Compelling marketing offers drive sales for MSPs and VARs. Here’s why: 75 percent of B2B buyers revealed the winning vendor’s marketing content influenced their buying decision (Demand Gen Report). With the right combination of audience understanding and marketing know-how MSPs and VARs can develop the right offers that make browsers become leads and eventually turn leads into buyers.
There are two major challenges that affect MSPs and VARs as they select marketing offers:
- Targeting the right audience, and
- Truly understanding the pain points they face.
Once you have these two issues under control, choosing a highly responsive offer becomes a breeze rather than a chore.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what it takes to understand who you’ll be targeting with your marketing offer:
Persona Development Gives You Certainty When Selecting Offers
One of the items some firms skip on their marketing checklist is developing persona (or a profile) of their ideal customer. It’s a behind-the-scenes step that can’t be readily seen by those viewing your marketing materials. In marketing speak we would say, “it’s not a direct deliverable.” A deliverable is the final product such as a video, an eBook, or a white paper. Yet getting the right person to consume that deliverable is key to getting the most out of your marketing investment. That’s why knowing your audience remains a top priority for MSPs and VARs looking to pull in fresh leads through digital marketing.
Personas really are the hidden heroes of the marketing campaign so it’s important to put time into them. Here’s why:
- They’ll Know You Understand: When the right person reads your marketing materials, you want them to say, “That’s for me!” or “I’ve been waiting for someone to talk about this.” When you don’t know for certain who it is you’re targeting, you’ll never be able to elicit this kind of response from the emails and landing pages you create.
- They’ll Know You’re the Expert: When your information resonates with your core group of potential customers, they’ll see you as a leader in the market who stands out from your competition. You can do all of this simply by showing you understand your ideal customer’s ‘world.’
Aside from knowing who you’re talking to, you’ll want to understand the thing that irks them the most (pain points) in their business life. These pain points usually come up during your target’s internal meetings or in casual conversations with peers at events. They may even mention these issues in survey responses and in online forums for their industry.
Digital Listening Wins Out Every Time
You’ll have to hang out where your buying decision maker hangs out online. That means subscribing to the forums they frequent. If you’re targeting CIOs, consider checking out CIO.com and Spiceworks.com. We see substantive conversations happening there.
Go where the conversations are: That could be Facebook Groups, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, and possibly private forums designed just for industry insiders.
Watch for the amount of comments: Though you can contribute and share your ideas in these areas, start off by simply listening and watching which topics get the most responses. Those are usually the ones that reveal the most relevant pain points.
Conduct a survey of your own: If you already have a permission-based email list of your ideal potential customers, consider sending out a survey, asking what they’re looking to learn, what their biggest challenges are, and even ask how they see addressing those challenges. If you think your list is too small for a survey, it simply isn’t true. Even a list with a handful of the right prospects will give you the information you need to at least mount a marketing campaign and a content offer that truly resonates with a wider group of your ideal customer.
Discover insights from your sales team: A lunch and learn with your sales team could be a fun way to hear potential customer concerns from the people who interact with them often.
Once you’ve gathered by external and internal insights, it’s time to select an offer topic that speaks to your target.
Getting the Marketing Offer Right
Within the three content categories (Awareness, Consideration, Decision) you have a variety of marketing offers to choose from.
For awareness-level marketing offers, you can keep the information focused on the pain point your ideal customer faces.
Awareness-level marketing offers:
Purpose: Choose this type of offer when you want to build up your email list with potential customers. You’re not looking to make the sale at this point. This is your first contact with the potential customer so be sure the offer is front-loaded with tons of useful information that helps to solve a challenge the person faces.
To get you started, consider the types of questions your ideal customer is asking during this stage. They’re deep in the pain point and are looking for more context about what they’re up against. You provide value when you give that context in a way that’s relatable and shows you have a firm understanding of the industry and the pain points.
Some questions your ideal customer would have during the awareness stage of the buying process would be:
How common is this problem? Are others in the industry up against this as well?
What environment created these issues? Is it the economy, my own internal systems, or some other factor influencing this challenge?
How are other firms handling this issue?
Example: If your ideal customer is a CIO in the healthcare industry, a big issue is cybersecurity and preventing ransomware attacks. They’re getting mountains of information about this topic in the news and possibly from industry publications. Yet the voice of a trusted partner in technology can give them the information to truly understand how ransomware affects their particular infrastructure.
A good marketing offer during this stage would be an ultimate guide to ransomware threats for healthcare organizations. This gives them the feeling they have a comprehensive view of what’s happening in their industry from an expert’s perspective in technology
Consideration-level marketing offers:
- White papers
- Comparison charts
- Client testimonials
- Case studies
Purpose: Most likely you’ll be speaking to people who’ve already opted in to receive communications from your firm at this point. They’ve probably clicked around your site and have some familiarity with your capabilities. A marketing offer in the consideration level gives your ideal customer the information they need to solve the problem they’re facing. It’s a deep dive. They’re asking a different type of question and you’ll need to answer them in your marketing offer to truly add value and keep your expert status in their eyes. Expert status equals trust. Trust equals sales.
Some questions your ideal customer is asking during the consideration stage:
How does your firm stack up against the competitors?
How will I integrate this solution into my existing infrastructure?
Who else is using this and what kind of results did they get?
Example: Extending the healthcare CIO scenario, let’s say the person has given their information so they could download the ultimate guide to ransomware for healthcare organizations (your awareness-level marketing offer). Now you can send the person an email, letting them know you have a comparison of ransomware solution vendors that you thought they might find useful.
The comparison marketing offer should have a chart listing features with your chosen ransomware vendor coming out on top. You’ll also want to include a call to action at the end of the comparison document to reach out to you if they need further details about ransomware solutions for healthcare.
Decision-level marketing offers:
- Pricing calculators
- Product Guide
- How-To Videos
Purpose: You’re looking to help your ideal customer justify the expense of your solution to themselves and also to others within their organization. At this point, if you’ve done well with awareness- and consideration-level marketing offers, the ideal customer has already decided to work with you. They just have to fit your solution into their budget and into the way their organization works. That’s the value of decision-level marketing offers. They give the prospect justification to work with you.
Questions your ideal customer asks during this stage include:
What are the solution options available?
How much are each of the options?
How would the solution work in my environment?
Would I need extra technical staff to manage the solution?
Example: The healthcare CIO in this stage needs all the information they can get to button up the process and ensure they’re well prepared to make the case for your solution. A how-to video detailing the solution and a separate marketing offer with a pricing guide are ideal during this stage in the buying process.
Next Steps in Putting Marketing Offers to Work for Your MSP or VAR Firm
With this information you have some of what’s needed to create a content map. Based on where your prospect is in the buyer’s journey, select what type of content you’ll provide during each stage to move that person closer to becoming – and remaining – a customer.
Here’s an example of what we mean, using the healthcare CIO we mentioned earlier:
Convert lead to qualified account
Convert qualified account to customer
eBook on benefits of EMR
Case study on successful implementation of EMR platform
EMR solution pricing calculator
Video overview of EMR solutions
White paper on EMR and HIPAA compliance
EMR vendor comparison chart
As you move forward in developing your marketing offers, be sure to structure your strategy around the stages of the B2B buying process. We know that can be complex. It requires expertise in several areas including copywriting, design, social ad development, budgeting, and tracking. If you need a partner who can assist you in navigating your way to more sales through compelling marketing offers, let’s have a conversation. Presh Marketing Solutions develops powerful digital marketing strategies for MSP and VAR firms that produce consistent, targeted results. Let’s explore ways we can help your firm achieve these results, too.