How marketing conferences can dramatically improve your MSP’s marketing knowledge
If you speak to any Managed Service Provider (MSP) or IT Solution Provider, and ask them about their marketing, you will typically see and hear an uncomfortable response.
With some exceptions, most IT businesses find marketing to be a challenge.
It’s true that the majority of MSPs are very good at what they do. Many rely on upselling to their existing clients, while others find new clients through good, old-fashioned ‘word-of-mouth’ referrals.
However, without consistent marketing activities to supplement your referrals, your MSP business may begin to stagnate. Or to put it another way, your sales pipeline will dry up.
In short — you can be the best IT company in the world, but if nobody knows about you, what is the point?
So, when it comes to finding and winning new clients, how can you improve your marketing knowledge, and apply an engaging marketing strategy?
One thing you should try? Attend a marketing conference or two.
How conferences can help your MSP business
As the former owner of a MSP business, I know from experience the power of consistently marketing your business.
Thankfully, the MSP industry has some of its own marketing experts.
For instance, Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Edge is a much sought after marketing system specifically for IT business.
Additionally, taking the time and expense to attend MSP conferences can broaden your horizons and allow you to learn from the most successful people in the Managed Services space.
And, with a calendar full of Awesome Events for MSPs globally, there has never been a better time to get out there and meet your peers!
If you’re already making the commitment to attend IT conferences, then you’ve probably already realized these benefits and seen your MSP business grow.
But, getting back to the topic of this article, when is the last time you attended a marketing conference?
The opportunities for marketing conferences to help your MSP business
I’m a big fan of marketing conferences and similar events.
In the same way that attending an MSP conference can help your IT business to learn from its peers, attending a marketing conference allows you to level-up your marketing-fu!
Being in a room full of marketing experts and other businesses who are looking to learn about marketing inevitably rubs off on you.
When I ran my MSP business, I made a point of attending marketing conferences because I didn’t want to know what other IT businesses were doing to grow — I wanted to know what other successful businesses were doing with their marketing!
Thankfully, nowadays, there are a wealth of marketing conferences you can choose to attend.
Without fail, every marketing event I’ve attended has delivered value — and I’d go as far as to say some were life changing for me in that they opened my eyes to a world of ideas beyond the MSP industry.
Yet, despite this abundance of opportunities for IT businesses to improve their marketing knowledge, I rarely see MSPs at such marketing conferences.
Why is this?
Why don’t more MSPs attend marketing conferences?
For example, I recently attended the amazing Courageous Content Live marketing conference in my adopted hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Courageous Content Live is the brainchild of Janet Murray, one of the UK’s top marketing experts.
Over two days, Janet drew together a community of entrepreneurs, creatives and forward thinkers. Every attendee shared ideas, best practices and tips to enable them to grow their respective businesses.
Topics included social media marketing, podcasting, YouTube, live video, Pinterest, email marketing & more.
In short, all the things I get asked about by MSPs on a weekly basis.
As we recently shared in our article on How Video Marketing Boosts Your IT Sales Reach, these types of marketing activities can have a significant effect on your MSP businesses growth.
Yet, despite this wealth of expertise and ideas, do you know how many MSPs I found in the room at Courageous Content Live?
Yes, out of 150+ attendees at Courageous Content Live, just three businesses were in the technology space.
So, intrigued, I asked two of those MSPs *why* they were attending a marketing event.
Here’s what they had to say.
The benefits for MSPs of marketing conferences
It’s easy for us, as technical experts, to sit behind our desks and stay within our comfort zones of working with technology.
But if we don’t step outside that comfort zone and seek out expert help in growing our businesses, we’ll always remain the “IT Guys”.
Instead, and following Adam’s advice here, why don’t you experiment with attending a marketing conference?
In my experience, these events are not only packed full of learning, but are also a lot of fun!
The people who attend these marketing conferences tend to be creative, innovative thinkers and open to new ideas.
Isn’t that philosophy something you’d like your IT business to draw upon, too?
My takeaways from recent marketing conferences
When it comes to the takeaways for MSPs, there were a few points I’d recommend you need to look into if you want to attract more customers:
Employ a Marketing Strategy
It’s important to have a strategy in place, and sticking to it. Marketing can be costly; in terms of money, if you go down the pay-per-click (PPC) route; or in time, if you want to build a network on social media, and provide content that promotes who you are and what you do.
You need to stick to your strategy and give it time to work, but also know when your strategy isn’t working – so keep an eye on those metrics too!
Consistency is Key
Producing regular content shows a building of confidence in your brand to your audience. Seeing your regular Friday feature, or monthly Webinar shows that you’re putting the hours in – you care, and you’re consistent. These are important things that people look for in a brand when they consider buying from them.
Varied Content Shows Your Range, and Affects Your Audience in Different Ways
In contrast to the above, varying your content in terms of medium, type and across multiple platforms allows your audience to engage with your content in ways that suit them. It’s the age of convenience, and so we have to be flexible in how we reach-out to potential customers.
List of marketing conferences
Here are some ideas of marketing conferences you might consider attending:
- Atomicon – Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. Created by marketing experts, Andrew & Pete, Atomicon has established itself as the premier UK event for small business marketeers.
- Adventures in Marketing – Edinburgh, UK. A new, smaller, one-day marketing-focused event founded by Niki Hutchison and Abi Sea.
- Content Marketing World – Washington, DC, USA. Three days packed with marketing ideas and inspiration.
- Courageous Content Live – Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. A two-day event for creators and entrepreneurs, founded by Janet Murray.
- Social Media Marketing World – San Diego, CA, USA. One of the oldest, biggest and most powerful marketing events in the world!
- MarketEd.Live – Birmingham, UK. A smaller-scale one-day event founded and hosted by Paul Ince since 2017!
Of course, there are hundreds more marketing conferences you can find around the world.
Regardless of where you are located, you’ll find an event for you.
The point is, get out there and experience these events. They will help supercharge your MSPs growth!
When it comes to marketing our businesses, IT Managed Service Providers can be lacking in both technique and confidence.
But if you don’t consistently market your MSP business, you’ll fail to attract new business.
Marketing conferences are a great way to get out and learn, not just from your peers in IT, but your peers in business.
There are a wealth of marketing conferences that you can attend and use to draw on the knowledge of fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Attending these events will help you to build up a network of people who you can learn from, and in turn, they from you.
Therefore, I’d encourage every MSP to put at least one marketing conference in your calendar for the year ahead.
Once you attend one of these conferences, you’ll come away with ideas on how to make marketing just a little bit less scary, and a lot more effective for your business! Plus, the more you practice marketing your business, the better you’ll get at it.
Over to you! Which Marketing Conferences have you got value from and would you recommend to MSPs? Leave a comment below or get in touch!
Photo: Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock