This guide covers everything you need to market your managed service/IT support business.
The following 17,000 words outline the complete process for generating quality leads using video.
A word of caution before you proceed - this will take some time to read and digest.
If you implement the steps outlined in this guide then you will have a marketing process for your business that is low budget and requires minimal time to implment.
Use the advice within wisely. Those that don't have the patience to read all of this are best place to bookmark this page and come back to it over time.
Part 1: The Biggest MSP Marketing Opportunity
I do not have time to record videos.
- I do not have the right recording equipment.
- I will look stupid on camera.
- I have been thinking of doing video. Something I am going to do, later.
- I will run out of things to say.
- I think our sales guy would be better at this than me.
- I do not come across great on camera.
- I think our existing customers might get the wrong impression.
- I might look desperate.
- I might look stupid.
What do all these excuses have in common? They all start with the word I. You owe it to your company and your employees to STOP with the excuses. It is not about you but the success of your business in years to come.
30% of people that connect with you do not care about any of these excuses or you for that matter. 30% do not know who you are, will never notice who or what your business is.
They may even dislike you.
It is that last 30% - they love you and love what your company stands for, whether they have heard of you yet or in future. What you are going to learn in this book is the single most significant opportunity any IT/MSP business owner has at the moment to market their business with absolutely no cost and only 3 minutes of your time every day.
The steps, skills and habits outlined in this book are so valuable that I can guarantee that if you budgeted $100,000 on marketing that this system would still work better than any MSP marketing agency could deliver for you for that sum of money.
The 21-year-old virgin.
Before I give away any secrets, lessons learnt, and wisdom about marketing your business using video, we need to start with a story. There was a vacuum in my life at age 8. Mum and Dad had just divorced. My brother, mother and I returned to Glasgow, Scotland after a few years of living in the USA as a happy family.
Things were not as happy now.
My father was 4000 miles away. I was the father figure for my brother, and there was something just missing in my life.
A few years past and my mother finally found love again. I can remember the first time I met my new stepfamily. They lived 60 miles away in the city of Edinburgh. We were all from Glasgow and remembered the car journey which seemed to last forever and was something that we did every week.
I can vividly recall walking past my stepbrother’s bedroom and peering in. The first computer screen I saw. Something in me connected with the concept of a computer. It was an extraordinary emotion. I am not exactly sure what but when I saw that screen for the first time I was amazed. The only way I can explain it was a feeling of electricity.
I could not care two hoots about meeting my stepbrother that was not in my mind at all. All I wanted to do was find out more about the computer he had and how it worked.
You would laugh now, but at the time my stepbrother was running a ZX spectrum 48k. For our younger readers, this computer is about the size of a lunch box but half the height. The keyboard is inbuilt into the system itself and has a highly irritating rubber keyboard that offers no form of response when you press down on the keys.
The system loaded with audio cassettes and was primarily used to play video games. The games would come on audiotapes and take anywhere from five to ten minutes to load up.
The start of my journey into the world of IT had begun.
I quickly progressed from the 48k to my system, commodore 64 then an Amiga 500.
I spent most of my early teenage years playing video game consoles the Super Famicom, which is a grey import here in the UK of the Super Nintendo that took almost a year to come out. I was one of only three kids in the school that had this, and at the investment of £300 + £70/game, I became addicted.
The addiction I had to video games instilled some terrible social skills. I was relatively outgoing and social; this all changed the more I got into the scene.
To top this off, my grandmother at the age of 13 gave me a rather large sum of cash to buy a proper computer. More specifically, a Pentium 133 if my memory recalls.
I remember the first few weeks of owning this system. I had managed to pick apart the Windows operating system and break it. The only option I had was to format and do a complete reinstall. Little did I know device drivers were challenging to get hold of without an Internet connection.
As the years went by, I became more and more recluse. I vividly remember one Friday night sat in my bedroom.
There was a girl at my school that had a big crush on me. I avoided her at all costs. She and her friends came to my front door to try and talk me out of the house. I saw them coming and managed to hide under my bed. I somehow managed to avoid this very awkward social situation. In my head, I was always trying to avoid not only girls but people in general.
Oh, how I wish I could turn back the clock and step out of my shell - but alas that took another 20 years.
The obsession with computers carried on throughout my teenage years. The first girl I started going with was at the age of 21. I was a social recluse during this time in my life. The hobby carried over to a career. Being introduced to server infrastructure was a dream come true. In the early years of my career, I gravitated towards the server room.
I was much more comfortable checking a windows error log on a Citrix server than going out and speaking to my work colleagues in the office. I soon realised I could go no further living life like this and that technology was the culprit or distraction of reality.
I took a close look at myself and my more mature colleagues. What I realised very quickly was that if I wanted to go anywhere in life and my career things had to change. I decided that I required a big challenge in my life. With a decision made, I went into IT sales.
A considerable change - first, I had to speak to people. Secondly, I had to make people like me, and then the third buy form me.
How was this all to work?
Luckily, I had some great mentors through this transition, more on this later.
Before we conclude this chapter, the story above may be considered a metaphor - maybe you are that 16-year-old boy. Are you hiding under the bed?
You have many excuses in your head and assumptions about video and why you would never appear on camera. The reality of the situation, like me at 16 years of age with hormones pumping full throttle - you are missing out. It is the most significant opportunity open to you right now. The time has come to come out from under the bed. This book is a tool to help you do just that.
Part 2: The LinkedIn System
Generating qualified leads for your IT business is tough. Your business may rely on referrals; however, this can be inconsistent, and you cannot control the amount you get in any one month.
In this chapter, you will learn a proven 3 step process for generating quality leads on LinkedIn. This process can be systemised and create a steady stream of warm leads for you or your sales team.
Step 3 in the process involves picking up the phone and speaking to your LinkedIn connections - does this sound scary? Maybe but if you follow step one and two outlined in this article that contact will want to talk with you and appreciate the call.
The 3-step formula is something you can start today, in fact right now.
I am always telling our members about this formula as it works so well and something that has helped our MSP marketing firm - IT Rockstars to get traction in the marketplace.
Define your ideal customer, then connect with them online.
Start publishing daily live videos.
Follow up with those connections.
I could end the book right here as those three steps are all it takes to start generating qualified leads for your IT business, but the truth is there is a whole process that you have to learn and turn into a habit.
Let us break down each one of these steps into its chapter as there are some crucial parts of the process you must get right for this to be a success in your business.
Before you can take any of these steps, there is a disclaimer:
This process is not for IT businesses still doing break-fix charge by the hour work – (this process is for technology companies looking to attract MSP (monthly recurring revenue clients)
Employees (sales/marketing, etc.) – this is not for you. For long term success, this must be done by the business owner.
This process is for:
IT businesses with that can take on new clients and have an IT sales process.
Technology companies with a long-term plan. Sales targets and goals.
Lastly, our pitch - this book will teach you the entire process; you must learn it, by doing. That is why at IT Rockstars we have produced the MSP Video Academy that guides (makes) you take the necessary steps to building this process and habit.
Who is your ideal customer?
Hopefully, this is an easy question to answer, but sometimes it can be particularly tricky.
What even is an ideal client, one that is highly profitable or one that you enjoy supporting?
That decision is yours, but if you cannot figure out who your ideal client is, I suggest you start with your existing client base.
Your customer base has three distinct categories:
- 80% That help pay the bills.
- 15% That makes you profit.
- 5% That is where the real money is.
Almost all customer bases form themselves into this structure. That last 5% is where your focus and attention should be leading you.
That 5% is the basis of your future clients. What industries are they in, what size are they, where do they operate?
Once you have answered these questions, you should have a pretty good idea of what an ideal client might be. (Something like that 5%)
Build out a prospect list based on similar types of companies locally.
With this information to hand, it is now a case of connecting with the decision-makers on this prospect list online.
There is no better place to do this other than LinkedIn. No other platform currently allows you to connect directly with a potential client base.
The only word of advice I will give in this matter of forming a connection base on LinkedIn is do it manually. Do not start running automated tools or sending out spammy LinkedIn connection requests. That is the last thing you want to do.
The process I have seen that works best is by connecting with around ten connections per day. These connections would be prospects and precisely the types of individuals that make the IT buying decisions for the business.
For most small to medium-sized technology companies, this is usually the business owner or financial director.
Never connect further down the food chain to individuals that might seem approachable - this includes office managers, IT managers and technology specialists.
I would suggest avoiding these types as it will just eat up your time - you want to connect at the top of the food chain.
The connection request itself is also something you want to keep in mind.
At the time of writing, there is the ability to send a personalised message along with your connection request.
There are two schools of thought on this. The first is to send out a highly personalised message complementing the connection or bringing up a common interest.
The other school of thought, which I believe is preferable is to send the connection request with no message whatsoever.
