MSP Marketing Blog

Technology Marketing Tool Kit

Posted by taylor On September 2nd, 2009

Powerful Field-Tested Marketing Strategies To Generate More Sales Opportunities, Close More Business, And Make More Money In Your Technology Service Business.

Old, dumb joke: In Arkansas, what does a tornado and a divorce have in common? Somebody’s about to lose a mobile home.

So what does the recent outbreak of Hurricanes in Florida have to do with marketing? Somebody’s about to make some money. CafePress.com has created an entire line of “Hunker Down” t-shirts playing on the recent outbreak of Florida hurricanes. They even went so far as to have one available for your pooch.

Marketing Example #1 is another web site I found promoting home generators for Florida residents. It’s a decent sales letter and I applaud the strategy of tying in current events to promote products. I also received a letter from Logical Business Solutions, a VAR in Florida, that included sell your customers some type of maintenance or network protection plan, you get a double strike: one for not using it as an opportunity to make money and two, for not using it as an opportunity to drive home the importance of network protection and disaster recovery to your clients.

If not scared into doing something, many of your clients will continue doing business as usual and find out the hard way how important it is to protect your company’s data from viruses, loss, or natural disasters. At that point they will be WISHING that you had sold them this service. Using tie-ins with current events has another benefit that should not be overlooked: fresh reasons to communicate with your clients. Read full article and comment →

7 Ways To Ruin A Perfectly Good Marketing Campaign

Posted by taylor On September 1st, 2009

In any given month, I review and revise a pile of marketing campaigns sent to me by my Members and Technology Marketing Tool Kit buyers.

Although there is never a shortage of ways to screw up a marketing campaign, there are a handful of mistakes that are made more frequently than others. They are so rampant that my guess is that most of you reading this are making these very same mistakes somewhere in your own marketing and it is costing you dearly.

That is why I would urge you to take a minute and review all of your marketing materials with this list in hand to see if any of these mistakes are present. If they are, fix them immediately; I can assure you they are costing you money and need to be revised sooner rather than later.

#1. No headline. The headline is the ad for your ad and helps the reader determine whether or not they want to continue reading. Consider the way you read the newspaper, books, or any other type of written material. Chances are you glance a at the headline and sub-headlines to determine whether or not you want to read the entire piece.

Run a marketing piece without a headline and you’ve wasted your time and money on that ad. Headlines belong on EVERYTHING including your web site, business card, and letterhead, as well as the obvious sales letters and promotions. Read full article and comment →

14 Critical Things To Look For, Do, And Test Before Sending Out ANY Direct Marketing Campaign

Posted by taylor On September 1st, 2009

Over the last month I performed a number of Marketing Piece Makeovers for clients and new Master Mind Members that reminded me just how difficult it can be for a fledgling direct marketer to”see” the flaws in a marketing campaign. I’ve been doing this for so long that my mind works like a heat seeking missile instantly spotting missing or weak headlines, absent testimonials, lack of a response device, or other similar response killers.

That is why I decided to include a checklist of things you should look for, do or test AT A MINIMUM before sending out any type of direct marketing campaign. I would suggest you not only use this for all future campaigns, but also use it to audit your CURRENT web site, yellow page ads, direct mail, and brochures.

Check #1: Does your message and offer closely match the wants and needs of the list you are sending it to? This is called message to market match and is the single most important factor determining response from a marketing campaign. An INCREDIBLE sales letter campaign to raise money for the Republican Party sent to a list of Democrats will have zero impact. Let me give you another example:

A few months ago I conducted a teleseminar on prospecting. The marketing was a success and I had well over 200 CEOs and Sales Managers of technology service companies register because I wrote the e-mail and registration page to specifically appeal to technology service companies. Read full article and comment →

Fueling Word Of Mouth Advertising

Posted by taylor On August 31st, 2009

I don’t care what type of business you are in, there is no better sales lead than a referral from a satisfied customer. Yet most businesses and sales people take referrals for granted. They are grateful for the ones they get but very few have a plan for generating them.

Like any other sales or marketing you are doing, having a systematic way of asking for and working referrals is essential. If you are already getting them now, think of how quickly you will be able to ramp up sales with a more aggressive approach!

The #1 Secret To Generating A Flood Of Referrals This may surprise you but the #1 secret to generating referrals is not a clever sales letter or some magical phrase you utter to your clients that causes them to whip out their rolodex and give you every name contained within.

You get customers to refer by providing services and products so excellent that your customers are in complete awe. Satisfied customers who receive “good” service do not refer in abundance.

Customers talk about you to their friends and colleagues when they receive more than they paid for”fast and friendly service”personal attention by someone who cares.

They also turn into loyal customers. Read full article and comment →

How To Charge For Your Services

Posted by taylor On August 31st, 2009

I have found that charging a fixed monthly support fee per device supported and services performed is the easiest way to sell a support agreement.

First, a flat rate makes it easy for the customer to understand and budget for your services. Second, it prevents “scope creep”. Third, it focuses your customer on value instead of price and allows you to basis. It makes it easy for the prospect to shop you on price. My clients have also discovered that quoting a set number of hours per month in a maintenance program causes the customer to question whether or not they need “that” many hours.

Quick Note: Although I recommend packaging your support services into 3 groups, you may need to modify the services included and charge certain clients more than others. The 3 basic packages should include the most common support services you perform on the average client, and MOST clients should fit into one of the three; this will make it easier to sell. However, if a client has an old, patched- together network that requires more support, of if they are a located far away, or if they are a problem client, then charge them more. Read full article and comment →

The Secret To Winning Appointments With Key Decision Makers

Posted by taylor On August 29th, 2009

“Hello Miss Robins? My name is George and I’m calling from Acme Financial Services. We offer 401K and retirement plans for small businesses and I was wondering if you would be available sometime this week for me to sit down and talk to you about offering these benefits to your employees. Would that be ok?”

