Episode 143: Admit what your MSP CAN'T do, to win trust

Episode 143: Admit what your MSP CAN’T do, to win trust

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 143: Admit what your MSP CAN'T do, to win trust
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Episode 143 includes:

  • 00:00 The marketing power of admitting your limitations
  • 08:00 Understand the Pros and Cons of using MSP jargon
  • 17:36 A marketing expert explains why email marketing isn’t dead
  • 39:44 A book recommendation to help you create better customer service

Featured guest:

 

Nate Freedman is a featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Nate Freedman from Tech Pro Marketing for joining Paul to explain why email marketing for MSPs isn’t dead.

Nate is the founder of Tech Pro Marketing, a marketing company specifically dedicated to serving the MSP community. He has been featured throughout the channel in publications such as Channel Marketer Report, Channel Executive Magazine and Channel Futures. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two young daughters. In his spare time, he loves watching wrestling (yes, he’s that guy) and his favourite wrestler is the Macho Man Randy Savage.

Connect with Nate on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/natefreedman

Show notes:

Episode transcription

Paul Green:
Boom. It’s a brand new episode and here’s what we got in store for you this week.

Nate Freedman:
There’s a rumour that comes and goes every couple years that email marketing’s dead. It’s not. It’s just like any tactic out there. It’s not dead. You just need to adjust your strategy.

Paul Green:
That’s Nate Freedman from Tech Pro Marketing. He’s going to be here later in the show talking about how you use email as part of your marketing mix. Specifically, he’ll talk about deliverability, email newsletters, and using email in cold outreach. And we’re also going to be talking on the show about jargon. There are good times to use jargon and many more bad times when you really shouldn’t use it. We’ll explore jargon later in today’s episode.

Paul Green:
So, I’m the sole parent to my daughter. She’s 12 years old. Her name is Tilda and she’s at that funny borderline of being epic, that pre-teens, tweens, the in-between. She’s at that border of being an epic person and being an absolute nightmare teenager. And I know she sometimes does listen to this podcast on Spotify. Sorry, sweetheart, but it’s the truth. You know it is. You can tell by the growing tension in our house that the teenage years are nearly here, but as her sole parent, it dawned on me a couple of years ago that I am pretty much 80% of her moral compass going forward.

Paul Green:
So, obviously, her friendship groups are going to have a much greater impact on her in the short term than I ever can, because I’m just the person who pays for everything and drives everywhere and provides internet and food and stops her being murdered. That’s my primary role in her mind, but of course, long term, I am setting out for her moral compass. So, I believe very much that children learn what they live and I’m trying to act in a way in front of her, which is the way I would want her to behave as a teenager and as a fully grown, well-rounded individual adult.

Paul Green:
Now, if you exclude the facts that I am very, very annoyed when I drive and you can ask anyone who shares a car journey with me, that most other road users, I’m not an angry driver. I’m not a fast driver. It’s just other road users are idiots. But if you take that out of it, the rest of the time, I am trying very hard to act in a way which I believe any responsible adult should act. One of those key behavioural traits is to admit the second that you make a mistake. So, you make a mistake. The temptation, especially for children, is to hide that mistake, to keep it away, to try to mitigate the circumstances. What I have found over the years and I’m sure you have found exactly the same thing is that if you make a mistake and you immediately admit that mistake, that’s the worst thing that can happen.

Paul Green:
Because once you’ve admitted it, you can then start to deal with the mistake and you can start to actually mitigate the consequences of the mistake rather than trying to mitigate the mistake itself. I don’t mean with murdering people, by the way. Obviously, if you murder someone, you should never really admit to that. You should try your hardest to get away with that. That was a joke. I just need to clarify that was a joke, but for all other mistakes, you should definitely be admitting them. So, I’m trying to teach my daughter that and I think that’s something that could help us in our businesses as well. In fact, it could actually give us a marketing advantage.

Paul Green:
What if with your prospects you admitted mistakes, admitted errors, admitted things that you were not good at in order to build trust and to increase credibility of the things that actually you are quite good at? So, for example, let’s take cyber security. So, the chances are very low that you have your own SOC for you to really, really be on top of cyber security. I am led to believe by experts, because obviously, I’m not an expert in this myself. I just reflect what I’m told from lots of other people, but to be a true MSP, to really, really be on top of cyber security, you need your own SOC and very few MSPs have a security operations centre.

