Managed and other IT services providers who want to differentiate themselves from an increasingly crowded field need to find new ways to engage and entice prospective buyers. For MSPs looking to up their marketing game, Liongard is here to help. We’ve got an amazing team of marketing experts in-house with decades of experience they love sharing with MSPs to help them grow. We’ve put together a special 8-part Marketing Series to help you navigate MSP marketing from soup to nuts. Today’s focus will be on email marketing best practices from subject lines to performance tracking with our Marketing Automation Manager, Jorge Illich.
Email marketing can seem like an outdated way to reach people. Why is it still important for MSPs?
Email is still one of the cheapest and most effective ways of communicating with your audience. You’re essentially paying for the email platform and, depending on the service, you can send as many emails as you want. And not only that, but you can segment your audience to either cast a wide net or be as targeted as you want in terms of profile and attributes.
Do MSPs need an email platform? Can’t they just use Outlook?
First thing is, when you send an email through Outlook, it’s always going to look like an Outlook email and you’re going to miss out on some of customization features that email platforms provide. If you’re looking for a provider, many platforms now are free or lower-cost for lower volume. But email platforms give you a lot more control over design, list management and segmentation that you’d have using something like an Excel spreadsheet to build lists.
Why is customer segmentation, or targeted lists, so important in email marketing?
The same message isn’t going to resonate with everyone, so if you’re able to segment based on something like company size, then you can build communications that speak more directly to their specific industry or pain points. So if you’re sending an email to a level two tech, for example, it’ll be a different message than if you were sending it to the owner of the company. That messaging is always going to be a bit different, and what they respond to will be different, so you want to tailor your message as much as possible.
What types of emails should MSPs be sending out for prospects and current customers?
I think it really depends on what you want to be to your contacts and how you want to positino yourself. If you want to position yourself as a strategic partner, you might want to consider sending thought-leadership content, not just notification or update emails. But you can use email for anything from billing and accounting to service updates or company updates.
How often or how many emails are optimal?
There are varying thoughts around this, but I personally feel it should be about quality, not quantity. As long as you’re offering engaging content and content that your subscribers are interacting with, that’s the most important thing. With that said, I like to at least send one email a week or every two weeks. But again, don’t send just to send; it’s about having something worthwhile to say.
How can MSPs increase deliverability and open rates?
This all ties back into content, how and how much you’re sending. If you’re using an email platform you have to consider your sender reputation, sending score and other factors to ensure your emails will make it to inboxes. If you’re sending a bunch of emails that aren’t being opened, you can end up in spam folders or blacklisted from your email provider and unable to send future emails.
For getting opens, the first thing people will notice is your subject line. It has to be something scannable; it has to be something catchy enough to make you want to click and open it. The second thing is that once you get them to open your email, you have a few seconds tops to get and keep their interest, so brevity is usually key and it’s finding that balance between keeping it short and keeping your audience engaged that’s tricky.
What are some tips for increasing engagement and clicks?
Personalization is great. There are many ways to do this but at its most basic can be something as simple as including a first name or company name somewhere in the email, like in the subject line or in the body of the email. Emails with personalized subject lines tend to have higher open rates, so that’s another bonus. Your email provider and service level may limit your personalization options but with the right data and platform, you can build emails that are pretty customized for each customer. But just getting basics like first name, last name and company in your emails is simple and effective.
Also, I’m personally a big fan of narrative in email content. It’s all about telling a story and having something to engage your recipient to make them want to click a link or visit your website.
It’s also super important to include calls to action in you emails. I personally like to have multiple instances of my call to action linked in emails to give the reader multiple opportunities to click. They should be short, no more than a few words should be hyperlinked, and it should tell the reader exactly what to expect when they click the link. Something like ‘read more’ or ‘schedule a call’ or anything that’s going to get them to engage.
What are some things to avoid when sending emails?
I think there’s a habit (I fall into this myself sometimes!) of trying to cram ten pounds in a five-pound bag, for lack of a better term, and we end up over-communicating in the email. If we’re thinking about a marketing email at its simplest, email is a stepping stone in the marketing journey. You want to give just enough information to get the reader to take the next step, and that ties back into your content and calls to action.
Also, just a basic thing, but avoid using one big image in an email or an email that’s just an image with text overlay. Especially in a business environment when a lot of people are using Outlook or a company email provider, images may be blocked and if your email is just an image it will just show as a blank white space.
One last piece of advice, and this is one that I live by, is: don’t send anything you wouldn’t want to open and read yourself.
Step Up Your Marketing Game with Liongard
So, what happens when your email marketing efforts start paying off and leads start pouring in? Liongard has your back when it comes to pre-sales assessments with data that can help you accurately price jobs and increase deal size. Want to see how we can transform your sales process? Schedule a personalized demo today.