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The Top 6 MSP Marketing Challenges and How to Overcome Them

by | Apr 4, 2023

As an expert in IT, you know how much value your services can offer to businesses. But no matter how good you are at what you do, if you can’t successfully market your MSP, you won’t be able to attract new customers. In order to stand out with your efforts, you need to ensure you avoid the pitfalls of common MSP marketing challenges.

Marketing is an essential business function that needs to be addressed if you want to grow. You wouldn’t operate your company without managing your finances—and the same should be the case for your marketing. A lot of MSP marketing efforts fail because businesses neglect to account for common MSP marketing challenges. In this blog, we’ll address the most common obstacles to help you ensure your marketing will get off on the right foot.

The top 6 MSP Marketing Challenges we’ll cover are:

  1. Limited budget
  2. Lack of expertise
  3. Lack of time
  4. Inconsistent marketing approach
  5. Setting the wrong targets
  6. Focusing efforts in the wrong area

Challenge 1: Limited budget

The issue: A lot of businesses underestimate the value of marketing and fail to invest the budget they need to be successful in their efforts. You need to have a proper plan in place and know where and how much to invest if your marketing is to be successful. One of the biggest MSP marketing challenges is failing to invest and risking being left behind by your competition.

The solution: As a rule of thumb, the minimum amount you should invest in your marketing is 5% of your revenue, with that number going up to 10% or higher if you’re serious about business growth. In practice, this means that if your business makes £5,000,000 in revenue a year, £250,000 to £500,000 of that sum should be invested in your marketing. This will cover potential staffing or outsourcing (or both), as well as tooling and third-party expenses.

What you need to keep in mind though is that this money shouldn’t be randomly thrown at marketing. You need to have a solid strategy in place to ensure your investment is as effective as possible. That means looking at your historical marketing data to see which campaigns and channels have been the most effective and will generate the most MQLs for your sales team, and this is where you should make your investment.

Challenge 2: Lack of expertise

The issue: Just as IT itself, marketing is a very specific skill set, and it’s hard to find just one person that can competently and successfully do it all. Businesses often fail in their marketing efforts because they lack the knowledge, skills and expertise needed in-house.

The solution: There are several options to avoid this MSP marketing challenge and get the expertise you need to run your marketing successfully. If you are looking to keep your marketing in-house, you can either hire a very experienced marketing manager, or you can hire a marketing team of individuals specialising in key areas. The upside here is that you keep full control of your marketing, but on the flip side, this is a significant expense and might be difficult to realise with tight budgets.

Alternatively, you can outsource your marketing. Just like SMBs outsource their IT to your MSP, you can outsource your MSP’s marketing to an agency that specialises in the IT channel. This is a win-win situation where you not only avoid the headache of having to learn the marketing skills you need, but you’re also as cost-efficient as possible. Low effort, high reward.

Challenge 3: Lack of time

The issue: Similarly to lack of expertise and limited budget, if you don’t invest time in your marketing, how can you expect to succeed? One of the most frequent MSP marketing challenges we see is businesses expecting marketing miracles without investing the adequate time needed.

The solution: Outsource! Your time is precious, and chances are you are already strapped for it as is. If you’re not very experienced with marketing yet, it can be hard to figure out where to spend the little time you do have to spend on marketing your MSP. Hiring an expert ensures you don’t waste time in the wrong areas. A marketing agency will ensure that you have a strategy in place that is aligned with your goals and will take care of your marketing so that you can fully focus on running your MSP.

Challenge 4: Inconsistent approach

The issue: A common mistake businesses make is expecting to see quick results. When a campaign isn’t performing right away, the biggest mistake you can make is to immediately give up and change focus, target audience or messaging. One of the most common MSP marketing challenges is not to throw the towel in, when a campaign isn’t performing, but instead analyse and optimise so you can improve it and achieve that ROI.

The solution: Marketing is not a get rich quick scheme, and if any agency or expert ever tries to tell you it is, you’d best steer clear. Most marketing efforts take time to see results, so before you even get started, you need to build a plan: What is your desired outcome? What audience are you trying to attract? What’s the messaging? What tools are you going to use? If you have a solid marketing plan, you’re more likely to be successful, but the truth is that most campaigns fail before they’ve even had a chance to succeed. The good news is that this is where you learn what works and what doesn’t. If your campaign isn’t working, you analyse and improve instead of completely giving up on it. You pull the levers to improve the things that work, and you steer away from the things that don’t. Like most things in life, slow and steady wins the race.

Challenge 5: Setting the wrong targets

The issue: What is a good result and what is a bad result? It’s easy to go wrong if you’re not entirely sure what success looks like and how you should measure it. The fifth of our MSP marketing challenges is all about setting appropriate targets and KPIs.

The solution: The first step is research. You need to look into industry standards to understand what success is going to look like for your MSP marketing efforts. Through benchmarking and research, you will be able to set realistic KPIs and targets for the return on your investment. For example, without proper planning you might think that getting only 3 leads through your LinkedIn campaign that costs £20 a day is unsuccessful. But if you had done your research, you would know that a £200 cost per lead is actually a good result for this channel and this market.

Having the right analytical tools will help you monitor and measure your results in real-time. This way, you can adjust your campaign as you go, strengthen the parts that work and pull focus from the ones that don’t, to continually improve your ROI.

Challenge 6: Focusing effort in the wrong areas

The issue: This point touches on all the MSP marketing challenges we talked about previously. Marketing takes careful planning, and going in blindly is like throwing things at the wall and hoping something sticks. You’re setting yourself up for failure. Simply copying what others are doing will not help you achieve your goals either.

The solution: Yes, competitor research is important, but thinking “Everyone else is doing this, so I should be doing this too” is likely going to be a waste of your efforts and you can’t base your entire marketing plan on it. You need to know what you are hoping to achieve, do market research, and then focus your time, effort and money on the strategy that is going to help you achieve those goals. Looking thoroughly into the purpose, advantages and disadvantages of each marketing channel will allow you to develop a key understanding of where to invest your time and money.

Plan For Success

Marketing is crucial if you want to unlock the door to success, but nothing good ever came without obstacles. MSP marketing challenges are going to happen to you as well, but we hope we could show you that, if you plan properly, overcoming these challenges is not as difficult as it may seem. The key is understanding what you want to achieve, doing your research, and then building a plan that helps you get to where you want to go.

At Marketopia, we have been providing marketing services for MSPs for almost a decade. Our team is made up of specialists that can help you understand where to put your focus and take the burden out of your hands. Let us take care of your marketing so you can focus on what matters the most: running your business. Whether you’re just starting your marketing journey or are simply looking to improve what you’re already doing, why not have a look at how we help businesses overcome MSP marketing challenges and succeed in their efforts?

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