5 Tips To Get Your MSP Marketing Direct Mail Delivered And Actually Read

The best offer is no better than the worst offer if it’s thrown away unopened before your prospect reads it. So here are a few ways to “sneak” past the human spam filter in every office and get your letters opened.

1. Make it look like personal mail. Use a real, live stamp. Hand-address the letter, and don’t put a company name or logo on the outside.

2. Send it PRIORITY mail or FedEx. Yes, it’s more expensive. But if you’re disciplined about cleaning up the list and targeting only those prospects you really want, this will be a good, smart investment into getting that prospect to want to engage with you. Read full article and comment →

Make These Marketing Resolutions In Your MSP And IT Services Business

Here’s a tough year-end test to give yourself that may not be a fun exercise to participate in. Get a clean legal pad of paper, a pen, a BIG cup of coffee and camp out in a place AWAY from your PC, phone or any other electronic gadget that might distract you. Get comfy. Then make a list of every improvement, advancement or breakthrough you’ve made or manufactured in your business in the following categories below. Make each of these a header on its own page and go to work trying to fill the pages, using one item per line (no cheating and writing in 48-point type like a five-year-old). Anyone who wants to send me photocopies of the pages they write out that I can publish will get $100 in Robin Bucks you can use in any way you like. Read full article and comment →

Don’t Get Spooked By These MSP Marketing Myths

This is a BIG year for Halloween with no shortage of things to keep you up at night. Random shootings, terrorist attacks, Zika virus, the continual rise of cybercrime, riots over police shootings, the obesity epidemic, little kids getting kidnapped, killed or harmed. Hillary. Trump. Colin Kaepernick. Pick your goblin. Of course, there’s NEVER a shortage of things that will scare the pants off of ya if you think about it. Not a morning goes by where I hug and kiss my kids goodbye and have a fleeting moment of panic over whether or not some nut job is going to target their school for a shooting. I don’t think my parents ever even gave that a moment’s thought—yet my brother, Scott Robins, was shot dead on a Monday morning in his driveway by a neighbor who had lived for 40+ years next door to us in the home we grew up in. No one saw that coming. It makes you realize that so much of what happens is totally, completely out of our control—and THAT scares me more than a brain-sucking zombie apocalypse.
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Easy Marketing Trick To Generate More IT Services Clients

One of the fastest ways to kill your lead generation mojo on any website, e-mail, landing page, etc., is to focus it on YOU and what YOU do, deliver, provide, etc. A really important point to remember about lead generation is this: ALL you need to do is sell the next step — be it to fill in the form, call a number, request a consultation, etc. To that end, there are two things to test out. The first is the provocative question. The second, flagging your prospect. For example, in the book Words That Sell, you’ll learn several provocative questions that are excellent subject-line starters for e-mails, headlines for landing pages and copy for all lead generation campaign openers, sub-headlines and, of course, headlines: Read full article and comment →

What To Do When Things That Should Work, Don’t

Last month on the Q&A call, I was told by a member they had implemented one of my campaigns “to the letter” but still had gotten ZERO results. Obviously not a good way to start a call! This fired off a great discussion with Jeff and the team and revealed a need for me to document a process for what you should do if a “tried and true” campaign does NOT work. This will be a LONG article, but a very necessary one that you should highlight and have handy to reference.

First off, you need to know that none of the campaigns and methods I’m teaching about marketing are open to debate about their effectiveness. They’ve been used and proven to work for small IT firms, big IT firms, small cities and big cities, internationally and with various audiences (lists). IF something I’ve given you is not working, there’s something awry; but the temptation is to quickly blame the campaign and move on—and SO many people jump in and make blanket statements about something “not working” when they’ve done no research, study, testing, etc. It’s utter foolishness. So this is my first big piece of advice about this situation: if a campaign has worked before somewhere and/or is working for others, IT WORKS. Your job is to dig deeper into why it didn’t work for you in this ONE instance… even if doing so is painful and what you discover disheartening. On that note, let’s tackle the first reason I see campaigns failing… Read full article and comment →

How To Keep Your MSP Marketing Funnel Full

By: Robin Robins,
Author and Founder of the Technology Marketing Toolkit System

I recently received an e-mail from a client who is teetering on the brink of closing the doors of his IT consulting business and getting a day job. His savings have dried up and he’s maxed out every credit card he has. Now, he’s desperate and calling us for help.

