Episode 117: Your 6 month reminder to raise prices

Episode 117: Your 6 month reminder to raise prices

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 117: Your 6 month reminder to raise prices
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In this week’s episode

  • You not only need to increase your prices, but you need to so regularly. Listen to this week’s MSP Marketing podcast for some great advice on how increase your MSP’s prices
  • Also – if the main marketing messages are led by the technology you sell, it’s time to change that. This week Paul explains how leading with ‘outcomes’ can have a massive impact on your MSP’s sales
  • Plus, Paul has a special guest talking SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. You want to know how to rank higher on Google?  This week’s featured guest has done just that for his own MSP

 

Featured guest

Aaron Nihat is a featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Aaron Nihat from Cornwall IT for joining Paul to talk about how to improve MSP’s SEO ranking on Google.

Aaron moved his from London to Cornwall because we fell in love with the beaches, the food, the people, the lifestyle and has not looked back since!

Prior to moving to Cornwall, Aaron spent 20 years working in central London and building up his experience in IT, Cyber Security and Customer services. Cornwall IT not only provides managed services, but also helps other fellow MSPs to improve their ‘search engine optimisation’.

Connect with Aaron on LinkedIn.

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh, every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
Oh, hi there. Welcome back to the show. Here’s what we got coming up for you this week.

Aaron Nihat:
I was working with a technology company in New York. We’ve done quite a bit of work on their actual website to optimise it for the SEO. Within a couple of days their rank dramatically improved and they went from page four to five, they went straight to page one.

Paul Green:
That’s Aaron Nihat . He’s an MSP owner just like you, but he’s also incredibly good at SEO, search engine optimisation. And he’ll be here later on in the show to tell you how you can get more organic traffic to your websites from Google. Plus, I’ve got for you a six month reminder to put up your prices. If you haven’t done that in the last six months or so, it’s time, especially for brand new clients. Keep listening and I’ll tell you why.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
One of the worst things you can do with your marketing and your sales is to assume that people are buying technology. I mean, sure. Yeah, they’re actually buying physical services from you and often hardware as well, but it’s not the technology that they are actually buying. They’re buying the outcomes. And typically, those outcomes are much more tangible to them than the way that you deliver those outcomes with the services and with the kits that you supply.

Paul Green:
I mean, for example, an outcome that a business owner, a normal business owner or manager that you’re selling to, one outcome they might be looking for is to increase the productivity of their team. Maybe their team are being held back by old technology or old ways of working. And you can assume, of course, if you’ve got someone caught in that trap, that they really don’t know why their team are unproductive, why they’re not getting the productivity gains that all other businesses seem to be benefiting from. Increased productivity can be a massive, massive thing.

Paul Green:
Of course, another one is cutting costs. You and I know that technology costs are coming down all the time. And you can be a lot more creative and a lot more inventive with technology these days, and certainly a lot more flexible than you could even just five, seven years ago. So again, someone who’s just a little bit out of date or hasn’t invested in their business should actually be able to cut their operational costs while increasing flexibility with modern ways of working.

Paul Green:
Another outcome that ordinary business owners and managers look for is risk reduction. And this isn’t a massive one, unless they know someone who’s been affected by this, but people want to reduce risk. In fact, people are more motivated by the reduction of risk than they are the opportunity to gain if it’s on their radar. I mean, you talk cyber security to ordinary people and it just goes a bit over their head, doesn’t it? Unless they have previously had a ransomware attack or they know someone that they trust who’s had a ransomware attack or who clicked on a phishing link or something like that. We call this the burglary effect. It’s when someone in a street is burglarised or burgled, then suddenly everyone else in the street is much more interested in getting a security alarm for their house. The rest of the time, they’re not that bothered about it. Cyber security is exactly the same thing.

Paul Green:
Now these are some of the outcomes that people want. Of course, the real outcome that people really, really want, the number one thing you should be focusing your marketing and your sales efforts on, is to increase their profits and grow their business. That’s what everyone wants and technology is a conduit to this. They’re not really buying technology. They’re buying the ability to grow faster, to get bigger faster, to make more money. They want to buy a Porsche. They want a bigger house. They want a gravel driveway and they want to go on better holidays. And their conduit to do that is their business, and your conduit to help them do that is technology.

Paul Green:
If you really, truly want to partner with your clients, then you’ve got to stop selling them technology. You’ve got to stop selling them services. And what I’m about to say is such a cliché, but it’s true. You’ve got to sell them solutions. You’ve got to sell them outcomes. And don’t use those words because those, especially solutions, it’s not a great word to use, but sell them the outcome. What’s the ultimate outcome of what you are selling them? It is growth. It’s more money. It’s a better lifestyle. This is what they want and you can be the conduit to make that happen.