Some will argue this is a bit like walking up to someone in the street and handing them your business card without saying a word, I disagree.
If you have a LinkedIn profile that clearly states where you operate your business and how you help your clients, then chances are you will receive acceptance of a new connection request.
Firstly - if you operate in a geographical area - you both have something in common (your both local business owners). We want to be hyper-local focused here. Concentrate on your primary area of operation.
Secondly - if they need technology solutions, then they will be more willing to accept the request. Your profile will act like a filter. If someone has no need or want for IT services, they will not connect. However, if they have a niggle or see something that sparks their interest in your profile, then the connection is made.
Often, I am bombarded with connection requests with messages I consider to be a form of spam.
I am sure you have similar requests. What is your process for ignoring? Think about that.
The main thing you must get right with the new connection request is your profile.
It needs to have a connection in mind and address common pain points.
Excellent copywriting, something you will learn all about later in this book.
The last point I will make in building this connection base of prospects is that it is your online audience.
If you can get into the habit sending out ten connection requests every day of the working week that totals over 2000 for the year. Not every one of those connection requests is going to be accepted, but approximately 30-45% will be.
That equates to approximately 600 -900 connections we can start targeting with daily videos.
How many leads does it take for you to close? With over 600 I am sure you will have enough coming in to fill your calendar once you get started.
The next step in the process is posting on your timeline.
My suggestion is to post 2-3 times a week - it does not matter when you post but what you post.
Do not include links to other websites or resources. The LinkedIn algorithm penalises posts with URLs as this is taking the user base away from the LinkedIn platform.
Instead, I suggest a mix of written content which is extremely helpful and video.
All too often, I see LinkedIn posts that do only one thing, promote the company or individual. The reality of the situation is this has the exact opposite effect.
People are turned off by self-promotion and the "hey look at me" posts - they are fluff and help no one.
LinkedIn should be used as a platform to help your potential prospects.
I use what is called the A to B approach.
Your prospects are (LinkedIn connections) are currently in a situation you want to help them solve.
The most common for an IT or managed service customer is terrible service.
Your potential customer is getting lousy service, and you need to help them get out of that situation.
What are the steppingstones we use to get from point A to point B?
Useful content that is going to help them realise their situation and as an unintended consequence want to speak to you about this.
Here is an excellent example of what steppingstones I would put in place for this scenario.
At this point, I must come clean with you. I am using the same process on you with this book. The reality is that your MSP marketing strategy may be lacklustre, and you are looking for a solution.
That is why I wrote this book to help you get from point A to point B.
What I will disclose with you right here on this page is the fact that I know how busy you are in your IT business, it's a tough job balancing the operational side of managed services and running the business.
Both sales and marketing are almost an afterthought - the question is, how do you find enough time in the day to market your IT business?
That is where video marketing can help. It takes 90 seconds once you know the formula for crafting constructive LinkedIn video posts.
Let us dive into the LinkedIn search feature. By default, it is free, but once you start using the search extensively, you will find that LinkedIn has a good knack of blocking you from using it further. This block is a bit like a paywall where they want you to upgrade to the LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Sales navigator is fantastic, but it is not cheap. I would advise making the most of the two weeks free trial for the navigator and seeing the type of searches you can bring up.
A great one for MSP's is a search on local companies between 10-50 employees in size. Usually, the sweet spot for most managed service and IT support companies.
Smaller than this number and it is not worth the hassle, anything more significant and you will find the prospect will more than likely have an internal IT resource.
To avoid the LinkedIn Sales Navigator fee, you can use advanced google searches. Bring up a list of local companies on Google, visit their website, and most now have a LinkedIn social icon, usually near the bottom of the homepage.
Click this will get you to the LinkedIn company page, and then it is just a case of clicking the employee button to find the "IT buyer/decision-maker."
Watch the video
I have recorded a video here on exactly how to circumnavigate the restrictions LinkedIn puts in place.
Targeting prospects on LinkedIn for your IT business then posting out useful content to your LinkedIn profile is not only a smart move - but also adds authority and credibility to your business which many of your competitors will envy.
If you are not actively spending at least 5 minutes a day on the LinkedIn platform to establish this authority, you will soon be left behind.
My advice - take some form of action, no matter how small.
Part 3 - Is BNI a good source of referrals?
Waking up and realising that I had to change from the technical server engineer role to something in IT sales was a tough decision.
I understood my technical skillset, no matter how good, would only get me so far in my IT career.There is always someone a little bit smarter and more efficient at a technical job that can quite quickly fill your shoes. The real money is in the people skills.
I recommend a book to get started in this area "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Selling and being liked is something I have attempted the story that follows is my challenge.
At the time we were still quite a young MSP with only four employees. The owner was an active member of BNI (Business Network International).
The first time I came to hear about this group, I "subbed". One of the many rules of BNI is that if your off on vacation or cannot make the weekly meeting you must have a stand-in substitute "sub". One persuasive discussion, this centred around the fact that you get a fully cooked breakfast for free, and that was me - the sub.
On a very dark winters morning still half asleep I struggled to park anywhere near the venue. The first excuse entered my head - I could not get a space to park. I knew that would not fly and I had to make at least one attempt to see what this was all about. The breakfast alone should have been motivation enough.
I entered the venue, which as so it happens was my old place of work, I knew the space well but not at this time in the morning and not with what I soon found out was a bunch of local business owners and salespeople who were all part of some club.
The fact that most people dressed in suits and popup banners scattered the meeting area made my stomach churn that fully cooked breakfast was the last thing on my mind. I do not know what it was, but at the time someone in a suit intimidated me - the reality of the situation was that most of these people were very friendly and had excellent people skills. I, on the other hand, was nervous and was attempting to avoid everyone in the room.
As the meeting progressed, I was soon to come face to face with one of my biggest fears, public speaking. The worst part about this meeting was the fact that everyone got called at random - so you had no idea when you were going to speak.
(This was a good thing but something I would only learn about later in my BNI life)
"Scott Millar your turn" called the leader of this business network.
I stood up and read word for word of a bit of paper. Blundering my way through, paper shacking in my hand. I could feel all the eyes of the room fixed on to me. It is hard to explain, but if you have ever been in a situation like this your body and mind are looking for the easiest way to escape, but I did not have that option until the meeting ended. I was so intimidated and fearful that I skipped the fully cooked breakfast after the meeting and headed back to the comfort of my own office.
Hell knows why I was so put off by this experience. The reality is that they are a great bunch of small local business owners that were all referring business to each other. It took me two years to learn this fact.
I had built up some strange picture in my head of these men in suits which could be nothing closer to the truth.
What is worse than one BNI meeting? Two.
Yet again I had to sub at another BNI meeting.How was I going to get out of this meeting? Form a brilliant excuse, of course. I was not even going to entertain the thought of going to another BNI meeting; instead, I did not turn up to the chapter that morning.
When I arrived at the office, I used some form of half-arsed excuse to my boss which went something like this:
Boss: "How was BNI?"
Me: "I forgot about it, did not go."
At this point, I felt I had let not only him down but the team. I am not usually one to go out my way to make up excuses or white lies. My brain nagged me about this for the coming months and felt I had to step things up. I know that if I am not challenging myself regularly and making excuses, I will go nowhere. The simple fact which has taken me a mere 40 years to understand is that if you want to have any form of success you have to challenge yourself, work hard and go out with your comfort zone intentionally.
When you look at others who appear to be achieving great success - that is because they've more than likely put in a lot of hard work at the coal face to get to this position. Changing from an engineer to a sales guy was something I know I had to do as it would be challenging. I knew if I did it that it would be worth the friction in my life. As I type this, I can say with certainty that making a move was the best decision ever. However, there were a few bumps along the way which I am going to outline now.
Fact Number 1:
Generating a consistent source of leads for your MSP / IT Business cannot be done using networking associations like BNI. (It will generate leads but not consistently at scale.)
Fact Number 2:
Referral sources from existing customers and business associates do not return a consistent source of leads. (It will generate leads but not consistently at scale.)
Fact Number 3:
Going live in front of a camera to an online audience is something that you can scale and will generate a consistent source of leads for your IT/MSP business.
Part 4 - Live Videos are the future
The most significant opportunity for your business is right now.
You must look around, lift your head from your phone. Almost all the population is addicted to their smartphone. Not a healthy addiction, it is entirely possible that our newfound habits end badly. We are going to use the current circumstances to our advantage. The phone is the new TV. Just as the TV was the replacement to the radio, we are in a marketplace where video views are so cheap, and big money is still to wake up to the fact.
The likes of Gary Vaynerchuk have been telling you this for the last five years. What lessons can you learn from Gary's Wine Library TV? It was scrappy, not exactly the highest production values, but it was the content that mattered. The same is true for the videos you will soon be posting out to the internet.
