Tim: Thank you all for joining us today for the seven high-value marketing tactics for MSPs webinar. My name is Tim Kelsey. I am the director of marketing services here at Pronto.
Scott: Hi, I’m Scott, the senior marketing consultant at Pronto. Before we go any further, I’d like to talk a bit about why we’re having this webinar and the format we’ll be using throughout. We sometimes see our MSP clients focusing or putting too much energy into marketing tactics that aren’t likely to have a significant impact on their lead generation so we want to help shed some light on tactics that have the ability to drive more value for your marketing. Throughout today’s webinar, we’ll be looking at seven different aspects and we’ll also be discussing the low-value tactics, which aren’t necessarily bad but also aren’t likely to have a huge impact on you. High-value tactics, which won’t always be easy to implement but can have a greater impact on your success and action items, which provide steps that you can start working towards in your marketing tactics, that will help really move the needle.
Tim: I’ll also add that we have a lot to cover today so we won’t be really going into a ton of detail about everything that we cover but we will be linking to a lot of great resources. For those who want to learn more, explore more about what actions you should be taking, learn a bit more about the tactics that we’ll discuss, those resources will be available for you to go ahead and dig a little bit deeper. First, let’s take a look at why it’s so easy to end up focusing a bit too much on low value tactics. In short, it comes down to being overwhelmed by information.
If you take a look at the image in the top left here, it comes from Chief Martech who, every year, does an analysis of all the marketing tools, platforms, apps out there and just takes a look at the overall industry and how it’s shaping up. You can see here that, back in 2011 and 2012, there were only a couple different hundred different tools to know and to use out there. In 2017, it’s gone up to over 5,000. That’s a huge increase. The online marketing industry as a whole, has gotten a lot more complex and it’s much harder today to both, run your business and to take all the time and resources necessary to learn all these different things about internet marketing that you need to know.
It’s understandable that business owners might not have the in depth knowledge that it takes to find the right areas of marketing to focus on or figuring out which tactics are going to be most effective for them. On top of that, you have a lot of misinformation out there as well. I think we’ve all gotten those spam emails from people selling SEO services, claiming to be able to get you up to number one for all the keywords that you’re targeting for just, like 50 bucks a month. Then you also have, even people who are well meaning, having conflicting information or conflicting opinions about how best to implement your marketing strategies. Then end result is that, there’s so much information out there and there’s so much complexity in the industry that you don’t know where to focus and you don’t know who to turn to trust and point you in the right direction. That’s what we’re hoping to help with today, is to give you a little bit of insight into where you can start focusing your marketing efforts.
Scott: Great. The first thing we’ll dig into is SEO or search engine optimization. This is likely the area of online marketing that we get more questions about than anything else. You probably know that SEO is important but you might not know how to best achieve success. We’ll be scratching the surface in the next couple of slides but if you’d like to learn more, I’d also recommend you check out a webinar that Tim and I hosted last year, that goes into much more detail and we’ll be again, linking to this webinar later in this presentation today.
One thing we often see MSPs putting a bit too much emphasis on is automated SEO reports. They’ll either run these reports from one of a dozen tools that offer a free SEO analysis or they’ll receive a report from someone who says, “We can fix all the errors that this report shows.” Now, keep in mind that these reports are automated. Whoever is creating the tool or designed it, will have it set to predefined criteria and at times, it actually might be wrong so definitely keep that in mind. Now, to be clear, these reports aren’t useless. They’re a good place to find potential issues that you may have overlooked when you’re building a website.
They can also start a conversation that you can have with an SEO expert. You can review the report and see areas to improve but again, remember, this is just a starting point. As you can see in the screenshot here, in the example in the bottom right, this analysis tool said that this site doesn’t have a site map but the site we analyzed here, does have a site map. The tool was just outdated and it wasn’t looking in the right place.
In other cases, automated tools might make small issues seem like much bigger ones. This really distractions from actual areas where you can drive bigger gains. For example, most SEO tools will tell you that images on your site need to have ult Text and including ult text on images is best practice and it is helpful but it isn’t a thing that’s going to make or break your online success.
Tim: One thing I’ll add here is that it’s really easy for people who are selling services like this, to take an automated tool like this and just sort of spin it in a way that makes it sound a lot better or makes their website sound a lot worse than it actually is. It does take a little bit of knowledge on your end, to understand what they might be talking about or at least, being able to turn to an expert that you know you can trust, that’s going to give you an honest assessment of what it’s really going to take for your site to achieve success. Looking beyond that low value tactic, that starting point and looking into something we think drives a lot more value, if you were to boil down SEO to the one most important thing that you can do, it’s earning links from other websites, that point to your website.