Paul Green:
Go and have a look at your website right now. Have a look at all of your marketing materials, your promotional emails, your LinkedIn, anything you’re doing on social media. Are you trying to sell technology or are you trying to sell them the outcomes that they most want from their business?

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
Pretty much every six months on the podcast, I recommend that you put your prices up. And we actually work very hard behind the scenes to not be too repetitive. We have a massive content log of what we’ve talked about on the podcast. And of course, some of the themes are always going to be similar, but we try and make the actual content different, with one exception, which is put your prices up. For MSPs, it’s one of the quickest ways to achieve the thing that you want to achieve, which is exactly the same as all the business owners and managers that you’re selling to. You want a bigger business that generates more net profit. Put your prices up.

Paul Green:
And remember, there are two sets of people that are affected by price rises. You’ve got your existing clients and you’ve got your new clients, people who are joining you for the first time. Now for those people who are new, the price should go up all the time. If you sell a client today at X, then tomorrow the price should be X plus 10. In fact, you constantly tweak your new pricing, your pricing for new clients, because they’ve got nothing to compare it against. “Well, actually that’s not true, Paul. They’ve got your competitors to compare it against.” But if your marketing and your sales sufficiently positions you as the quality choice, then having the highest price goes hand in hand with that.

Paul Green:
It’s like phones. Apple have some of the most expensive phones, in fact, some expensive technology on the market. And non-technical people perceive Apple products to be the very, very best because they know that good quality things are expensive. You must, and should be, the most expensive MSP for new clients joining in your marketplace, with the caveat, of course, that market places are different. What’s expensive in one marketplace might not be so expensive in another. So you have got to match your marketplace.

Paul Green:
Notice, I didn’t say there, “Match your competitors.” Don’t match your competitors, ignore your competitors. You could be twice the price of your competitors, of your closest competitor. And that’s okay, so long as you keep winning clients. In fact, there are some clients, many people, who will only buy something if it’s the most expensive, particularly if it’s as mission critical as IT is. And believe me, to them, IT is incredibly mission critical.

Paul Green:
So that’s the thing for the new clients. But what about the existing clients? Well, I certainly wouldn’t be putting the prices up for them every six months, but it’s certainly worth revising at least once a year. Never be afraid to put the prices up. And in fact, it’s fear that stops MSPs from putting the prices up, from nudging them, fear that perhaps you’ll lose the client or fear that the client will think that you are greedy or that they’ll think bad of you in some way.

Paul Green:
And I get this. I’m a small business owner too. I’ve got so many clients, I’ve got over 600 clients. I can’t possibly know every single one of my clients. I know lots of them, but it’s impossible for me to know, and at a good level, every single one of my clients. You’ve got a smaller number than that, presumably. And even then, you can’t know all of them, but you still value how they judge you. You’re still emotionally traumatised if they think badly of you. It’s your name above the door, metaphorically. If they have a problem with the business, they have a problem with you.

Paul Green:
The vast majority of business owners act this way emotionally. It’s actually quite a crippling emotion, but it’s the away we are. It’s very difficult to get away from it. You have to proactively work to get away from it. But the reality is, they’re not going to think you are greedy if you put the prices up and you can justify it because your prices have gone up. Your costs have gone up. You must never be scared of losing the client. If a client leaves you because you’ve nudged up the price by a few dollars or a few pounds, then they were going to leave you eventually anyway.

Paul Green:
And in fact, the economics of putting your prices up, say, if you’ve got slightly fewer clients who are paying more, overall the business will actually be more profitable. It’s not a bad thing for turnover to go down a little bit and for net profit to go up. In fact, this is a sign of a business that’s increasing its efficiency.

Paul Green:
There is, of course, the third way to increase prices and that’s to do it secretly. It’s the secret price rise. And this is done by selling them something extra, but putting an extra bit of margin onto that. So let’s say you’re charging them $500 a month at the moment, and you sell them an extra service, which you would normally retail out at $50 a month. Instead, you retail it out at $100 a month. So you’ve just given yourself an extra $50 of margin every single month.

Paul Green:
You’ve got to be careful not to do that too often. You don’t want to be too underhand with your clients, but that’s a way to achieve a price rise without actually having to have a conversation with them about price rises.