Paul Green:
What if, when you are talking to prospects, you educate them on that and you say, “Hey, when it comes to cyber security, we are good at strategy. We are good at knowing all of the threats or the threat landscape and we are good at mitigating that for our clients, but there are elements that we are not good at. And for those, we outsource them, such as for training, rather than us coming and deliver training to you, we outsource that to this specialist training company and they have some software and we’ll provide this to your staff and they’ll go through cyber security training every three, six months”?

Paul Green:
What if you said to them, “To keep us up to date, we subscribe to a number of threat services because there’s too much happening in the world of cyber security for me and my team of five or six people to keep on top of that”? So, you could take that for cybersecurity. You could do it for something else, but essentially, what you admit to your prospects is that you are not doing everything in house. You do not have your finger on absolutely everything, but you say to them, “We are 80% good on this subject. And for that final 20%, we rely on experts to do the hard work for us.”

Paul Green:
Now, I’m not suggesting that you name names. I’m not suggesting you tell them the names of the vendors and the services that you buy, but this, I believe, could be a very powerful marketing strategy. Because the people you want to reach, the ordinary business owners and managers, remember they know very, very little about our world and about technology. They’re not buying cognitively. They’re buying with their emotions and they are much more likely to build a relationship with you and ultimately trust you if you tell them something that you are not very good at and then you mitigate how or you tell them how you are mitigating that gap in your knowledge, because ultimately, they’re not going to be able to test you on it.

Paul Green:
You are telling them that you are not good at something they didn’t even know they needed. I think that’s a very, very powerful thing. I’m having it right now in my house. I’m having a major refurb done on my house and my builder, Andy, is taking responsibility for every aspect of it. I mean, right down to the complete final finishing items. And he has admitted to me that some of that is out of his sphere of normal operations. So, he will outsource it. He’s been very, very open with me to say, “This, this, and this, we don’t do, but I’m very happy to get some quotes in and to pick the person that I believe will do the best job.”

Paul Green:
And this is a builder of 20 years’ experience. Why wouldn’t I trust the guy that’s been doing it for 20 years to pick someone to finish the job rather than me, who’s refurbed a couple houses but nothing serious to go and pick someone? That makes my bond with him stronger when he admits the things that he’s not good at, because I then just place my trust in him. If there’s a mistake, well, the trust is there and I believe that he will go and fix that mistake. And that trust bond is more important than anything else.

Paul Green:
So, review your marketing. Review the conversations that you are having with your prospects. Where is something where you aren’t perhaps as good as you would like to be to work in progress and how is the best way for you to tell your prospects about that in a way to leverage that little bit of missing strategy, that little bit of missing ability, and leverage it into a much closer relationship with your prospects?

Paul Green:
There’s a part of me that wishes I could go back in time and enter my brain and find out what my emotional reactions were when I first started working seriously with MSPs. This was back in 2016. I’d actually done some work with IT support companies years ago. We’re talking like 2009, 2010, something like that, and I’d run a general marketing agency. And we picked up a few what I knew then as IT support clients and we did things like build newsletters for them. I did a bit of public relations, press releases, and stuff, but we never really got core deep into those businesses. But when I sold that marketing agency, which by the time I sold, it was specializing in healthcare. So, veterinarians, opticians, and dentists, terrible people.

Paul Green:
By that point, I had a non-complete clause. So, the new owner said I couldn’t work with those people for five years. So, I was bored within about 12 seconds of selling the business and I wanted to start another business. So, I looked back at all the kinds of clients that I’d worked with and I remembered, “Oh, IT support, those were nice people. That was fun. I enjoyed the work and I do like talking to technical people.” But of course, from 2010, whenever it was, to 2016, the world had completely changed. The managed service provider had come along. And in fact, that acronym, MSP, was the first bit of internal jargon that I came across in 2016. And I realized there was going to be a steep learning curve for me and you will have gone through this curve yourself at some point.