There is a unique strategy that I am going to share with you that is a winning formula not only will your online audience appreciate the approach, but you will be confident in your delivery.
Live video marketing.
At the time of writing LinkedIn does not allow live video to most of its users; however, from an MSP's perspective, this is the single best platform to be publishing your videos to. To get around the current limitation, the strategy we teach at the MSP Video Academy (www.mspvideoacademy.com) involves going live on your IT business Facebook page.
There is an excellent reason for using the Facebook platform for your IT business which we will dive into within a later chapter of this book but for now you will have to take my word for it. Once you have been live on Facebook, it is then just a matter of downloading the video and uploading to your profile on LinkedIn (not the business page, your profile).
I suggest going live every day for 30 days. Within the MSP Video academy, we call this the 30-day challenge.It is a well-known fact that before someone becomes a customer or raises their hand that there is usually an average of 5-8 touchpoints with the business. The purpose of going live for a full 30 days is that it helps build an online relationship with your audience. As you appear in their timeline day after day, this will poke their interest. If they like what you are talking about and are helpful, then they will actively start to expect your videos and will go hunting for them.
The overarching strategy here is to be as helpful as possible to the audience in your videos which we will dive into a little bit later.
Why live on Facebook?
As mentioned, there is an excellent reason for publishing to Facebook, which you will learn about in the paid advertising chapter, but to answer the question of live and not recorded there are two reasons:
1) Facebook's current algorithm will boost live videos over written posts and video posts.
2) A live video means you that when you stumble, it comes across much more natural and human. Your audience will relate to this. The flaws that will be for all to see is a selling point. I have done many tests with highly rehearsed, edited and recorded videos the engagement statistics state that live videos engage video viewers more and for longer.
A bonus of going live is that it takes only the time to record the video - 90 seconds - 2 minutes add this up over 30 days and you’re looking at only having to allocate 2 hours a month to your IT marketing efforts, best of all it's free.
Most of your competitors are not using video to market their services and the ones that are will be doing it wrong (unless they have read this book).
All videos must be helpful to your audience first and foremost. Secondly, they must contain an offer.
Remember the last time you purchased a car?Was it an impulsive decision? Did you walk into the showroom and say, "that one"? Probably not - most people when they buy something have multiple touchpoints. In the world of marketing the statistics, it takes on average seven touchpoints before someone is going to act on your offer or advertisement.
That means your potential customer will have to have your IT business in their mind at least seven times before they speak with you on a meaningful level.
But that is not all.
Not everybody is ready to buy, that is why I wrote a book about it (Bear Attack SEO for managed service providers) The other 90% of your prospects are not ready to buy, and they will not be for some time. From an advertising and marketing perspective, this is a problem. How do we become top of mind at the right time when they are ready to buy -or at least consider your services?
That is where the daily live videos come in. While most of your prospects are not ready to speak with you today - throughout 30 days, you can be helping them with a daily live video. By helping your prospects, they will start to like your videos. Then they will begin to expect your videos.
Forming this online relationship with your prospects is not only compelling from a marketing perspective. When it finally becomes time to meet face to face and provide a quote, you will have a completely unfair advantage due to this online relationship you have formed.
Going head to head with the existing IT supplier or even a handful of competitors, you can be guaranteed the upper hand due to your daily presence on their mobile device.
It is a secret weapon that is extremely powerful.
Here is the formula:
Provide high-value useful content your prospects can take immediate action to. Never talk about your business, talk about their business.
Make the videos snappy - do not drone on - I am guilty of this. Get to the point. If you have been in BNI, you will be well versed in how to prevent this.
Include an offer that requires them to visit your website.
Mention your website address.
Include your offer at least once in your daily videos. I tend to make the offer three times - beginning- middle and end.
Make sure your website address is easy to pronounce and spell. The viewer will have to type it in. If it is complex or challenging, buy a vanity domain that points to your main website. An example of this - I mention the MSP Video Academy (www.mspvideoacademy.com) However in the videos I record I have a vanity domain "mspvideos.com"
After 30 days of going live - stop. Take a break. It can be tempting to continue once you get into the habit of this but taking a break is critical and can give you a fresh perspective on your content when it's time to go live the month after next.
The months you are not going live is when you pay to promote your best performing videos—more on this in our paid advertising chapter.
Part 5 - You don't need to be a pro
Way back in 2008 when I was IT manager of a substantial non-profit, I was looking for other ways to help pay the bills. After moving to a new house and proposing to my girlfriend, there were several significant expenses on the horizon.
I have a couple of good drinking buddies that have always been into TV and video production and looked to them for help. I needed a way to pay for my wedding and thought long and hard about how I could include my buddies in any new venture. With the experience, they both had of filming & editing. I convinced Dave & Richard to teach me the ropes when it comes to video production.
I sat down, and they proceeded to teach me Avid Media Composer, which is a high-end video editing software suite for TV production. I had used things like Adobe premiere in the past, which is more entry-level. After a few weeks, I thought I was a hotshot.
But I only knew how the software worked. I did not understand what made a good edit. The learning curve was steep after many hours and mistakes. I soon learnt how to engage the viewer with the correct editing. With this new-found knowledge, I decided with no thought (just desperation for cash) that I would start filming weddings for other people. Both my friends scoffed at me - they actively avoided this type of work as it was amateur in their industry.
However, I was happy to do it as I was in desperate need of any money, I could get my hands on. Little did I know my journey with video had only just started. Filming weddings is the quickest way to learn on the fly how to become an excellent cameraman.
Why is this?
Simple you have only one chance, if you mess it up your screwed and you will have a depressed bride and groom. Armed with that knowledge thanks to my buddies for giving me the heads up, I proceeded to spend money I did not have on expensive video cameras and audio equipment. I planned to have all weddings I filmed use a two-camera set up. The logic here was that if I messed up a shot, we would have the other camera on back up. It also allowed for a much better edit in post-production - one camera used for close-ups and the other was used for long-distance/take away shots.
The MSP Video Academy
The experience very quickly wears off when filming weddings. At first, I felt like I was a real pro lugging around a high-end video camera attached to a tripod that I can only describe weighed about the same as an elephant. Monday to Friday I was at my desk manning then Citrix infrastructure of 40 sites and 600 users. Many of the weddings took place at the weekend. I was physically exhausted by Sunday night. During that period, I learned a lot about the technical setup and production of a video.
Why am I telling you all this?
The high-end video camera, audio equipment and pro editing software are not required - since those times I have come to learn how to quickly and efficiently film, edit and publish video with no barrier to entry. Now I know most reading this will gravitate toward the technical setup - but I would advise not spending time and money on any professional kit -it comes down to the content of your videos and message. All you need is a phone. The more you can focus on what you are going to say in your videos, the better the video will be. The whole point of "going live" is that it appears to be off the cuff.
Having a highly crafted offer, message, and helpful tip is the winning formula.
Here is my current workflow when I go live:
- Decide today's topic and golden tip (1-minute maximum)
- Open Facebook app (3 seconds)
- Go to business page (1 second)
- Publish Live video (3 minutes)
- Record on iPhone - selfie camera - landscape aspect
- Click the "save to camera button" after Facebook live (1 second)
- Click the "upload" button to my Facebook page (40 seconds)
- Open LinkedIn app (3 seconds)
- Upload saved video to my LinkedIn timeline (40 seconds)
A total average of 5 minutes of "work" the reality is that the 3 minutes of the recording are fun.
I am an introvert, so how can this be?
The first time I went live, I had to force myself. I think the only reason I got through it was due to the fact it was January and my new year resolution at the time was "do something different". Once ending the video, I had an even more significant challenge. What would the consequences be of uploading the video to LinkedIn for my entire professional network to view? That was the real fear - it is one thing some of your Facebook followers viewing the video but past employers, existing customer - I had so many different assumptions built up in my mind about what people would think.
The reality of the situation is that the first video I published to LinkedIn got over 1000 views and many compliments. By the end of the 30-day challenge, I had secured several new customers. Any assumptions I had made about who was viewing the videos and what they thought left my mind.
To this day, I double guess myself and question what I am doing. Fears always obfuscate reality.
33% of the people will never see the video.
33% of the people you will scroll right past your video.
33% of the people will start taking an interest in your videos and become customers or online ambassadors for your business.
1% will hate what you are doing and block you.
That 1% is something I can live with - life is too short, and the opportunity is too big. Of course, my words alone and the stories I am telling you in this book may still hold you back.
Remember this: The worst mistake you can make is not letting the audience decide.
Part 6 - Video prowess
I remember the first time I decided to run a podcast and record some videos for the web. It was a huge undertaking, I spent months (if not years) choosing the perfect microphone, researching the web camera. I clearly remember purchasing four microphones all were not fit for purpose. I finally landed on one, which took months of choice.
