Do you want to differentiate your MSP from the competition?

Wondering what to do to ensure potential clients recognize and select your business over the others?

Lucky for you, that’s EXACTLY what we’re going to help you with today.

In this post, you’ll discover the 4 ways to differentiate your MSP from the competition.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know:

  • What factors help you stand out in the market.
  • Which of them provide the quickest wins.
  • And how to implement them into your business right away.

Why Do You Need to Differentiate?

Look:

It’s true; clients use a variety of factors to tell vendors they consider hiring apart.

But more often than not, they look at things you really wouldn’t like them to use.

For example, without any other clues as to which business to choose, customers often look at a company’s fees to identify their next vendor.

But as you’ll soon discover, differentiating your business will help you stand out through other, more competitive factors.

Here’s why you should focus on standing apart from the competition:

MSP is a highly competitive market. And so, for potential clients to notice you, you can’t be sounding like every other MSP.

Without differentiation, your marketing efforts will look the same as everyone else’s. And that, in turn, will make it impossible for clients to notice and recognize you.

As a result, you’ll have to rely on direct sales, and other outreach methods to find new business.

Finally, differentiation will help you stand out in the search results. Without it, you’ll end up targeting the same keywords as any other MSP business and your company’s search listings will look the same as everyone’s around you.

So how do you differentiate an MSP company from the competition?

Here are a couple of suggestions:

#1. Communicate the Local Market You Serve

This first strategy is, in fact, the easiest one to implement.

It requires you to do nothing else but make small changes to your business communications.

And let’s face it:

IT is a local industry.

MSPs typically serve companies in a particular area or region.

And so, as the first step in differentiating your business, include that local market in all your marketing communications.

Mention it throughout your website.

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Write local content on the blog.

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And finally, include it in your meta title tags and image alt tags to increase the chances of your website showing up for local search queries.

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How will this help you stand out?

Focusing on a local market immediately reduces your competition. Once you define your area of operation, you become more relevant to your target market and as a result, will only have to compete with companies operating in the same region.

It will improve your SEO too. Google favors local search results. Also, the search engine personalizes everyone’s search results, which means that it uses a person’s browsing history to serve them the most relevant results. For example, it will naturally show results based on a person’s location.

#2. Find and Focus on a Specific Niche or Market

In this fantastic post, Denes Purnhauser from ReframeYourClients writes:

“The classic Managed Service Provider business is still all about solving the same problem for everybody: keeping the lights on and delivering peace of mind, regardless of the industry, size or client maturity.”

In other words, as an MSP you tend to work with everybody who has any problem you could solve:

  • Email infrastructure,
  • Backups,
  • Network,
  • Cloud storage implementation, etc.

However, that create a problem with differentiation.

Because you see, by targeting everybody or any IT issue, you become no different from other MSPs in the market.

And the best way to overcome this is to specialize.

Find a niche that you want to focus on, and then, become known as the expert in it.

Your niche could be a particular industry, like healthcare, education or nonprofit. Or you might decide to specialize in companies of a certain size. For example, you could provide IT support to small businesses, up to 5-10 people or target large corporations with over 200 employees.

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How will this help you stand out?

Specialization coupled with your experience in the niche will make it easier for you to market your business.

It will also further reduce your competition to companies that only serve your target niche as well.

Looking for new ways to grow your MSP business? Join our resident IT Growth Experts for our weekly MSP marketing webinars and learn how to scale your business.

#3. Become Known as an Expert in Your Field

This method ties in with the idea of specialization.

Once you select a specific niche or market, you need to become known as the expert in helping those business you target.

This way, you’ll become an obvious choice for companies in your niche.

You can build your expert reputation in many ways, but one good strategy is to create useful content aimed at your niche. For example:

  • Publish blog posts. Post regular advice about problems of your specific audience.
  • Write a column. Share expert advice on local media, be it a magazine, newspaper or local blog.
  • Deliver webinars. Webinars are a great way to attract an audience, and present your company as the solution to their problems.
  • Create information products, like eBooks, checklists, and other materials potential clients could download and use in their business.
  • Publish whitepapers.

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How will this help you stand out?

Becoming known as the expert serving a particular industry will make you an obvious choice for anyone in that niche looking for your specialist IT services.

Looking for new ways to grow your MSP business? Join our resident IT Growth Experts for our weekly MSP marketing webinars and learn how to scale your business.

#4. Become Visible in the Local Community

Publishing useful and helpful content is a great way to grow your expert status and a develop a business network.

But it will only reach those customers currently looking for your solution (which isn’t a bad thing, by the way).

Becoming the face of the business in your local community, however, will put your business in the mind of a greater audience.

True, many of them might not be ready to hire you right now. But by getting involved with them, you’ll become an obvious vendor choice when the time is right.

Not to mention that many of those connections will also result in referrals and business recommendations.

How can you get involved in the local community:

  • Join and become active in your local business organizations like Chamber of Commerce,
  • Give talks at local business events.
  • Run seminars and workshops.
  • Create a locally-focused business news portal

How will this help you stand out?

Getting involved in the local community ties together every other method we talked about.

It increases your visibility in the local area and positions you as an expert in a particular niche.

As a result, it helps you develop a network of people not only interested in hiring you but also, recommending you to other, potential clients.

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