Paul Green:
In fact, you will have gone through more of it because yours is all the technical stuff. But if I think, initially, I had to learn what an MSP was, in fact, if you have an early copy of my book called Updating Service Doesn’t Grow Your Business, the early UK versions say, “Paul Green’s IT Support Marketing,” on the front, because that was what the business was originally called. And then I realized there was this thing called MSP and that was actually a better business model and that was the future. So, I changed the name of the business to MSP Marketing. I had to find out what an MSP was. I had to discover what a PSA was, what RMM was. There’s all sorts of jargon. In fact, just I was about to say then, there’s all sorts of jargon in the channel. Even the word channel is jargon.

Paul Green:
Actually, I have met some MSPs who don’t understand what the channel is, but to anyone outside of the channel, they don’t really understand what the channel is either. It’s our big infrastructure, isn’t it? And then of course, you, yourself, you have so many more acronyms, so much more jargon to learn as part of the technical thing. And then every two, three times a year, some new jargon comes. NCE, new customer experience was a piece of jargon that was thrown at me for the first time probably around about a year ago. And I have a pretty good poker face for jargon these days. When I’m sat with a member of my MSP Marketing Edge and they’ll throw a piece of jargon out like NCE, I’ll just sit there and go, “Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm,” without even breaking eye contact.

Paul Green:
I’m looking down at my pad and writing down NCE question mark, because it’s jargon and I don’t know what it is. Here’s the thing though. Now I know what all of this jargon is and 99% of the jargon that’s thrown at me by MSPs, I understand. I’m going to put this in speech marks. It makes me an insider because I understand the jargon. That is the key benefit of using jargon and it’s also the key downside of using jargon. You see jargon has its place. It has its purpose. It makes us feel like we are part of something. If you train to be a medical doctor, why would you do that? It seems like too much work to me.

Paul Green:
But if you train to be a medical doctor, a lot of the medical terms that you learn along the way and the acronyms for the different procedures and the shortcuts in language, all of those things that jargon makes you an insider. And that makes you feel like you belong and feeling that you belong to something is really important because most people prefer to deal with other people like them. So, if you are demonstrating that you’ve got the inside jargon, you are an insider, it’s so much easier for people to deal with you. Now, this works very well when you are in a niche or a niche or a vertical. Let’s say you want lawyers and you want to deal with more lawyers. Why would you want to deal with lawyers? But let’s say that was your vertical. You would be sensible to learn a little bit of their jargon.

Paul Green:
What is their equivalent of a PSA? It’s about when I worked with vets and dentist and opticians, they called it PMS, practice management system. You wouldn’t say to them, “What software do you use?” That’s not the internal line that they would use in their business. They would say, “Which PMS do you use?” In the same way that you and I now would say, “Which PSA do you use?” It’s internal jargon. That internal jargon can bond you with your prospects and your clients. And the reality is there’s probably only 5, maybe 10 pieces of jargon that you need to understand, that you need to learn. It could be with lawyers, you say to them, “What’s your PMS?”

Paul Green:
They may have some document management solution, some DMS. I’ve just made that up, but they may have one of those. There may be different words for different types of lawyers. Back when I worked with dentists, for example, see if I can get this right, because it’s been a long time. So, this is in the UK. The dentist would call the building, the business would be the practice, but the room where they drill your teeth, that’s called the clinic. I think I’m right in saying that. The chair where the patient sits is it’s known as chair time.

Paul Green:
So, if I say to a dentist, “How much chair time do you get done in a day?”, what I don’t mean is them sitting down at their laptop. I mean, them doing things to humans lying on the chair, which essentially is fee earning work. And chair time is a bit of internal jargon for dentists. So, can you see the power of knowing that? It doesn’t take much. It takes a really good conversation with an insider who is very willing to help you or just looking at the forums, the blogs, reading the magazines, going to the trade show, and educating yourself on the 5 or 10 pieces of jargon and the context of that jargon to understand it and be an insider. That’s the power of jargon. Now, the downside of jargon is when you use it to prospects and they don’t understand you.

Paul Green:
Such as if you said to a prospect and it doesn’t matter now, whether they’re general or a vertical, but if you said to them, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, NCE, blah, blah, blah, 365,” they are literally going to hear that you are speaking another language, because they don’t know what NCA is and you cannot assume that you say 365 or 365 to them that they understand you’re talking about Microsoft 365. In fact, there’s so many different things called 365. You could be talking about anything. This is jargon. Even if you said the phrase remote monitoring, it’s jargon. What does that mean? Remote monitoring and management. In fact, vast majority of tech stuff is jargon. The challenge for you is when you are talking to ordinary people to strip that jargon out.

