Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week’s show includes:
00:00 How to not get locked in a ‘prison’ of your own design
14:11 Why your clients aren’t terrified of cyber crime
24:15 Reaching B2B audiences using Facebook ads
Thank you to Brian Davidson, Co-Founder of Matchnode and Facebook Ads Expert, for joining me to talk about making the most out of Facebook advertising.
Brian Davidson is the Co-Founder of Matchnode, a digital marketing agency that is changing the way people and organizations leverage social media. He and his team have worked on digital ad campaigns for influential brands like New Balance, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, LendingTree, and Indiana University.
Brian has been a leader in generating leads using Social Media since 2007 when he became the VP of Social Media at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. Lead generation efforts helped the company join both the Crain’s and Inc fastest-growing lists. Brian is passionate about using his experience to help businesses achieve provable, meaningful growth. His relatable style makes Brian a sought after guest, providing actionable insights on all things social media marketing.
Connect with Brian on LinkedIn:
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Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Hello my lovelies and welcome to the show. I have no idea what’s going on there. This is what we’ve got coming up for you this week.
Hi, mine’s Brian Davidson. I own a digital agency called Match Node and I will be talking Facebook ads, more specifically how you can reach B2B audiences on Facebook.
And on top of that fantastic interview with Brian, later on in the show we’re also going to be asking a very pertinent question, why aren’t your clients terrified of cyber crime?
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
You might be able to help me out in this first bit because I read something in a business or marketing book years and years ago. We’re talking probably about 15 years ago, and often when I read really good books and I read sentences in them or things that just really reverberate with me, I take that line and add it to the big pool, the big soup of things that are there in my head. And there’s a specific line which I know came from a book. I know I didn’t invent this myself, but can I remember which book it is? So here’s how you may be able to help me. If I say this sentence to you, and you recognize which book it’s from, could you email me please? My email address is Hello@PaulGreensMSPmarketing.com. And that will just put me out of the misery of trying to remember which book I got it from.
So this is the sentence, this is what I read all those years ago. “The average business owner creates a prison of their own design and then locks themselves inside.” So let me say that again. “The average business owner creates a prison of their own design and then locks themselves inside.” And the concept that the author of the book that I read was trying to get across and the whole point of this is what we typically do as business owners.
So when we start our business, we do it for a number of different reasons. Often, it’s to take control of our time, and what we do with our time, and to take control of the kind of work that we do. Most people, not everyone, but most people start their business because they enjoy the work they’re doing, but they don’t particularly like doing it for someone else or they don’t like the way that someone else does it. So in starting their own business, when you started your own MSP, you got to pick your own vendors, your choice of vendors. You got to do things the way you want them to be do. You got to build your own systems. It was all about control. And control is a major reason that people start a business.
Another reason which can be a primary motivating factor as well is of course, to take control of your own personal income because of course when you own the business, even though this isn’t the case for the first few years, but when you own the business, in theory there’s an uncapped personal income. If the business is churning out decent net profit, then that can increase your own personal ability to spend money, to earn money and to spend it. So those are one or two of the reasons why we start a business, but what typically happens, not to everyone but to many business owners is we start our business, we get busy, we get our first clients on board and everything is hunky dory until the point where we hire our first member of staff.
Now, there are some people, there’ll be loads of people listening to this who are one-person bands, one-man bands, who are working towards getting out of being a one-man band. And there were many downsides of being a one-man band. Not being able to take proper vacations is the biggest of them. But there are also some upsides, and I say this as someone in my last business, I had 15 staff. In our current business, we have 12, although it’s a much more relaxed atmosphere, and we’ve got 12 really good adults who they don’t need management. So it’s a less stressful business.
But back when I had 15 staff, and they were all 17 years old working in an office, running a marketing agency in my last business, that was stressful. And the second, you’ll know this if you have staff yourself, the second you start adding staff into the mix, you lose a certain amount of the control that you enjoyed over the business. Now, yes, you gain a lot. We can’t do this without staff. It’s crazy to think that we can build a genuine business. A genuine business is a business that operates well. It thrives regardless of whether you are here or not. And we can’t do that without staff, but it really does change things. And everyone goes through an appalling process whereby your first couple of members of staff, it actually increases your already busy workload, and you are running around doing even more work. And the crazy thing is that your staff are doing things their way. So you almost lose control over your business.