In short, search engines see these links that point to your website as votes of confidence in the quality or authority of your site. The more links that you have, pointing from high quality sources, to your website, the more likely you’ll be, to rank for your target keywords. In the chart to the left here, this comes from a website, Backlinko, that does a lot of SEO analysis and SEO recommendations for tactics you can use. They looked at over a million different searches and for each of those million searches, they collected information for the top 10 websites, ranking for those particular search phrases, and looked at how many different domains are linking to those sites.
You can see here on average, the sites that ranked higher in the top 10, tended to have a lot more domains linking to them than sites with fewer. Over the years, the way that search engines have determined rankings has become increasingly complex. They’re always adding new factors that help them figure out the best sites to place where in the search results or, they might go back and fine tune some of the older aspects of the algorithm. Through all that, links have consistently remained an important factor in determining rankings. Actually, when Google was founded, it’s one of the things that set them apart from the other early search engines and allowed them to provide much higher quality results for their users. In looking forward to the future, even things like machine learning becoming more important and having a bigger role in Google search algorithms, links will continue to be a really important part of your SEOs success.
Scott: Great. How do you go about earning more links to your website? Well, the first step is actually to collect some information about how many links you have today and who is linking to you. There are a couple different tools there that can help, including open site explorer and AHrefs. You might also want to put your competitor’s domains into these tools so you can see how your site compares to them. If you’re not sure what to do with the data that these tools provide, talk to an SEO expert.
We’re always ready. If you’re a Pronto client, just send us a message and we’re happy to look through any of these reports with you and determine how we could help. There are also a few different ways you could go about building links to your site. I’ll go over two of them briefly here. First is reaching out to your existing network of partners and clients. You can offer to work on a case study with your vendors about how you use their services. I won’t go into too much detail but we’ve linked to a blog post here that goes through a step by step process of how to use case studies to build links to your site. The other link building tactic we recommend involves writing blog posts for other websites in the tech industry.
If you write an article for another website and they publish it, they’ll typically link back to your website, in the article. We go into this process in more detail, in the SEO webinar but we’ll also, again, link to that later in the presentation. What this is basically called is, guest blog posting.
Tim: Next, we’ll be moving onto Google AdWords, with is particularly popular with MSPs and with lots of different industries because it’s one of the best ways to put your business in front of your prospects, at a time that they’re looking for you. For those of you who don’t know, AdWords is Google’s search advertising platform where, sometimes you’ll be searching for something on Google and you’ll see maybe the top three or four results have a little ad icon next to them. Those results are paying to show up there. They’re paying Google every time someone clicks on one of their ads. Google gives you a ton of control over when your ads will appear.
You can tell Google what search phrases you want it to appear for, where your searchers should be, if you’re targeting just your local region or the entire United States or maybe just your particular state or your county, or maybe even your specific zip code. You can control the time of day, the device that they look on and all of this adds up to you having a lot of precision in you targeting the right people and being there when they’re searching for the keywords that mean they’re looking for an IT service provider. Maybe you have your ads show up for something like, IT support San Fransisco or Managed IT services Houston. If someone’s searching for that, they’re clearly looking for an IT provider and your ad can be right there.
The downside to this is that Google sort of plays a little trick on business owners by making it really easy to get started with your first AdWords campaign. They guide you through this whole process, tell you, “Put in a couple keywords here and then, write a little bit of ad text here and tell us how much you want to pay here and then launch your ad.” They sort of make it seem like, just by doing those little things, that Google will go ahead and figure out the rest for you and just make it work. They make it super easy to launch that campaign but what they don’t tell you is that it actually takes a lot of work after that, to really build success.
You can’t just launch this campaign and let it run on its own and totally forget about because if you do, if you’re not spending the time to manage your campaign, it’s actually really easy to waste a lot of money. In the example we have here, this comes from an MSP who is running ads in Chicago and they weren’t paying attention to how they had targeted their ads. Here, they were targeting keyword phrases like IT service and IT support but in the match type column here, they selected broad match, which essentially tells Google to say, “Hey, go figure out anything that you think might be even close to the keyword I want to target.” Google takes that and just sort of runs with it and starts showing your ad all over the place, even for things that might not be really relevant. In this case, this MSPs ads were showing up for things like shredding services Chicago and You Pull it Chicago, which was a junkyard, a scrap yard that you can go pull your own auto parts from or the University of Chicago.