Paul Green:
Remember something I said earlier, no one buys from you with their brain. They don’t make a cognitive decision to choose you or not. It’s all an emotional decision. Well, look at it this way. Let’s say you start off at an emotional relationship score of zero with a prospect. And by the time you hit the point of them going, “Yeah, I’ll buy from you,” you need to hit a score of 100. Every single time you use a piece of jargon, you can take 10 points off. You’re literally pushing your relationship with that person back by 10 points, by 10%, every single time you use a piece of jargon.

Paul Green:
The job for you is to use so little jargon that they cannot help but understand everything that you say. And in fact, that way, they will believe that you are more relatable. They will believe that you are more friendly and that means they’re much more likely to go on to buy from you.

Paul Green:
Whether you are a first time listener to this podcast, and if you are, welcome. You’re very welcome here. Or you’ve been listening for the two and a half years that we’ve been on air or somewhere in between, thank you so much for listening to us. But listening to a podcast about MSP Marketing is one thing. The other thing is actually doing more marketing in your business. And my core service is here to help make your marketing easy.

Paul Green:
It’s called the MSP Marketing Edge and we give you everything that you need every week and every month all the marketing content you need to find new leads, turn them into prospects, and ultimately turn them into clients. It’s an absolute steal. We’ve made it so affordable every single month. And importantly, it’s only on sale to one MSP per area. It wouldn’t work if more than one MSP in an area was using it. So, the first thing to do is go and see whether or not your area is still available. Go onto mspmarketingedge.com.

Nate Freedman:
Hi, I’m Nate Freedman from Tech Pro Marketing. We are a marketing agency that helps MSPs all across North America scale and grow their business.

Paul Green:
And nothing is better than getting popular guests back on the podcast. You last appeared in episode 84, which was right about June last year. So, thank you for making a repeat performance, Nate. I’ve got loads of feedback from your first appearance and I know we will have the same again today, because we are going to talk about email marketing. Now, you and your team, you work with MSPs and you do their marketing for them. That means that you are there at the cold face, doing marketing day in, day out.

Paul Green:
So, you know more than anyone what actually works and what doesn’t work. Big question about email marketing, we’ve got all these other channels that we can use. We’ve got LinkedIn. We’ve got direct mail. We’ve got all these digital things. Because of all of this, is email marketing dead?

Nate Freedman:
There’s a rumour that comes and goes every couple years that email marketing’s dead. It’s not. Just like every tactic, there’s changes. There are different strategies, different ways of approaching things. With LinkedIn, we’ve seen limits to the number of connection requests that you can send each week. With email, we’ve seen different things with spam filtering and different ways to get through, but it’s just like any tactic out there, it’s not dead. You just need to adjust your strategy.

Paul Green:
So, what kind of email marketing strategy do you best recommend for MSPs?

Nate Freedman:
Yeah, I think of all the different types of emails that you can send, newsletters, nurture emails with stories, and things like that, or just a traditional what you’d consider a cold email, we’ve had the best success using cold emails.

Paul Green:
So, two completely different kinds of email there. You’ve got your newsletters, which I want to come back to in a second, because I want to ask you in your opinion, what content you think works best, but let’s talk, first of all, about those cold emails. So, the elephant’s in the room, it’s not even an elephant in the room, the first thing that any good MSP thinks of when you talk about cold emails is spam. I’m going to be spamming them. In the UK and in Europe, I’m going to be thrown into jail for breaking GDPR. II think if you send one spam email in Canada, that you get dragged off to jail and I’m sure there’s some law somewhere in the US. When you talk about cold email, you don’t mean sending out thousands of spam emails, do you?

Nate Freedman:
What I’m talking about is sending an individual email to a single person. I think maybe that’s how we first met Paul. I sent you an email and I said, “Hey, Paul. I checked out your podcast. We’d love to connect with you for 15 minutes.” We connected for 15 minutes and then here we are. So, no, I’m not talking about these template emails that go out to everybody where you haven’t researched the list. And I think the reason why people view things as spam is because it’s irrelevant to them. If you’re sending something that’s totally relevant to somebody like me being an MSP marketing professional, sending a cold email to another MSP marketing professional with a real reason to connect, it made sense.