And this is the start of the prison. When we talk about that phrase that business owners create a prison of their own design and then lock themselves inside, this is where it happens. And I have talked to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of MSPs who’ve got two or three years down the line and they’ve got five, six, seven staff and they do feel like they’re trapped in the prison. They are trapped doing work in the business they don’t really want to do. They’ve fallen out of love with the business to a certain extent because the business doesn’t do things the way they want it to be done. Essentially, they’ve ended up with a business that they don’t love that’s operating in a way they don’t want it to, run by staff doing things their own way.
And of course, the staff do things their own way because we sometimes as business owners, we don’t tell them what we want them to do, and we don’t tell them how we want them to do it. And then we get really annoyed with them when they don’t do it in the way that we want them to do it, and we don’t do what we want them to do. So we haven’t told them, but then we get annoyed when they don’t do it. It’s crazy, isn’t it? If you were to actually write that down, it just looks insane if it’s on a piece of paper. But this is where the prison comes from.
And any business owner who is unhappy… They’re unhappy with the amount of growth. They’re unhappy with the way the business operates. They’re unhappy because they can’t give all of the clients the high level of service and the high level of delivery that they would like to. This is the prison. If you can’t go on a proper genuine vacation where you leave your mobile off for two weeks, that’s a proper vacation. If you can’t do that, you are locked in the prison. If you are struggling every single month to make payroll or you personally don’t necessarily earn money every month, it’s a bit hit and miss whether or not you earn money, this is the prison. And it’s a prison of your own design that you are now locked inside.
Now, getting you out of that prison, if only it was as simple as popping a key in a cake and giving it to you. It kind of can be because I’ve got three areas that I suggest you focus on. And I’m going to give a caveat to these, which is the whole point of this is you’re locked in a prison of your own design. So you’ll be locked, if this is you, you’ll be locked in your business and your business will have a particular set of circumstances that keep you locked inside. But typically, what I find is if you examine one of the three areas I’m about to talk about, then somewhere in there, if not a key, there’s something which can help you get closer to understanding how the lock works on the door and how you can start to find the key to unlock yourself from the prison.
So the three areas that I want to look at are personal time. Well, it’s taking control of your personal time. It’s taking control of the business, and then it’s being a marketer rather than being the owner. Let me explain each of those in order.
So the first of those is to take control of your personal time. You cannot grow the business and turn the business into something that you are so proud of at a deep emotional level that you could just kiss it and hug your business. You can’t do that without taking control of your own personal time. It’s about making sure that you’ve got time and space to work on the business and quality time to work on the business. Grabbing snatches of 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there at 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening to work on the business. That’s no good at all. The most successful business owners, you listen back to the last 180 episodes of this podcast, and you’ll hear lots of successful people. And they have got there by finding lots of time and creating lots of space to work on the business, and it’s quality time and quality space.
So you’ve got to take control of your own personal time, and that means mostly, looking at what are you doing that somebody else, anybody else could do on your behalf. There’s a phrase I’ve used many times in this podcast. You should only do what only you can do. And I’m going to say that again because it’s so important. You should only do what only you can do. Everything else, you DOA it: you delegate it, or you outsource it or you automate it. Now, this doesn’t happen overnight, but it can start with one thing a week. What’s one job? In fact, if you’re on your way to work now or if it’s early on in the day, today, what’s one job you do today that someone else could do for you. If it’s later in the day, what about tomorrow.
You’ve got to ask yourself this question tomorrow morning. What’s something that you have to do today that someone else could do for you? Maybe it’s an admin thing. Maybe it’s something to do with invoicing. Maybe it’s a low-level tech thing. There are always ways to find other people to do it. And the trick for you is to get as much off your plate as possible so you can focus on the really important job, which is focusing on the business, growing the business, marketing, getting new clients, upselling existing clients, etcetera, etcetera. So that’s the first part is you’ve got to take control of your own personal time.
