he coined for the first time, the phrase social proof. Now social proof is where most people prefer to do what most other people are doing. And broadly it takes three forms. It takes the form of testimonials, reviews and case studies. Now testimonials are where someone has told you something positive or given you a positive quote about your business, but you retain editing rights over that. A review is the same kind of thing, but you don’t have editing rights because it’s on an independent platform. And then a case study is actually telling a story. It’s taking something that’s happened to one of your clients and it’s turning it into a story. And we’ll talk about case studies in a future episode of the podcast, because they have very important things to do.

Paul Green:
But for today, I want to look at how you can get more reviews. You see given the choice of getting more testimonials or getting more reviews, I would recommend to you that you get more reviews, but that you use them in a specific way. You see reviews have more power than a testimonial. Everyone knows that you can edit a testimonial. They also know that you can’t edit a review. You have a right of reply sure, but you can’t edit a review. What we do. And what I recommend that you do as well is rather than solicit testimonials, you solicit reviews on external platforms. And then when you get great reviews, you actually screenshot those and put them into your website and your marketing materials as your testimonials. So think about what I’ve just suggested there. I’m suggesting you go and get very, very credible reviews, independent reviews on independent platforms from your clients. And then the very best ones you screenshot those, you put them in your website and you put them in other marketing stuff.

Paul Green:
And of course you say where they’ve come from, because that gives you the power. If you go and look at my website, the vast majority of our testimonials now are screenshots of Google reviews. So we’ve had some lovely, lovely Google reviews. And thank you very much if you’re one of the people that’s left one, we now just screenshot those and put them into our website with a link back to our Google, my business page. You can do exactly the same thing. So the question is then how do you get more reviews? Now, what I’m about to say is one of those blindingly obvious things that really it’s kind of common sense. You get more reviews by asking for them. What a shocker Paul that was worth listening to the podcast for. But seriously though, that is the only way to get more reviews.

Paul Green:
Now, there are some specific points at which it’s a good idea to ask for reviews. And there are also points at which it’s not a good idea, but asking clients for reviews is really as simple as just saying, “Hey, we’re always looking for more clients like you. How would you feel about leaving a review for us on either Google reviews or Facebook or whatever platform you’re trying to get more reviews on at the moment? And all you have to do is click here and just leave a review in your own words, please be brutally honest. We really appreciate that. Thank you very much.” Signed your name and you could just send that to them as an email. Now, the worst time to do this is when someone is unhappy. And that sounds obvious again, but I’ve seen MSPs go and solicit reviews from unhappy from dissatisfied clients. And as you can imagine, the results are not pretty.

Paul Green:
You end up with average reviews, which you can’t do anything about. So please, if you’re going to solicit reviews, do not ask your even slightly dissatisfied clients because they will give you slightly dissatisfied reviews. And when it comes to reviews, you really just want to have nothing but positive reviews. So very, very happy clients. Those are the ones to hit. When’s the best time to ask them where there are a number of different times. The very best time is probably in the first 90 days because that’s the honeymoon. You know what I mean by the honeymoon? Someone joins your MSP and everything is hunky dory. They love the fact that you’re fixing all the problems that their incumbent, their own incumbent couldn’t fix. They love the fact that you’re over servicing them. They love everything about you. They’re glad they made the decision to choose you. This is the honeymoon and the honeymoon never lasts forever of course it doesn’t.

Paul Green:
But while it does last, why not ask them for a positive review? Another great time to do this is when you’ve just completed a major project for them, even though they just spent 10, 20,000 with you, that doesn’t make it a bad time to ask for a review. In fact, I would argue it’s the best time to ask for a review because you’ve just completed something they really wanted. You’ve made their life easier or made their working practices more flexible. And again, so long as you didn’t screw up the project in any way, as long as you delivered what you said you would, when you said you’d deliver it. You’re going to get a positive review off that.

Paul Green:
The other time to ask someone is when you’ve just done a strategic review or a quarterly business review with them again, if it’s been a positive review and they are enjoying working with you and they’re happy and satisfied, and you’ve got a good technology roadmap for the future, that is a great time to ask them for a review. Listen, with all the MSPs I’ve worked with over the years, the thing that stops people asking for reviews is fear. It’s fear that maybe the clients aren’t as happy as we think they are. And every business has a level of dissatisfied clients. It’s just natural. If you’ve got more than three clients, of course, at some point, some of them are going to be slightly less than fully satisfied. And obviously there are lots of things that you can put in place to try and spot those people and fix that problem.