Once I finally had made up my mind on the video and audio equipment, I then spent another few months setting up the perfect backdrop with lighting. I scoured YouTube for reviews of video lighting and what was in budget watching many videos comparing diffusion kits, lighting brackets, the whole shebang!
The picture I am attempting to paint in your head here is the fact that you can waste a lot of valuable time in this pursuit. You do not need to make the same mistake. It is a distraction, and you have far greater matters of importance in your business. Like generating qualified leads, that is the whole reason for this book!
I am going to lay out for you the technical process and workflow I now use that has changed the way I produce videos. Way back when I did get everything working it would take me a whole week to produce a video, perfectionism does not lead to success.
I read a great little book recently, and one of the topics discussed was taking imperfect action, the publication (Fish out of Water, Wayman, Calvin). That topic is close to my heart, and something most IT and technical people will argue. You see setting up a server of migrating an on-premise exchange environment to Office 365 must be done correctly.
There is no room for imperfect action, but when it comes to marketing your business consistency any activity out trumps perfectionism. It is a harsh logic to break to most IT business owners head, but the quicker you can let go and live with the mistakes in your videos, the more engaged your audience will be.
The imperfect setup and workflow are as follows:
iPhone - the only things I use for daily videos, nothing else just ample lighting. The light source should preferably be facing you if filming outside make sure you're facing the brightest part of the sky, this is known is most places as the sun, here in Aberdeen Scotland it's a lighter shade of an overcast cloud.
I used to do all daily videos in portrait mode, which works well on social platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok. At the time of writing, none of my audience can be targeted (B2B) on either of these platforms, so preferably landscape recording is my preference.
Always remember to choose landscape or portrait before you hit record/live. You cannot change the aspect when shooting. A classic schoolboy error is holding your hand over the microphone. Find out the position of the mic and make sure not to cover it.
The other awareness you must have when shooting is looking at the camera and not yourself on the screen. Train yourself to look directly at the camera when pressing the record button. Do not spend too much time concentrating on the angle, position and backdrop. These are important but somewhat secondary. It is the content that counts.
This stuff is obvious, but if you are going live every day, it is quite easy to get into the habit of missing them.
Make sure you smile to the camera and muster up some energy for the video. There is nothing worse than listening to someone drolling on about two-factor authentication. The more you can focus your energy to a single point which is the 2-3 minutes of recording the video, the better it will come off.
Another tactic that I have learned from sales pros is your hands. Body language counts for a lot, be aware of what your body is portraying.
Hands can help tremendously. Your hands are a subconscious tool and one which may seem pointless but has power, especially if the video viewer has not enabled sound and is just watching the video.
If you watch any of my daily videos, the first thing you will see me do is raise my hand to say hello. This piece of body language has been with us for tens of thousands of years. These nuances in your video have a dramatic impact over time, especially when publishing daily.
I always start my videos as a live video using the Facebook app on my business page.
Why live and why Facebook?
Live videos record the errors, mistakes you make and gaffs. It is a huge time saver. I could take an hour recording the perfect video, editing then publishing that takes up too much time, remember you have got more important things to do in your business than become a video editor.
The other advantage of Facebook Live is that the algorithm favours live video. You will have far greater reach and engagement of videos because you recorded live. These two points cannot be understated; none of your competitors are going live - this is the unfair advantage you can take by merely pressing one button on your phone.
Do not ignore this unfair advantage, like everything in marketing, it will become overused at one point, but for now, in the B2B world, you rarely see live videos by a business owner.
You might be asking in the back of your head at this point why you would even want to use Facebook as a platform to generate leads for managed services?
There is a hidden feature to Facebook that no other platform at the time of writing. Even if you have no followers and no one watches your videos on Facebook make this platform your go-to priority for video due to the powerful targeting I will be outlining later.
Once the video has been published, and you have hit the end live video, it is time to repurpose that video on LinkedIn.
The Facebook IOS app gives you the option to save the video to your device.
(Flattering Image of yours truly)
All that is left to do is publish that same video to LinkedIn.
I'm not an expert on LinkedIn, and this book is not a "LinkedIn Training for MSPs) - possible future title where I'll hire a ghost-writer.
What I have learnt in the past 13 months going live to Facebook, then posting to LinkedIn is as follows:
LinkedIn Tip 1)
Do not use automated tools for gaming LinkedIn for connections/shares/likes or anything else. Do not even install a chrome plugin - that will raise a red flag.
I was regularly getting over 200 views of my videos (I only post them to my connections) - handy option is you have a highly targeted LinkedIn connection network.
However, around about eight months in I started using an automated tool that helped me connect with other LinkedIn users. It was great while it lasted. Then one day, I logged in to LinkedIn and saw a warning on the page about suspicious activity. I had to agree to some terms saying that I would stop using tools for gaming the system.
Since then, I have been a good boy. However, my LinkedIn video views have dropped dramatically. I have around 1000 connections and most videos I now publish hit only about 50-90 views maximum.
Text and written posts seem to have a good reach still, but my videos views fell dramatically since the warning on my account.
Now it might just be that LinkedIn has changed its algorithm; however, in the back of my mind, I do get the feeling that my account has some sort of red flag and my reach is now limited.
Let that be a warning to you, I know it may be tempting to game the system, but it is not. Especially with all the machine learning these vast social platforms now have. They can easily detect dodgy behaviour.
LinkedIn Tip 2)
Do not use any links in your posts. LinkedIn loves keeping users in their ecosystem. Posts with links have less reach.
Mention the URL in video, those that are interested will type the address in manually.
Proof of this - check out the direct referral traffic I get - this is people typing the URL into their browser!
LinkedIn Tip 3)
Post videos every 3-4 days for higher video views. A strange one but if you post daily, you will get fewer people watching. They seem to take a little time to bake in peoples timelines. Go live every day on Facebook and use the videos that get the best engagement on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Tip 4)
Get your videos transcribed if you have time. Use Rev.com and video editor to hard code subtitles. I do not always do this, but it usually leads to more hits on my website.
The reason for this is due to a large percentage of your video’s viewers with the audio off. They will be in the office or somewhere else that it might not be socially acceptable to have their sound enabled. Hardcoded subtitles solve this problem.
LinkedIn Tip 5)
Have an optimised profile page. I am not going to go into the detail of this one as it could fill up an entire book, basics include:
A profile picture (up to date, bright, smile)
What you help your customers with and who your ideal customer is.
Linked back to your website or landing page
I recently interviewed Pete Mathison from Tekkers IT - I called him the "Casey Neistat" of the IT world as he has a super cool YouTube channel where he spends many hours perfecting his videos.
One central question for Pete in the interview: "How much business has been a result of your video marketing efforts".
His answer was as predicted - he could not tell me; he did not know. All he knew was that the videos were helping him build a brand for his IT business - this is awesome, but if I were paying someone to make videos for me I'd want to know what my ROI was.
How do we solve this problem for Pete and you? The vanity URL which we covered in a previous chapter.
A big shout out goes to Pete for agreeing to speak with me on his video marketing efforts - he is a perfectionist and even admits on camera he is a bit OCD about filming. I salute him as I can only describe myself as being on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Remember consistent action trumps perfectionism when it comes to your marketing your IT business using the method I teach.
I have included a video as part of this chapter on how to set up a vanity domain. With the vanity domain you can measure how effective your videos are as tracking can be set up within Google Analytics.
Part 7 - Fill The IT Sales Pipeline
I am going to give you some sales and marketing targets to help make sense of how well your video marketing is doing. I have been video marketing for just over 18 months. My sales cycle is short for our membership site (www.itrockstars.net) With most signing up for a free trial.
The tech sales cycle is an entirely different beast.
How long does it take to close a new contract from the first point of contact?
For me, it was six months on average, is this industry norm, or am I just a bad salesman? Who knows but I can only speak from my personal experience that if I had a sizeable contract on my hands, there was usually a six-month window from the initial point of contact to the new client signing on the dotted line. If you an experienced salesperson, it is probably shorter than this, but my sales experience and ability to consistently follow up was lacking.
That's one of the main reasons IT Rockstars exists today - the most significant pain point I had doing IT sales was the opportunity to sit down and speak with people that were interested in the managed IT service that I had to offer. The reason it was such a big pain point was due to the complete lack of any form of marketing we were doing.
Yes, we had our business logo splashed across a couple of cars, and there might have been an annual press release about the latest high-level recruit on our team, but these were not anything to do with marketing. The press release was more for the benefit of the new employee and acted as a form or positioning by the owner. The car signage was part of the owner's fascination with cars, a complete petrol head.