Of course we’ll do everything possible to help him, but now that he’s let it go so far in the red before doing something, it’s going to take a herculean effort on his part (and sheer magic on ours) to start the heart pumping again…which begs the question, why did he wait until now to get serious about keeping the funnel full? Read full article and comment →

These Quick Tips Will INSTANTLY Increase the Number of Qualified Leads Your Web Site Generates

Attention All VARs, MSPs, and System Integrators Who Want To Generate Leads Online…

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

Before I give you these quick tips, let it be known that developing a web marketing machine is an ongoing effort that requires a commitment to testing and refining your strategy, message, offer, and graphics, as well as traffic sources. BUT, sometimes simple changes can result in BIG increases in conversions (leads) and sales.

For example, on my current lead generation page:

http://www.technology-marketing-tool-kit.com/freecdoffer.php

I discovered that putting a picture of the free thing—whether it’s a report, CD, or ebook—nearly tripled conversion. Same traffic, same offer, same marketing costs, but now 3 times as many leads. If you are offering a free report, CD, teleseminar, seminar, or other offer, make sure you put a graphic of the “free thing.”

Here’s another quick tip…

Use squeeze pages when doing ANY online OR offline marketing. What is a squeeze page? It is a page similar to the one above that requires the visitor to provide some information about themselves to get access to the rest of the web site. Take a look at this page:

http://www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com//event

This is an example of a squeeze page. Before someone can enter the site to learn more about the seminars I’m conducting, they have to provide their contact information. If they have already done this once, we simply display the main sales letter page for the event so they don’t have to opt-in every single time they visit the page. This will create a segmented “hot list” of very interested to semi-interested prospects that you can follow up with.

For example, let’s suppose you are doing a sales letter to a cold list and you provide a web site as one of the ways to respond. If you drive them to a squeeze page, you are creating a hot list for your telemarketers or sales people to follow up with first – after all, these people actually took action on your direct mail piece. This allows you to focus your time and money on those who have given you a shy “yes” instead of the masses who didn’t respond at all.

Here’s another quick tip…

Use unique URLs to track response. For example, to promote my seminars, I’m sending six to eight direct mail campaigns to a specific list. The problem is, it gets difficult to know which piece of mail had the most impact. To solve this and track the results more effectively, I’ve set up various URLs that are tied to a particular piece so I can track response.

For example, I’m using the URL www.sellmoresolutions.com for ONE specific piece of direct mail I’m sending. By using this URL, I can see exactly how many unique visits and conversions I’m getting from that one piece of mail because I’m not using it anywhere else in my marketing and promotion. Another URL I’m using is www.technologymarketingplan.com. These sites all go to the same squeeze page, but have allowed me to track exactly how many responses each piece is generating.

If you are doing Yellow Pages ads, newspaper ads, direct mail, and other advertising, I suggest that you set up unique URLs and phone numbers to track response; otherwise, it will all get mixed in together and you won’t know which pieces of advertising media generated the highest quantity and quality of leads.

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

How Can You Possibly Expect To Sell Anything When You Don’t Know THIS…

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

There is an old saying that says you can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. This is a great saying to live by, especially if you are a business owner or sales person whose bank account, lifestyle, and financial security is dependant on your ability to sell something. As sales people, we know we’re supposed to listen to our customers and ask questions so we can fully understand their wants and needs. Nothing new there; BUT, how many people actually do?

As a marketing consultant and sales copywriter, one of the most important things I have to do before writing any type of promotion is truly understand the target customer. In order to effectively persuade someone to take action, I have to know what they want most, what they hate, what they think about, what motivates them, and what their priorities are. This is the art of true listening; the ability to understand the way your customer thinks without filtering or altering it with your own beliefs, agenda, or opinions.