Nate Freedman:
You weren’t like, “Who’s this person I don’t know? I’m so offended.” You actually were like, “Oh, great. This is person I don’t know that reached out to me and this sounds like I might want to respond back to it.” So, I think if the listeners or anything like me, I respond to certain cold emails, but 99% of them, I’m like, “Remove me off your list. I don’t have a development company. I don’t need to outsource my development to India. That’s just not my need.” But if it’s like, “Hey, Nate, we run this company that helps agencies increase their email deliverability rate by 10%,” I might be like, “Yeah, cool. That’s a major tactic we’re using,” and I could use an increase in my deliverability. Yeah.

Paul Green:
Yeah. So, that’s the follow up question to this, which is, “What should you put in that cold email?” So, we are not spamming people. We’re not sending out thousands at a time. We’re doing essentially cold outreach. We’re picking someone. We’re researching them and we are sending them an email. Now I get those emails the same as you do of, “Hey, why don’t we rebuild your website?” or “Why don’t we do this?” My favourite one that I hate is, “We’ve noticed you don’t rank very well for these keywords.” When the SEO people have to do cold outreach, you know that they’re not particularly good at SEO. Otherwise, they would be getting plenty of inbound inquiries.

Nate Freedman:
I know.

Paul Green:
What content matter do you recommend the MSPs cold email their prospects with?

Nate Freedman:
Yeah. So, my number one rule of sending a cold email is to be normal. So, if you are sending a cold email and an agency has suggested it, maybe you’ve read in an eBook or a blog somewhere how to format a cold email and you’re using a template and you’re about to hit send and you’re like, “I don’t think I would send that,” stop yourself and don’t do it. So, you need to send a normal email like you would send to somebody else. So, I think that’s the number one golden rule about sending an email. I think the content, it’s got to be relevant.

Nate Freedman:
And I think your goal with this is not to pitch them on your services. I think we all know basic sales and marketing strategy is that you don’t pitch on your services. We’ve all heard this analogy when you talk about dating and you compare it to asking someone to get married on the first date. It’s the same thing. What you’re doing with a cold email, that initial outreach is trying to find out what’s going on. Do you work with an IT company? Do you have any issues with IT? How many employees do you have? How many users do you have? Just some of these basic questions that maybe you need to know before you get into a sales process.

Paul Green:
Sure, sure. And I know another common question that would come up when talking about cold emails is, “Where do you get the data from?” Now, if you are just emailing one person at a time, I assume it’s as simple as figuring out the kinds of businesses that you’d most like to do business with and then going to look for them, going onto their website, looking for a contact email, and just doing a bit of research.

Nate Freedman:
Yeah. I think that’s probably the easiest way to do it. I know there’s a lot of data vendors out there. We don’t use them. We do all of our prospect research either through, just like you described, going to their website and finding out the potential IT decision maker, and then maybe using some data enrichment system to find out their potential email address and things like that. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, I mean, this is really the most updated source. So, that’s going to allow you to create this list. It’s not necessarily going to have everyone’s email address, but definitely, there are data enrichment tools that connect with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. So, you could get some pretty good email addresses from that.

Nate Freedman:
And I think another great way to do it is to join an organization. Maybe you join your local accounting organization in your area and there’s 100 accounting firms member of that group. And then your cold email can just be as simple as, “I just joined the group. I’m looking to connect with members, get some feedback on how we can help. No pressure. Would you be open to having a 15-minute call?”

Paul Green:
Yeah. Yeah. In fact, that’s not a cold email, isn’t it? That’s now one member introducing themselves to another member. In fact, you could replicate that with BNI. You could join a BNI chapter. BNI is a great networking organization. It works for a lot of MSPs. You could join one chapter. Not only do you then get to email the members of your chapter, but what stops you from emailing the members of all of the other chapters near you? Even if they’ve already got an MSP in their chapter, it’s just a general intro.

