Online advertising

3 examples of ~weak~ MSP ads that will kill sales

Paul Green Content, getting new clients

One of the things I’m most looking forward to at my free MSP marketing seminar in May is critiquing some real life marketing of the business owners and managers in the room.

That means putting some websites and adverts up on the screen, taking them apart, and putting them back together again so they perform better.

I’m not cruel when I do this. I understand that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. My super powers are marketing and business growth. Your super powers are different to mine.

But at the same time, I don’t hold back my punches. It doesn’t serve anyone to beat around the bush and falsely praise weak marketing.

The world of IT support is too competitive, and is changing too fast for that.

You’ve got to use every scrap of competitive advantage you can get your hands on, to beat your competitors to the best new prospects and clients.

Let me show you some real life examples of some weak MSP pay per click adverts I’ve spotted recently. I have blanked out the names and places of the MSPs concerned. I don’t have a relationship with these businesses, and have no desire to embarrass them in public.

My intention in showing you these examples is to demonstrate common pitfalls to avoid. So you can be a step closer to knowing the right thing to do.

Weak: Adverts that say nothing

Pay per click (PPC) adverts are a good way of judging a business’s marketing chops, because you have complete control over what appears.

This isn’t about whether you do PPC yourself or outsource it. That’s just a means to an end. It’s about whether you are willing to keep pushing to get the results you want and need. Or are willing to accept a low level of performance.

The above advert is very unlikely to perform well. Why? Because it doesn’t tell me anything at all about the business.

“Experienced and reliable computer services and support for business”… I call that drizzle. The words are there, but they are so weak they don’t convey any kind of message.

In marketing, specificity sells. Be more specific. Tell me exactly what it is that makes you better than all of the other MSPs. But make sure you do it from the prospect’s point of view.

Weak: Appearing the same as competitors

A 15 minute response time is a competitive advantage. A USP – Unique Selling Proposition.

Until your direct competitors match it. Then it becomes the default service level expected by the market.

Samey kills sales.

Weak: Competing on price

Offering 3 months free is very likely to win new clients. It’s very tempting.

But does it win the right kind of new clients?

Because the goal for your business is not just to win new clients. It’s about net profit. Anyone can buy turnover at the expense of profit.

In order for you to get the lifestyle you want from your business, you have to grow the net profit. So your business can robustly fund your lifestyle year in, year out.

Selling IT support as a commodity won’t do that. Clients who use price as the main factor for picking you will never be as profitable as those who pick you for other reasons.

In fact, it’s likely they will be greater hassle, and will leave you for an even cheaper service down the line.

The way your relationship starts with a prospect, directly affects your ability to turn them into a long-term profitable client. Price should be a factor, but never the deciding factor.

So what does need to go in your adverts?

Isn’t that the £64,000 question?

There’s no single example I can show you – wish there was. I’ve spotted lots of good things contained within lots of adverts – PPC as well as on Facebook and even offline. I’ve got examples to show at the free MSP marketing seminar in May.

You have to remember that the advert that catches their attention in the first place is only the start of a very long sales process.

Strategically, you must put yourself in the shoes of the person you are targeting, and ask yourself “what do they want or need?”

People have problems they want to fix. Or better still, things they want to achieve.

Business owners and managers don’t really get IT support. They don’t understand it, and have little desire to. They just want someone to help them with whatever problems they perceive they have.

That’s what makes these people “uneducated buyers”.

The trick is to put your business in front of the right people, with the right message, at the right time. And to do this in a systematic way.

So every day you start a new quality educational relationship with a highly qualified prospect. When they’re ready to make a buying decision – which might be next week, and might be next year – they will be dramatically more likely to pick you.

This is the secret to getting new clients. It becomes less about knee jerk, reactive, “OMG we need new clients now” marketing. And more about building a quality pipeline of prospects where SW3 applies:

  • Some Will buy
  • Some Won’t buy
  • So What? Next!

When there’s always another quality prospect waiting to talk to you, your sales and marketing operation becomes dependable. And boring.

Dependable and boring is good. It means better quality sleep for you.

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Hi, I'm Paul Green. Couple of times a week I send great marketing advice to 2,766 other MSPs around the world. Want to join them? I'll also send you a free copy of my book Updating Servers Doesn't Grow Your Business