Paul Green:
But you must never be afraid to ask your happy clients for reviews. Not all of them will help out. Some of them, maybe even the majority of them will say no, but some personality types they really like helping other people. They like leaving reviews and seeing what they can do to help others. I would give you a review if you were one of my suppliers, and I was happy with you. That’s my personality type. And you’ll have lots of other clients like me and the other personality types that are very happy to leave reviews. You really have nothing to lose by just asking them.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
I’ve got a fast track way for you to get your MSPs marketing sorted, it’s called the MSP marketing accelerator and it’s a five week live training course that I put on myself only for 20 MSPs per month. In the first week, we look at your website and talk about everything that you need to do to fix your website. Week two is LinkedIn. Week three is about building multiple audiences, and building a relationship with them. Remember I said earlier that’s our three step marketing strategy. Week four is about commercialising those relationships with marketing campaigns. And then week five is a success blueprint where I show you every area that you need to address within your business except the operational stuff because you’re good at that. But every other area you need to address to generate more net profit.

Paul Green:
We do a different program every month. And as you now know, I record this podcast at least a month ahead. So I have no idea how many places we have left on May or June or July’s courses. But the way for you to find out is just to go onto the webpage, which is paulgreensmspmarketing.com/accelerator. And by the way, we’ve made this a deliberately no brainer choice for you. If you’re in the UK, this whole course is just a one-time payment of 49 pounds plus VAT. If you’re in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, it’s just $69. We’ve deliberately made it low price, a total no-brainer for you. And remember there are only 20 spaces each month. Paulgreensmspmarketing.com/accelerator.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Christian Fleming:
Hi, I’m Christian from NorthStar IT. I’m an MSP business owner like you listening. I’m based in the UK and I’ve been trading since May 1999.

Paul Green:
Christian, I’ve been desperate to get you onto the podcast for so long because I’ve been following your journey. And I don’t really mean the journey of your MSP. I mean, the journey of you creating your own videos. So you have a video blog, what do we call it? A vlog that every week you output a video and your videos are amazing. They really are amazing. You post them regularly in my MSP marketing Facebook group. And you and I occasionally talk about them on the email, as amazing as they look today, they didn’t start out amazing, did they?

Christian Fleming:
No, absolutely not. My first attempts were very much on the cheap. I followed your lead actually, I went out into my local park, near home, holding out my iPhone with my Apple earpods in and just started talking. I got invaded by a footballer, and this park is huge. It’s the beginning of the South Downs National Park in Brighton. And it’s massive. And I think in that section of the park, there was him and me and he managed to… Every time I was. And then anybody that knows me knows I’ve got the shakiest hands going. I learned very quickly as a trainee back in 1996, soldiering was not a job for me and my peers quickly lost patience with my wobbly hands. And so holding an iPhone out, trying to record yourself while also trying to think of what you’re going to say, it just didn’t work. I’ve tried several times. I tried the local park at home and even then the next stage is what you saw.

Paul Green:
Which was terrible. If I’m being polite, it was not great. So here’s the thing, many people in a situation like that would have a go, try a few videos, the results, not so great. And most people would give up at that point. So what is it that made you carry on and actually get to the stage of doing these proper videos?

Christian Fleming:
I think you did see some of the initial drafts that were committed to cyber oblivion and were deleted much of the disappointment I think now with the editor that footage wasn’t retained for the benefit of going in and outtakes roll.

Paul Green:
Oh, I’ve got a copy somewhere. I’m sure.

Christian Fleming:
But actually come to think of it. There’s a hidden recycle bin in my cloud story. So it probably is there waiting to be resurrected at some point for my own embarrassment I’m sure. But honestly it was two things. I had some really good encouragement from some friends. Your input was priceless and certainly in a very positive, encouraging way, which helped. But I had been listening for the best part of a year. You’ve got to do video content, you’ve got to do disposable videos for social media. You’ve got to do it. And I knew that. I know I’d heard it not only from you on numerous occasions, but I’d also heard and read about it in marketing books and website blogs. And I’m not an idiot. I know video content is the way to engage because do I read blogs anymore? No, of course I don’t. I watch videos on YouTube. I’m lazy. I want to be entertained. I don’t want to read loads of text. For that I pick a book up and so that positive engagement and also a bit of tenacity, maybe, I kept going.

Paul Green:
Tell us now how you film your video because you’ve got into a lovely production cycle, haven’t you where your you’re working and doing the video. So how do you film it? Who helps you? Who edits it? How do you get it out so that you have a video every single week?