All of these clicks that they paid Google for, went to their website but they aren’t people who are going to convert into real leads and definitely not convert into clients. This company ended up throwing away at least a few hundred dollars here by not closely monitoring how their campaigns were running. You have to be really careful in how you not only build your campaign but, how you manage it going forward.
Scott: Now, one thing that I absolutely love about AdWords though, is that you can gather some amazing data. Once you develop and launch a well organized campaign, you can really see which ads are getting a lot of clicks and which are getting conversions. Of course, you analyze this information consistently in order to make the necessary improvements to the campaign. What sort of improvements am I referring to? Well, when you have a very targeted campaign, you’ll be displaying your ads, primarily, to searchers who are showing some intent or interest in managed services but, the ad copy has to catch the attention, in order to inspire a click. If your click through rate is under, let’s say, 1%, you should really rethink the text of your ads.
Now, once you’ve got a good ad click through rate, you should analyze how your landing pages are performing. When a visitor clicks on your ad but leaves your site right away, they affectively bounced from your site. You want your visitors to complete a form or to pick up the phone to actually become a lead. Your goal here, is to get the bounce rate as low as possible. You’ve already actually paid to get this visitor on your site so you really don’t want to lose them from there. Again, this is just really scratching the surface of Google AdWords optimization but when it’s done correctly, you can learn so much information about your visitors and what they’re searching for, what they’re clicking and what’s getting them to convert.
Tim: Scott mentioned there’s a lot that goes into optimizing an AdWords campaign but here, we boil it down to three types of activities that we think are really important to building success. Really, the secret to AdWords is building a process that you can follow to regularly optimize your campaign and make small adjustments to it. We’ve broken them down in three different categories here. On a daily basis, you should be logging into your campaign and reviewing how your keywords and ads are performing. Scott was just talking a little bit about click through rate and using that as a metric to help you understand, at least on a basic level, if a particular ad is performing well or a particular keyword is performing well and if not, then you can make adjustments from there.
Maybe you need to tweak the ad copy a little bit or maybe you need to adjust the bid on that keyword. Maybe you’re just not paying enough to show up high enough in the search results or in ad results to get enough clicks. You also need to pay close attention to what search terms your ads are appearing for. We saw on the earlier slide, it’s really easy for your ad to show up for irrelevant terms that end up wasting your money. You should be going through. Google will show you exactly what people are searching for when your ad shows up and you can mark those as what is called, negative keywords, which tells Google to no longer display your ad with that search phrase so you start eliminating those irrelevant phrases from the targets that you’ve selected.
On a weekly basis, you should be looking at how much you’re spending and making sure that you’re on track for the budget that you’ve set for yourself, for the month. You not only want to make sure you’re not overspending but you want to make sure you’re not underspending as well. If you’re not spending nearly what you thought you might end up spending, that is potentially a sign that you’re not targeting things widely enough. Maybe you’re not targeting the right keywords that people are searching for or you haven’t set your target location wide enough to get enough people that is drawing the right search volume to drive clicks to your website and eventually those leads.
Then, on a monthly and quarterly basis, you want to start looking at things like leads and actual conversions into clients. You should go through and look at how many form submissions and how many phone calls were generated from your AdWords campaigns then dig into those leads as well and see what happened to them. Did they turn into clients, were they just a bad fit from the beginning, was the lead quality really low, was it okay? You can take all that information and also look at the amount that you’ve spent in that time period and use it to calculate your cost per lead as well as your overall ROI.
Ultimately, you want to make sure that you’re getting a positive return from your investment in AdWords. Really, by looking at this stuff in larger chunks from a month or a quarterly perspective, you can start to see those trends of whether your cost per lead is improving or if you’re actually generating real clients that make your investment in AdWords, worth while.
Scott: I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Content is King,” and honestly, we agree with this. Blogging is a really great way to enhance your marketing because, once you write a blog post, it can help your SEO, it can help improve your site engagement and it can also be used for your email campaigns. Now, having said that, there are a few trends that we’ve been noticing when it comes to blogging. The first is trying to write a blog post for search engines instead of people. This may involve finding the keyword that you want to rank for and churning out content that includes that keyword, as often as possible.
The problem with this is that search engines are getting better and better at determining if a blog post is actually valuable. The search engines don’t want to send their users to blog posts that visitors aren’t going to find insightful. Not only that but, even if search engines do send visitors to a blog post like this, its’ not very likely that the visitor will contact you after reading such mediocre content. Secondly, you may have read articles which discuss the ideal length of a blog post and the conclusion may be that 2,000 or 2,500 words is the perfect length, which search engines will love.