But the second part is you’ve got to take control of the business. And this is about conquering the chaos. This is about telling your staff what you want them to do and telling your staff how you want them to do it. And this is really about systems. Systems are awesome. Systems don’t remove creativity. They don’t remove people’s ability to make decisions. If anything, it’s the complete opposite. When you have a system, it sets a boundary. It says, “Right, I want you to do things within this boundary, please. You just got to follow this system, and you can make your own decisions because this system is how I want this business to run for this reason,” whatever that reason might be. So you’ve got to as part of it, and this is why you need time and space to do this.
You’ve got to look at every part of your business, and apply a system to it, right down to how do we answer the phone? How do we log a ticket? How do we communicate to our clients that we are on it, that we understand your problem, that we are working towards a fix even if we don’t have an ETA for that fix? Communication can be systemized. Everything can be systemized. You may already have systemized some of the actual technical work. You may have documentation for setting up a new user or doing a password change or something like that, and if you don’t, that’s certainly a good place to start with systems.
My experience of many, not all but many MSPs, is you systemize the actual technical work, certainly the lower-level technical work, but you never systemize anything else, the things that actually make a difference. If someone asks you to do something, if a client asks you to do something, and they don’t hear anything for three hours, there is a certain amount of friction annoyance that builds in because they’re thinking, “Did these guys even pick this up?” Whereas actually, you’re hard at work on it. It’s just you don’t have a system. You don’t have a method of telling your clients, “We’re working on it. We’re going to check in with you every hour, and let you know what our progress is,” or whatever your system is. The actual system is down to you.
The point being that a system to communicate with clients is way more important than the system to actually get the work done. It doesn’t matter if it takes you two hours to do a really simple job so long as you are communicating that really well to the clients because it’s the customer service that makes them feel good or bad, not the actual fix itself. They don’t know that a password… Okay, password reset is probably a bad idea, but they don’t know that adding a new user takes four minutes, right? They’re sure it doesn’t take that long, but if it takes you 30 minutes or 60 minutes because you’re doing other things first, it’s all about the communication. So the first thing was to take control of your own personal time. The second thing was to take control of the business through systems.
There’s a third thing, and remember this this isn’t going to fix everything. This isn’t going to get everyone out of their prison, but these are three areas that are certainly worth looking at. That third thing is, instead of being the owner of the MSP or the manager of the MSP, be the marketer of the MSP. So what I mean by that is your job really, once you’ve moved yourself away from basic tech that, you’re not on the help desk, perhaps you’re third line, that’s okay. But you are the driver and the grower of the business. At this point, focusing on marketing above all else is the right thing to do because marketing don’t forget, it brings you new clients in. It keeps your existing clients, and it gets your existing clients to spend more.
Well, those are the only three ways to grow your business. You get more new clients, you get them to buy from you more often, and you get them to spend more every time they buy. And if you as the leader are focused, I mean, we’re talking 80% of your time. That should be a target to work towards, that 80% of your time is spent on those three activities. Suddenly, your MSP will see crazy growth, really crazy growth because you are a focused and determined action taking leader who’s just focused on the right things.
So please, take control of your own personal time, take control of the business and be a marketer rather than just being an owner. It’s the marketers who really do get ahead of all the competition. If you aren’t locked in that prison, please do drop me an email as well. You got my email address now. It’s Hello@PaulGreensMSPmarketing.com. If you wanted to drop me a line and tell me about the specific prison that you are locked in, I’ll be more than happy to give you my advice over email.
Here’s this week’s clever idea.
Why don’t your clients take cybersecurity more seriously? Have you ever wondered that? There aren’t specific reasons why ordinary people aren’t terrified of ransomware, why malware doesn’t leave them lying awake at night, sweating, worrying that it could happen to them. There is some very specific reasons why, and what we’re going to do this week, and then finishing off next week is we’re going to look at why ordinary business owners and managers just aren’t aware of cybersecurity in the way that you and I are. And we’re going to look at how to wake them up, make it more real for them, and ultimately, get them to choose to spend money with you to protect themselves.