It is funny thinking about this now and what went on, in hindsight id I have put even 10% of my effort in any form of marketing campaign the pain of finding new prospects would have been minimal. Why am I telling you all of this? Simple since I have finally figured out what marketing can do for any business; it is probably the number one biggest priority I see for almost all technology businesses.
MSP's sell the same thing and have the same services and products. There are some variations, and the calibre of engineers does go along way for retention of an existing client. Still, there is a reason why customers move to other IT providers. Usually, due to one of 3 reasons:
1) Bad customer service - lack of response to tickets and requests.
2) Cyber or data breach
3) The current IT provider is perceived as not being fit for purpose - usually if the client is growing.
These three critical reasons are where your IT marketing strategy is of utmost importance. No matter what content or marketing you are putting out into the world as an IT provider, it should be considering at least one of these factors.
Because these factors exist, having a marketing strategy is crucial.
That brings us back to the sales cycle. Even with a marketing strategy in place, would I still be taking six months to close a new contract?
Probably but I would have increased my conversion rate.
Do you know what your conversion rate is? That is the percentage of leads that you have who will eventually become a paying customer.
While it is easy to figure out the conversion rate of a webpage, it can be somewhat trickier to do it for an offline sales process.
The MSP Video Academy
A very crude way of calculating what your conversion rate is as follows:
Over the last 12 months note down all the appointments you have had with new prospects, this is one to one meetings - the first time you met.
The easiest way to do this is by going to your calendar and viewing it in the list view format (Outlook trick, sorry Gmail I do not know what the equivalent is).
The second step is total up the amount of managed service contracts you have won in the last 12 months.
From these two numbers, you can quickly work out the length of time it takes to close a deal and the conversion rate on prospects.
I never took note of either of these numbers - the six-month sales cycle was something I had in my head, but if you can work out the average and work out your conversion rate it's a numbers game.
With these two facts about your sales ability, you will quickly be able to calculate how many leads you require - this number is the goal you must hit every month for your marketing efforts.
Let us say I have ten new leads every month, 5 become sales appointments and one of which will become a new managed service contract within six months.
For every ten leads, I acquire using video marketing one will become a client, but it will take six months.
Knowing this truth about your ability (or your team's ability) allows you to focus on what is essential. If you have a goal for your business over the next 12 months, maybe the growth of 20% you'll know exactly how many leads you need to generate, sales appointments you need to make and how much time you have to allocate to focus on these tasks.
At the MSP Video Academy (yes, another blatant plug) - we have a 30-day video challenge. Post live content to your LinkedIn and Facebook audience. This "audience" is your connection base which you can build strategically using a list of businesses.
The challenge has two main benefits. Firstly, it gets you into the habit of recording daily. Within the academy, we catch up every other week to as part of accountability to make sure we are on track.
The second benefit is that it will allow you to calculate your monthly lead score - how many leads can be acquired by simple going live for 2 minutes over 30 days.
A simple exercise but distractions in business and life will always move your goals just out of reach.
Sales are hard and if your anything like me, jumping from a technical role to sales role is a challenge. For every ten prospects I had in my sales pipeline, nine of them would never get back to me after I quoted the work. The one prospect that becomes a customer makes it all worthwhile. The real challenge I faced was rejection.
If you can teach yourself to say "next" and not internalise the rejection, then selling becomes a numbers game.
Just fill your pipeline with prospects using video marketing and quality written content.
Part 8 - The Endless Content Marketing Strategy
Warning - I copied this system from someone else, someone I admire and someone that is hugely successful in the field of marketing.
Content is the number one thing you must master if you plan to market your IT business using video or the written word. What I am going to disclose to you will change the way which you plan, produce and publish content. Be that to a blog post or video as outlined in this book.
Your audience is number one.
Your audience does not care about:
- Your greatness.
- New whiz-bang service, tool or product
- Awards you may have won
- The staff you have hired
- Certificates you have achieved
- Donations you have made
People are selfish - give them what THEY want.
I am guilty of this myself, producing a video that speaks about our excellent new service. Hell, I did it only two days ago when we released our Cyber Search WordPress plugin that allows IT companies to embed the HaveIBeenPawned search on their website. (Available to IT Rockstar members)
This plugin has taken some time to produce and at cost. I was excited to "launch" it to my audience. I spent some time creating videos, LinkedIn posts, blog posts and email broadcast. The tool records the emails entered into the search bar, perfect for prospecting clients coming to your website and doing a search.
However, I have failed 100% to market it.
All the material that I have produced for this plugin has been about the plugin. I never had the audience's needs and desires prioritised. Where are they in their journey?
It is easy to miss, but any piece of content you produce, written word or video must be serving your audience.What are their pain points, where are they in their business? What technology are they using, what are their concerns?If you can frame your mind to these questions and produce content based on helping your audience solve these problems, your competitors will be dust.
However, that is not the whole battle with content. There is the problem of coming up with topics.What system do you use for that, how do you plan a content calendar, be it in your head or on paper?
Two items which will help with this are:
1) Content pillars (you are why)
2) A to B approach.
Content pillars are the made up of three overarching things your business stands for, the reason why you are in business and what you serve to the market. What is your mission?
These pillars keep you on track and topical. It is easy to diverge in all manner of areas, especially when you go live consistently for 30 days.
The pillars are what keeps your content grounded.
These pillars are something you must construct yourself, but I will give you examples.
The first is the pillars IT Rockstars uses to offer its monthly membership service to the market.
The pillars are:
1) Build an audience; do this by forming in your mind your ideal client. Research the existing client base that makes you the most money and is enjoyable to serve. Then connect with similar businesses on LinkedIn.
2) Educate that audience; do this by posting out consistent, quality content that helps that audience.
3) Follow up; do this by picking up the phone and reaching out to your newly found connections 3-6 months after connecting and posting useful content.
Any video or blog post that I produce for the IT Rockstars membership must align to one of these three content pillars. It is that simple.
Here is an excellent example of content pillars, I would use if I still ran an MSP:
1) Be Secure; This pillar has endless topics, but I would stress the most important is staff security awareness. I am sure you would agree.
2) Be prepared; A documented DR plan and tested regularly. Having a backup process that checks if the restore process works.
3) Be on the cutting edge; This plays into the hands of digital transformation a digital optimisation. When I ran my first break-fix shop, I was one of the only local businesses at the time that migrated customers email from Exchange on-prem to Google Apps (2010) or thereabouts. I am always ahead of the game, BPOS was still in its infancy.
Now that you have seen these examples of content pillars, it is now your turn to come up with yours.
You can use the content pillars as a guide to creating content.
I have a rule of thumb that I never use the same pillar twice in a row.
For example, Monday I might be going live to the camera about a recent cyber breach, you will not hear me talking about cybersecurity on Tuesday - it would be another pillar.
Never repeating the pillars twice brings freshness to the content and keeps you on your toes.
Now that you have your content pillars, it is time to create content that aligns to them.
The easiest way to do this is by getting your head into your prospect’s way of thinking.
What bad situation might they be in now - we call this situation point A.
It is your job within your content to help them get to point B.
I have coined this as the A to B approach. It is simple and effective.
We want to help our prospects in the content we produce to get from point A to point B, we want the video to be actionable and something that can act on to achieve this new destination.
Here is an example:
Point A: Prospect is worried about email phishing.
Step 1) Educate on MFA/2FA and how this can help with phishing.
Step 2) Educate on staff awareness of phishing.
Step 3) Free service (Office 365 ATP)
Point B: Less worried about email phishing
In this example, we have three videos we can now produce that relate to one of our content pillars (Be secure). These milestones are our topic ideas. These can be educational, knowledge that you have. Or something that has happened, perhaps a story or something related to a news item or colleague.
They are the nuggets of gold that will bring you new prospects. Just remember, you must be helpful. Your audience will start to trust you and will be more forthcoming when it comes time to follow up. Now that you know about content pillars and the A to B approach, the last thing you must include in all your content is your offer. The offer is a reason for the video viewer to take some form of action.
Most videos I watch on LinkedIn fail to have an offer. Here are some examples of pathetic offers "if you need help get in touch with us". Or "contact us today for a free quote". Prospects are likely not to budge and never offer anything for free.
Charge for everything. Remember you want quality clients.
Here are some more constructive offers:
Half Price Cyber Security Audit - This month only. (Already have an IT provider. Just how good a job are they doing? We will act as a 2nd pair of eyes to audit your security)
Mention the offer at the start of your video, halfway through and at the end. People's attention spans are limited in today's world, so you need to make sure you are covering your bases.
Your content must serve your audience, prospects and potential new clients at all times.
Align your content pillars with your business mission statement.
Your content must be helpful, by using milestones, your audience is at point A, and the job of your content is to get them to point B.
Your content must always include an offer of your service or product.