Well, the problem with this again, is that it’s neglecting the actual person who will read your blog post. If you’re writing a blog post about how Cloud Computing is impacting SMBs, you’re likely to run out of steam by like, 800 words. Are you really going to go in and add additional 1,200 words just because that’s what you read is the right post length? Now, another thing you’ll notice in some of these charts here is that we’re showing how word count may correlate to the amount of inbound links to your site but the problem, again, with this is it’s not really about, necessarily, just about the links or the length, it’s more about the quality of the site. It’s correlation versus causation here, right?
If you write a really good post, it’s going to be useful to clients, it’s going to be helpful, people are going to link to it. It’s not just because of the length of the post that’s causing the links that come to it or the traffic to come. Remember, write for your actual prospects rather than search engines.
Tim: I think it’s also helpful to consider what the intent of your visitors to that particular page might be. If it’s a page where you’re really digging into this in depth topic and your goal is to provide a really deep view of this particular thing, say Cloud computing and you want to cover everything from the very basics to complex server arrangements and server farms that actually make this stuff happen, yeah, maybe that does take you 2 or 3,000 words. If your goal is to give a basic overview to a small business owner, just so they can understand what the benefits of cloud computing are for their business, that’s not necessarily going to take two or 3,000 words or more and as Scott mentioned, maybe it’s 800.
When people sometimes ask, “What’s the right length for a blog article?” The answer is, “As many words as it takes to explain the topic you’re trying to cover.” It’s okay if that’s 600 or 800 or 1,000 words and it’s also okay if that’s 2,000 words. What you need to keep in mind is that you’re writing for a person, not for some chart that you saw that says, “Do this because search engines like it better.” It’s really, the more value you give to people, the more search engines and other marketing channels are going to naturally reward you. Really, when you’re thinking about driving more value for your content, it’s, as Scott mentioned, writing for people.
The thing that’s even better than just writing for people, is writing for people as they fit into specific stages of your sales funnel and by answering questions that they have at a given state, you can preemptively alleviate potential concerns they might have at that point and help guide them further into the sales path, getting closer to making a purchasing decision and hopefully, signing up for your services. The screenshot here comes from a customer journey map that we built for ourselves a couple of years ago. Actually, a lot of the stuff we have put down here, applies to MSPs where, essentially, you can replace website with technology and you can replace leads and traffic with having fewer technology headaches and making teams more efficient.
The overall journey here and roadblocks that come up along that way, still apply. What we did here was not only just write out all the steps and the process of what our customers go through but we also took the time to think about what questions they have at each particular stage. That’s really, what helped guide our content strategy from there. For example, in the finalizing decision stage, our customers or our prospects, are starting to think about pricing. We wanted to address that in a way that, not only gave them information about what our pricing is, but also gave them some information about what their other pricing options are out there.
What we ended up coming up with was a PDF that has a comparison of Pronto’s pricing versus DIY website options versus freelance options versus large agency options. It weighs the pros and cons of all of those where DIY is much cheaper but costs a lot more of your time, your own time going into building it. Agency is more expensive but you can just sort of let them go and do whatever they think is best. This one piece of content then answers a broad range of questions that prospects have at this particular stage and helps them make a better informed decision about what’s right for them.
Sometimes, it might not be going with Pronto is the right decision but, at the very least, they trust us to be honest with them and straight forward about what all the different options out there. This strategy helps you build that trust and establish yourself as an expert and as someone that these people can turn to for additional questions that they might have, further along the sales path.
Scott: How can you improve your content marketing strategy? Well, start by auditing your existing content. Until you know where you currently stand, you won’t know which areas you need to improve. Just make a basic spreadsheet and include your blog post or case studies, eBooks and white papers and then align each piece of content to the stages of your sales funnel. If that specific content is going to help you attract visitors or is it going to help you convert visitors into leads or closure leads or delight your current clients?
Once you’ve conducted your content audit and identified the areas for improvement, begin writing blog posts that your audience will find useful. You could start writing blog posts about topics that your prospects ask your sales team on a regular basis and once your post is written, then you can make some adjustments to optimizing it for the search engines. Again, you’re writing it for the actual visitors, it’s not to say you should neglect search engines. Maybe you need to makes some tweaks to the title or something so it’s more likely to show up in search results but that comes a little bit secondary to making sure that it’s actually a valuable post for your audience.