Paul Green:
Hey, I’ve just joined this chapter. It’s great to meet you. Oh, I’m looking forward to meeting you guys. Maybe I can visit your chapter in the future. Well, certainly, when I was a member of BNI about 200 years ago and I just did two years in it, there was a member directory here in the UK and we could see the other members of all the other chapters and we could get their email addresses. So, that would be a very smart thing to do. Nate, would you recommend making a follow-up phone call to people when you send a cold email to them?

Nate Freedman:
Sure. You definitely can. I think it depends on how strong your connection is to them. I think calling works. I mean really what we found, you wanted to know what’s working. What’s going on with the MSPs out there? What are the tasks that are really working? We have found and we’ve tried it a number of times and we’re even doing a calling pilot program right now. We’ve found that in this day and age, calling is a little bit intrusive. Even I’ve got some friends, I try to call them up sometimes. They don’t answer and they text me back and they say, “Can you just text me?”

Nate Freedman:
So, I just think we’re in this era where calling somebody up is a little bit out of line. If you want to go back to my philosophy of being normal, it’s actually not really the normal way of communicating with people. Email is the normal way to communicate with somebody. I think it’s not like it’s totally not worth doing, but I also believe that it’s one of these expensive tactics that take a lot of work, man hours, time. And I don’t think you necessarily get the return that you would with a little bit more of these easier direct tactics like sending an email or LinkedIn connection, things like that.

Paul Green:
Yeah. That makes sense. Although I would hate for any MSP to be put off by picking up the phone, because one of my call messages is, “Pick up the phone.” I say that not intending for MSPs to cold call people day and night, but I do find that it’s not just MSPs. It’s many business owners sit there and overthink, “Should I call this person?” So, with the caveat of I agree with what you’ve just said, that phoning someone is almost no longer normal behaviour actually in a business to business environment. Getting a call from a potential supplier or someone that’s sent you some communication is a little more normal and please don’t overthink it and please do pick up the phone.

Nate Freedman:
Yeah. I think we’re going to talk about building this bridge in a little bit and I think that’s just one of the ideas. Yeah.

Paul Green:
Sure. Let’s do that now. You mentioned this concept to me in our discussion before we did this interview. What is this concept of building a bridge?

Nate Freedman:
Yeah. So, when you are doing this cold outreach, there has to be a reason. There has to be a bridge from, “I am this random person emailing you or calling you or whatever it is,” to “I’m actually a normal person communicating with you for a regular reason.” So, a perfect bridge would be like joining BNI. I think that’s a great example of if you’re going to make calls, those are people that would be really interested. You’re trying to get through to the secretary. You’re trying to get through the gatekeeper. How much easier is that?

Nate Freedman:
If it’s, “Yes, I’m a fellow BNI member, just looking to connect with him and have a few questions about BNI and want to introduce myself to you guys,” the secretary’s going to be like, “Oh, great. It’s someone who’s in the BNI chapter with the owner who I know goes to BNI every Wednesday morning. This is a normal conversation that should be had,” as opposed to, “Who are you?” We’re this IT company. Really, we just want to sell you guys something and that’s the only reason we’re calling. So, I think if you have a strong bridge, yeah, those tactics, they all work better and definitely calling works better. So, BNI is a great bridge. Joining an organization’s a great bridge. Geography can be a bridge. Hey, we’re actually just three minutes down the road.

Nate Freedman:
I’ve received an email before where people send a BombBomb or a Loom video. I think that’s another great tactic to include in your cold email, a 30-second personalized video with just a Google Map showing, “Hey, this is where you guys are. This is where we are. I’d love to meet you. If you’re ever in the area, let me stop by and say hello. I just want to share about our services.” And I think that type of stuff, if you’ve got a strong link, a strong bridge, that’s one of the major ways to have success.

Paul Green:
Sure, sure. So, there’s a theme with everything you’re talking about here, Nate. I agree with the vast majority of what you’ve said, which is about being real. It’s about being a normal person and not coming across as someone who is just cold emailing because you just want to win another client. Now, earlier on, you mentioned the two types of email content. So, there were those cold emails and then you also mentioned newsletters. Now, tell us what you mean by newsletter content.

Nate Freedman:
Yeah. So, I think a newsletter would be something… I think we’ve all maybe seen them before. It has a graphical interface to it. So, maybe like a header and then here’s a little bit about what we’ve been up to and here’s some articles and things like that. So, that would be a newsletter, an HTML-based email.