Without an offer or a weak offer, you are a charity case.
Part 9 - Cast Your Net Wide
In this chapter, I will be detailing the steps necessary to give your videos maximum exposure. The only cost associated with this is your time to implement.
Less work is something I strive for daily. I am lazy, and when it comes to creating a systemised process, it needs to be low touch with minimal "work" required.
I will be revealing to you the lazy man approach to content promotion.
First, I must answer the question that may be on your mind.
Without content promotion, your videos might only gain a limited number of views.
Promoting our videos is imperative to a successful video marketing campaign.
The act of promoting your videos will lead to a steady increase in your audience base.
The lazy man approach is as follows:
Go live to Facebook.
Repost video to LinkedIn.
Share the video on Facebook groups.
Too much like hard work but worth doing:
Let us break down each of these steps.
I have covered this already, but it is worth mentioning for the third time due to its importance:
Go live to our Facebook Business page; this is the source of your content and where you will be going publishing daily for 30 days.
After you have finished a live broadcast on Facebook using the Facebook app, choose the option to "save to device". Make sure you click this button.
Saving to the device ensures that your broadcast will can be repurposed to other platforms.
Five minutes of your time, maximum.
Repost the locally saved video to your LinkedIn timeline (personal LinkedIn account). When you repost the video, make sure you do not include any URLs in the post description or title.
We want to gain maximum exposure to the video, and LinkedIn algorithm works best when you do not include links.
On that note, I must mention the fact that the frequency to post on LinkedIn should be 2-3 times a week. The last 12 months of testing when to post and how often has resulted in the following finding:
1) Post at any time. It will not impact your reach.
2) Post two or three times per week if you do a daily post it will not get as many views.
The other point to note with LinkedIn is that your connections will see any activity you are doing on the platform.
Liking or commenting on a post will result in that activity appearing on your connections timeline.
Make sure any activity that requires engagement you complete before posting the video.
The video then becomes the last activity in your personal timeline history and will appear higher up in your connection’s timeline.
The MSP Video Academy
If you are a member of IT Rockstars, you will already know about the importance of connecting with your prospects on LinkedIn. It would be best if you were aiming for 100 connections in a ninety-day window.
Posting to LinkedIn should take 30-60 seconds - you have already recorded the video and have it on your device. For the lazy man - that's 4 minutes of work total.
When I was first starting with videos, the most significant impact that I made with promoting was in Facebook Groups.
I would usually wait until the end of the week and re-share the best performing video to a relevant Facebook Group.
As a result, I have probably acquired 20-30 customers from Facebook groups in the last 12 months.
You can replicate this process. It is all about targeting the correct groups where your video content is relevant.
I am sure you have some local business groups that you can target. The Facebook search function will help you find these if you are not aware of them. The other types of groups you should be focusing on are your ideal customer niches.
Maybe your IT business works closely with accountants. Find some Facebook groups associated with accountancy software. Start targeting these.
The number one tip when you share to these associated groups is making it relevant. A local business Facebook group should be easy to post on. When sharing a video to a niche Facebook group, you will need to make sure the video is on topic, helpful and not spam.
Examples would be a video about why it is essential to back up your accountancy software.
If you start sharing none relevant videos to these groups, you'll soon be banned or plain annoy the members so make sure it's appropriate, useful and don't do it too often or the admins will want you to start charging you for the privilege.
Sharing a Facebook video takes around 30 seconds, so our lazy man approach takes us to about 5 minutes of work. We are pushing it here, and if you are like me, that is as much work for one day.
If, however you have the time, energy and want to knock it out the park the next two steps will be the "home run" in your video promotion.
Step 4 (Optional)
BCC all your customers or use an email marketing solution (Active Campaign/Mailchimp, etc.). In the email write about the video, why it matters to them and why they should watch it.
Link to the copy on LinkedIn - you can get the URL of the LinkedIn video see this image:
Include a PS within the email and ask them to click the share button on LinkedIn. If they share, you will gain maximum exposure on the LinkedIn platform to other local prospects.
This promotional method works wonders and will increase your video reach dramatically. Not only are you rewarded by any shares that take place. LinkedIn will take notice of the traffic you are sending to their platform.
Word of caution:
Avoid Facebook for this method. You will be reaching the wrong people if your customers share the video on here (their grand mom etc.)
Step 5 (Optional and sounds too much like hard work)
I have not done step 5 yet - that is a disclaimer as I am giving out advice but have never actually done this - partnerships are one of the fastest ways to boost your reach and audience.
This step involves reaching out to an existing customer and including their business within the video. You might even want to add someone from the business within the video itself. Next time your onsite is the perfect opportunity.
If you have a planned visit give that customer a heads up that you would like to do a short 2-3-minute video on your phone promoting their business and a topic related to IT/Tech.
Then get the customer to help promote the video for you on these platforms:
- Facebook Business Page
As they have been a part in the process of "being live on camera" they will feel somewhat obliged when you ask them to do this.
This process is very similar to a referral or testimonial by your client. The benefit is that the reach will more than certainly draw attention for many potential prospects and will act as a form of endorsement.
To conclude, steps 1 to 3 take around 5 minutes of your time.
Step 4 & 5 will give you much more impact but are big time sucks. If you struggle to gain traction when promoting, there are a few ideas to keep in the back of your mind:
I used to get between 5-10 video views maximum. Depressing but I knew if I were consistent in my approach that over time that figure would grow. When I go live now to the camera, I will regularly draw in at least 50 video views at a minimum. Looking back a few days later and some videos go well above 100 views. Now you may think 100 views is tiny, but this is a highly targeted audience. I would be happy with ten viewers if it were the right people watching.
Eighteen months of working through this process, and the main thing I have learnt is that being consistent is critical. Over everything else, make sure your publishing to your prospects.
These videos are an asset to your business and will work for you over time.
Part 10 - Lazy Man Email MSP Marketing
I was going to bitch and moan about my hate from email marketing in this chapter, but I have been running tests for the last six months, and email marketing still works.
Why I am not too fond of email marketing:
It clogs up your inbox. Simply put, I always must send reminder emails to people about things.
"Hey, did you remember to do this?"
"Did you get my last email?"
"Sorry to bother you."
Email over the last few years has dropped down the priority list as the attention spans of most have disappeared due to mobile devices and social media. I would far prefer to appear in someone’s social feed, be that LinkedIn, Facebook or whatever the latest social media platform is. You probably have formed some opinions about the strategy outlined in this book. Top of mind and appearing is the key to a successful video marketing campaign.
I was chatting with a few students of the MSP Video Academy recently, and one topic that came up was "perfectionism".
Most IT professionals are perfectionists or like to make they get things "right".
It is essential in the IT industry because if you mess something up like the migration of a mail server to Office 365 then that can come back to bite and the fall out can be far worse than the time it takes to make sure everything correct.
However, with video marketing, perfectionism is not required.
What matters is becoming top of mind. Top of mind requires regular videos published.
Remember "imperfect consistent action" - not my phrase it fits logically into the video marketing strategy outlined here.
If you are not consistent, you will be drowned out by others if you do not start publishing regularly.
You may be asking:
What about my appearance, how I come across, how professional I look?
These are the wrong questions going through your head. Instead remember, your video must be as helpful as possible to your potential prospects.
How do you balance these regular videos against email marketing? It is not like you can blast your email list daily.
That is why I settle for weekly emails unless there is some form of event or promotion. In which case I have sent more than five emails to the same person in one day.
The results speak for themselves.
I have got over 500 email subscribers on my main list. Originally this was one big list on Mailchimp.
Mailchimp is an excellent platform to start your email marketing activities, mainly because it is free.
You can create signup forms. Schedule emails even build automated sequences all on the free version.
I have been low touch with the email list up until 2020. Mainly due to time and the fact that video has been my focus. There was no need for me to be sending out regular emails to my list.
During Black Friday week, I thought I would test. Dip my toe in the email marketing water.
I was shocked.
Five brand spanking new customers.
I will not bore you with the math, but I know in the back of my head I should have been corresponding more regularly to this list.
Where do you start with your business? Do you even have an email list to use?
A simple plain text email sent out every week works wonders.
Include a link to your most engaging video. Usually, the one that is had the most views or reactions is an excellent place to start.
I keep emails in plain text as most people expect a plain text email from someone they know.
If you are going to use a template with lots of graphics, good luck, you will not get the same click-through rate. Templated emails with lots of graphics look like adverts, and people tend to ignore adverts.
The other tip I have with crafting emails is to include a description underneath the video.
Tell the reader where the link goes in the link (so they are not surprised). This will give higher click through rates.
That way, the user knows what to expect when they click the link, this little tip can help with engagement.
Also, worth testing is how the link works on mobile.
If you are linking to Facebook or LinkedIn, make sure it opens the app and not the mobile browser.