Lastly, put your content in front of your audience. You’ve got something to show off now so promote it. Add your post to your social media accounts, include it in your newsletter or in a targeted email campaign. Don’t just expect people to find the post because it’s on your site. You may get some new, organic search traffic for the post naturally but you can’t just expect it to come to you. Make sure you promote it as much as possible.
Tim: Next, we’ll be moving into conversion optimization, which is, the process of making incremental improvements to any aspect of your sales funnel. It’s most commonly associated with AB testing on landing pages, which is when you create a landing page, let’s say for AdWords and you want to see if you can improve the rate at which people submit the form on that page by changing things like the headline text or button text or button color and then comparing results for those two pages to see which one drove more conversions for you or converted at a higher rate. I’ll take, what I think is an unpopular opinion within the industry that, AB testing, at least in some cases, is less valuable than it’s made out to be.
It’s not uncommon to see case studies about AB testing where someone says they change their button color from green to red or they move their form from the right side of the page to the left side of the page and then their conversion rate exploded by like, 700%. Those case studies tend to be outliers and most AB tests don’t actually result in actionable data. That’s because the results that you collect require a lot of data before you can know for sure that the change you made was actually the thing that caused the difference in results as opposed to just random people coming in and making random decisions on the page.
You need to collect enough data to be statistically significant that you can have a certain amount of confidence and say, “I changed this button color and it caused this to happen,” as opposed to say, “This was just sort of random. I don’t know what to do with it.” Most MSPs, particularly on landing pages that they’re using for campaigns, don’t get enough traffic to build usable AB tests. In the example here, let’s say you have a landing page you’re using for an AdWords campaign and currently, 5% of the visitors for that page, are filing out a form and converting it into leads. You want to run a test to see if you can increase that conversion rate by 1% or see if it can change by 1% so it ends up somewhere between 4 and 6%.
In order to say with any confidence that the change you made caused that adjustment in the conversion rate, you would need over 7,000 visitors to just one version of that page. If you’re running an A version and a B version, you need about 15,000 visitors before you can be confident that the change you made actually caused the change in conversion rate. Let’s say, maybe on average, MSPs that are running a decent size AdWords campaign, might get, say like, 50 clicks a month for one particular keyword that might be pointing to the landing page. Getting 50 clicks a month and needing 15,000 visits, means you’ll be running that test for 25 years before you can have any data to tell you what to do next.
There are cases where AB testing is really useful, particularly when you’re dealing with a lot more data. Let’s say, you’re testing the AdWords ad itself, as opposed to a landing page, those ads are getting thousands of impressions a month and you can run that test for maybe a month and a half or three months and then have enough data to make a decision. Maybe you’re sending out emails to several thousand people and again, that’s enough data to start making some decisions but, particularly when it comes to landing pages, it’s typically the case that you won’t be able to get, really, any useful data that’s going to help you drive a higher conversion rate for that page.
Scott: As Tim explained, making minor tweaks to like, button colors, isn’t likely to have an impact but, rather than focusing on things that are so superficial, takes some time to think about who you’re trying to appeal to. A great way to do this is to develop some buyer personas for your audience. Buyer personas are basically pretend characters that encapsulate the types of buyers that you’d like to attract. By developing these personas, you’ll have a better idea of how to appeal to them through your site’s copy, images and even your blog posts. Think about it, do you pitch your services the same way to business owners that you do to a CTO?
Different roles have different pain points so, when you define those pain points, you can determine how to appeal to those specific types of people, which will make your marketing efforts far more effective. As you can see in this image here, this snapshot, we have a buyer persona that we’re using as an example, called Reluctant Randy. We’ve named him of course, we have a job title, a salary, we’ve listed off his pain points and again, ideally, this information is coming from your current clients, it’s people that you’ve talked to before and with all the people you know and all the people in your SRM, you’re able to build these personas around that.
Just having these personas defined is going to be really, really helpful when you’re thinking about blog topics and deciding on the tone of voice in your blog posts.
Tim: As you go towards building your own personas for your buyers and your customers out there, what we recommend as a first step is going through are MSP buyer’s persona guide. This is a guide that Scott built a few weeks ago, that goes into some of the details about the benefits of building personas, talks about some of the common personas that MSPs encounter and then, has some worksheets for you to go through to help guide you through the process of building your first few personas.