So if you think, let’s start by looking at how ordinary people think. So I’m ordinary to a certain extent, maybe I’m not. Well, compared to you, I’m more ordinary because I’m not a tech. I don’t come from a technical background. I have no tech ability. If you watch me the number of times when I’m starting to record this podcast figure out why isn’t my camera working, and it’s because I haven’t plugged the cable in, I kid you not. That’s my level of ability.
So before I started working with MSPs in 2016, I was 100% normal. Now, I’ve been hanging around with MSPs for a long time. I’m kind of normal, but I’m not because I know stuff. I’ve seen a video of a ransomware attack, never actually seen an attack itself, but I’ve seen cyber crime issues. I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of MSPs who clean up, and deal with attacks, and prevent their clients from being attacked. So even I’m not normal, but compared to you and me, ordinary people, your clients, those decision makers, they don’t know what they don’t know. And the problem is, well, there are three big reasons why they’re not terrified of cyber crime or not terrified of the general problems out there.
The first is that cyber crime, cybersecurity, is only actually on the fringes of their attention. So for you and me, we read about it every day. It’s in all the blogs and the news stories and the email newsletters that we watch. You probably go on YouTube and up comes cyber crime stuff because it’s your world. It’s absolutely everywhere. And as I said, I have a foot in that world, so I see a lot of cyber crime stuff as well. For ordinary people, they just don’t see it. That big hack that happens once a year, that goes national, that goes onto the mainstream news outlets, they see that then, but it’s not as big to them as it is to you and me because they don’t realize just how major that is.
Don’t get me wrong. If they’re affected by it, then that’s a big issue if they’re directly affected by it, but most of the time they’re not. So it’s only on the fringes of their attention. And for that reason, it doesn’t seem as important to them as other things that are in their business. Even when they are aware of it, the next problem is that they don’t really understand it, and they can’t explain it. If you had asked me to describe a ransomware attack before I watched one unfold in a video, I would’ve said to you, “Oh, a ransomware attack. It’s something to do with your data being held to ransom.” And I wouldn’t have understood that actually it’s a complete shutdown.
Your business, certainly anything has to do with technology, is completely shut down. Not just shut down, there’s nothing. There’s nothing there. And I think the people thinking, “Oh, my computer isn’t working,” they’ll think that that’s a ransomware that, “Oh, this is annoying. I’ll have to grab my phone and do it.” No, as you and I know, there is no data. There is nothing. There is no… It’s like being as in the stone age again. And because they don’t understand that, they don’t realize. They don’t understand it, and they can’t explain it, so they don’t realize what a big deal it is.
I think the other thing that stops ordinary business owners and managers not being terrified of cybersecurity problems is that the perception that hacks, ransomware, all these compromises, they only happen to big businesses. I still think a lot of people still perceive that these are very specific targeted attacks, and I appreciate there are a lot of targeted attacks, but you and I also know that there is a lot of malware and a lot of just automated software out there looking for easy opportunities. So I don’t think ordinary folk realize that even just having one or two minor weaknesses in their setup can be a big issue for them. Even clicking on one email, one phishing email can be a big deal for them. They really don’t realize this at all.
So what we need to do is we need to wake them up, and I’m going to give you the headlines of what we’re going to do today. And in next week’s episode, episode 181, we will look deep dive a little bit more into each of these. What we need to do to weight them up is we need to use the three Rs. The three Rs are this, first of all, we need to make it more relevant to them. And as I say, next week we’re going to dive into some of the detail of how exactly to do that.
