Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 91: Remove the risk of buying from your MSP

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 91: Remove the risk of buying from your MSP
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In this week’s episode

  • YOU know you’ll do an awesome job for a potential new client, but how do you convince THEM of this? You need to totally remove the perceived risk of dealing with your MSP. This week Paul looks at risk reversals, also known as guarantees
  • Also, while online ‘gated content’ can help you build your database, which pieces of content should you protect (unless someone enters their details) and which should be made freely available?
  • Plus Paul’s featured guest this week will tell you how you can take one content idea and turn it into multiple pieces of content

Featured guest

Featured guest Praveen Ramesh

Thank you to Praveen Ramesh from SuperOps.ai for joining Paul to talk about how to create lots of content from just one podcast.

Praveen handles all things growth and product marketing at SuperOps.ai. He’s super passionate about helping MSPs overcome their go-to-market challenges, and achieve sustainable growth – that’s the reason you will see him sharing everything he knows about marketing and growth throughout many MSP communities. When not thinking about marketing, you will see him binging videos on productivity and cricket!

Connect with Praveen on LinkedIn.

Show notes

Episode transcription

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

Paul Green:
Hi, there, and welcome back to the show. Here’s what we’ve got lined up for you this week.

Praveen Ramesh:
Two to three social media posts, a couple of video posts, and what is the marketing expertise that you would need to produce this content? Literally zero.

Paul Green:
That’s Praveen Ramesh from SuperOps. He’s going to be here later on the show. We’ve also got Derek Morgan joining us later on with a great book suggestion. And we’re going to be talking about risk reversal. There is a perceived risk of buying from your MSP. What can you do to completely eliminate that risk?

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
One of the most common practices on websites is to do some kind of gated content. Now, what I mean by gated content is there is a gate. They have to open the gate in order to access the content. So the most classic example of this is where you have some kind of a giveaway, perhaps a guide or a book or something like that. And in order to get that, they have to go through data capture. So they have to give you their name and their email address, and then they can download the book or access it or whatever it is.

Paul Green:
Now, gated content like that can be a great way to grow your email list. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you’ll know that my core three-step marketing strategy for most MSPs is number one, to grow multiple audiences, and that’s where your email audience comes in. Number two is to build a relationship with them, and you do that through content marketing. And number three then is to commercialise that relationship. So having an email audience is very important and that’s why you’ve got to grow it, and certainly it makes sense that you try to grow your email audience based on the traffic going to your website.

Paul Green:
However, these days it’s so much harder to get someone to fill in their details on your website. I think B2C businesses, business to consumer businesses, don’t have this problem so much. They can just do a newsletter and offer a 10% discount and sign up for the latest offers and discounts. It’s so much easier if you’re selling to consumers, but we’re not. We’re selling to other businesses and B2B data capture has always been hard. I had a business I sold five years ago where we had 12,000 opted-in leads. Every single person had chosen to opt in. And the way we’d done much of it, not all of it, but much of it was through our website where we had data capture. And we were giving away a book. It was a book on marketing. This was a specialist healthcare marketing company, so we were giving away books that were about marketing in those healthcare niches, the verticals that we were in. And that’s how we persuaded over about three-year period 12,000 people to do that.

Paul Green:
Do you know if I was doing the same thing again now, I don’t think I could get those 12,000. I mean, we spent a lot of money. We spent a couple of hundred grand on traffic and events and all sorts of things to drive those leads. They certainly weren’t free but I think that would cost even more these days because it seems there’s more and more reluctance for people to enter their email address and to do this, certainly on a B2B scale. Now, not saying it’s impossible. I’m just saying it’s difficult. You’ve got to work really hard at it.

Paul Green:
We have a couple of tools we give to our MSP Marketing Edge members, and one of them is intended to be gated, and the other one is intended not to be gated. In fact, we actually say to our members, “Don’t gate anything. Put all of the content that we give you, all of the videos, all of the guides, we’ve got something called IT services buyer’s guide, all of which could be personalised to your business, put all of these things on your way website and do not gate them”. And then you gate one thing, and that one thing happens to be a book. It’s a book called Email Hijack, and it’s about how an ordinary business owner, how their email gets hacked, and they end up losing $12,000 because they essentially they pay an invoice to the wrong bank account. They pay it to the criminal’s bank account. It’s written to appeal to ordinary people and not techs. So I suggest that that is gated, but nothing else has gated.