Once you’ve done that, what you really need to do is start thinking about content and offers on your website, that are going to speak to those personas directly. As Scott said, different personas have different pain points. They have different things that they need to address with them. You need to spend some time thinking about whether a certain persona needs more educational information and in that case, maybe you have an eBook, an educational eBook on your site. Maybe there’s a persona that needs just a more technical talk through of your services and maybe that person gets offered a consultation where they’re talking to one of your techs and going into a lot of the details about what you offer and individual specs for different services or different platforms that you use.
Then, on top of that, what I think everyone here should do today is go through their websites and look at all the buttons that you have throughout your site. Anywhere that you see a submit or a contact us or a click here or any of the other really generic button texts, dump it and replace it with a much stronger call to action. Something that describes what’s going to happen after someone clicks that button. For example, connect with our experts, is much stronger than submit. It tells people that they’re going to be talking to your team members at some point soon, as opposed to just, they’re going to submit a form. Using really strong action verbs and descriptions that tell people what’s going to happen next, ends up enticing them to take more action because they feel more confident in what is going to happen after they click that button.
Scott: We can’t talk about marketing tactics without mentioning email. Sometimes email gets a bad wrap but it’s still one of the most powerful tactics if it’s used correctly. However, one mistake we often see is sending un-targeted emails to every email address you’ve captured in your CRM. If you’re sending monthly email newsletters, you may chose to send them to both your clients, and your prospects, which is completely fine. If you have emails that are generic and they’re going out to a less targeted list, you’re not likely to get good results. As you can see from this screenshot here, campaigns that are less targeted, are being sent to over a thousand recipients and of those, only 20 or 30% are even opening the email.
On the other hand, the campaigns that were segmented better, had a much lower number of recipients but, the open rate and the click through rate are often significantly better.
Tim: One of the best uses of email and particularly, segmenting your email is lead nurturing. This is particularly true for MSPs where the sales cycle’s a little bit longer. Your prospects might not be ready to make their decision about switching IT providers yet or maybe their pain point hasn’t become a big enough issue for them yet, to take action. To deal with this effectively, you really need to do three different things. You need to make sure you remain top of mind while they’re still in their research phase or still waiting for their server to crash. You need to be able to show that you have expertise in the industry. That you’re someone that they can trust and someone that they want to work with. You need to help your prospects make informed business decisions.
This involves educating them about the benefits or the pros and cons of different types of services out there, different solutions that they might be considering. What we think does a great job at all three of these things are educational drip email campaigns. What we mean by that is, a series of emails that’s sent over a three to five week period that, bit by bit, explain some complicating subject. It takes them from, “What is this,” to, “What are the business benefits of this?” With each subsequent email, you get into a bit more detail about what that solution is and how it can benefit their business.
Scott: As Tim mentioned, it’s really important to nurture your leads. Start by determining the most common questions you get from your prospects and clients and if you already have blog posts about those topics, you’re off to a great start but not everyone’s going to read your blog post unless you point them to them. That’s why point two is to write a three to five email series which answer those common questions. This is called an email drip campaign. In the case of cloud computing, your first email may explain what the cloud is and then the following emails may build on that.
When you’re writing these emails, make sure to include a clear call to action. This is, again, basically a button which the user would click after reading the email and it would lead them maybe to a blog post to go into more detail or, maybe further down that email chain, you would direct them to get a free consultation. Again, these emails are building on each other, they’re educating the client but they’re also enticing that recipient to take an action and to ideally, get in touch with your team.
Tim: It’s sort of this soft pitch for your business that gets a little bit stronger with each email. The very first email might have just a very soft call to action that says, “Here, read this blog article that goes into bit more depth,” and by the last email, you’re saying, “Give us a call or schedule an appointment with us so we can tell you how we can solve this problem for you.” By the time you get to that fifth, sixth or seventh email, whatever the last email is, you’ve built up that trust along the way, you’ve shown this recipient that you know what you’re talking about and are able to help them solve those solutions.
With all these marketing activities and channels going on, it’s really essential that you track your data and be able to analyze that data. The problem is that a lot of analytics tools out there don’t make it immediately clear, which data points you should be paying attention to. Data’s so important, it’s really what allows you to make better decisions about your marketing efforts and your business. If you don’t know where to look, you don’t know what decisions to make. Often times, we see our clients focusing on top level metrics like page views or time on site but these really just scratch the surface and don’t give you much information on how you can make improvements.
It might be fun to see that your page views are increasing month after month but, what does that really tell you about how you can be better with your marketing or how you can improve your business?
