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Summertime IT Marketing an Hour a Week
 

Summertime IT Marketing an Hour a Week

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Learn how to grow your IT business by setting aside one hour per week to focus on marketing. You will find out which activities generate leads effectively even during summertime months when business ...

Learn how to grow your IT business by setting aside one hour per week to focus on marketing. You will find out which activities generate leads effectively even during summertime months when business might be a little slower. At the end of the webinar, you will have an actionable marketing plan to put in place immediately.

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  • Couple of engineering degrees, electrical engineer by training. Then after 9 years of being an engineer I got the itch to start my own company about 20 years ago, back in 1994.
  • Most MSPs typically wait for customers to show up… usually by someone you know, such as an existing client.
  • That doesn’t scale – you typically get just a few new clients from this. If you want to grow more quickly, you need a targeted plan – which usually means a budget, even if it is a small one. Should be greater than zero. So let’s get started with some of these marketing techniques. In order to keep the amount of time you spend each week on marketing down to a minimum, you need to plan. The tighter your plan, the better your results.
  • Can be a bulletized list. You just need something that gives you a concrete “punch list” of what to do each week. It’s like when you set up a new customer. You probably have a list of onboarding tasks for new clients. That’s what we do for our business – some of you listening who are our clients know we have a very detailed onboarding process and we make it a very positive experience. We do that because we have a “to do” list. So, here’s how to get your marketing “to do” list in place.
  • By the way, you’ll see some slides with a lot of information and you might have the urge to take notes. Don’t worry – I will email you the list of marketing action items so you can focus on the webinar without worrying about taking notes.Step 1: Let’s start with the first step in finding leads: defining who they are. Sounds simple, and you might be thinking “I want to know a technique, Raj, just give me the marketing technique.” Well, this is often the most overlooked first step. It is a technique. Think about it… do you have a written, detailed profile of your target market, known in marketing circles as the buyer persona?
  • What type of client benefited most from his services? Who was most profitable? Who was easiest to sell to? How did you hear about us? Which factors influenced your decision? Can you mention our 3 core values? Is our name recognizable in MSP community? How can we improve brand recognition? The last question revealed some very interesting responses. He found that companies he thought were his competitors were not being mentioned by his customers. Some of his clients even struggled to name anyone.Armed with insights from his financials and his new market research report, Martijn knew what he had to do next.Instead of pursuing smaller companies that had 5 to 25 seats, he targeted companies with 100 or more seats. Instead of looking for all sorts of organizations, he narrowed his attention to four vertical markets. He revamped his marketing material to address the needs of this tightly focused group.
  • So what kind of information do you need to put into your buyer persona? There’s lots of info on this slide. I’ll send it to you. .Knowing all of this will help you refine your pitch tremendously. You will know what affects a buyer’s thinking. The most successful companies do this exercise once a year to keep an eye out for changes in buyer profiles.
  • Here’s an example of what one MSP found. He needed to focus on just 1 niche.
  • Set aside 1 hour this week, pick your top 5 clients and call them. Here’s what you say: “Hi John, this is Raj from ABC IT Solutions. We’re taking a quick survey of our customers and I was wondering if you had 3 minutes to spare – I’ve got some really simple questions.” Then, just ask these questions. . Take detailed notes – you might have other questions, like “which conferences do you make sure you never miss?”
  • Your dialog can go like this: “Thanks so much. I really appreciate your input. We’re doing some internal market research and this information is very helpful.” Then ask referral question. Remember – you’re not calling them up just to ask for a referral. You can really use the data you just collected. But, hey, if you got them on the phone already, why not ask? Sometimes, their first reaction might be no, so give them some ideas.If you have at least 5 to 10 conversations like this with existing clients by Friday, you will very likely turn up at least 1 new lead. So that’s just one tactic. It will take about an hour, maybe a little more. You will get excellent data on your target market, plus probably turn up a new lead.
  • Don’t pick which events you will attend haphazardly. Be very deliberate. Call an association that your clients belong to and ask how many people typically show up at some of the events you identified. Ask who shows up – look for job titles and roles. Do they match your buyer persona? If not, next. Doing this exercise will dramatically increase your chances of getting in front of and meeting the right people to engage in a meaningful conversation.When you find an organization that has a lot of prospective members, join it and GET ACTIVE. I join organizations with the intent of eventually becoming a board member – connections really start to happen then since you’re a “hub”. If all you do is attend meetings, you’re missing ready-made opportunities to reach a broader base.