Paul Green:
Why? What’s the thinking behind this strategy? Well, it’s exactly what I do on my website as well and it’s very simple. When someone comes to your website, remember it’s a privilege for someone being on your site. Traffic is hard. It’s difficult. It’s expensive. When you get someone on your website, you don’t want to immediately hit them with a barrier. You want to immediately hit them with your authority and that’s the beauty of having lots of content. If they can see you’ve got a buyer’s guide, you’ve got lots of guides, you’ve got videos, you’ve got plenty of written content, they will see that you are an authority. They’re not going to read and consume lots and lots of it. They’ll consume some of it but it’s more that they see that you are the authority. You’re the IT expert in your area because you’re creating content and these days more than ever before experts create content, which is why if you don’t and can’t create content you just buy some in and put that on your website and sprinkle it across your marketing.

Paul Green:
So once they’ve seen all of the content that you have available in your buyer’s guide and all of this kind of stuff, that’s the point then where you offer them your most value valuable piece of content, and there’s a gate in front of it. Hence, the book. It doesn’t have to be a book. It could be absolutely anything but it’s got to be valuable. It’s going to be perceived as valuable. People do put a value on books. It might only be five pounds, $5, but there is a perceived value. And we all grow up as kids being told to respect books. You know, you don’t damage books, do you? You treat them well, you treat them properly. They have a perceived value. The exact same information in a PDF has no perceived value. Pop it into a book and it has a high-perceived value.

Paul Green:
So whatever you do on your website now, you should definitely do some kind of data capture. Don’t just do sign up for our newsletter because no one will. Offer them something. In fact we call this an ethical bribe. Offer them something in return for their contact details, but only gate one piece of content. All of the rest of the content on your website should be free and easy for them to instantly access it.

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

Paul Green:
When someone is thinking of buying from you, there is a high level of perceived risk. You’ve got to look at it from their point of view. Even if they’re with another MSP, in fact especially if they’re with another MSP right now, they don’t know or understand the technology. They don’t know what they don’t know and people who don’t know stuff, who don’t understand it, it creates an amount of fear when they’re thinking of switching suppliers. It’s why you stay with your accountant way past the point you think you should switch. I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it. We’ll do it again because we don’t really understand the accountancy. It’s a bit of a mysterious art, isn’t it? We certainly don’t understand accountants. They’re strange people, they are and so it’s easier for us sometimes to stick with the accountants that we know, even if we dislike them slightly than it is to switch over to someone else. This is called inertia loyalty.

Paul Green:
And it’s exactly the same thing that ordinary people are thinking about you and about their current MSP. We know these people. We know what’s happening with them. We don’t like the experience particularly, but we understand it. We know it and there is less risk with the devil we know than switching to these new people. Perceived risk.

Paul Green:
People don’t like taking risks. Some people do, very few people. They’re the kind of the space billionaires who like getting into phallic-shaped rockets and going up to the moon and whatever it is space billionaires do in space. They don’t really go into space, do they? They just go to the edge of the Earth? Anyway, those people are extraordinary risk-takers. The vast majority of business owners and managers out there are actually quite risk averse, especially with something like their technology. They don’t want to take the risk. They don’t want to risk moving over to a new MSP that screws it all up for them. This is one of the things that makes your sales cycles so hard, it makes lead generation so hard. It’s the number one curse of the MSP world is people don’t know what they don’t know, and therefore they are very, very, very slow to switch to a new MSP.

Paul Green:
Now, there’s lots of things that you can do to combat this. We’ve talked about this in the podcast at length. We’ve talked about things like educating them. We’ve talked about building audiences, building a relationship with them, lots of content, educating, educating, educating. It’s one of the main ways that you can remove the perceived risks is you build a relationship with them. We have less risk when we think we know someone, but there’s also something else that you can do. You can reverse the risk. And we actually call this a guarantee. You can guarantee what you do.

Paul Green:
Now, I know at this point you’re probably thinking, ah, I don’t want to guarantee exactly what we do, certainly don’t want to put in place SLAs. I don’t want to guarantee that we’ll get fixes done in certain times or whatsoever, and hey, if you’ve got SLAs right now and they work for you, great. If you haven’t got SLAs, don’t introduce SLAs. I think SLAs sometimes are just a weapon you give to your clients in order to beat you with. If your big clients asked for SLAs, that’s fine. That’s a conversation you can have with them. I’m not suggesting that you introduce SLAs as a guarantee. I’m suggesting you just reverse the perceived risk.