There is nothing worse than clicking a link that goes to my browser on my mobile device. Link to the app - some tools can help with this.
These two tips alone will boost your engagement and view count.
If you do not have an email list, then it is time to ask your existing clients and business network connection to sign up to your list.
There is no point just adding them to a list, they have not opted in, and you will piss some people off.
My advice is to manually email each contact and ask them to sign up to your list. Mailchimp allows you to create an embedded web form where you can capture details and automatically add to your list.
You will need to provide an incentive to why they should sign up.
Remember that, marketing 101. Be helpful!
Email is the perfect place for a summary of your weeks’ worth of videos; this has two benefits.
1) Not everyone will be able to watch and listen to a video. The summary can help you stay top of mind.
2) You can track click-through rates and who clicks on your links in an email. If you view your click through rates and look at what contacts are opening and clicking your links you soon see who your most interested prospects are. It also works quite well with existing customers.
As you will know who watch what video and can bring it up in conversation next time you speak with them.
I have got a handful of members at IT Rockstars that always open, read and click in my emails. These members are my biggest fans, you too will have fans they will provide you with three things: referral sources, testimonials and sales meetings.
This active list is also the basis of which prospects you should be calling on outlined in Chapter 13.
Part 11 - Engagment Intelligence
Seriously, do you think Facebook advertising is going to bring in any sensible form of quality leads to your IT Business? I too, was questioning the logic behind advertising one's IT business on Facebook. Sure, you would easily acquire a few break-fix residential clients using Facebook ads, but can you use it for monthly recurring revenue and IT business support?
The answer is yes! I am going to detail precisely how Facebook plays a vital role in paid advertising online for your technology business. I will go out on a limb here and state if you are not paying for Facebook ads, then you are missing out - here is why:
I call this the leaky bucket logic. No matter how much money, time and effort you invest in marketing your IT business, you lose will potential customers that visit your website but doing nothing once they get there. There are many reasons why a potential customer might visit your website - here are a few:
They have met you at a local networking group.
A business associate has recommended your company.
They are doing local research on IT providers in the search engines.
They have seen your marketing materials (for example videos on LinkedIn)
These visitors will not take any action, they will not fill in the contact form, they will not email you, they will not pick up the phone.
They will forget or get distracted by something else in their daily routine. No matter how well designed your website is to navigate a user to take any action, they will bounce off and completely forget about you and your business.
The MSP Video Academy
Retargeting is the solution to this problem. It is something you have probably already experienced on an e-commerce website like Amazon. You will be shopping around for a product or service. For some reason, you add to the cart but do not checkout. Then the very next day you start to see that product or service following you around the web, it may even appear in your Facebook timeline.
Retargeting in action, a reminder. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok & Reddit all offer a retargeting pixel that you can install on your website. Once the code gets applied to the site, visitors are then cookied. The 2nd part to retargeting is the ability for you to instruct platforms like Facebook to show videos to anyone that has visited your website.
It is straightforward to set up in the Facebook business manager, and I highly suggest you use Facebook retargeting as the platform of choice. There are four reasons for this.
First, most people have a Facebook account, and you can guarantee over a day that website visitor will visit Facebook.
Secondly - it is the easiest to set up - yes Google, LinkedIn & Twitter all offer similar service, but they have several restrictions and is more challenging to set up.
The third reason - it is cheap, $50/ month if not less to start.
Fourth and probably the most important reason is due to Facebook's "engagement intelligence". Something we cover in detail at the MSP Video Academy (www.mspvideoacademy.com), and I am going to outline the basic premise of engagement intelligence here.
No other social media or online platform allows you to perform this extremely effective advertising strategy. Facebook wins hands down, that added to the fact that most people have a Facebook account means it is a no brainer to implement.
Facebook has a setting when creating "custom audiences" that allow you to create a new audience of users that have interacted in with your videos.
The settings at the time of writing are as follows:
- Target user that has watched 3 seconds of a video
- Target user that has watched 10 seconds of a video
- Target user that has watched 25% of a video
- Target user that has watched 50% of a video
- Target user that has watched 75% of a video
- Target user that has watched 100% of a video
Why is this setting so important?
You can target people that have watched any of your videos online.
More importantly, you can target people that have visited your website, then watched a retargeting video.
These users are your "hot list" they've already been to your website, they've watched some or all of a video you've targeted them with - that means that there's an excellent chance they are interested in what you have to say and what you have to offer.
It is your opportunity to appear in their timeline consistently.
When I am setting up an engagement intelligence campaign in Facebook business manager, I set up two ads sets.
The first ad-set consists of the five most popular videos I have published in the last 30 days. These five videos target people that have been to my website.
The remaining 25 videos from the last month get a separate ad-set which I call the "warm audience". The warm audience targets anyone that has watched 25% or more of the five videos in the "cold audience".
Engagement intelligence is like having an email list; however, the beauty of this is that it is not email. You do not have to worry about delivery or the person opening the email. It also gets around the pesky GDPR rules.
The other benefit of this, if you set it up correctly, is that you will have a new video displayed almost every day of the month to the warm audience. Once you get your head around this, you will soon realise that investing a good part of your marketing budget on this is a no brainer.
Over time this audience will grow to appreciate your videos and style.
When you reach out to them - they will welcome the conversation, and this is your chance to start your sales process.
When it comes time to quote that monthly managed service contract, you will have the upper hand.
These prospects will have seen many of your videos and will have the sense that they know you. They may even know you better than the current IT provider because you appear on their device every day.
If you are up against a few IT providers, you will win the business. Trust me on this I grew IT Rockstars using this same process - it works fabulously and is entirely untapped.
If you want a complete video overview of how the setup works, check out www.mspvideoacademy.com. We teach the process and have multiple Q&A sessions if you get stuck. Well worth the money as we show you how to set it up correctly, so you do not blow your budget.
Part 12 - Copywriting for your Website
By this stage, you have followed all the advice handed out in this book and your actively publishing daily videos.
These daily videos are driving traffic to your website, but you might have a big problem—you are not getting any emails - no meetings - no sales.
The simple fact is that publishing a daily live video is half the battle. Once a potential prospect has taken notice of your videos and been on your website - how on earth do you get them to take any action?
There are two things that we still need to do before that prospect enters our sales process.
1) Get them to act when they visit your website.
2) Follow up with anyone that has made and action or shown an interest in your videos.
In this chapter, we are going to cover in detail both these steps.
A word of warning - if you are like me - the very last step in the whole book "the follow up" is the hardest part of the entire process.
The follow up is, speaking to the prospect directly on the phone.
If you do not think you can do that, then stop reading this book right now.
Destined to fail and I would rather see you fail sooner than implement some of these tactics but not all of them, simply you are just wasting your time.
With that out the way let us begin:
Copy is King
When I first got into copywriting, I was not at all convinced that the words that I wrote on my webpage would influence my bank balance.
I always thought of copywriting as some sort of technical thing wordsmiths charged a king's ransom. The other type of copywriting I was aware of was the cheesy black/white/red sales letter you see many internet marketers use in selling some quick money scheme.
The truth, however, ever is that the copy on your website matters tremendously.
What you write will influence your bottom line and will also attract the type of customers you desire.
I'm not an expert in this matter, however - I'm going with what I've learnt and experienced up until this point so what I'm going to lay out for you here is my personal experience and how it's worked for me.
I will also include some excellent resources that will help lift the words off your page and into the eyeballs of your hottest prospects.
These prospects will be pestering you for a sales meeting and handing their credit card over to you before you have even quoted the work.
Can you imagine if your copy was that good?
Has that ever happened to you?
Here is the formula on how your website's homepage should be structured:
1. Instant Clarity Headline
2. Declare the Problem
3. Present Your Solution
4. Borrow Credibility
5. Social Proof
7. Clear Call to Take Action
8. Reverse All Risk
9. Frequently Asked Questions
Easy right? Ha - okay let us get stuck in.
1: The Instant Clarity Headline.
Like your elevator pitch but in one or two sentences.
Example: Fresh Hot Pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes (Dominos)
Example: Generate qualified leads every month without cold calling or networking (IT Rockstars)
In your headline, mention the result your customers desire within a specific period, and address the objections they frequently encounter.
2: Declare the problem
What problems does your service solve for your customers? You must declare the problem.
For a small business looking for IT support, this is usually one of 3 things:
- Lost confidence in the MSP providing the best solutions
- Ransomware / Security Issue
- Chopping and changing their Primary IT Contact
- No individual relationship with anyone at the MSP anymore
- Excessive Downtime
3: Present your solution
Your core solution should be front and centre. On the IT Rockstars website, ours is:
"We help you fill your sales pipeline, say goodbye to irregular referrals and hello to predictable sales growth."
