If you sit back and look at what you’ve actually achieved over the last couple of weeks, you should feel very proud of yourself and your team. With virtually no warning, you’ve supported your clients well through COVID-19: the greatest business upheaval in modern times. You’ve probably set up countless VPNs. And no doubt you’ve been hunting around for new laptops, just like everyone else.
While the COVID-19 situation is changing daily, the dust is starting to settle a little (editor’s note: Hi there, 2021 calling. No, no it’s not). Normal people are starting to get used to remote working—and the fact they may have to do it for some time. So, even if you’re still incredibly busy, it’s time to focus back on marketing ideas during COVID-19.
Now you may perceive marketing is the last thing you should be doing during a crisis. But actually, it needs to be right up there at the top of your priority list. Because from a marketing point of view, change creates opportunity. And virtually every business has gone through dramatic, enforced change in the last few weeks.
What does that mean? Well, massive change must create massive opportunity, and there are three marketing ideas during COVID-19 to consider. In priority order:
1. Prioritize client retention
It’s dramatically more profitable to keep your existing clients than to win new ones. So you should be doing everything in your power to over serve your existing clients right now.
It’s time to double down on customer service—proactively call all clients often to see what technology struggles they’re facing. Now that the novelty of working from home is wearing off, some of them are likely starting to get annoyed on a daily basis.
Be there to save them and make them happy. Be flexible and open to new solutions to make their lives as easy as possible.
I believe the way you act during this blip will be returned to you 10 times over when we’re back to business as usual. If you really look after them now, they’ll reward you with even greater loyalty in the future. But if you leave them to get frustrated and annoyed, their time with you will be significantly shortened.
With the exception of giant technology screwups or them going bust, most clients leave an MSP because of the small things. And they’re small emotional things, not cognitive ones. They feel they’re not being looked after properly. We’re going to capitalize on this happening to other MSPs in priority 3.
2. Fix annoying problems for short-term new business
This is an opportunity for you to get new business right now, today. The only downside is it’s probably not going to be monthly recurring revenue.
I never thought I’d ever write this… but it’s time for you to take on some break/fix work. Who are the business owners and managers in your town or niche that are sitting at home right now frustrated? You’ll find them by running ads on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Go find them, fix their problems, and take their money. It’s a great way to create a new revenue stream that offsets the clients who are currently reducing their service with you.
Cards on the table—some of these people are clients you wouldn’t want long-term. Perhaps they’re way too small or they’re just the “wrong” kind of client. Many of the rest will not use you long-term, no matter what you do for them now.
But a few of them will use you again and again over the coming months. And when the good times return, you’ll be able to meet with them and get them onto a contract. Boom.
3. Build relationships for long-term new business
This is the really powerful thing to do right now, because COVID-19 is only a blip in the grand scheme of things (albeit an incredibly disruptive one). The good times will return, and we’ll be back to business as usual.
Putting your marketing on pause until then would be a disastrous thing to do. MSPs have such a long sales cycle that you would lose all the momentum you’ve built up through good marketing.
It’s unlikely you’ll sign new clients in the few weeks ahead. But what you can do is focus on the three core fundamentals of MSP marketing:
- Build multiple audiences of prospects (email list, LinkedIn, Facebook)
- Build a relationship with them (educate them with content marketing)
- Be there at the point they’re dissatisfied with their incumbent MSP
Right now, you should be working heavily on the first two, so you can benefit from the third when the good times return. I’m calling this The Great Big Client Grab. I believe we’ll see a short-term shift of clients between MSPs, in a way never seen before.
If you want your MSP to take part, you need to keep your long-term marketing going.
To hear more from Paul Green about building audiences for your MSP, listen to our Frankly MSP podcast interview with him: 3 Audiences Every MSP Should Build for High-Impact Marketing.
Great post, Paul. Couldn’t agree more with the power of LinkedIn, especially today since most of us are reluctantly working from home and it may be easier to chat on LinkedIn than to take a phone call.