Now, relevancy is really interesting because we have a part of our brain called the reticular activating system, which acts as a relevance filter. We don’t consciously have to deal with all of the sensory information that’s coming into our brains. If we did, we’d have no time for anything else. So our reticular activating system in our noggin, it does the work for us. It works out each piece of information if it is relevant or not to the conscious brain. So in comes some information about a ransomware attack, the reticular activating system says, “Nah, mate, that’s not relevant.” Chucks it out. So you see a piece of information or you hear a piece of information, but you don’t perceive it. Well, you do because it’s relevant to you, but they don’t because basically, their programming in their brain is programmed that it’s not relevant to them. So the first thing we need to do is make it feel relevant to them.
The second R that we need to do is to repeat the message. When I was a radio presenter back in the 1860s, one of the things my bosses used to tell me is you have to keep repeating the same messages again and again and again because people aren’t really listening. It’s on in the background. Radio is actually very similar to all marketing. It’s a bit background. So you have to keep repeating the same things. You don’t use exactly the same words all the time, but you keep repeating the same messages again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, until you are sick to death of it. That’s the point at which it’s starting to cut through, particularly if that relevance filter has being cutting it out. And then the final R, the final thing that we need to do is we need to remove choice for them.
Next week I’m going to suggest, and this might be slightly controversial for you, but it is only a suggestion. I’m going to suggest that you make it so hard for your existing clients to opt out of a greater level of cybersecurity that it’s almost easier for them just to go along with what you want. And yes, that’s going to mean them spending some more money with you, but the purpose of this is not really about revenue generation. That’s a bonus. Extra profit is a bonus for looking after them. I’m sure you have a stack of tools, and protections, and things that you would love all of your clients to buy. Well, what if we make that standard? All of your clients have to buy all the protection so that you sleep at night, they sleep at night, and the chances of them going through a major cybersecurity incident are very low.
Now, you may be in a place where you are already doing that with your clients, and if you are bravo, genuinely bravo because I think it’s the only way you can run an MSP right now. If you’re not, then next week we’ll look at specifics. How exactly do you get all of your clients to buy all of your cybersecurity offerings and all of your services and protections? We’re going to examine those three Rs, which is make it relevant, repeat that message, and remove their choice. We’ll do that in next week’s episode.
Paul’s blatant plug.
Here’s a provocative question. Are you a serious MSP owner? Are you ambitious and determined to grow your business regardless of all the things that are getting in your way? I said earlier on in the podcast that one of the things you need to do is be a marketer of your MSP business. Well, I can help you directly, and I have lots and lots of different things I do with MSPs, but one of our most popular things right now is this. If you’re watching on YouTube, I’m holding up a copy of my MSP Marketing Action Monthly. It’s a print newsletter that we post out. We ship it to MSPs all around the world every month, and it is a physical print newsletter.
Why do I go to all the effort and expense of actually getting this written, and designed, and printed every month? Because I know, I understand that if you sit on the toilet, or on your couch, or in your car, not when you’re driving, or lie in bed and you physically read, you hold something in your hands and you read something, you are 10 times more likely to actually take action on it. The most serious MSP owners, the people who grow their business more are the ones who take action. And the challenge for me, working with any MSP is getting you to take action because it’s the only way to do it.
So a really good place to start is to actually subscribe to this. We’ve done it. We’ve priced it at the lowest possible price we can to make a little bit of profit for us, but also to get this into your hands because if I can get it in your hands, and I can get you to read it, you’re much more likely to take action. So look, I’ve made this as easy for you as possible. On my website, you can have a 30-day free trial. Get your first issue into your hands and see what you think. See if it’s for you. If it’s not, you can cancel at any time. There’s absolutely no obligation to buy this ongoing. Although obviously, I hope you do, I’m more than happy to take on board the risk if you don’t. Go and have a look now on my website, it’s paulgreensMSPmarketing.com/action. So get your first issue posted to you free and enjoy 30 days free trial of a subscription that you can cancel at any time anyway, at paulgreensMSPmarketing.com/action.
The big interview.
Hi, my name is Brian Davidson. I’m one of the co-founders of Match Node, and I’m a Facebook ads expert.
