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 event and community marketing with Community Manager, Cynthia Schreiner, and Events Programs Manager, Sheila Brown.
What’s the best way for MSPs to let their current or prospective customers know they’re going to attend a networking or industry event?
Cynthia: Social media, one-hundred percent. Which means that you have to take time to make those connections, especially on LinkedIn, where people are expecting you to interact with them on a professional level, so that they know where you’re going to be. Also make sure that you’re putting up a few posts about the event beforehand so that you’re getting on their feed at the right time. You can also send out emails before the event letting customers or prospects know that you’ll be there and that you’d like to schedule a meeting.
What are some best practices for networking at industry events?
Cynthia: I always look at someone’s name tag to see where they’re from and think if I know anything about that place so that we have that immediate common ground and connection. If I haven’t been to their city then asking about it is an easy way to start a conversation. Just keep asking questions to find those common threads that you can use to relate on a personal level and from there you can transition to talk about the conference or your business. If you’re talking to other MSPs, what are their pain points? Maybe you have faced similar obstacles and can help each other find solutions. The best way to grow your MSP is by talking to other MSPs.
What’s the best way to drive traffic to your table or booth?
Cynthia: First of all, put your laptop away during booth time! Don’t sit at your table and think that people are going to stop and talk to you. Get up, maybe push the table back and engage with people. Put something in their hand so that they have to stop and talk to you. The other thing, make sure you and your table look professional—smile, talk to people, make those connections. Also, think outside of the box. Try to think about the people who are going to be there and what they might want to see, so, for instance, if you have an event in Texas maybe you can get mini hot sauce bottles to give away. Pens are great, but find something else.
Sheila: Even if you don’t have the budget for a lot of giveaways, an interactive game is a great way to get people to your table or booth. It gets people queued up at your booth and talking, and it draws attention to your area more than just having giveaways on your table.
After an event, what’s the best way to reach out to new MSP networking or potential customer contacts?
Cynthia: Certainly a phone call and email. Sometimes, if you made a great connection and want to make an impression, an old-fashioned hand-written note is a great idea. It shows that you’ve taken the time and effort to write a personal note instead of just opening your laptop and sending an email. Mostly it’s just following up, asking if they have any questions, and letting them know you didn’t forget about them. There’s also services you can use that allow you to start texting your contacts, which is a more unique way to reach out, and is also more personal than email might be.
Also, absolutely reach out and connect on social media. I’m much more likely to interact with someone on LinkedIn that I remember from an event than, probably, an email. One thing that Liongard does for the community is that we have dedicated Slack channels for our partners, but we’re also active in other MSP Slack communities which makes it super easy to reach out personally and send a quick message after a show.
Sheila: Also, check if there are photos being taken at the event. That way, if you can find a photo of your contact you can send it over with a short message about how great it was to meet them and then invite them to a meeting or demo.
Any last tips for a successful event?
Cynthia: Even the most extroverted of us needs some down time. If you’re going to be at a big show, take a look at everything you want to do and also structure in some time for yourself. Because you are going to be absorbing a lot of energy from the crowd, from the vendors, from the people on stage, so just make sure you’re taking the time to take care of yourself as well.
Step up your community marketing game with Liongard
All your post-event connections need to be turned into deals. Liongard has your back when it comes to pre-sales assessments and upselling with data that can help you close more deals and increase account value. Want to see how we can transform your sales process? Schedule a personalized demo today.