Are you planning an inbound marketing strategy for your MSP company?
Do you find it difficult to incorporate the inbound methodology for such a highly-specialized business?
Fact, Inbound marketing is a fantastic strategy for generating leads and growing a business. However, it can be confusing to use for such a highly-specialized and technical industry as IT.
For example, you may wonder what specific content topics would work best for your audience, what lead magnets would get them to sign up on your list, and how to reach them with your articles and other inbound assets.
And so, in this post, I’ll show you 3 things you need to do to ensure your MSP company’s inbound strategy’s success.
Ready? Let’s do it…
#1. Narrow Down Your Target Audience
I’m sure you know this already:
The audience is the foundation of the inbound strategy.
After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of inbound marketing to attract people who experience the problem your services help to overcome to your site, convert them into subscribers, leads, and then, new customers?
But here’s the catch:
For your strategy to work, you should be targeting a very specific audience.
It might seem tempting to try and market to a wide range of businesses or industries. Unfortunately, doing so typically results in a lack of focus and creating irrelevant content.
So, before you do anything else, narrow down the target audience. Pick a very specific market or audience segment you want to attract with the inbound strategy.
Many inbound marketers refer to this audience as a “sweet-spot” or “best-fit clients” – a distinct group of people that includes your most ideal customers.
Next, understand that audience. Use data to learn what makes them tick, what problems make them lose sleep at night, and how they search for solutions to them.
Sure, this isn’t a simple process. As Tommy Walker puts it in this post on CrazyEgg:
“I’d be lying if I said this type of research was easy. It’s anything but. A lot of marketers skip it or phone it in because it can be very time consuming. But in my opinion, it’s this time that separates the pros from amateurs.
The truth is, there is such a wealth of information about your target market that once you understand how to tap it, analyze it and create for it, it’s difficult not to create content that “sticks.””
To find out how the entire process of researching the target audience for an inbound strategy looks like, read Tommy’s entire guide here.
Narrowing down the target audience will help you:
- Create inbound messaging that truly resonates with your ideal potential clients.
- Become more relevant to their specific needs and pain points.
- Position your content at the cornerstone stages of their buying cycle.
#2. Focus Your Efforts On Answering Specific Questions Your Audience’s Is Asking
There is a number of ways to come up with content ideas. For example:
- You could guess the topics your audience might want to learn more about.
- Blog about yourself and your services.
- Target topics that relate to new products or services you’re introducing.
- Or you could focus on answering specific questions your audience’s asking.
And although all of those could work, it’s focusing on the last strategy that yields the best results.
Why? Because inbound marketing is all about education.
The goal of your content efforts should be to educate prospects and reduce any confusion about their IT related problems and pain points.
And therefore, when planning content topics, you should go beyond offering advice relating to your service.
Instead, you should offer help to anyone experiencing problems associated with the pain points your service helps to alleviate.
A targeted content strategy will help you increase visibility in three ways:
- It will attract people with problems relating to what your product could help them overcome. The majority of today’s B2B buyers start their journey to purchase by searching for advice and information online. Offering that advice will help them familiarize with your product.
- It will build trust with your company. After all, nothing beats education as a way to build trust and authority.
- It will position you as the expert in IT. As a result, prospects will start to think of you and remember you as the person who seems to know a lot about whatever they’re seeking help with.
How to find out what questions your audience is asking? You have three options:
- Go directly where they ask those questions. Use sites like Quora or Reddit to research what information your audience seeks answers about.
- Review your sales and support correspondence. I’m sure clients ask you questions every day. Go through those inquiries to identify problems your audience most often comes to you with.
- Survey the existing customers. Finally, ask your current customers what elements of your work they find confusing and would like you to clarify in the content.
For the full walkthrough of the entire process, check out this post.
#3. Discover Where Exactly Your Audience Hangs Out Online
The key to a successful inbound strategy are – relevance, consistency, and reach.
But just as most companies focus on the first two, many greatly overlook that last aspect.
However, to succeed at inbound, you need to not only create a relevant content but also, position it right in front of your target audience.
You need to ensure that whatever content you create reaches the very people you want to attract back to your site.
And the easiest way for this to happen is by finding out where your audience hangs out online.
You need to find out any web outlet they log in, be it to find information, post their opinions, ask for advice, or participate in a community.
Where to look for your target audience online? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- You need to identify what websites and portals they read on regular basis.
- Social media. Which specific social media platforms they’re active on? Engaging with an audience on all social networks available is impossible. Identify which ones your audience is the most engaged on and use those.
- Are there any specific forums in your target industry where the audience discusses IT related issues?
- Subreddits. Reddit is often referred to as the “window of the Internet”. Divided into topical subsections, called, subreddits, the site attracts a multitude of audiences. So, check if your target audience uses the site for IT-related information.
- Industry community sites. Finally, many industries include community portals gathering professionals eager to share and discuss issues relating to a specific topic. Good examples of inbound marketing community sites are org or https://growthhackers.com/.
Although it might be tempting, don’t skip any of these steps.
I get it, identifying or locating an audience online might seem like a tedious process. But only by knowing who you want to target, what topics will engage them the most, and where to reach those people online will help you deliver many successful inbound campaigns into the future.