And Facebook is one of those really hard things for MSPs to crack because as we know, it is a consumer social media network. We could argue the consumer social media network, and we know that everyone we want to reach is out there on Facebook. But of course, Facebook isn’t primarily used as a B2B social media platform in the way that LinkedIn is. So Brian, before you tell us how we can use Facebook and Facebook ads better to reach decision makers, tell us a little bit about you. What qualifies you to be a Facebook ads expert?
Sure. Well, I started running Facebook ads from the very beginning when we were running right-hand rail ads on desktop only. I was in-house at a sports recruiting agency, and I’ve seen the evolution throughout the years. We started Match Node nine and a half years ago. One of the things that really stood out for us in the marketplace is a lot of the other agencies out there either started creating websites, running Google AdWords, running SEO projects. We realized that we had social first DNA, and that’s what we’ve led with, and that’s led to the majority of our clients running paid social campaigns and engagements.
So essentially, Facebook is baked right into everything that you do. I mean, you talked there, and it’s funny, as you said about on desktop only with the adverts down the right hand side. I had an instant memory flash of what Facebook used to be years and years ago. So for you who’s been right there in Facebook every single day, it must be fascinating for you or fascinating for you over the years, watching as Facebook has completely changed.
It’s actually one of the things I love most about the platform is how quickly it changes. It can be frustrating at times for sure, and we get thrown for loops as things change that are outside of our control. But I love seeing the evolution that really it does happen on a monthly, weekly, sometimes daily basis. It’s interesting that sometimes my teammates will log into Facebook Ads Manager and have a completely different view than what I’m seeing because new features are always being rolled out in different ways across different accounts and across different users.
And you look at the money that Mark Zuckerberg’s sinking into the Metaverse, its research in the Metaverse. You can see that Facebook is or Meta as the company is now, he absolutely wants to be a major player for the next 20, 30 years. Absolutely fascinating. So I do think these days in 2023, many people have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I hate Facebook for the randomness and the negative stuff that I see in front of it, but I love it as a communication tool. I use it. I run a Facebook group for MSPs in general. I run one for our members of our MSP marketing edge service. So Facebook has some incredible tools, but it obviously has a lot of negativity as well. From a B2B point of view, how do you see, or what kind of usage change have you seen in the way that you can reach decision makers over the, you said the last five years or so?
I think it’s interesting to look at it from two different angles. One, you can see these different products within Facebook becoming more and more popular for different people in different stages in their life. So you mentioned groups might be very, very powerful for MSPs. WhatsApp might be very powerful for MSPs. Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Facebook proper, all these different little features can be exploited in, I think, a little bit different ways that can be very beneficial for MSPs. And I think more importantly, the engagement on those different features creates more opportunities for advertising placements. For instance, within groups or marketplace, very targeted ads could be placed that would make a lot of sense for MSPs.
But is it possible to reach decision makers, so ordinary business owners and managers just using Facebook?
Absolutely. So I run a very large advertising account that is targeted to business owners for actually business loans for a very large financial institution. So we’re strictly targeting business owners with over $200,000 in revenue, and we spend thousands of dollars a day on that account very profitably reaching business owners. So it absolutely is possible really to adjust your tactics to the platform to find the right audience.
So let’s talk a little bit about those tactics. So your average MSP listening to this is typically marketing in a geographical area. They can serve people anywhere because of the beauties of remote access, but typically their marketing within their area, often because the sales process requires going out to meet people. Sometimes they’ll have a niche as well or some kind of vertical. What recommendations would you make of how to get started on Facebook ads?
Well, the first thing I would say is I think of about two different categories. One, I would look at retargeting audiences and custom audiences in one category. To the degree that you can get as much first party data on your intended target, as well as retargeting audiences that you developed through all of your other marketing activities, I would look at those in one bucket as far as Facebook ads. That’s probably a lower spend budget, very, very targeted ads, very, very targeted copy and imagery, and ideally that’s your bottom of the funnel best audience. But it probably is going to spend very little amount to make sure your frequency, ie, the amount of times you’re seeing an ad doesn’t get too high.