Christian Fleming:
Obviously started sort of near the beginning of lockdown one, which really does seem like an absolute eternity ago. And that was my last hurdle before working on the process itself is I had an empty building. I had a bit more time. I think around the end of April is probably when I really started last year. And the excuse of whether there’s people around, I’m not doing it with an audience or there was no excuse. I actually had probably a month of personally being really quiet. The techs were doing their job, but nobody needed account managing. So I decided to get going. I already bought the video camera you’d recommended. And I know you use yourself and was sitting in my drawer where it had been I think for about five months, I bought a little tripod because the editor though I use is priceless and his encouragement through the whole process has been valuable as well.

Christian Fleming:
He identified that I’m quite expressive with my hands. And so he said, get a little tripod to stand it on and free your hands up and you can be more animated on camera. I bought one off of Amazon that doubles up as a hand grip as well. So it’s not a floor standing one. And it was perched on the data cabinet that is in the corner of my support department, but that didn’t make it high enough. So I went and raided the biscuit tin and it had a mouse mat, a sock on top of it. And with that and the little tripod, it actually ended up at the perfect height. And I picked up on the idea that may be the most obvious one and some inquiries we’d had on the support desk about speeding laptops up because obviously laptops became as common as rainbow unicorn poo. And so, we had loads of clients with older laptops. So what can you do to speed them up? And so we started doing loads of memory upgrades, SSD upgrades, and I thought, “Well, focus on that.” And that’s what I started talking about.

Paul Green:
So now there are people back in the office. Do you have to wait until the office is empty before you can come and do your weekly video.

Christian Fleming:
Well, that was the next stage because there’s still no way I’m doing it with an audience, and obviously it would make it more difficult to edit it when, when there’s another moving party in the video. But yes, that was the next stage I was staying later in the summer when nobody was here, as people have gone back to the office, I came in at weekends and did them, but the work from home orders are coming to an end. And so there’s going to be more and more people floating around. So I’ve set up a sort of ramshackle studio in an office downstairs, I think will be the last room where we’ll use to put people in. And that way, combining with a green screen, I can record when it suits me because probably one of the most significant if not obvious lessons that I’ve learned, never record it if you’re not in the mood because it’s bloody obvious on camera. Although I did record one, when I hurt my back. And I think that a few of those takes will end up in the next outtake roll with me ouching.

Paul Green:
How’d you come up with the ideas for content now? Because what is it coming up for about a year isn’t it that you’ve been doing this? So you’ve probably burned through all the easy and the obvious content ideas. Where does your inspiration now come from?

Christian Fleming:
The most obvious source of inspiration and the one that can apply to anybody in the MSP world, just listen to our clients because they ask loads of dumb questions or they’re dumb to us, but it’s amazing for the things that we think are bloody obvious that they’re not to people that aren’t tech savvy like us. And I’ve got a rather dry sense of humour. So I can certainly put a twist on anything and some clients above all else that I could record years worth of content based on what they ask. And some of my team feedback, things that now that they’re in tune with these videos and they’re happening and they’re a permanent feature they’ll sometimes pitch in, “We’ve had a call. I’m sure this is material you could work on.” So they’re constantly now looking out, but honestly, the inspiration customers, they’re a bottomless pit of ideas.

Paul Green:
Now the one question that people most often ask me to ask you, because I do talk about you in your videos quite a lot.

Christian Fleming:
That’s why my ears are burning all the time!

Paul Green:
Probably. As I refer MSPs to your website. It’s a great case study of ‘do it like Christian does it’. The one question they always ask me, which I can’t answer is does it pay off? Does it actually generate you any business? Because it’s an awful lot of work if you’re not getting any business out of it.

Christian Fleming:
We’ve already had some inquiries and you highlight the perfect point. People buy when they’re ready to buy. Although the results, as far as return of investment financially, they’re still too early. And if I was judging this in the short term, then I probably would have stopped already. You yourself said, this is something that is a very long-term investment, but the results that I can say without doubt, I even had a message this morning on LinkedIn. And I’ve also had this verified by other parties who have done some market research of sorts on my behalf. People in the business community, in our local area are seeing the video content. They’re commenting on the fact that they like it. They look out for it. They’re aware of us as a business. We’ve got a good reputation. When our contract comes to an end, we will approach NorthStar for a review. We’re not quite ready. We’re not in the position, the contracts are running for two and a half years, but we’re on their radar.

Christian Fleming:
And some of these comments have come in via third parties. We’ve got no connection or didn’t have a connection with those companies. So in a small sense for a relatively small MSP, it’s getting our brand out there and we’re utilising social media. And that side of it doesn’t cost any money. And that’s doing the workforce along with people, interacting with the videos and people are seeing them that I’m not connected with. And those comments are coming in and it’s creating a following. So it’s too early to say, “Yes, we’ve made X amount of money as a direct result of it.” But I’m convinced it’s worthwhile to the point of where I’ve considered it, it’s a permanent feature of our marketing now.