Paul Green:
So what’s the perceived risk? That they move to you and it doesn’t work out and they’re trapped in a bad relationship with an MSP that isn’t very good. That’s one of their perceived risks, so let’s reverse it. Let’s out an output in your sales proposals, and as part of your sales cause let’s say to them, hey, if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, if we can’t form a good working relationship or you don’t like the way that we do things, we will release you from your contract at any point with just 30 days notice, because I assume you’re signing them not to a contract. That certainly best practices is sign them up to a one, better still a two, or even better still a three-year contract. You’ll find the very best clients will commit themselves to longer contracts, and in fact, the better you are at selling, the longer contracts you’ll get, and the reason you want them on contract is pretty obvious. We want to keep them for 5, 10, 15 years.

Paul Green:
But here’s the thing. Have you ever had a really bad client who acted like a total idiot and the kind of person that when they phone up all of your staff there’s kind of like the atmosphere drops in the office, everyone’s shoulders slump, and it’s like, oh, “I don’t want to speak to these people”. “Oh, I spoke to them last week. You go speak to them”. Have you had a client like that? And then did you fire those clients? Essentially? You release them from the contract. Wonderful. When you do that, isn’t it. Here’s the thing. You only have those now and again. That’s a very, very small minority of your clients and when that happens, you’re actually quite happy to release someone from their contract. The same way if you completely screw up with the client and it happens sometimes doesn’t it, you get something wrong and something else wrong and he’s wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong and they really unhappy. Again, you wouldn’t just keep them in that contract. If it was really that bad and things, the relationships just broken down, you would release them from the contract.

Paul Green:
So actually you already have what’s known as an invisible guarantee, which is if our relationship breaks down so badly, that it’s very difficult for us to do work together, we will release you from the contract anyway. That’s nothing formal. That’s our invisible guarantee. Where you have an invisible guarantee, make it the visible guarantee. Reverse the risk, actually make it a sales tool. Make it something that you use as part of your selling process. Do you know I have looked at hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands now of MSPs websites, and I never ever see a guarantee, ever. I can’t think, there might be one or two I’ve seen over the years, but I certainly don’t routinely see guarantees on people’s websites, so that’s a marketing opportunity for you. Where most people aren’t doing something, you can do something and it gives you a marketing advantage. Even with the thousands of people that listen to this podcast, the vast majority will not now go and do a guarantee, it’s just the way of the world.

Paul Green:
So if you go and instigate a guarantee and make it a big part of your sales proposition, you make it a big part of your marketing, if you are unhappy with what we do at any point, we will release you from your contract and you can walk away from us with just 30 days notice. It’s almost like your delight guarantee because the reality is, even if you do have a bad couple of weeks or a bad month with a client, they’re not going to leave you just like that. They’ll kind of forget that that guarantee exists because, actually remember inertia loyalty, that works in your favour to keep your clients. Inertia loyalty stops people from joining you in the first place, but it also keeps your existing clients with you because even if you’re having a few bad weeks, as long as they can see you’re doing your very best to fix the problem, they’re going to stick with you. It’s in their nature to want to stick with you.

Paul Green:
So go on reverse the risk for them. Let’s get that guarantee in play in your marketing and in your sales proposition.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
I was talking earlier about gated content and I have a bit of gated content on my website. It’s this. It’s my book. It’s called Updating Servers Doesn’t Grow Your Business. It’s an actual physical book. I’m just looking inside it now. Here we go. Chapter four on page 21, retain your clients and increase average lifetime value. Let me just read a bit from the book. “Understand this, the real value of a client is in the long-term, not in the first transaction. Your marketing needs to be as focused on retaining clients as it is winning new ones”. So do you want a paperback copy of this book? If you’re in the UK or the US, we will send you a physical copy of it. Anywhere else in the world? We don’t have copies in your country. Sorry, so we’ll just send you a PDF, but all you’ve got to do to get a copy of Updating Servers Doesn’t Grow Your Business is just go on to my website. It’s www.paulgreensmspmarketing.com. There on the homepage, just scroll down a bit and you can get a free copy of my book sent to you. Www.PaulgreensMSPmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
The Big Interview

Praveen Ramesh:
Hey everyone. This is Praveen Ramesh and I’m from SuperOps.ai. I take care of all things marketing and growth at SuperOPs and you’ll see me popping up in a lot of MSP communities near you.