This is not difficult, but it takes practice. Hearing what someone said and truly understanding what they meant or where their opinion came from is as different as night and day. But if you want to become a great salesperson or marketer, this is a skill you must master. Let me give you an example, and give you a set of powerful questions that will revolutionize the way you “listen” to your customers and prospects…

IT managers have a much different agenda than a business owner. The IT manager wants to protect his turf. In most cases, he is very ego driven and doesn’t want to look bad to the boss or anyone else for that matter. He is a bit of a control freak (which, in truth, is not a bad trait for someone responsible for protecting a company’s data and operations). He needs to feel assured that you aren’t going to make him obsolete. This may be completely illogical from your point of view, but he’s the one writing the check.

You may think it’s obvious that you are there to make their job easier and to make them more productive. However, people don’t think logically, they think emotionally. Plus, the IT manager who feels this way is NOT going to verbalize this to you or anyone else. They’ll shoot a million holes in your proposal before they’ll admit they feel threatened by you. That being the case, you have to communicate in advance (through your marketing) how you are going to make them a hero in their organization, and then you have to be able to prove that through testimonials, guarantees, and other proof positive to your claim.

On the other hand, the business owner doesn’t have a clue about all the options, acronyms, and technical terms you are spouting off. As a matter of fact, it makes him a fearful buyer because he doesn’t know enough to determine whether or not you are giving him a good recommendation or not. Just the opposite of the IT manager–they want you to take control so they don’t have to concern themselves with anything technical. He doesn’t want to know the technical details. He simply is trying to figure out if he can trust you to do a good job, alleviate his problems, simplify his life, improve his business, and not overcharge him. His biggest concerns are making money, cash flow, customers, and avoiding business disasters.

Can you see how you would need a different marketing message to both of these individuals, even if they are in the same company? Most business owners don’t spend enough time truly looking at the world through their customers’ eyes and end up paying the price of this ignorance: starvation.

Years ago I did some work for an MRI imaging center. They wanted to find out how they could persuade more people to choose their state-of-the-art open MRI center over some of the older, better established facilities. They told me how new the facility was, how caring the staff was, how accurate the reports were, and how they would even come and pick up the patients at their home. They had tried running several full-page, very expensive ads in local magazines in an effort to get the word out about their new facility and the various benefits I just mentioned.

However, these ads were full of the reasons why they thought someone should be interested in their facility. Plus, they didn’t facilitate the natural buying process of their customers. After studying and understanding how patients choose MRI centers, I quickly discovered two things; first, most patients do not even realize they have a choice of MRI centers (they typically go where the doctor tells them to), and two, the second biggest concern was the fear of being in a very small, closed space. This is why their ads had zero pulling power…they didn’t educate the end buyer (the patient) that they had a choice of imaging centers, and they didn’t drive home hard enough the fact that they had an open MRI, which meant no more small, scary, claustrophobic tunnels to crawl in. But it doesn’t end there…

Upon even further study of where they were getting their BEST patients, I discovered that chiropractors treating accident victims were their best source of new business. After talking with several of their chiropractor customers (make a note of this; I actually picked up the phone and interviewed several chiropractors about why they were using this particular imaging center), I came to discover that they used this MRI imaging center because the reads (meaning the actual images and diagnosis) were more detailed than the ones they received from other MRI imaging centers, and therefore gave them a much better chance of getting their patients’ insurance company to pay for the treatment. Apparently, many insurance companies deny payment for chiropractic care unless it is deemed necessary based on the reads from the imaging center. One of the biggest frustrations for a chiropractor is not being able to deliver a full treatment plan to their patient because some insurance adjuster in a cubical with no medical experience is making the decision that chiropractic care is not necessary for their patient.