The second bucket, I would try to be as broad as possible, but be realistic with it. If you can only run in X amount of area geographically, don’t necessarily limit yourself by picking, let’s say the top five zip codes that you might think have the highest GDP, for instance. Try to be as broad as targeting in your prospecting, but realistically. And then secondly, while you’re targeting more broadly, make sure that your actual ad and the creative is aimed as tightly as possible at the specific audience you’re trying to reach, and let the algorithm actually find those specific people because it absolutely is reading your copy. It’s reading your video. It’s reading your image, and trying to learn who is best served on the opposite side of that ad. So I would say target broadly, message tightly.
Okay. And I’m going to come back on to messaging in a second. You mentioned a couple of things a second ago, and I want to make sure that everyone who’s listened to this understands everything. You mentioned retargeting, which many people will be familiar with, but can you explain it anyway? And can you also explain what a custom audience is?
So a custom audience is a audience defined in Facebook, either through email, phone number, page visited on a website, amount of video that someone has watched. It can be any sort of defined audience within a variable that you feed into Facebook. So it could either be on platform, meaning you watched x video or you clicked on X ad in the past, or it could be data that you feed back into Facebook. For instance again, emails or phone numbers, unique signifiers of specific people that you want to target. So that’s a custom audience.
As far as retargeting the audience, it’s done from the Facebook pixel. That’s gotten a lot harder post to iOS 14.5 update, and that people that opt out are naturally no longer within your retargeting audience. So you’re going to have to be using your desktop audience. However, for MSPs, probably a lot of your traffic is still coming from the desktop. That B2B audience is still searching via desktop. So setting that pixel onto your website and feeding that data back into Facebook/Meta for ad targeting.
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. That’s some good suggestions. Now, let’s just come finally on to the messaging. And one of the hardest things doing marketing with MSPs is that the things that are really important to MSPs, their end clients don’t perceive them to be so important. So for example, ransomware. So Brian, you are not a technical guy. You are not an MSP. So you hear the word, in fact be interesting. When I say ransomware to you, what do you know about ransomware?
I think of security. I think of some stocks that I own, but it doesn’t really play a role in my day to day.
Just as a research exercise, because this will be a fascinating thing for the podcast, can you tell me what ransomware is?
I couldn’t. Not in a way that would sound good to your audience.
Okay. Okay. And that’s exactly the issue that MSPs have. In fact, I think that’s going to be a question I’m going to ask all non-technical people who come on this show this year. So the average business owner or manager has exactly the same issue that you have. That they don’t really know what ransomware is, they can’t describe it, they don’t know the horrors of it, and obviously, most MSPs do because they’ve seen it or they’ve had to deal with that. Ransomware is only one small part of the overall security issues. And there are so many things which are actually really important to MSPs, which just the perception from the end clients is it’s not important until it is, until they get hit with something, and then it’s an issue.
So tell me if I’m right, ransomware protects you against your IT being essentially stolen and ransomed against. Am I correct?
Kind of. Yeah, you’re in the right ballpark. Ransomware is where someone blocks your… You go into work tomorrow morning, and your screen turns red, and it says “Your data has been encrypted. To get it, you’ve got to pay X thousand dollars in Bitcoin.” That’s ransomware, and that’s just the start of a hell week for you. But yeah, no, I mean, that was a pretty good guess at it.
So the issue is if you put messages like ransomware, cybersecurity, backup, all the things that are important to MSPs to deliver, if you put those into the marketing messages, the business owners that you’re trying to reach will slip into a coma because these things just aren’t of interest to them. So obviously, that has an impact on engagement, has an impact on response. What kind of messaging do you find works best in Facebook when you’re reaching B2B? Is it a very straightforward message or would you be a more amusing, would you use more entertaining content and imaging, for example, because of the platform that you’re using?