Paul Green:
And is there a risk do you think that when you send out an HTML template email and it’s got a nice template, it looks pretty, the risk is in a B2B marketing environment that that comes across too much as an eCommerce email or perhaps a consumer based email? Do you find that format does work for MSPs?

Nate Freedman:
I think it can work for certain MSPs. I would say the majority of that, if it’s a newsletter, let’s just be normal, let’s be real here. Who wants to get your newsletter? Who’s going to actually read it? It’s your community. So, your existing customers. A lot of MSPs that I know, they may have 100 or 200 customers that they helped on a break fix model or they sold hardware to in the past. And they’re not converted to their managed services yet. These would be great people to have on an email newsletter. People who are in your BNI group, who know you, who’ve you shook hands with.

Nate Freedman:
Oh, cool. Paul’s got a newsletter. Yeah, I’ll check that out. I check out your newsletter. I know you, but also, Paul, I get about 20 other newsletters and I didn’t subscribe to this. I’m trying to clean up my inbox. I don’t know this person. I’m not part of this community. So, I think email newsletters play a role, but definitely not for people who don’t know you.

Paul Green:
Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree. Again, that fits very well and very naturally within the theme you were talking about earlier. Let’s just finish off on the subject of deliverability and open rates. And if you go back right back to the question I asked at the very beginning, is email marketing dead? The reason I ask that is because many people really struggle with deliverability.

Paul Green:
Now, obviously, you and I, we work with MSPs and MSPs have a unique technical insight into deliverability, because a lot of those factors that affect deliverability are things like your SPF, your DKIM, your domain name, all of that stuff. And we all know that why the various services mark emails as spam. Whereas the usual business owners that other people may work with, and in fact, that MSPs work with don’t have a clue about email deliverability. What’s your understanding of how deliverability is right now and what would you do to improve it?

Nate Freedman:
Yeah. So, I think one thing you need to look at is make sure you’re checking your open rates. And if your open rate is under 40% for your email, there’s maybe something wrong with check your subject line, because that’s something that shows up beforehand. But I think also it’s probably a deliverability issue if you’re under 10%, under 5%, or things like that. So, our goal is to get deliverability, get open rates over 40%. I think in terms of diagnosing some of these issues with DKIM, SPF, there’s a great tool out there. It’s called MailGenius. And that will actually let you forward an email into that system. Actually, it will tell you some basic deliverability things about best practices, but I also think one of the bigger issues is where you’re sending from.

Nate Freedman:
And I think a lot of MSPs are maybe misusing their marketing automation tools or their CRMs. A tool like HubSpot, it’s an amazing tool, but actually, it’s against their terms of service to send a cold email. You’re sending from a third-party provider. You don’t control the domain and you don’t control the sending domain. There’s all types of factors and they don’t want you to send cold emails from there. If you do upload a list, they actually have you check a box that says, “These are all people I know and who are expecting to hear from me,” but people go around that. That’s fine. I don’t work for HubSpot. I don’t use them. I’m just saying as an example, there are tools that are made to actually send cold emails. And most of these will connect to your actual outbox.

Nate Freedman:
So, you want to have full control over the emails that you’re sending. You’ll want to send from either actually just doing it in Outlook, whatever you’re using, or using a tool that will send directly from your domain and then you have control over your domain reputation. You’re making sure that your delivery’s going to get through because you’re always sending to a well-researched list and you’re always sending a normal message. So, if you follow those steps, you should be able to have good deliverability.

Paul Green:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We have a reasonably size opt-in email list and it is genuinely opt in. Every MSP that’s in that list has chosen to be in there. And last year, 2021, I had a horrendous spam problem and it was just Microsoft. All of the other email inboxes were fine, even Yahoo, AOL. Who’s using AOL? But somewhat is somewhere. And then it was all the Microsoft products were just popping us straight into spam, which is frustrating, because the vast majority of our audience, I’m sure you are the same, Nate, they’re using Microsoft products because they’re MSPs. We hired a deliverability expert. In fact, he’s been on this show, Adrian, I can’t remember his surname. He fixed the problem.

