Article | May 8, 2020

MSPs: Make Your Local Expertise Your Marketing Differentiator

By Nate Freedman, Tech Pro Marketing

Strategic Marketing

It's no secret that the MSP industry is getting more competitive all the time - especially in an era where more people are working remotely than ever. This is a big part of the reason why I always remind our clients at Tech Pro Marketing to home in on and amplify their key marketing differentiator. It isn't good enough to just outline what it is that you do. You need to specify:

  1. What you might do that your competitors don't, and
  2. What you do better than literally everyone else.

The point on the Venn diagram where those two particular circles overlap is where your marketing differentiator is born.

To that end, one of the major potential marketing differentiators that I think far too many people overlook has less to do with what you're doing and is more about where.

Sometimes when I go to an MSP's website just to kind of gauge what other people are doing, it takes me a huge amount of time to figure out where they happen to be located - if contact information like a physical address is even present at all.

In a situation where you're also trying to show what you do that nobody else can, "go big or go home" isn't necessarily the answer.

Sometimes, you've got to go small (from a certain perspective). That means going local and making your community-driven, intimate, local focus the thing that separates you from the rest of the pack.

Local Pride, Local Success

Yes, it's true that with the right MSP infrastructure, your potential client base can be "literally anyone in the world, no questions asked."

But believe it or not, this is still a situation where most of your clients will prefer the ability to work with a local business - especially during uncertain times like the ones we're currently living in.

You'd be shocked by how much of a difference it can make for someone's peace-of-mind knowing that they can always reach you if trouble arises because your office is in the same city as theirs.

However, the fact that you're an MSP in Cleveland won't necessarily shoot you right to the top of the list for all Cleveland-based businesses looking for managed services. You still need to build a marketing campaign that leverages that local pride to your advantage, which is something you can do in a few core ways.

1. Home In On Local Issues

One of our clients at Tech Pro Marketing happens to be based in South Florida. One of the ways they've been able to make their local focus one of their key marketing differentiators is by making it crystal clear on their website that they offer a "Hurricane Preparedness" business continuity strategy.

They understand the unique situation that businesses are going to be in during hurricanes because they go through it every year. Rather than ignoring that fact, they lean directly into it - and they've seen a huge amount of success as a result.

The same "Hurricane Preparedness" package isn't going to resonate as well with those businesses up in Cleveland. But the point stands - find the specific things that your local audience is concerned about and do whatever you have to in order to adequately address them.

2. Reiterate That You Can Make In-Person Visits

If your MSP's office happens to be centrally located and close to a lot of your target clients, don't be afraid to reiterate the fact that you can have a physical presence in their lives as well as a virtual one.

Yes, if things get tough, you can probably fix the majority of issues that someone might be experiencing remotely. But for that 5 percent of the time where things get really tough (or even if that number is only 1 percent), let them know that you or your colleagues are always available to stop by and take care of things in-person. Likewise, you can use the opportunity to take someone out to lunch or invite them to the company Christmas party.

It's a perfect opportunity to not only once again play up that local angle in your marketing, but to also use it to generate leads AND build a real, intimate connection with people at the same time. That's not just how you create more business - it's also how you create an incredible level of long-term loyalty, too.

3. Serve The Local Industries

Another one of our clients at Tech Pro Marketing happens to operate in an area where manufacturing is a major, major part of the local economy. So what did they do? They designed their operations around the ability to serve these particular organizations because they were strategic enough to know at the outset that this is where the majority of their business is probably going to come from.

They don't just make data available to their manufacturing customers in a general sense. They have software and hardware-based options that make real-time data available on the factory floor, all to help those manufacturing leaders make the most informed decisions possible at all times.

Other clients have custom packages for lawyers or financial services providers.

For the absolute best results, you need to be thinking about things in largely the same way. If your local area happens to have a bizarrely high concentration of dentist offices, you need to do whatever it takes to reiterate that YOURS is the MSP they have been looking for (or why they might want to look for an MSP to begin with).

If you can make it clear that you not only provide managed services but also custom solutions backed by organic, industry-specific experience, you'll both establish yourself as a local authority and inspire an incredible amount of confidence at the same time. Customize your business for the types of businesses that already exist around you.

4. Lean Into The Local Culture

People from different cities speak in totally different ways. Every city has its unique take on the "language," so to speak, and the way you communicate your marketing message needs to take the same approach.

If you're going after a hyper-professional audience that doesn't mean you should suddenly write overly casual copy. It just means that if you're trying to attract the attention of New Orleans business owners, you need to think about how people from New Orleans speak. If you're in Boston, if it fits your brand of professionalism, don't be afraid to say that you're "wicked excited" to help.

Bring in as many of the elements of your local culture as possible into your marketing materials to sell the idea that "hey, I live and work here, too." Likewise, try to attend as many local events as you can and put that information on your website. Was your business featured on the local news? Terrific - put the clip on your blog and promote it on your social media.

Anything that you can do to sell the idea that you eat, sleep and live in the same areas that your potential clients do is another asset that you can use to your advantage that one of your competitors can't. Don't ever forget it.

About The Author

Nate Freedman is the CEO of  Tech Pro Marketing, a firm that has been helping MSPs use a local angle to become one of their key marketing differentiators for many years. He and his colleagues have helped countless clients over the years transcend the image of being “just another managed services provider,” allowing them to be seen as the true partners they are. Connect with him on LinkedIn and feel free to set up your strategy call via the Tech Pro Marketing website.