Should You Structure Your MSP Marketing Around Word-Of-Mouth Techniques?
Disadvantages with Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
MSP marketing is a long-term game. You’re going to court clients for months, maybe even a year or more. You’ll have multiple points of contact. One of the best ways to secure clients is through word-of-mouth marketing as it is cost-effective, but you can’t rely on that solely. There are some serious problems with this technique:
• Lack of credibility
• No real control
• Unpredictable and essentially immeasurable results
There’s only a certain amount of credibility in word-of-mouth marketing. Sure, those who get a tip from a close friend are likely to follow up on it. But that’s an ideal scenario that will not characterize all word-of-mouth marketing interactions. Oftentimes, people will have an opinion on who may or may not be the type you want representing your company. It’s all good if some successful distributor in the region talks you up, but what if it’s a criminal on the south side of town? Putting all your eggs in this basket could seriously damage your reputation should the wrong person go around singing your good graces. And, while any publicity is good publicity, there is something to be said for maintaining as positive a reputation as you can.
No Real Control
This was just touched on: with word-of-mouth in MSP marketing, you have no control over who says what, when, or where. It could go better than you could have possibly imagined and it could be that which prevents you from securing a client your MSP really needed. Consider competition, for instance. Competitors are snippy and petty. If one competitor hears that another is using your services, they may avoid you out of principle. Still, it may secure that other competitor to you perpetually, but it’s possible you’ll experience losses through lack of objectivity in that which functions as marketing for your group.
Unpredictable, Immeasurable Results
It’s possible for you to give every new client a survey and have them tell you where they heard of your services, but you’ve filled out surveys before. You know that, most times, you don’t want to give out information not because you’re being unruly, but because it’s a hassle. So you can’t trust the results of even the most well-conducted survey to inform you regarding word of mouth sales, because even the most well-conducted survey will miss the mark every now and again. Additionally, sometimes you’ll go months without a sale and then you’ll get ten closures in a fortnight. There isn’t sustainability in a model which only relies on word of mouth. It will both stretch you thin and overload you.
You want sustainable marketing techniques which bring predictable and proportionately expansive ROI to the equation. One of the most secure ways to obtain such effective MSP marketing is through SEO or search engine optimization. With the right strategies in place, you will realize that you don’t need word-of-mouth to gain clients— your work and services will speak for itself!
About our Contributor
Mark McGarvey is president of One Click Solutions Group, an IT support 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 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 support 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.