Now, without knowing the rest of the story, can you guess who I recommended they target and what the core message should be? For the slow group, here it is:

We targeted chiropractors with the following headline:

“Finally, A Proven Way to Stop IMEs from Interfering With Your Practice and Denying Payment for the Complete Treatment Plans Your Patients Need”

We built an entire campaign around a premise that included partnering with personal injury attorneys and using seminars and free reports to educate the doctors as to how they can best help their patients by sending them to this particular imaging center. Instant success. One of the first seminars they conducted brought in over 20 chiropractors–all good, viable customers for their center. Can you see that once you truly understand the customer, the message, and the benefits, the USP (unique selling proposition) becomes obvious?

So now, here’s your homework. Below are 12 questions you need the answers to about your target market BEFORE you start marketing to them. These questions will vary with the individual (business owners, IT manager, office managers, etc.) and the vertical market. Without the answers to these questions, you’re flying blind and will only get customers by chance or luck.

  1. What are your customers’ biggest frustrations, pains, and aggravations?
  2. What are they afraid of?
  3. Who (or what) are they currently using or buying from now?
  4. What do they like about this situation? What don’t they like?
  5. What do they secretly want?
  6. Who (or what) are they mad at?
  7. What trends are happening in their industry?
  8. What’s most important to them when looking for your product or service? In other words, what are the buying criteria for your product or service?
  9. What problems or frustrations have they had with other companies in your industry? Hint: they are going to expect you to be the same unless you can prove otherwise in your marketing.
  10. What events, situations, regulations, or dilemmas occur to prompt them to seek out your services? (Example: most companies installing a practice management or new accounting software package need to upgrade their network).
  11. What other companies are selling similar products and services to them successfully, and how are they doing it?

And finally, question 12 is a question you should already know the answer to, but probably don’t: What originally prompted your current customers to buy from you?

Once you know what your customer desires most (or wants to avoid most) your job is to make a good argument in your marketing materials as to how your product or service will help them get exactly that.

The Real Underlying Reason Why You Continue to Struggle to Attract New Clients, Make More Money, and Grow Your Business

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

We like to think that the facts can convince people to change… We like to think that people are essentially ‘rational’ — that is, they’ll act in their self-interest if they have accurate information. We believe that ‘knowledge is power’ and that the ‘truth will set you free.’

But nine out of ten heart patients didn’t change even when their doctors informed them about what they had to do to prolong their lives. Ex-convicts knew how hard their time could be if they were arrested again, but it didn’t make a difference.

That’s because we take the facts and fit them into the frames we already have.  If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.” – Excerpt from the book “Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman

Just recently, I read one of the most fascinating books on belief systems and change: Change or Die. If there is anything in your life that you are struggling to change, I highly recommend it.

Alan Deutschman is a senior writer at Fast Company magazine and has interviewed some of the most successful business icons of our time. He created this book to reveal how  some people can change in even the most hopeless situations while others—who have the knowledge and information to change—don’t. Whether it’s heart patients who know they will die very soon if they don’t change or business owners trapped in unsuccessful businesses that keep them in a cycle of failure, the way to change is the same — and it starts and ends with belief systems.

Take my consulting business as an example. Most people buy my program looking for a “fix” to their marketing problem. What they don’t realize is that, in order for my clients to be truly successful, they have to change their well-entrenched negative habits and beliefs that got them to where they are in the first place. A better sales letter or web site won’t fix that.

Unless I can get them to embrace true change in their daily habits, what they believe, and how they use their time, the results won’t follow, or they will be slow and miniscule. That is why my selling starts after I make the sale—I have to sell them on the fact that success will come. I have to use client success stories to constantly reinforce that the methods and strategies work.

Otherwise, the average person will do exactly what Deutschman outlines in his book:

“We take the facts and fit them into the frames we already have. If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.”

If someone doesn’t believe direct mail can possibly work—they will find a way to prove it doesn’t. Or, if they completely lack the discipline to control their time, their ability to focus on a project, lean something new, or to develop the habit of steadfastness that is required to build a marketing system in their business, they will fail. It doesn’t matter what marketing “guru” they subscribe to.

And like it (or believe it) or not, that really is the true key to someone having success with my program. A better web site or postcard won’t change the belief that “selling is evil” or “asking for money is wrong” OR “I couldn’t send THAT letter to my clients.”  It won’t fix someone who can’t or won’t invest some time into researching and understanding their clients. And my program doesn’t automatically alter your schedule and free up buckets of time and space to get the strategies implemented.