We then break down exactly what the solution is and benefits to the website visitor.
4: Borrow credibility
More prominent companies (vendors you use) or famous people that have timely advice about, for example, the latest Cyber Threat, use this image/logo and quote on your website.
You might not have anything to do with them.
This credibility can go a long way when someone is viewing your homepage for the first time.
Here are some examples:
If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people's accounts. If they know there is a key hidden somewhere, they will not stop until they find it.
A secure system is one that does what it is supposed to.
There is no silver bullet solution with cybersecurity. A layered defence is the only viable defence.
A quote from someone that is credible, and their headshot allows you to borrow credibility.
A no brainer! Go to your clients and ask for a testimonial - if you can get them to do a video testimonial even better!
Formula = Benefit customer got + Specific period + Accompanied Feeling + The Person’s Name
Do not use testimonials word for word as folks tell you or send them in. Re-order the most significant benefit to be at the top, bold it, and put the rest of the testimonial below it.
If people have no idea who the person is on the testimonial, find some sort of authoritative or relatable fact on them. "Here's Why The #1 Accountant in Aberdeen Is Excited!"
7: Clear Call to action
May sound dumb but not to be missed - tell the website visitor what to do next.
Example: "Fill in the form below" or "Click the link to call us".
The more outrageous your guarantee is, the better.
A perfect example of that is our guarantee at the MSP Video Academy.
"100% Satisfaction Guarantee +
Full Refund & Free Flight
If you are not completely satisfied with the MSP Video Academy and do not get any value from the course once you have completed all the modules, we will refund every penny.
As an additional guarantee, we will also provide you with a free flight to the IT Rockstars mastermind. This location is where our inner circle members attend an annual IT marketing boot camp. "
A genuinely outrageous guarantee, I am sure you will agree—one which we have still not had anyone take up.
What the guarantee does is reverse the risk and fear someone may have before speaking with you or submitting a form on your website.
An excellent guarantee for an MSP would be: "6 month's free backups with your chosen IT supplier if not 100% satisfied."
Most guarantees do not cost you a lot to cover the cost, but the perceived value to the prospect is over the top and ever so slightly leads them down the path on your website.
The MSP Video Academy
9: Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQ is a fantastic area, and you should have one! All the main objections a prospect has before becoming a customer is your chance to answer them in your FAQ.
Great examples again from IT Rockstars:
Q: What if my competitors are already using your product?
A: You get the opportunity to lock out the competition. We can only supply this content to one IT business locally.
Q: How long do I have to subscribe? Am I locked into a contract?
A: We charge monthly. You can cancel at any time with no notice required.
In both these examples, the questions I have stated on the page are objections many of our existing customers have before entering business with us.
Example for your MSP
Why do I have to pay for managed services if I am 100% cloud-based?
- Cloud apps still need protection and business continuity.
- Ransomware is still a threat and even more so in the cloud.
The list is, of course, endless and if you have been in business for a few years, you will have a list of objections and answers ready to hand.
Other questions to include in your FAQ are questions that make the website visitor stop and take notice:
Q: Why should you trust us?
Q: Why should I pick you over the competition?
These can be blunt questions your prospect may not ask you in person, but you can answer directly in your FAQ.
The FAQ is I believe one of the best tools you have in your marketing kit -and would suggest that you can expand the FAQ to a dedicated page on your website.
The analytical minds love the detail, and this is what the FAQ can deliver.
Do not skip this step.
That is all I have for you on copywriting - the subject of copywriting is one close to my heart. I suck at English, but I know and have proven many times that if you can write excellent copy or find someone else this will affect your bottom line.
If you want to learn more on the topic, I will highly suggest reading and watching as much of Dan Kennedy's material as possible. He is a genius.
I have run out of room in this chapter for the most crucial part of the whole book.
The follow-up. As such, I am dedicating the next chapter to this topic.
Part 13 - Cold Calling
When is a cold call not a cold call, when it is a warm call!
That is one of the phrases I repeat to members at IT Rockstars regularly.
We will be diving exactly into what a warm call is.
It is vital and without this step do not even bother with the rest of this book.
Marketing can only get you so far. You can educate your audience on your products, services, solutions and best practices. You can temp them to act on your webform or landing page.
However, the reality of selling managed services is that you must go out there and sell.
Video marketing is the process of making yourself approachable and likeable.
It is a bit like when you used to go out dating.
Nine times out of ten, it would take some work before you got laid.
You cannot walk up to a woman and ask to get laid. The same's true for managed service contracts. You cannot just pick up the phone and expect a business owner to speak to you about their technology problems.
Video marketing is the courting of the relationship—the foreplay before we pick up the phone.
The warm call is when you pick up the phone and speak with your prospects, but only after a 3 to 6-month period of being connected with them on LinkedIn.
3 to 6 months is the time that is required for the LinkedIn algorithm to show your videos and work its magic.
It also gives ample time for that prospect to start watching your videos and taking notice of you.
There is a high chance they will visit your website - this is when you drop your Facebook pixel and start appearing on both their LinkedIn and Facebook timelines.
When you are then ready to pick up the phone, remember these three facts:
1) You are both small business owners in the same location. That is a point in common you both have.
2) You are both connected on LinkedIn.
3) There's a good chance that they have watched at least one of your videos. If you have been posting regularly, there is a good chance that prospect has seen many of your videos.
Armed with those three facts, you have three potential "excuses" for speaking with that prospect. I am not going to go into the whole strategy of cold calling, that is because I suck at it and why I use video. The steps you have taken up until now give you a far higher degree of success of speaking with your prospects. It is now time to arrange an introductory meeting.
The warm call wins almost every time.
Now there are some realities you must be aware of if you are new to sales. The fact is that prospect might not be able to switch IT, provider. It could just be a wrong time, or there is no reason for them to switch. If you get the cold shoulder and they do not agree to an intro meeting, then attempt to find out exactly why they do not want to meet.
It is potentially due to one of these issues amongst many others.
The final thing you must do before ending the call is an agreement to call them back in a couple of months to find out if things have changed. Now here is much of a non-geek I am.
In your calendar add an entry to 8 weeks out to give them another call, note the prospects name and the reason why they were objecting to the intro meeting.
Who needs a CRM????
Follow this process, and it is a numbers game, you will win if you can make it a habit just like publishing videos.
Part 14 - The MSP Sales Pitch
Congratulations! You made it to the last chapter.
It is obvious that because you have come this far, you want to see your IT business grow.
I applaud you for the dedication and time you have spent in this research.
Hopefully, now you have the understanding and knowledge you were seeking?
There are two problems you may encounter when you start video marketing.
Addressing these problems gives me the perfect opportunity to sell my solution to you.
(Remember from our copywriting, declare the problem.)
Firstly, if you are anything like me you see something new and shiny. You want it. You buy it thinking that it is going to solve all your problems. Life and your reality will be ever transformed by the solution the product or service offers.
This book offers a solution to a problem. The knowledge within can give you a better understanding of how to use video marketing to your advantage.
The problem is that it is just knowledge and understanding. It does not translate into the reality you seek, which is a full sales pipeline for your technology business.
What action are you taking on knowledge and understanding you have just learnt?
That is one of the biggest problems in today's world—an abundance of information for free and readily available at your fingertips.
No matter how much information you consume, it requires taking action.
When are you going to show up?
When are you going to face your fears?
When are you going to press record?
The MSP Video Academy put you in a context where you are part of a community of like-minded IT business owners.
My whole life is filled with the hope of changing my reality with that latest book or tool that promises results.
Nature has blessed us with traits where habits must form over time.
The second problem is the ever-changing landscape of online marketing.
The entire process is not evergreen.
Today as I type this, there is no better way to promote your videos that on LinkedIn or using the tactics outlined in the paid advertising chapter.
Until the next hottest tricks take over, this is what works just now.
Marketing becomes saturated, and it is an ever-evolving game to find the next untapped digital gold mine.
The process will change over time.
The MSP Video Academy is the solution you seek.
First, you can learn all the steps outlined in this book in even more detail.
We walk you through the whole process.
6 Modules delivered over four weeks. At the end of each week, we have a live Q&A session.
I am sure this book has left you with many unanswered questions - the Q&A is the perfect opportunity to address these.
But that is not all! You also are held accountable, there's goal setting, and we make sure you follow through with the program.
Finally, as algorithms change, and platforms evolve so does the academy.
It runs twice a year, and we only allow 30 students to participate. Why is this?
1) Lower numbers mean that everyone in the academy can get their questions answered.
2) The course content is updated every six months to take full advantage of the online algorithms and hottest marketing tactics.
This book is the start of your journey to an IT sales pipeline burst at the seams.
Act now before the competition overtakes you.
Join me in the academy and transform your technology business.