Paul Green:
And remember, they do not price check the services that you are buying, particularly if they don’t know what those services are called. You should never bother telling your clients, “Oh, we’re going to buy this and this service, or we’re going to switch from service to that service.” They don’t care. They don’t know about technology. And you don’t want them going out there Googling it, seeing how much you are paying per user, because, don’t forget, you add value. If something only costs you a pound or a dollar per user per month, and you’re selling it for 10 pounds or $10 per user per month, that’s not profiteering. That’s called business. And you, as an MSP, you add value to that service because you manage that service for them. Never underestimate what you add to their business. And never be afraid to take extra margin for it.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
If you want new clients, but your marketing isn’t good enough, the MSP Marketing Edge makes your marketing easy. Your first month is free. And then it is just a small price every month, 99 pounds, plus VAT every month if you’re in the UK, or $129 US dollars a month everywhere else in the world. There’s no contract. You can cancel any time and we only sell it to one MSP per area, so you have total exclusivity. Go and check to see if your area is still available at MSPmarketingedge.com.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Aaron Nihat:
Hi everyone. I’m Aaron Nihat, owner of Cornwall IT. So I’m a MSP owner just like you. Also, I’m involved in SEO for MSPs.

Paul Green:
And I feel like we’ve struck gold getting you on the show, Aaron, because having an actual real life MSP who also knows a lot about SEO is just so valuable for us. We’ve had quite a few people on the podcast over the last couple of years talking about SEO, but you are there. You’re in the trenches. You’re doing the hard work yourself. So first of all, just tell us a little bit about your MSP. And you’re based in the most beautiful part of the UK, in my opinion anyway.

Aaron Nihat:
Myself and my family, we moved from, from London to Cornwall probably five or six years ago. Previously I’ve been working in IT departments in London for different companies. We moved to Cornwall when I decided to start my own business and start my own MSP. Like every other MSP, I’ve made millions of mistakes and trying to always learn, always improve, always moving forwards.

Paul Green:
Okay. So you’ve got past that initial difficult startup where so many people fail, so many businesses fail. So well done to you.

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
Now, obviously, I want to talk to you about SEO. You and I, in fact, I believe we started chatting around about six months ago because you were doing some SEO for, it was either an MSP that I knew, or it was someone else who’d been on this podcast.

Aaron Nihat:
That’s right. I think it might have been a MSP in New Jersey.

Paul Green:
And you wanted us to change some links or do something like that.

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
So how did you get into SEO? Because lots of MSPs are kind of interested in it and certainly want the outcomes of it, which is more traffic and more potential leads visiting the website. But how did you actually get involved in doing it yourself?

Aaron Nihat:
I think for myself, I’ve been doing SEO on and off for a number of years, gone on courses, read multiple books. I sort of known that if you do have a business, a website ranking on Google is a critical part of gaining new leads. So when I opened up my MSP five or six years ago, I started to implement some of the SEO that I was learning, at the same time, trying to improve my knowledge. To me, it works. I was able to take our website from page 100 to the top of page one for various terms in our area. And from that, gained some new clients. And yeah, just take it from there.

Paul Green:
So let me be Devil’s advocate at this point and ask you a difficult question. You see, you’re in Cornwall. And anyone listening in the UK will know that Cornwall is a beautiful place to go. It’s also kind of a… How can I put it? Strange isn’t the right to use it, but it’s a different place, isn’t it? It’s a very different place to the rest of the UK. And would it be fair to say that there’s not a lot of competition to beat in Cornwall? I guess I’m kind of trying to ask the question of the SEO techniques that you’re going to talk about in a second. Will they work as well in a big city, as well as they do in a more rural area?

Aaron Nihat:
Cornwall has quite a number of other MSPs, much larger than Cornwall IT, that we had to sort of rank against. And for the past sort of few years, we have ranked above these other bigger MSPs. Maybe a year and a half ago, I thought it would be good to try and expand our business. We opened up an office in London. And I thought, “Oh, could I try the SEO techniques that have been successful in Cornwall for the London area?” I took the search term, London IT support, which gets 15 hundred searches a month on Google, and tried to rank our website for that. And within three months, we was top of page one, and we was above other bigger MSPs that are based in London, the head offices here in London. And we was ranking above them, and using all the SEO techniques that helped me in the Cornwall area.

Paul Green:
That makes perfect sense. So you’re now working with quite a few MSPs around the globe. Let’s talk about, first of all, the basics. What are the basic SEO things that every MSP should do just to get themselves to a level playing field?

Aaron Nihat:
Some things that I’ve seen MSPs make mistakes in is things like they’ve previously worked with SEO agencies that have broken the Google rules, tried to implement the illegal practices. So try to get back links from websites that are sort of spammy that may give them a temporary increase in rank. But then once Google sort of detects that, they’ll sort of push them back down to page 100 again. So yeah, just making sure they’re obeying Google’s rules, making sure their website’s user friendly. Some people might change their websites to target Google, but they have to target the user, the end user. It has to be user friendly. It has to be sort of readable. And also some people might flood their website with the various keywords they want to rank for. And there is an element of that, that you need to have a fine balance as well with keywords or related keywords and where you put them on your site, as well.