Scott: Your data should be able to answer specific questions about your business. For example, you might ask, “Is my conversion rate from organic search traffic increasing or decreasing?” Once you have that answer, you can ask, “Why?” Then, you can build a hypothesis that can help you to drive improvements and market better on your website. In the example on the left, you can see that our leads from email traffic were significantly larger in March and October. We can ask ourselves, “Why is that the case?” By looking back at our email campaigns over the last year, we find that we promoted new eBooks those months. That’s some pretty significant evidence that tells us we should be investing more on producing and promoting these eBooks.
Tim: There are a couple fundamental things you need to have in place to make sure you’re collecting the right data. First of all, you need to have Google Analytics installed on your website. This is a free web traffic tracking tool that’s out there and allows you to gather a bunch of information about how many people are visiting your site and what actions they take on your site once they arrive there. Once you have Analytics installed, make sure you’re setting up conversion goals within Google Analytics. These goals are things that you want people … tasks or places on your site that you want people to visit, things that you want them to do and accomplish on your site.
It can be something as small as clicking a play button a video or as important as submitting a form that raises their hand as a lead. You need to be able to track this information correctly because it becomes important later, that you have that accurate data to analyze and start making decisions based off of. If you’re a Pronto client, I’d recommend checking in with your Pronto insights dashboard where we display information about traffic and form submissions and where those submissions came from. Did they arrive on your site via email or organic search or a paid search campaign? We have a bunch of information there for you already.
On top of that, what I think is really important is that you’re also tracking incoming phone calls as well. Traditionally, let’s say you’re running an email campaign and it’s pointing to a landing page and someone clicks on that email, comes to the landing page but they don’t want to fill out the form, they’d rather just pick up the phone and call you. In the past, that’s something that would just sort of be lost. You wouldn’t know that they came from an email campaign. Maybe you can ask them on the phone, how they heard about you and they might say, “Oh, I saw this email,” but they might not remember what specific email campaign that was.
There’s a bunch of call tracking tools out there that solve this problem for you. I won’t go into the details of exactly how they work but essentially, if someone arrives on your site and places a phone call, the call tracking tool can then match that back to how they arrived on your site. It gives you a bunch of conversion data that’s really important that will help you make decisions about how your marketing campaigns are performing. I’d say, there’s potentially a fourth step here that we didn’t write down is that, once you have all this data collected and gathered for a few months, you need to start thinking about the business questions that you want to answer.
Like Scott mentioned, data is all about answering questions for you. You need to start asking those questions and then finding the right ways to answer them with data. Once you have those answers, you start building ways or thinking about ways that you can improve things or change the way you’re doing things to drive even better results.
Scott: To bring everything together, it’s important to think about your overall sales marketing strategy. If you don’t have a clear strategy in place, it’s really easy to fall into a trap of jumping from tactic to tactic, looking for a lead generation solution. Honestly, this is something that we all fall into sometimes. Maybe you hear from another company that they get all their leads from SEO so you focus on improving your SEO for a few months but, if the campaign doesn’t produce amazing results right away, then you look for another solution and you learn about Google AdWords so you start a campaign and you get a lot of clicks but your cost per click is maybe higher than you expected so you pause your campaign and focus on creating an eBook.
You don’t spend time promoting the eBook so instead, you move onto a marketing automation tool like HubSpot. Now, to be clear, even in this example, these tactics are ones that we recommend. However, the issue is that you won’t get any benefits if you’re just hopping from tactic to tactic like this. Remember, these things all work together. You won’t just find this easy solution to drive more traffic and to gather more leads. You got to be able to bring everything together because it’s never just one thing.
Tim: One thing I’ll add here too is that, all the low value tactics that we’ve discussed up until this point, actually can be beneficial. They’re good starting points, as we mentioned earlier. They’re the place that you first step into that channel or field of marketing and expand from. This low value tactic is something that actually can be detrimental to your business. You end up wasting a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of resources, chasing that dream of finding that one solution to your sales and marketing needs. Really, it doesn’t exist.
There isn’t one thing out there that’s going to solve all your problems for you. What it really comes down to is building a strategy that follows your sales funnel. We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout the webinar already, that basing a lot of different marketing activities on your sales funnel like content, email, conversion pass, can have a strong impact on those marking channels. The same applies to your overall strategy as well. Really, what you need to do is look at all of your marketing efforts today and make sure that they’re working together to push people through that funnel.