Paul Green:
I’ve actually been following you for some time Praveen, and I hope you don’t blush when I say this, but you are really, really good at marketing and I appreciate that you are working for a relatively new vendor into the space, but having watched what you’ve been doing over the last, I think it’s about three to six months, sort of preparing the way doing content marketing. You’ve worked LinkedIn really well. You’ve built amazing relationships in a number of different communities that I’m part of and I’m actually going to give you, this is a genuine round of applause for, for an incredible launch campaign for SuperOps. What I wanted to get you on today, and there’s so many things that you and I could talk about, but what I want to get you talking about today is content marketing because you guys have taken a new platform and we’ll find out about the new platform towards the end of the interview, but you guys have taken a new platform and engaged with thousands and thousands of people, and you’ve done it all through content marketing. So what’s your background in content marketing? How have you learned so much about it?

Praveen Ramesh:
First off, thank you, Paul. Coming from you, it means a lot because as the history holds it you were the first guest on our podcast, so I’m really happy to be doing this and it means a lot coming from you. With respect to content marketing, right? You know, my fascination with content and marketing started right when I was out of college and I used to work with this agency marketing agency based out of Delhi and luckily I did my Masters in the UK, somewhere where you belong to. I came back, I worked with a bunch of firms there to realise that content was literally an engine that could touch upon any possible person in earth, was fascinating for me at that point in time when I was young, just out of college, didn’t know the power of content.

Praveen Ramesh:
But when I started realising from a very tactical point of view was in my first job, right? So I used to work for this agency were travel companies like Hertz and others, where my primary job was to fetch backlinks for them back when fetching backlinks was a thing in the SEO world. But I kind of flipped the problem even back in the time. I thought, okay, why should I go ask people for backlinks? Whereas when I can produce good content, people are going to come reference me back on their website. So I kind of flipped the approach and that’s how I got exploding into content marketing and I’ve never looked back.

Paul Green:
And it’s so much more the human way of approaching it, isn’t it? So, I mean, for those people listening that might think, well, what the hell are back links? It’s an SEO thing, a search engine optimization thing, where you get links from other websites to your website. Back in the day you could go out and buy hundreds or thousands of links for just a few dollars, but then Google decided that it was a bad thing and it got rid of that, and these days, Google rewards proper behaviour, doing things properly and building things the hard way, which is exactly what you were saying there.

Praveen Ramesh:
Yes.

Paul Green:
Most MSPs, I think struggle with content marketing because, it’s funny, you and I are content people. We’re marketers. You know, I was a journalist at the age of 19 20, 20 odd years ago, 27 years ago, actually, and you’ve got a background in doing it. You’ve got an entire marketing background, so for you and I, technical stuff is difficult and then obviously for, for MSP owners who are more technical and less marketing, marketing is the difficult thing. So if you were advising an MSP today on getting started in content marketing, how would you tell them, or what would you say to them to get them started?

Praveen Ramesh:
You know, the number one channel that I would hinge on is a podcast which you and me are doing currently and see how I can kind of chop and make them into smaller chunks and produce them into content rather than thinking that, oh my God, I need to write the most earth shattering piece today, or the most innovative piece of content today. I would rather think, how can I talk to the best in my field? How can I talk to a more diverse set of people in my field and just see how can it churn out more and more content from a single piece of content. So I like to call this the Cognos to Content approach where you have one thing that you can hinge on one piece of content and that basically boils down to probably 50 or a hundred different pieces of content.

Paul Green:
Can you give us an example of practically, how would you do that?

Praveen Ramesh:
So let’s say let’s take the MSP example itself, right? So let’s say I’m starting an MSP today and my target persons are going to be IT folks from bigger or smaller companies, right? So first off I would let’s say start a podcast with all the CIOs or IP managers to talk about their daily issues. So what does this give me? It gives me two things. One, it gives me direct access to anyone and everyone who is in the buying position. And two, I get to hear about their problems first-hand. I get to hear from an ideal customer profile. I get to hear from a target audience on all the difficulties that they’re facing on a day-to-day basis. You know, once I interview them, the podcast is out of the way. I give it for post-production and I would just have a transcript of the podcast, have it as a blog and then I would come smaller portions of the podcast and have it on the social media.

