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If you’re a managed service provider looking to generate more leads, increase your revenue, and expand your business, there’s one man you have to know about: Marcus Sheridan.
Today, Marcus Sheridan is a world-renowned marketing specialist with speaking engagements all over the world. But that’s not where he started.
In fact, he started as a pool guy.
In 2001, Marcus started a pool company with two friends from college. Several years later in 2008, like many companies, Marcus nearly lost his business due to the failing economy. But he did one thing differently. He started focusing on content.
After a tremendous amount of research, Marcus realized that he might just save his company is if he was able to do one simple thing with his online content: Answer his customers’ questions.
Through text and video, Marcus embraced this concept, which he now calls They Ask, You Answer. His company became the “Wikipedia” of swimming pools. It saved his business and, in fact, helped it grow tremendously. Today, he teaches other businesses how to do the same thing.
What Is “They Ask, You Answer”?
Marcus They Ask, You Answer concept is extremely simple. Essentially, it all comes down to content, which can be video or text.
This content does not include long, rambling paragraphs or confusing, boring videos about why your company is so great. Instead, it answers questions that your customers have. You start by realizing what core questions your customers consistently want to know the answers to. Then, you answer them on your website.
Here’s another essential element of the They Ask, You Answer concept, which also has to do with your content: Customers want to get a feel for your MSP company before they’ll even consider speaking with one of your representatives and buying from you. Essentially, they want to know five things:
1. COST: How much will this cost me?
2. PROBLEMS: How could this product or service go wrong?
3. VERSUS: How does this product or service compare to competing for offers?
4. REVIEWS: What are others saying about this product or service?
5. BEST: What is the best product or service?
Unfortunately, many managed service providers and other businesses actually avoid these ideas in their content. That’s not the way to go. You, the business, want to be the ones to educate your customers.
In particular, don’t be afraid to discuss pricing. By avoiding discussing pricing, sure, you may be protecting yourself from your competitors in the MSP web marketing game, but what are your potential customers going to think?
They want to know how much it’s going to cost to work with you, and you should tell them.
Why don’t MSPs discuss pricing? Three major reasons:
1. My competition will find out: Actually, your competitors probably already know.
2. It’s too customized to state a price: You can at least explain what factors influence your pricing (what factors drive the price up or down). Again, customers want to know.
3. We’re too expensive, and this will scare customers away: This isn’t what scares customers away. What scares customers away is not knowing.
Essentially, you want to know that you are educating your customers. Your customers want to know that you will freely give them the information they want to know, without beating around the bush.
Often, MSP marketing is about long paragraphs of text that say very little. Customers won’t read or watch this, and if they start, they’ll stop. Instead, think of your content in terms of straightforward They Ask, You Answer:
This is easy to read and gives them the information they need.
Most importantly, this content reinforces the trust between you and your customers. Trust is the singular building block of all businesses. It will always be fundamental — in 5, 10, 15 years, and beyond. Do what you need to do to induce more trust, and your MSP lead generation will inevitably grow. Much of the time, this means simply being honest with your customers.
This also helps you because you won’t have to answer these questions later on, over and over. Eventually, you’ve got to make that sale.
Buyers have taught companies to become teachers, and in essence, this has caused many companies to become media companies.
That’s okay. Embrace this, and move in the direction you need to in order to utilize the They Ask, You Answer concept. This may mean investing in the services of a full-time professional copywriter, and it may mean hiring a full-time videographer as well.
By doing all these things, you are sure to see your MSP lead generation and resulting profits skyrocket.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.