Paul Green:
Someone once told me that if you find yourself doing something just for Google, it’s probably not a good idea.

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Paul Green:
So those are the basics to get right. What are the more advanced things? And I don’t want you to go too technical on this, which is kind of ironic on a… We don’t want to go too technical on a marketing podcast, which is aimed at technical people.

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
But what are some of the things that you found just make the biggest difference for MSPs?

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah. I mean, I’ll give some examples. So I was working with technology company in New York. And we’d done quite a bit of work on their actual website to optimise it for the SEO. They were ranking on page four, page five for different search terms. I decided to do a speed check on their website. And for some reason the host and provider was having some issues and it was slowing down their website. They decided to move hosting companies. Within a couple of days, their rank dramatically improved and were going from page four to five. They went straight to page one. The speed of the site is one of the critical kind of technical errors that MSPs needs to look at.

Paul Green:
In fact, we are in the age now of Core Web Vitals, aren’t we, where Google has once again changed the name. Can you explain to us again, in a non-techy way, what the three elements of Core Web Vitals are?

Aaron Nihat:
We don’t try and get too technical with that, but I found most MSPs, they have a WordPress site. So for example, there’s plugins that you can use to improve performance, improve visual stability of a site. There’s a tool called Google PageSpeed Insights, and you can run that on your site. That will tell you exactly if there’s any issues on the site, directly from Google. And from that, you can make improvements to that based on the report.

Paul Green:
Yeah. And every MSP I’ve ever helped to run the Google PageSpeed Insights test has been slightly terrified by the outcome.

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
But it’s a very valuable and very simple tool to tell you where you need to improve. Okay, Aaron. Final question, it’s about original content. Again, we can assume that most MSPs don’t enjoy creating their own content, don’t really know what to write about anyway. Is content and having fresh original content on your website, is that still important in SEO?

Aaron Nihat:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, again, if I’ll give you another example. There was an MSP I was working for, trying to rank for a major keyword in their city. I think at the time they were on page sort five or six, again. I sort of delved a bit deeper into their website, found that they had quite a few blog posts that were duplicates. So they’d used a marketing company that maybe gave them duplicate material and hid some of that content because Google won’t necessarily penalise you for having duplicate content. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it can affect your SEO ranks. We told Google not to pay attention to that. And again, overnight, they went from page five or six up to page one. So having duplicate content did make a difference.

Paul Green:
Yeah. No, I have heard that before. Aaron, just tell us a little bit more about your SEO services. And what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

Aaron Nihat:
We’ve worked with other MSPs in Norwich, Birmingham, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Ohio, and sort of all helped them to rank on page one. So we look at their website, see what we can do to improve the SEO rank. Do some keyword research, so find out what are the major keywords for their area, see where they’re currently ranking. See if there’s any part of the site that needs some minor improvements to improve their rank, create their strategy to dramatically improve their rank for the major keywords. And so far, we’ve helped every MSP that we’ve worked with to get to page one. And from that, that converts into leads, which converts into paying customers, which makes the MSP owner happy. So, yeah.

Paul Green:
That’s what everyone wants. And what’s the best way to get in touch with you, Aaron?

Aaron Nihat:
If they come onto our website, cornwallit.com, there’s a dedicated page for SEO for MSPs. Or if they Google SEO for MSPs on Google, we’re in the top five on that page as well. So they can find us that way.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast, this week’s recommended book.

Roger Jones:
Hi, I’m Roger Jones. I’ve got the best business in the world. I help tech firms story-fy their business. And my book recommendation is called Your Invited by Jon Levy. It’s all about the art and science of cultivating influence. And the key here is cultivating, developing relationships that you can turn into your own community. Developing a community of customers and potential customers is extremely powerful. And the book goes through almost a step by guide how you can do it.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Bob Jamieson:
Hi, I’m Bob Jamieson. I’m the chief executive for a MSP. And I’m going to be on the show next week to talk with my fellow MSP owners about how they can make their engagements with the customers more valuable and far more effective.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to be talking next week about webinars. And should you be using them to generate leads for your MSP? I think it’s fair to assume that there’s a certain level of webinar exhaustion right now, but I believe the webinar can be a very, very powerful tool for you to influence someone at the point at which they’re nearly ready to buy from you. Should you do live webinars? Should you prerecord them? And what is an evergreen webinar? I will explain all of that for you next week.

Paul Green:
I’m also going to challenge you next week to do more. In fact, for the rest of 2022, I’m going to suggest you double down on your marketing. What does that mean, doubling down? It means doing more activity because we know the more activity you do, the more likely you are to get the results that you want, and faster as well. People who do more activity get better results faster. So that’s going to be my challenge for you.

Paul Green:
Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.

Voiceover:
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