  • Look for common bonds. Don’t offer solutions. Say things like “I might know someone who can help you with that. Would you have a business card? I’ll see if it’s worthwhile to introduce the two of you.”You are solving two problems: theirs and the other person you thought of. Be the connector. Make sure you follow up.
  • I talk to business people all the time who have stacksof cards they collected over the years. In many cases, they’ve hired a new sales person who has a stack of cards they got from networking events just in the last 6 months. What happens to those contacts? Don’t let them collect dust. Add them to your CRM tool, connect on LinkedIn, and put them on your email list. Follow up with something useful, not sales pieces. Let me go into some examples that work very well.
  • Keep in mind that people tune out when they see too many sales pieces. Think of your own buying behavior as you plan how you will sell your services. If you send something useful, like a white paper that explains how to save money on IT or a glossary of common terms your IT professionals use, you provide something a prospect will likely read and maybe even hold on to for future reference.
  • Your corporate brochure – well, that usually ends up in the trash. An educational piece – that gets passed around to others.How do you gather information to make informed decisions for your own business?
  • Blogs, ebooks, white papers, newsletters, checklists, infographics. Here’s where leveraging other people’s time comes in handy: get someone to write articles for you – or subscribe to a service like ours to do that, use a graphic designer to make some infographics for you, maybe reformat some of your pieces into ebooks or slide presentations, maybe hire a summer intern to turn some of these into videos. The point is that people access information from many different channels. So be out there in many different channels. The hardest part is getting the initial article. After that, the repurposing part is relatively easy. Leverage outside resources to help accelerate this for you.
  • 3 bidders example, only 1 with white paper
  • Getting 2-3 new clients per year through referrals; wanted to get 2-3 per month. Started educating prospects.
  • Email newsletters are the ultimate keep-in-touch tool. They blow away print media, social media and just about every other form of direct response marketing. The Direct Marketing Association reports that the ROI for email is over $40 for every $1 spent. That’s huge! Huge! If you’re not taking advantage of this medium to promote your business, you should be. It’s fast, fairly easy and gives you a tremendous amount of analytics to help you close sales.
  • You can use the articles that you wrote – or acquired – to stay in touch with all of those people whose business cards you collected. Calling everyone on your list would be very time consuming and probably not worth the effort. Instead of calling everyone, you send them educational articles. Not everyone will be interested. But those who are represent your most engaged contacts. Your email analytics tool will show you what your contacts are interested in. So if you sent them an article on cloud computing, one on security and another on data backup, you can see who is interested in what. When you see a trend over time, in other words, when you see the same 10 people clicking on every cloud computing article you send – and they are not your clients, you will know who to reach out to and start a conversation on cloud computing.In my book, I call email newsletter the Ultimate Keep-in-Touch Tool. They really are a major time saver to get people interested in your services and to show you who is actually interested.
  • Go after the low hanging fruit, but don’t forget about the larger part of the pie: those that could be your clients – they just need a little nurturing. Don’t drop the ball on that contact you got last month at the networking event. Send them educational info – like your newsletter. And invite them to attend a webinar. Webinars give you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
  • Remember that buyer persona we talked about – the one that you’re going to do this week? Don’t just use it to identify places to go and network. Use it to figure out where you can present a lunch-and-learn or webinar on things like “The Most Overlooked Data Backup Procedures by CPA Firms” – If your target is accountants, that’s a pretty compelling webinar or live event to attend. Then change it to “Lawyers” and so on. Your topic will be very similar for each group you target and they will appreciate the tight focus on their type of business. And you will be able to repurpose your webinar to new audiences.
  • Creating a webinar is actually pretty easy. Keep in mind the theme of repurposing content that I’ve mentioned several times. Sit down as if you were going to educate a client in person. What would you say? How would you present it? Which topics go first? What do they need to know? Be open and forthcoming. You can mention your solution, but that shouldn’t be the focus of your webinar. Give away your knowledge.Write a description of what they will learn. Most people find bullet points to work best. Then add a catchy title to draw people in like the one I mentioned, “The Most Overlooked Data Backup Procedures by CPA Firms.” Practice it, then you are ready to market it to those associations you found.
  • Does it work? Yes!