Paul Green:
And one of the things he told me, which made me go cold inside, he said to me, “Paul, if you email someone 10 or 12 emails in a row and they don’t open that email, they are doing damage to you. So, you need to stop emailing them.” It was a little more complicated than that, because we put in place a sequence that we automated a sequence in our CRM, which is called Infusionsoft, not as good as HubSpot, not anymore. But when it notices someone hasn’t opened emails, it automatically picks up on them and it sends them a special sequence to basically say, “We’re going to unsubscribe you unless you open an email.” But as a marketer, I grew up learning you want the biggest possible list and you just want to email them as much as possible. That’s not how it is today.

Paul Green:
Today, the sophisticated marketer has the most engaged list and markets them sufficiently. I think you’re right about the 40% open rate. We get well over that and I’m sure you do as well. So, that’s a great target to go for. So, just tell us a little bit about you, what you can do to help MSPs, and how we can get in touch with you.

Nate Freedman:
Our website is techpromarketing.com. We’ve got a lot of great resources on there. So, if you just click on the Start Here button there, that will lead you right to our email course. This has got the basics for our beliefs with MSP marketing. There’s also number of recorded webinars. You can check out there. And I think that’s probably the number one place to start. And for us, yeah, we are an MSP marketing company. We only work with MSPs and we help them generate leads and grow their business. Our philosophy with MSP marketing is basically based on three core components, outbound, little bit of what we’re talking about today and always building up that prospecting list, reaching out through different channels.

Nate Freedman:
Email’s definitely one of them, but there’s other channels out there. Inbound, making sure that people can find you when they’re searching for something like IT support near me. Making sure that you’ve got a great presence, that you’ve got authority, that you’ve got a list of engaged prospects and you’ve got an inbound process going. And then the last piece that we look at is conversion. This is things about yes, making sure that your website and your brand are really strong, but then there’s also pieces about your offer and your sales process. And I think one major thing that we’ve learned and that we’ve adjusted to over the years is we started focusing a lot on outbound then we added inbound into it.

Nate Freedman:
But when we added this piece of conversion into the way that we work with MSPs, that really made the biggest difference. Because we found that some MSPs, we would get them a ton of leads, but they wouldn’t end up getting new customers. And then we found that some MSPs we worked with, it’s like every lead they got turned into a new customer. And I think a lot of people look at that and they think it’s the sales process. These people are good at sales, but when we really dug deeper, it wasn’t the sales process. Yes, the sales process was better and more refined, but what the core of it was that it was what they’re selling. What is the actual offer?

Nate Freedman:
So, I think that’s the final piece that we’re working on with our MSPs to really build this customer acquisition system, where some of the things we do, done for you. We can go out and do the prospect research and send the emails on your behalf. Some of it’s done with you. For example, if we’re trying to get you published and build some authority and maybe your local accounting journal or something like that, we have to work together on a project like that, but then a lot of it is do it yourself. And that’s where we’ve added a little bit of a training element into our program to help MSPs build an amazing offer and close this loop of winning new customers.

Paul Green:
Yeah. Yeah. That makes perfect sense. What’s your website address, Nate?

Nate Freedman:
techpromarketing.com.

Len Herstein:
Hey, I’m Len Herstein. I’m the author of Be Vigilant, but I want to recommend another book for you. It’s by Shep Hyken and I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again. He’s a customer service and customer experience guru. And if you have customers and you want to keep them, you got to read this book.

Blaine Oelkers:
Hi there, Blaine Oelkers here, your Chief Results Officer. I will be with Paul next week on the show to talk about one, 21-second habits, how to create a habit in 21 seconds, not 21 days, and also the 30-minute hour, how to get an hour’s worth of stuff done in just 30 minutes. I look forward to talking with you. then.

Paul Green:
Do subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen. So, you never miss an episode. Because on top of Blaine’s interview next week, we’re going to be talking about speed. More speed equals more sales. We’ll also be exploring the idea of the Dream 100. It’s a great idea from an amazing book that I’m going to explain to you in detail next week and paint a picture of why you should have a Dream 100 in your MSP. We’ve got loads more content for you over on YouTube. You just go to youtube.com/mspmarketing. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.

Voiceover:
Made in the UK. For MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

 

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