How many times have you gotten a sales call like this? Without making any effort to build rapport or interest, they ask me to take time out of my day to sell me something.

Do they really expect me to say, “SURE! I’m SO GLAD you called! I had nothing to do next week and I was so worried that I was going to have to find things to keep me busy. My calendar is completely open…why don’t you just pick the day that works best for you!”

I’ve heard this pathetic pitch so many times that I’m beginning to wonder if it’s being taught by some underground sales training operation with a mission to secretly drive all small business owners crazy.

With all the incredible books, tapes, seminars, and coaching programs on selling, you would think they could have come up with a better pitch.

If you’re having a hard time getting appointments from new prospects, maybe you should take a hard look at the pitch you are using.

Would YOU respond favorably if someone called you using YOUR sales pitch on you?

If you have a similar sounding presentation to the one above, I have no doubt that you experience very little success in getting appointments.

I’m also confident that you’re not enthusiastically picking up the phone and calling on very many new prospects every day because it is painful to do so. Read full article and comment →

How To Use This Idea To Generate More Sales For Your Business

Posted by taylor On August 29th, 2009

prospects a one-page sales letter in a brown lunch bag from your staff with the headline:
“YourName Says There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, But We Say This Is A Free Network Tune Up!” Include two vouchers…one for them and one for a colleague to get a free network tune up or a ‘get out of computer trouble free’ visit (1-2 hours of free technical support) for $50.

Another way you could use this concept is to promote a lunch seminar using the headline:
“Most People Say There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch But We’d Like To Prove Them Wrong By Giving You One.”

Include two tickets; one for them and one for a colleague or co-worker to get a hot lunch while you deliver a content-rich seminar on the topic of security, spam, meeting regulations, or whatever.

If you use this idea, just make sure to model the letter as closely as you can. That means using the same type of photo, copy, offer, P.S. and “free lunch” tie in. I would also make sure
to put a time limit on the offer as they have on the prescription slips. Usually a 10-day window works best.

Quick note about mailing your letter in a brown paper bag: Make sure you tape down the flap so it lays flat. You’ll also want to fold the top of the bag over and tape it down so the letter doesn’t fall out (obviously). Read full article and comment →

Profitable Unique Selling Propositions Verses Dumb Advertising Slogans

Posted by taylor On August 28th, 2009

Although I’ve harped on this before, I continually get marketing campaigns submitted to me for critique that contain zero benefits or reasons why a customer should pay attention, let alone respond or buy something. In most cases, I can clearly tell that they spent hours, possibly even days, trying to come up with some cute slogan or picture to capture the readers attention and get a response. Big, HUGE waste of time. Cute slogans with “hidden” meanings or inside jokes do NOT sell, and slogans should NOT be confused with a USP (unique selling proposition) or benefits. Some slogans can represent or be congruent with a USP and convey benefits (like Wal-Mart), but the vast majority simply do not. So what exactly is a unique selling proposition and how do you get one? Great question. First, your USP needs to answer the question, what is so special, advantageous, or beneficial about your products and services that makes you the obvious choice above all of your competitors? If you were face to face with a prospective customer and they asked you why they should give you their business over all of the other consultants and vendors offering the same products and services, what would you say?

Another way of asking this question is, what quantifiable thing do you do better than anyone else? For most technology companies, this is a hard question to answer. In most cases the business owner replies “better service”. Ok, but who else can (and does) promote that to their customers? If anybody and everybody can use your USP, it ain’t a USP because one of the obvious factors is uniqueness. In order for it to have any power, your USP has to favorably separate you from the competition. There are only 5 ways you can do this: Read full article and comment →

How To Structure Your Support Agreement

Posted by taylor On August 28th, 2009

Before we dive into how you can structure your support agreement, let’s remind ourselves of the classic IT functions in any business. First, we have high-level, STRATEGIC IT services. This would include return on investment business support planning, managing IT personnel, IT budgeting and resource planning, asset management, and so on. Next, we have TACTICAL IT services which include the day-to-day business of keeping a network running which includes:

• Spam filtering

• Spyware detection and removal

• Virus definition updates

• Security monitoring and updates

• Backups and disaster recovery

• Event log monitoring

• Patch management & upgrades

• Network optimization

• UPS management

• Policy development

• Help desk support

Read full article and comment →

How To Turn Occasional Buyers Into Monthly, Guaranteed Revenue With Support Agreements

Posted by taylor On August 25th, 2009

Although this year flew by I have to admit it’s been a good one. Lots of wins this year and progress made. I can honestly look back with great satisfaction on the
improvements I’ve made in many areas, particularly in lifestyle. I hope you can look back and say the same.

One exercise I’ve committed to doing every year is an annual audit where I write down the top 20 biggest accomplishments, top lessons learned, and the biggest areas or accomplishments I need to make next year. By the way, this is not the old, worn out New Year’s resolution crap that most people do. I actually spend some time thinking about this, write it down, and record it; if anything, it will provide future generations a sneak peek into my early years and provide me the basis of my own “How I Did It” book that I plan on writing in my twilight years. The way I look at it, if you life is worth living, it’s worth recording.

If you don’t journal your life already, I strongly recommend that you start today if for no other reason to force you to take stock in your life and the direction you are headed. On last report, the average life expectancy of the average American was 77.4 years. When you consider that the biggest part of your life is spent sleeping, eating, sitting in your car, and working, you end up having less than 9% of your time for pure fun and leisure. That’s only 6.9 years if you’re doing the math, and I’m sure that percentage is far smaller for the entrepreneur. Read full article and comment →