Are You Able to Articulate Your IT Marketing Unique Selling Proposition?
Your MSP Needs a USP
IT marketing has long been familiar with the concept of a USP, but does your MSP understand what this is? USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition— it’s a means of obliquely getting behind a potential client’s initial reservations pertaining to your business. As it turns out, the vast majority of MSPs understand what a USP is, but getting the angle right represents a difficulty for them. If you think you’ve got a good USP, here’s how to test it:
Go to your website. Now bring up another MSP’s website— preferably one with whom you have a competitive relationship. Look at your website, look at theirs. What’s the difference? Is there a difference? If you’ve got a solid USP, of course there is. But if you don’t, there isn’t.
What you need is a unique angle of approach defining your MSP from the others in your area. It’s like singers who know how to sing on-key, but don’t have a “voice.” If they haven’t found their “voice,” then they’re just another adequate set of pipes that doesn’t stand out from the rest. But if they have, they’re immediately recognizable. For example: the Bee Gees and Johnny Cash. One band was “Stayin’ Alive,” the other would “Walk the Line;” but both were utterly distinct. Still, you can sing either of their songs without the high-voiced/deep-voiced conventions which made both the above-mentioned songs famous. Your MSP needs to find its particular voice and stick with it.
The Importance of Being Relevant
You don’t want irrelevant catch-phrases designed to fill a slot, you want relevant phrases which stick in the mind. IT marketing solutions can help you with this, as professional marketers understand that which is distinguishing, memorable, and effective.
So take a good, long, solid look at your company, and determine that which sets you apart. Is it your service delivery? Do you have a personalized approach? Are you more of a friendly neighborhood IT service, or are you a “fix anything anytime” kind of group? Figure out that certain je ne sais quoi that sets you apart, that “I don’t know what,” that “certain something.” Capitalize on it fully. Here’s a big hint: humor hits well, is easily memorable, and the more you can laugh at yourself, the better. It’s a sign of honesty and integrity, and most MSPs take themselves much too seriously. Clients are already going to consider you socially awkward just because of the business itself. IT has that kind of reputation. But if you can acknowledge this and even joke about it, you’ll gain more traction. Proof positive? Who said: “We have geeks?” Best Buy immediately popped into your head. This little slogan tells the truth humorously, simply, and accurately. You want to find an angle like that.
A Few Ideas to Consider
Another example of something that might be worth emphasizing is to look at your software support provision. Should your MSP offer disaster recovery or some kind of top-tier security, make sure that’s included in marketing–this is applicable to most clients across the board. The key is applicability. You want to resonate with the most people as effectively and seamlessly as possible.
Something else that can be instrumental is cross-platform applicability. Clients want you to be able to help them with Microsoft, Apple, Novell, Cisco, or whatever they have available. If your techs can work on more than one platform, that’s a good selling point. The phrase “one-stop shop” is a bit tired, but the concept isn’t. You can say, for example, that your business does “Everything”. Then you can go on to humorously qualify “everything” in your various marketing campaigns. Just be sure you can deliver appropriately!
Don’t be fooled, it can take a while for you to get to the place you intend to be as far as USP solutions go. So take your time and remember the elements described here:
• Find your unique angle
• Be relevant
• Communicate to the largest audience
• Emphasize value
• Use humor if possible
IT marketing that employs this kind of strategy will reach more clients successfully, facilitating increased business and further solidifying your MSP’s individuality from other solutions in your area.
Mark McGarvey is president of One Click Solutions Group, a managed IT services in San Francisco and security provider serving small and mid-sized businesses with 20 to 100 employees in the Bay Area. Mark began his career in IT consulting, before moving to San Francisco, in the 90s as a senior support technician for a then-small company in Austin, TX called Dell. After working for a number of organizations in desktop support/management and systems administration, Mark realized a passion for two things: Ensuring computer systems ran smoothly and keeping the people that used these systems happy and productive. This passion helped him get his IT services business started in San Francisco! As a small business owner, Mark empathizes with other business owners that need IT Support in San Francisco and understands the things dearest to them: Increasing productivity and efficiency and keeping costs low and ROI high.