I can give a client a surefire, guaranteed formula for selling managed services, but if they don’t truly believe in what they are selling or fear the sale in some way, they won’t use the formula, or worse yet—they’ll cherry pick what they feel comfortable with, leave out or change what they don’t like, and then blame the formula for not working.

Just like the 9 out of 10 heart patients who fail to get healthier, they would rather stay in denial than actually do what it takes to get better.

And it’s not because they don’t know what to do…it’s because their beliefs, fears, and bad habits are so entrenched that more information—no matter how proven or powerful it is—won’t alter the patterns they’ve anchored themselves to.

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

What Would You Do If You Found Out Your Sales Guy Did This?

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

I had a very interesting call with a new client the other day. I won’t name names and you’ll see why in a minute…

His senior sales rep, who had been working for him for years, went off the deep end, broke into the office after hours to have a party with a couple of strippers–liquor everywhere–and then stole a company van for his getaway car until the cops showed up. (My client was awoken in the middle of the night when the security company called to say someone had broken into the office. He had no idea who it was at that point.)

When the sales guy was arrested, his boss (my client) found out that this sales guy was bi-polar and had stopped taking his medication. His condition was completely unknown to my client and came as a complete shock.

Obviously this is a pretty misfortunate scenario and one that most IT business owners wouldn’t have to deal with — BUT, it proves a very important point I’ve been driving home for years about automating your sales and marketing system so that it is not 100% reliant on a PERSON to get it done.

This client had a situation that is similar to 99% of the IT business owners I work with – the operations of the business (particularly the sales and marketing part) has absolutely no systems, processes, or metrics in place and only gets done if there is a particular person doing it. No one else knows anyone else’s job, how they do it, the processes and communications they use, and so on.

To make matters even worse, this owner didn’t even have a central database of his customers. Each sales rep (including the one who recently had a meltdown) is their own independent island responsible for managing their own database, their own activities, sales pitch, marketing materials, and daily activities.

This is an incredibly dangerous place for you as the business owner because each sales person holds all the power in marketing and selling YOUR services to YOUR customers. If they leave, everything they’ve created and developed on YOUR DIME walks out the door with them. Had this owner taken time to enforce documentation and development of universal systems with the sales force, this disaster would not have been as bad.

Naturally you are going to have to find top people to run your organization. I’m not suggesting that systems will erase the need for that. But when there is no formal sales process, training, or marketing system in place, you are really starting from anunnecessary disadvantage when hiring new people or replacing those in the current position. If this client had his sales system documented, it would not only be easier to replace this person, but it would also make any replacement’s ramp-up to success much faster because they are simply plugging into an already proven system instead of having to figure it all out from scratch.

Here’s another reason why this is dangerous…it makes you, the owner, incredibly dependant on your sales staff’s ability and willingness to do a good job. If they suddenly lose their motivation, what do you do? What if all your new business flow is dependent on that person networking and making cold calls…when they become ineffective, the flow slows down or stops; whereas if you had a SYSTEM in place for building loyalty with existing customers and cultivating new opportunities, their dip in effectiveness would be minimized.

Can you imagine Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s franchise, depending on the employees he hired to do a good job? Never would have happened. But because he systematized everything, he was able to build one of the most successful and profitable businesses in our history; all run by teenage kids.

So here’s a suggestion…

Get your butt to one of my final, half-day Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminars so I can SHOW you what an auto-pilot marketing system looks like in YOUR exact IT services business.

I’ll give you precise case studies and examples that are specific to your business – not theoretical, “pie-in-the-sky” fluff that is just too vague. I’ll take the mystery out of marketing your business and show you how to “can” and “clone” your sales and marketing process so it requires very little effort to attract pre-sold, pre-qualified clients on a regular basis.

Go here and register NOW: www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com/event

You’ll see, firsthand, why so many computer consultants have eagerly sent me all those raving-fan testimonials.

Dedicated to your success,

Robin