Praveen Ramesh:
If I do the podcast or video audio I would cut them and put it on my YouTube channel and then if I have any interesting insights from the podcasts that I’ve seen that say about a particular behaviour, particular buying pattern or some hardware that folks are talking about, I would go back to research and write two or three pieces about that hardware. And then again, I would use the quotes that they are saying on my Facebook and social ads, right, and then again I can churn them on to social media posts. This is just to give you a really high level example of how a single podcast can easily turn into at least four or five blogs, two to three social media posts, a couple of video posts, plus all the ads that you could run. And what is the marketing expertise that you would need to produce this content? Literally zero, right?

Paul Green:
Minds are blowing all over the world listening to this. It’s wonderful. You’re talking about doing a piece of work once and then reworking that and repurposing it and turning it into something new, a new, a new, a new, and presumably of course, you don’t actually mean doing this yourself. Do you mean getting writers and other producers to do it for you?

Praveen Ramesh:
Yes, absolutely. I’ll be a big something of a very, very similar approach, right? So what we’ve done at SuperOps.ai , So we were building a unified PSA and RMM software while we were talking to a lot of beta testers as does MSP owners and stuff like that. We really wanted to see what is that problem that is making the MSP owners or people in the MSP space, keeping them awake in the night, right? So we ended up speaking to experts like you. We ended up speaking to MSP owners, analysts and pretty much everyone, and the kind of insights we garnered, I don’t think we could have done that even by, let’s say being 10 years in the industry. To think that the number of social posts we could generate from that has been amazing. For example, you know, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that we were planning to do in the few upcoming months.

Praveen Ramesh:
So usually we end our podcasts, I don’t know if you remember, but we end our podcast with a rapid fire round.

Paul Green:
Yes. I remember that.

Praveen Ramesh:
One book recommendation, one productivity hack and stuff like that. So now we’re planning to just collate all of them and say, here are 20 MSP experts talking about the number one productivity hack, here are 20 book recommendations from 20 MSP experts. Just imagine from a single interview I’m able to do expert round of posts, blog and stuff like that. Again, that’s exactly what we are doing with SuperOps.ai As well.

Paul Green:
Very Sneaky, very, very, well, I’ll say sneaky. Sneaky is not the right word. Very clever, actually. It’s a very clever way of doing it. And in fact, as you were saying that I was just writing down a little note thinking, well, I have books suggestions at the end of this podcast and we’ve never thought to pull all those together, so thank you. You’ve just helped me create a nice piece of content for my website. Praveen we’re going to get you back on the show probably the beginning of next year cause I know you’ve got so much more to say particularly about making your marketing very human and building communities.

Praveen Ramesh:
Oh yes.

Paul Green:
So we’ll get you back on next year to talk about that, but tell us a little bit more about SuperOps and how we can get in touch with you.

Praveen Ramesh:
Perfect. Okay. So SuperOps.ai, we are a new age platform. We are here to build a unified PSM and RMM solution with human first design automation intelligence, and support the MSPs deserve because these are the three main hinges on which we are building our company. You know, I’m not going to go on and on and be the typical marketing person. If you folks wish to see the product or do a ping me on LinkedIn, I’m very, very active there or you can request a demo and see the product yourself from our website, superops.ai.

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

Derek Morgan:
Hi, I’m Derek Morgan from Nexon Asia Pacific Channel Partners and the book I’m recommending is The Perfect Close by James Muir. Probably one of the best sales books I’ve ever read and it’s not about sales techniques as such. It’s about a process of engagement to shorten the sales cycle. Super effective and you can learn it within five minutes.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Greg Jones:
Hi, my Name’s Greg Jones from Datto. Super excited to be on the show next week talking all about co-managed but more importantly, how your MSP business can actually get a huge slice of the pie. See you next week.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to be talking next week about your brand. Now as a small business, it’s very hard to build up a brand, a memorable brand, that people would think of and in fact, the vast majority of prospects of people that you talk to they’re not going to remember the name of your company. Should we be investing resources, time and cash and energy into building up your brand, into making your brand something that people will remember, or is it a complete waste of time? We’ll explore that in next week’s show. We’re also going to talk about the concept of a purple cow. Now this was a book written by an amazing writer called Seth Godin. He wrote the book some time ago, but we’ll explore next week what the purple cow concept is and how you can apply it to your MSP. That’s all coming up with loads more 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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