The example we have here shows the basic stages of the sales funnel and in this case, we’ve matched it to services that we offer. You shouldn’t limit yourself to those services. Marketing encompasses a lot more than what we offer. There’s a lot of offline things that you should be focusing on as well and planning when you’re thinking about this high level strategy. The main thing to keep in mind is that every tactic you implement with your marketing should be focused on pushing people from one stage to the next and guiding them along this path from, first learning about your business, towards becoming a happy customer.
Scott: If you’re ready to get serious about your marketing strategy, take a few minutes to write down all of your marketing activities that you’re doing today. This could be anything from sending a direct mail campaign to promoting your referral program. The key here, is to really just get everything organized in one place. Once you have a nice, thorough list, go through each item and match each of them to a stage in the sales funnel. Think about if each marketing activity is helping attract visitors or if it’s helping convert leads or close leads into clients or delight your current clients.
Now that everything’s organized and mapped, look for the weak spots. Once you define those areas of improvement, prioritize them and talk with your team to start taking action and filling those gaps. If possible, set due dates. If you decide, “Oh, I’m not doing enough to drive more traffic to my site. I’m not doing any tactics for that,” then set a goal and set a target due date to when you will have that because, the worst thing that can happen is, you’ve defined what those problem areas are, those areas for improvement are but you have a meeting next quarter and you realize you haven’t taken any action just because you got busy with other things. Really, again, if at all possible, set due dates and get these things underway as soon as you can.
Tim: Those are our seven high value tactics for MSPs. We won’t give you too much of a sales pitch here but, we would like to mention that we have prepackaged marketing services for MSPs that offer a pretty solid discount along with them. As you can see, we’ve built these packages with the sales funnel in mind. We’ve included tactics that we feel are important for MSPs to help draw new visitors and prospects into the funnel and help push those leads along towards becoming happy clients of yours.
If you’d like to learn more about these packages that we offer, feel free to email us at [email protected] or [email protected]. With that, we’ll dive into some questions. I’m going to read through some of the questions you guys have asked throughout the presentation. Scott’s going to dig into a couple things that we though you guys need a bit more explanation on and some questions we thought, might pop up.
Scott: All right. One of the questions that I often get is, once you go through a sales funnel and you understand it, which stage of the sales funnel are most MSPs struggling with? The answer here is, it’s usually a combination of attract and convert. These are the first two stages of a sales funnel. You need to attract people to your site and you need to convert them into leads. Now, what I typically find is that MSPs are either focusing on increasing the conversion rate on their site, so they’re trying to get better calls to action and they’re adding eBooks, doing things like this, which is fantastic but, they’re not doing anything to drive more people to the site. They’re may not blogging or they’re not running any advertising campaigns and then, on the other end, a lot of MSPs are only driving traffic to the site.
They’re doing a lot to get more traffic but they’re then not thinking about their sales funnel and saying, “I need to offer things like eBooks and white papers on the site.” The important thing here is, you really got to be doing both of those things if you want to capture leads. Think about the conversion path on your site but also do all the things that you can, to drive more people to the site so you can actually take advantage of that conversion path.
Now, another one that we often get is, if you’re looking at all these analytics, you see a lot of analytics in the Pronto Insights Report, you might even be familiar with Google Analytics but there’s so much there. Which ones are most important to focus on? I know Tim dove pretty deeply into this but, the idea here is, maybe start at the high level. Start at things like; what is your traffic? What are your conversions? What are the trends and, when you’re looking at trends, try to look year over year. There are always going to be seasonal changes but think about, compared to last year, has my traffic gone up or has it gone down? Have my conversions or form fills gone up or have they gone down?
Again, this isn’t all you need to dive into but it’s a good start. Then, once you’ve got that, start looking and analyzing a specific campaign that you’re running. If you’re running, maybe, an advertising campaign, see how that’s influencing things. Dive deeper and say, “Well, is my AdWords campaign getting me a good number of conversions? What is the average cost per conversion? Are those leads actually turning into clients? What is the average income I’m getting from each of these clients? Is it worth that amount that I’m spending?” You really need to be digging deeper, each step along the line, so you can see how effective your campaigns are.
Tim: With that, as promised, here’s a bunch of different, great resources, including the three webinars that Scott and I have hosted in the past, which cover AdWords, SEO and content marketing. On top of that, we have the buyer persona and sales funnel templates that we mentioned as well as a presentation about our MSP marketing services. You’re welcome to dig into these a bit more and if you have questions, you’re definitely welcome to reach out to us. With that, thank you everyone, for coming in today. If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. I’m tim@prontomarketing. Scott is, scott@prontomarketing. Thank you again.