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 content marketing across the buyer journey with Liongard Product Marketing Manager, Devaney Devoe.
What is content marketing, and what types of content should MSPs focus on?
So, when I talk about content and content marketing, I’m really talking about your Sales and Marketing materials; everything from your website to one pagers. And when you’re thinking about content marketing for your MSP, it’s important to focus on guiding your prospects through each stage of the buyer journey—from awareness to evaluation to decision—with materials that will persuade them to take that next step and contact you for a conversation or a quote. So, let’s talk a little bit about the buyer journey and then I’ll go into different types of content that work well for each.
The first stage of the buyer journey is Awareness, and this is what a lot of people refer to as the ‘top of the funnel.’ At this stage, it’s all about getting prospective customers to notice you. Buyers at the Awareness stage are searching for answers, and they’ll give their attention, and their dollars, to the MSP that’s able to solve their problem easily and effectively. This stage is typically too early for a hard sell; instead, you want to focus on delivering educational content that keeps people engaged and leads them into the next stage of the buyer journey. When it comes to content for this stage, think web and social media.
Blogs are a content marketing staple, and they’re an easy way to share a lot of information to a wide audience. Your blog should be optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) for terms that are relevant for your MSP. Your blog should help solve your prospect’s immediate need and position your company as the solution to their problem. You can even turn your blog into a lead generating machine by adding a subscription form and enrolling subscribers in an email nurture program.
What a lot of people don’t realize is how successful social media marketing can be. The majority of buyers today use social media to help make a purchase decision. Your social posts should feature content that specifically addresses your target audience and how your company meets their needs. Be sure to share relevant industry or thought leadership articles, in addition to your own content, to appear more frequently in feeds and increase your reach.
Video is so important in marketing today! I recently read that 93% of brands landed a new customer because of a social media video in 2020. And creating videos doesn’t have to be hard; you can record them on your phone or with your webcam. Your videos should educate and engage your audience while supporting your product and brand messaging. Content like how-to videos, testimonials and industry commentary can all be leveraged on social media, your website, and in email campaigns as a way to personalize your messaging and increase engagement with your buyers.
Next up is the Evaluation stage, where buyers have identified their top choices but have yet to make a final decision. Think of this stage like show and tell, and this is a critical stage for taking your buyers from a looker to a buyer, so your content should be focused on providing proof points aligned to specific pain points for your audience.
Case studies are a great way to demonstrate the value of your MSP and the type of financial or other ROI your buyers can expect. Include a customer quote or testimonial whenever you can to emphasize your trustworthiness and effectiveness, and be sure to keep your case studies updated with new developments as they become available.
White papers and industry reports
When it comes to positioning your MSP as a leader in your field, white papers and other thought-leadership type pieces are a great tool. Your white papers should be anchored with supporting data—like you can get from Liongard’s Reports and Timeline—that showcase your MSP as a strategic partner instead of just another vendor.
I know a lot of people think email marketing is old fashioned, but, dollar for dollar, email will give you some of the best return for your investment. Instead of creating one-off emails for promotions, create full campaigns that lead your prospect through the purchase cycle. Your email nurture campaigns should have a theme—maybe by industry vertical or job title—and each email should reflect the theme while offering people a piece of helpful information, like a link to a blog, case study, or white paper.
The last stage, Decision, is focused on sealing the deal. Most buyers today will do some sort of ROI analysis before making a purchase, so demonstrating the value of your services in terms of dollars, budget, or strategic value can help make people feel more confident in their purchase.
Never underestimate the power of happy customers and word-of-mouth! Your reputation is so important when it comes to converting prospects into buyers. If you don’t have a bank of testimonials, you can create a plan to reach out to current customers and ask if they would be willing to do a short video or answer a few questions via email. You can use these on social media, on your website, and in Sales materials.
Consultations and demos
Most of the buying process takes place entirely online these days, and that includes things like consultations, Sales calls and demos. It’s important to have a quality presentation deck, and I recommend creating one that highlights your MSPs strengths, is backed up with data, shows some customer wins, and provides next steps.
Any last advice?
Absolutely! Remember: content doesn’t stop when you close the deal. Don’t make the mistake of going quiet once a prospect becomes a customer. Continued communication is the key to meeting your customers’ needs and keeping them engaged.
Surveys and calls provide valuable feedback about how your customers see and engage with your product and brand. They keep customers engaged, allow you to be proactive about any support issues, and encourage brand loyalty. Results can be used to refine your messaging and strategy continually, to ensure content remains relevant.
Ongoing emails are an easy way to maintain contact with customers, keep them informed and engaged, and deliver new content. Your post-sale emails can include important announcements, regular newsletters, webinar invites, or other resources.
Step up your content marketing with Liongard
A quality content marketing plan will help drive leads and build your pipeline. When it’s time to close the deal, 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.