Paul Green:
That’s just wonderful. Final question for you, Christian. If someone was thinking, “Hey, I’d like to have a go at that video lark. I’d love to have my own vlog, but where do I get started? How do I even think about getting started with something like that?” What would your advice be?

Christian Fleming:
I think for several reasons, invest in the proper kit, it costs a bit of money. It’s a lot cheaper than what it probably would have been 10 years ago. Get the kit right. I think mentally because you’ve spent some money and you’re investing in that, you’ll commit to it at least for long enough to feel confident, to keep going. The next thing use a professional editor, their direction. The company that I use has been priceless also on top of the encouragement you’ve given and vital feedback, certainly at the beginning, but they’ve done it and tweaks with lighting. If I had to go on the road with a kit that I’ve got now, I think I’d need a bigger car because of everything that I don’t think it would actually fit in my car anymore, which seems ridiculous in many respects, but it makes a difference.

Christian Fleming:
And follow your mantra of something is better than nothing. And I suppose in some respects, this is almost giving away a bit of my own personal trade secret, which I can’t believe I’m going to do. Try and liven it up. The IT industry to people outside of the industry, to most people it’s as dull as dishwater and people aren’t interested in how to do stuff and YouTube be swamped with how to guides. Do we really want to be engaging with people that just want to know how to do it themselves? No. That reminds me of Phoebe from the episode Friends where she gave out do it yourself, massage lessons, and then her client base have dried up. We don’t want to engage with that.

Christian Fleming:
We ultimately want to build that relationship and work on how you engage with your customers on a one-to-one basis to try and convert a prospect into a client, work on that and then ramp it up a lot. Go overboard. I remember one of my team saying, “These videos are great, but is Christian just belittling what we do?” Damn right. Because that’s what I do in person. Or what you’re seeing on those videos is me. I’m no different from that. Have some fun with it. And if you have some fun with it, you’re more likely to be relaxed and it will be more effective.

Paul Green:
Christian, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I know that there’s a favour that you would like to ask of the thousands of people listening right now.

Christian Fleming:
Honestly, it’s my pleasure. And I certainly wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for you helping getting the journey started. So it felt like it was the least I could do. And I do share the videos in the groups from a genuine encouraging point of view and always welcome some feedback as well. But I do. Yeah, I’ve got a favour to ask. We’re trying to get a marketing system up and running with Facebook and we’ve literally got to the green button to go and set it live. And then this very hidden little secret, it would seem that they keep conveniently quiet from you is that we needed 2000 likes for Facebook to accept the integration.

Christian Fleming:
And we’re currently at, I think just under 600. And if I could ask for some help to try and get our Facebook likes on my company, page up above that, then we can get this system up and running because at the moment we’re having to pay just a holding a fee for it. So all the work that’s been invested into it doesn’t get deleted. So the links on the show notes below. So if you could, I’d be very, very grateful.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast. This week’s recommended book.

John Davis:
Hey, this is John Davis, the corporate action hero at corporateactionhero.com. And the book that I recommend is Off Balance On Purpose, Dan Thurmon, because it shows you how to throw yourself out of balance to reach the goals that you want to achieve in life.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Nancy Sabino:
Hi, I am Nancy Sabino. I am an MSP owner just like you. I will be on next week’s episode to talk to you about the pains of closing down one IT business to start an MSP.

Paul Green:
Also, next week, we’ll be talking about some prequalification questions that you can ask prospects. You only want to spend your valuable and precious sales time talking to the best opportunities and really not all prospects are made equally. So these qualification questions will help you save time and have better conversations with people who are more likely to buy. We’re also going to be asking, is this a safe time to put your prices up with everything that’s happening with COVID and the economy and all of that kind of stuff. We’ll be examining that next week. Plus, we’ve got something brand new for you next week. We’re going to doing some competitions pretty much every month or so. We’re going to give away something cool. And we’ve got some great prizes lined up for you. In the weeks ahead, we’ve got a lifetime membership to the tech tribe to give away. We’ve also got a Timeular tracker membership. So a year’s membership to that. All of those are coming up in the weeks ahead, but next week we’re starting with our first competition prize.

James Lett:
Hey, it’s producer James again. Yes, we’ve got an awesome smartwatch to give away. It’s the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS running Google’s Android, Wear OS.

Paul Green:
It’s really easy for you to enter the competition for that. And I’ll have all the details for you in next week’s show. See you then.

Voiceover:
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

 


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