  • Write an article about how important it is to have your technology streamlined before you sell your company. If your data is not backed up properly, you open up risk to a buyer. And buyers don’t like risk. Then, contact your accountant and lawyer and ask if they would like to participate in a seminar like this. They might even have someone to help you with logistics. This is a great opportunity for them to meet prospects as well so they can promote their services. You can share in the costs of advertising. Each company you bring to the table will have their own list of contacts that they can market this seminar to. In fact, if you get your bank involved, they might even fund a lot of the promotion or even have an existing structure in place to do seminars.
  • Think about this: what is a new client worth to you per year: $5k, $10k, $15k, more? And how many years is that client with you? 2, 3, 5, longer? When you look at, a single new client’s lifetime value can be $50--maybe even $100k. What are you willing to spend in terms of time and money to acquire a $50k customer? If it were me, I would spend $2-3-even-4k or more all day long if I knew I could acquire a $50k deal. That’s a massive return on investment.So think about the big picture as you go through your summertime marketing plan. Here we go…
  • Put your contacts into a CRM and email tool. You will use this next month to figure out who is interested.
  • Once you identify what those pain points are, think about what educational information a prospect would be looking for to help them solve their pain? This is NOT your brochure. They are not looking for that. What would they need to know and understand to tackle their issues?After sending your newsletter and posting to your blog, look at your analytics to see who is engaged. You may have a “low hanging fruit” call list waiting for you.30 slides is about 45 minutes, could be an hour with questions.
  • It doesn’t have to stop here. You can re-iterate through these concepts to layout a plan for the rest of the year.
  • A final word… I talk to a lot of MSPs and every now and then I hear about someone looking for a solution that does everything for them so they don’t have to pay attention to it. Be careful;there is no such thing as “set it and forget it” marketing. If you implement the strategies I outlined today, you WILL get leads. You will get QUALIFIED leads. But if you allow yourself to NOT follow up with leads right away, they will turn cold. And then, very sadly, you will “forget” about what were once strong leads. So – and this goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway – be sure you follow up in a timely manner with any one who expresses interest in your services.
  • If you’d like some help, I’ve written a book that you might like. It’s a #1 bestseller on Amazon and one of the only books that goes into modern marketing strategies just for MSPs. It’s available in print and Kindle editions – you can get a free Kindle reader app for your iPad or PC. Just visit ITmarketingbook.com.
  • If you want more information on a time-saver tool for your marketing efforts, Presstacular lets you create your IT newsletter and blog instantly using a library of pre-written articles that you can edit. Live reports show you who is reading, clicking and ready to buy. You can request a demo at www.presstacular.com or by contacting me.

Summertime IT Marketing an Hour a Week Summertime IT Marketing an Hour a Week Presentation Transcript

  • About the Presenter, Raj KheraEngineer turned business guyCEO, GovCon – sold in 1999 for $12MPartner, FilterPoint – sold in 2009Partner, MoreBusiness.comCEO MailerMailerPresstacular –marketing tool for IT companiesAuthor #1 Amazon Bestseller: IT Marketing Crash CoursePresentation Slides © 2013 MailerMailer LLC
  • Concentrated Marketing TimeWhere to find leadsWhich ones buy your servicesGetting them interested in youYour 3-Month Marketing Action Plan
  • How most MSPs try to grow:Word-of-Mouth6
  • Word-of-MouthDoes Not Scale7
  • 1:Get a Plan… withweekly actions8
  • The most overlookedfirst step in marketing:Who buys your services?9To Grow Faster…
  • Martijn van der Schaaf,Computication (Holland)Client survey: who was easiest to sell to?Factors that influenced your decision?Our closest competitors?New focus: 4 verticals, larger accounts
  • Your “Ideal Client” ProfileOrganization sizeJob title and role withinthe organizationWho has budget authorityKey problems they faceand how your solutionssaves time, money andrelieves headachesRoles of influencers (e.g.,internal IT, accountants)Buying cyclesProfessional associationsthey joinConferences they attendPublications they read
  • Ed Mana,Technology on DemandMSP in NYC (one of many!)Sells only to audio visual companies“There are riches in niches”
  • 1 Hour: Ask Existing Clients These Q’sWhen you selected us for IT services…Who was involved in the decision process?What factors were important in your evaluation?Why did you pick us over others?Where did you find out about us?What associations do you belong to? Conferences?13
  • Say thanks, then ask one more…Just curious, would you know other companiesthat could benefit from our IT services?… maybe other people in <association name>?… or your accountant/lawyer?