I Think it goes back to the classic Simon Sinek thinking of start your why? Why does this audience care? I wouldn’t try to be too technical. I’d try to either classic advertising 101, try to think of the pain that I’m solving or the joy that I’m creating, and try to lean into those as much as possible. Some of these products might not necessarily be in either of those categories, but ransomware certainly is. The pain that would happen if you aren’t set up properly from a security standpoint is pretty large. There’s also the peace of mind in the joy category when you’re set up properly from an IT standpoint. So I try to think, not necessarily B2B, I try to think classic consumer messaging, advertising 101.
Yeah, so you’re reaching people. The fact that they’re on Facebook or the fact that they’re business owners is almost irrelevant. It’s still just people trying to reach people.
Yeah, and hitting them with the message that is targeted to them. So my ads for business loans are very, very targeted to business owners. They would not make sense to my wife. It certainly makes sense to them.
And in fact, actually something not making sense to someone outside of the audience shows that you’ve got a very, very targeted message. Okay. Brian, just before we finish up, can you just give us one, two, maybe even three things that when you start working with a new client that you wish that they knew about Facebook ads? So if you like common misconceptions that you have to put right, or common myths or just things that you wish that people knew about Facebook ads.
By far, the number one thing that I get all the time is my audience is only on Instagram, or my audience is 25 to 34 year old women, and they’re only on Facebook groups. My audience is this. This is the person I want to reach. And to my statement earlier, the best way to use Facebook is to lean into the algorithm and go as broad as possible. Again, my business ads that I’m running right now, it’s very specific business owners. The majority of them have no targeting at all. The targeting is all done through the creative and leaning into the algorithms much as possible is by far the most efficient way to use the platform.
Rather than thinking, I know this exact persona, I think because mainly of the press, going back to Cambridge Analytica, the Trump election targeted ads, everyone feels that and they’re told specifically through political campaigns that they’re targeting, let’s say a very specific state and a very specific voter because they have so much data on that person that they know they need to swing them over to the other side.
Well, the majority of marketing isn’t that way. When I’m selling my business, I’m not trying to sell it into one specific state. I’m willing to sell to any business owner. And in fact, if I think of most of our elections in the United States, if we didn’t have an electoral college, we wouldn’t have these targeted ads in geography. They’d be trying again, to be using the algorithm to go broad. So I think that political backdrop and all these political stories that you hear have people thinking that they should go really, really narrow on the platform. And yes, the ads are very, very targeted, but you doing that microscopic targeting is not the most efficient way to do it. You can do it again, like we mentioned on the retargeting side and the custom audience side for very sharp targeting, but your broad targeting, I would do that at the ad level.
Okay, wonderful. Thank you, Brian, for giving us your time to appear on the show. Tell us briefly what your business does. Just remind us of that, and tell us how we can get in touch with you.
We’re Match Node. We are a digital ad agency. We’ve been at it for nine and a half years. We primarily help B2C businesses reach their consumers on both paid social, organic social, and Google ads.
And how can we get in touch with you?
Just visit our website at matchnode.com. M-A-T-C-H-N-O-D-E
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast. This week’s recommended book.
Hey, it’s Jason Kemsley from Uptime Solutions. And the book that I would recommend is “Scale or Fail”. Now, as a team, everything that you do decides on how explosive your growth is or how your growth doesn’t exist. Building a business to scale is the foundations to a successful business, even if you don’t want to exit or sell. So have a read, see what you can do starting from people to process, and then scaling and repeating, and see if you can scale and hopefully, not fail.
Coming up next week.
What’s up everybody? I’m Justin Esgar from the Virtual Consulting Group, and join me next week when we talk about how a small business like yours can acquire other MSPs.
Whichever platform you are listening to or watching this podcast right now, please do subscribe so you never miss a new episode. Or if you’re on YouTube as well, make sure you hit that little notification bell. Because on top of that interview with Justin next week, we’re going to be finishing off what we started this week about why your clients are terrified of cyber crime and what you can do about it. And I’m also going to ask you another provocative question. Have you ever sat down and worked out how much profit you make per client per hour? We’ll have a look at how you do that next week. Don’t forget, we have a ton of extra content at youtube.com/mspmarketing. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.