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Sometimes, the best way to make strides with your own business is to learn from the success of others. That’s true most of the time. For a managed service provider, you have endless questions and concerns. What you might find is that more of those issues are handled with a simple shift of strategy than an exhaustive checklist. This brings us to Daniel De Steno. His story shows the power of that strategic shift, and today, you can learn powerful lessons from his discoveries. When you apply them to your technology marketing services, they’ll provide you with stability and opportunity that might be missing from your business plan.
Check out Dan’s MSP at https://www.novacomputersolutions.com.
It would do justice to him to summarize him as another managed service provider. Daniel is better understood through his story. Some time ago, he worked for the defense intelligence agency. His position helped him gain mastery of IT, and it ended up leading to his future. At the time, his wife was working for a dentist. The dentist needed, so MSP services and Daniel provided them. The dentist was so thrilled with the work that he recommended Daniel to some colleagues, and thus, Daniel’s career as an MSP began. More than a decade later, he is running a wildly successful IT company that almost exclusively caters to dental practitioners. In the business, we call this catering to a vertical market.
As Daniel’s story suggests, vertical marketing is a means of narrowing your range of priority clients to a specific field or industry. His vertical market was dentistry, but yours can be virtually anything. You could cater to plumbers, mechanics, stock brokers, dermatologists, circus -bear trainers or whatever suits your fancy. The critical thing to understand is that vertical marketing walks away from broad strokes. Instead of being a cloud services provider or IT help desk, your goal is to cater to your vertical.
You’re savvy enough to understand that vertical marketing helps you focus your outreach. IT is plenty competitive, and if you stay generalized, it will take extensive resources to remain visible in the crowd. Vertical marketing reduces competition for things like web visibility and just everyday landing clients, but it adds quite a bit more to the table. For one thing, you can start to standardize a single stack of technology that you offer to clients. Most dentists have the same needs, and they won’t entirely overlap with a plumbing agency. By staying focused, you reduce the number of resources you need to put into staying on top of all technology.
More importantly, focusing on a vertical lends a deeper understanding of the niche industry. As you learn more about dentistry (sticking with Daniel’s example), you can better understand workflow, standard technology, typical applications and all of the little things that make you better prepared for taking care of your clients. That translates into better client satisfaction and can generate business through referrals. Ultimately, that’s one of the primary goals of steering into a vertical. You want your clients to help you create more business.
As frustrating as it is to hear, the answer to this question depends on a few things. The primary advantages of picking a vertical market are strengthened when you stick to it. Adding other verticals will spread your resources thinner, and you lose some competitive edges. That said, adding to your potential client base can be worth the risk.
Most of the time, your vertical will lead you into other tangential verticals. An MSP that caters to dentists can easily add oral hygienists or oral surgeons to their clientele. You get the picture.
Even if you don’t find yourself transitioning into adjacent industries, you’ll still likely have a few clients who exist outside of your vertical market. That’s fine. It’s practically inevitable.
More most business owners, this will boil down to interest. Hopefully, IT is already one of your top benefits, so your vertical doesn’t have to be your ultimate passion. But, if you happen to like the subject matter, you’ll have an easier time staying motivated.
All of that said, there are some financial considerations. The first is geographical. You need to focus on a vertical that is doing well in your region. You want all of those extra fish in your local pond.
After that, you want to consider the long game. Recession-proof markets have a lot of appeal. They tend to be in health care (which has tons of niche verticals), law enforcement, professional services (from lawyers to plumbers) and alcohol. Those are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing.
There are a lot of resources to get you in the game once you pick a vertical market. Chamber of commerce groups is a great place to start. You’ll find groups that can quickly show you what is lacking in IT support and what will help you win those first few customers. The beauty of the whole strategy is that satisfying a few customers should always lead to a few more. It’s the primary reason you want to specialize.
If you’re into conferences and the like, then you have a real chance to shine. Again going back to our example of dentistry, attending a conference for dentists will generate you more leads than any IT or MSP conference ever could. There’s a high chance you’ll be the only IT company there, and you’ll have more attention than you can handle.
In short, you want to go where your vertical is. Follow the resources that would help a dentist get started, and you’ll find people who need your services.
Knowledge is your friend. The key is perfectly simple: learn as much as you can about your market. You need to have a mastery of specific technologies in the industry, but you also need to know how they do business. How do they keep their books and records? What kinds of software do they favor? How do they interact with customers? What smart devices are standard in their offices? As you learn, you’ll be able to anticipate needs, make amazing recommendations and, most importantly, dazzle your clients. It’s ultimately the same strategy that any MSP would use, but you’re giving yourself some extra focus to get ahead
Why is Daniel De Steno super successful? He discovered long ago the power of vertical marketing. You can learn from his story and his example to push your own business into a strategy that can build a robust and reliable client base.
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.