  • 2:Go where prospectshang out15
  • Research Your Buyer’s Hang OutsAssociation meetingsChamber of Commerce eventsConferencesSeminarsWorkshops (team up with non-competing firms)Pick 2 this month and put them on your calendar
  • Top Networking TacticsDO NOT SELL!Do you live around here?Did you grow up here, too?How’s business?What’s the biggest business problem you’refacing today?>>> Collect business cards, be the connector
  • 3:Build YourProspect List18
  • Stay in TouchWhat happens to all of those business cards?Use a CRM toolConnect on LinkedInAdd to your email list
  • 4:Create EducationalContent20
  • What do you use to make decisions?Do you read checklists, white papers, ebooks,industry articles?Do you like to see case studies of companies likeyours?Or do you prefer sales letters and brochures?Your prospects are no different
  • Sample articles you can write (or get)10 Tools to Keep Your Company’s Data Secure5 Tips for Choosing a Cloud Backup SolutionHow to Negotiate a Strong Service Level Agreement3 Ways to Protect Your Data During a Power OutageHow to Keep Your Company’s Network Secure
  • Use and Re-Purpose Your Articles
  • Benefits of Great ContentEnhances credibilityEncourages sharingEstablishes trustGenerates and nurtures leadsi.e., Sells without selling
  • Paul Barnett, Network DepotBlogs/Videos/eBooksWindows 8eBook on how to buy the right PCNo leads first few monthsNow 1 lead per weekUse educational pieces as “leave behinds”
  • 5:Post Blogs &Send Newsletters26
  • DP Venkatesh, mPortalMobile products/servicesBlog/Email changed everything2 posts per week, CEO and TipsTargeted 10 critical keywords, 20 others10-fold increase in site traffic100s of new leads in 8 months
  • Email Analytics Give You a Call ListSee who is engagedWho openedWho clicked on what
  • 6:Give Seminarsand Webinars29
  • Offer Webinars/Seminars to…The associations your clients belong toYour local Chamber of CommerceThe conference put on by the publication yourclients readOther groups that comprise your target market
  • How to Create a WebinarWhat would you teach a client?Make an outline, then a set of slidesWrite a description and a catchy title“How to”“Mistakes”“Proven Ways”Practice
  • Diana Hage, RFID Global Solution4 webinars per year2-3 closed deals per webinarPlus 5-6 inquiries they can nurture
  • Example Team SeminarWhat You Must Do Before Selling Your CompanyBusiness owners will attend thisGet an accountant to talk about tax issuesGet a lawyer to talk about legal issuesGet a bank to talk about managing assetsYOU talk about how technology plays a key role inensuring a smooth transition
  • Your SummertimeMarketing Plan34
  • JuneFirst halfMake a plan (or just copy this one), pick your team/toolsCreate an “ideal client” profile, your buyer personaPut your contacts into a CRM or email list toolSecond halfInterview 5-10 clients on why they picked you (also July)Ask each if they know anyone else who could use your ITservicesIdentify organizations your clients belong toAttend 1-2 networking events
  • JulyFirst halfReview your buyer persona for “client pain points”Write headlines for 6 articles that would help a clientWrite the articles or have them written (or license them)Send 3 articles in a newsletter, post to blogSecond halfAttend 1 eventCreate a 30-slide presentation on one of these topics:• 10 Tools to Keep Your Company’s Data Secure• 10 Tips for Choosing a Cloud Backup Solution• How to Protect Your Data During a Power Outage
  • AugustFirst halfSend next newsletter, post remaining articles to blogAttend 1 event, register for 2-3 in SeptemberContinue interview/referral calls to existing customersSecond halfIdentify headlines for next set of 6 articles, write contentContact 5 organizations that your clients belong to andoffer to host a webinar, seminar or lunch-and-learnDevelop your next webinar/seminar topic
  • Follow up with leads!Marketing is NOT“set it and forget it”38
  • The IT Marketing Crash CourseHow to Get Clients for YourTechnology Businesswww.ITMarketingBook.com
  • Blog + Newsletter + Analytics = More Businesswww.presstacular.com800-475-1415
  • ContactRaj Kheraraj@mailermailer.com301-825-5658 x800http://presstacular.com