Do you want to grow your MSP firm faster? (Not everyone does, and that’s okay, but this is for those who do.)

Better marketing is one of the surest ways to grow a company faster, which is why so many industry leaders do it. It’s not like they got big and then decided to waste all of their money on marketing; they got big by marketing better.

The numbers don’t lie

I did a study of 351 small and mid-sized businesses using my nine-point digital marketing scorecard. I found that the software companies with the most robust marketing grow five times faster than those with little or no marketing – a difference of, say, growing 15% a year versus 3%.

Bullseye Marketing

This chart shows the two-year growth rate of SMB software companies based on how high they scored on my digital marketing scorecard. This relationship is commonplace in many industries.

Marketing disruptors for the win

I haven’t seen any studies specifically about how the marketing of MSPs contributes to their growth; but the Hinge Research Institute 2020 study of over 1,000 high-growth professional services firms – those growing three times faster than their average peers – found that those firms that take advantage of digital lead generation programs grow much faster than those that rely on more traditional, manual approaches:

There was a systematic relationship between annual growth rates and the proportion of business leads coming from online sources.

Respondents that generated more than 66% of their leads from online sources grew more than twice as fast as firms that generated less than 33% from traditional sources.

These “digital disruptors” favored every single digital and content marketing technique studied – and they were three times more likely to use digital ads; two times more likely to use video and podcasts; and 50% more likely to use downloadable content and keyword research/SEO.

Digital disruptors showed a preference for traditional marketing techniques that complemented their digital efforts. For instance, they were more likely to focus on marketing partnerships and use phone calls to generate and nurture leads.

Laggards, on the other hand, were more likely to favor techniques associated with live events, suggesting a more manual, face-to-face marketing strategy.

Bulleseye Marketing Framework

Technology & tactics: consider a proven approach

You’re in tech, right? So, take advantage of marketing tech and other programs to generate leads and build your brand! But which marketing tactics should you start with if you don’t already have a strong marketing program? There are DOZENS! Email, direct mail, search ads, social media ads, print ads, events, content, SEO and on and on. What software should you use? What staff do you need?

I would like to humbly recommend my “bullseye marketing” approach which is designed for small and mid-sized companies that need to launch and scale an effective marketing program.

Bullseye marketing includes three phases designed to initially produce the best, quickest results with the least financial investment:

In Phase 1 you take full advantage of the marketing assets your company already has – such as customers, website traffic, email lists, and your ability to listen – to quickly produce measurable results.

In Phase 2 you generate leads and sales from people who don’t yet know about you but who are looking to buy your kind of service – from someone – right now.

And in Phase 3 you build awareness of your company and offerings with people who are interested in your industry and solutions, and people who could someday be customers, but (as far as you know) are not buying right now. You want to make sure that these people know about you, and think highly of you, so that you will be high on their short list when they are ready to buy.

In the long run, the brand-building that you do in Phase 3 will drive the most new business, but that is a multi-year process. You need the quick wins of Phases 1 and 2 to build your business now and to build your confidence and commitment for the long haul.

When I built my SaaS company into a national leader in its market, which in turn led to a successful exit a decade ago, I budgeted 10% of my expenses every year for marketing. That’s pretty typical in many industries, and in the long run you should plan for that. But in the first year or two of bullseye marketing, you can typically be successful with much less than that.

In my upcoming blog posts for Modern MSP, I’ll be going into more detail on how you can use bullseye marketing to accelerate the growth of your company. I welcome you on the ride!

About the author

Louis Gudema helps B2B companies grow faster as a marketing strategist and fractional head of marketing for Revenue Associates.