Niche Marketing: It’s Time to Step Up or Step Aside

Written by J.P. Roe, Marketing Director at Your Sales Energy and Tom Watson, VP of MSP Best Practices at Axcient

In our last webinar with MSPIgnition! we talked about the evolving state of MSP marketing and how the Channel is becoming more competitive and less forgiving by the day. We’re all watching nature take its course, culling the weak from the strong.

It’s time to adapt and overcome — or go extinct.

During the webinar, we touched on a few ways that smart MSP owners are stepping up their marketing game and carving out a nice place for themselves among the evolved survivors. We’re going to expand on one of the most important methodologies right now.

More Targeting Trumps More Marketing

Effective marketing is rarely a matter of quantity. It’s all about quality, efficacy, and results.

When the pressure is on, many MSP owners’ first instinct is to cast a wider net. They’ll expand their reach, beef up their mailing list, or start venturing down new channels like social media or PPC.

This usually isn’t the best course of action, at least not right away. The quickest and most effective way to turn your marketing situation around is to improve the way you’re using what you already have:

  • Make sure you’re communicating the optimal message to your contacts.
  • Feed those contacts through lead generating funnels.
  • Present timely, relevant offers.
  • Segment and qualifying your existing contacts.

Identify, Understand, Target, and Nurture

Following through with the above four points requires that you do one thing: identify key audiences for your marketing.

You’ve undoubtedly been told this before. It’s not a marketing secret as much as it is a marketing necessity, so information about niche targeting is certainly out there.

What tends to elude MSP owners though are the reasons why it’s so important and how to target niche audiences so that you actually get results.

Why We Niche

  • To create messaging that speaks directly to a specific type of consumer.
  • To show that you’re capable of addressing that specific consumer’s needs and that you understand their situation.
  • To develop marketing assets that are compelling and relevant to that consumer.
  • To hone our entry-points and ensure that we’re bringing the right contacts into your marketing machine.
  • To better qualify leads and deliver more useful information to the sales team.

How We Niche

  • We choose a segment of your market that you’re experienced in servicing. The more happy clients, the better. (This is often an industry vertical, but doesn’t have to be.)
  • We build a prospect profile for that segment based on your experience and feedback from your clients.
  • We construct messaging and content based on that feedback. What made them choose you? What did you do specifically to make their business more functional? How did your knowledge of their industry come into play?
  • We build a lead generation funnel around that messaging and content and then feed everyone in that segment through it.
  • We add relevant on-page content to your website and launch an integrated SEO marketing campaign to bring in organic traffic from that market segment.

This may seem like a lot of work (and it is) but if you’re not approaching your marketing this way, you are losing out on 75% of your potential lead generation, if not more.

The time has come when your chances of losing a contract to a competing MSP who took the time to verticalize is very, very high. I’d hardly even call it “optional” anymore. As the title says, step up or step aside. 

It Begins With the Profiles

You’ve probably seen templates for prospect profiles, and if you’re using a CRM like SharpSpring, you may even have them built into your marketing automation.

The trouble with these profiles is that they seem pretty corny, and when you’re already juggling a million other tasks, the last thing on your mind is building out a D&D Character Sheet for some fictional business owner.

I’ve been running into these profile/avatar templates since I first got into digital marketing many years ago. At first, I thought they were a waste of time, too…until I started learning how you’re actually supposed to use them.

The information you’re putting into this prospect profile is largely meant to be a starting point for brainstorming intent and context. When you’re writing in pain points, fears, goals, and other assumptions about this audience, you’re priming yourself to start viewing the buyer’s journey through their eyes.

That’s when you can start imagining the questions they would be asking — and the solutions they’re seeking. This is important for messaging, content creation, and SEO.

“I have to deal with my own IT problems because I can’t afford an IT company. 

My customers count on me. How do I make sure my business computers stay online?”

I’m getting more calls than I can handle. If I hire a receptionist, I wonder what it will cost to have a business phone system put in?”

You see, when you start imagining the questions — and you’ve probably heard these questions before, so it doesn’t take a lot of imagination — you begin to see the messaging. You can see the need that needs to be satisfied, the reason why the need exists, and the keywords being entered into a search engine to find an answer.

All of this information is valuable if you use it to build your content, funnels, and offers. 

It comes down to this: if your marketing engine has stalled out and you’re notalready targeting niche audiences, then this needs to be your next step.

If have verticalized and you’re still not seeing results, then you need to assess your execution of the strategy. Have you crafted the right messaging and content? Are you using lead generation funnels that guide the buyer’s journey? Are you following up on the leads?

There’s a 300% increase in potential leads sitting right in front of you. Make sure you or your marketing team grabs it before your competitor does.

Join us in February for MSP Ignition! 21:  Delivering An Authentic Message Through Marketing – with Your Sales Energy