In this week’s episode
- Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool, but using it can often feel daunting. Paul has found a simpler and more visual way to understand what people are really doing on your website
- Not that you should sell up and move on (well, not yet), but Paul introduces you to a couple of incredibly insightful books; one of which explains why a ‘ready to sell’ mentality could really help improve the way you feel about your business
- Paul welcomes special guest Andrew Eardley to talk about a package of tools that could be easily re-sold for increased Monthly Recurring Revenue (and they make life easier for your techs, too)
- And there’s a great question from the audience about whether virtual offices are really worth it
- Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform
- Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert
- The two incredible books Paul talked about were E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and Built To Sell by John Warrillow
- The book Paul mentioned in the previous episode was Influence by Dr Robert Cialdini
- To help systemise your business, Paul mentioned the tools called IT Glue and IT Boost
- The tool to better understand what’s users are really doing on your website is Hot Jar
- MSP Marketing Edge is the marketing content service Paul mentioned
- Thank you to special guest Andrew Eardsley, the MSP who has created MSP Easy Tools
- The great question about virtual offices was posed by Greg Micallef from GMA
- Next week’s guest will be MSP sales expert Fiona Challis who runs the The Next Gen Sales Acceleration Academy
- Here’s a link to Paul’s Facebook group for MSP Marketing
Voiceover: Made in the UK, for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Paul Green: Hello. Here’s what’s coming up on this week’s show.
Andrew Eardley: In terms of security, I’m sleeping way better at night because I’m no longer worrying about if a client gets breached and they start threatening us with court action.
Paul Green: I’m also going to tell you about an app which will allow you to watch videos of what people are actually doing on your website. And we’ve got a great question about expanding to a new city. Do you need to take on a virtual office?
Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Paul Green: Got a couple of more books suggestions for you this week. So in last week’s podcast I talked about a book called Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini. This week it’s two books which are very similar, although they’ve been written in completely different ways and in fact with decades in between them.
Paul Green: But they’re both must read books for any business owner. And the two books are The E-Myth Revisited, and Built to Sell. So let’s talk about The E-Myth Revisited first. And this is the classic 1980s text by Michael Gerber about the hell of being a business owner. The E in E-Myth is the entrepreneur myth or the entrepreneurship myth, and it talks about how you work for someone else.
Paul Green: One day you have what’s known as an entrepreneurial seizure and this is where you suddenly believe, I’ve got to work for myself here. I don’t work for myself. I’m going to go crazy. And we, you and I have been through this virtually everyone who owns a business has been through this and this had this seizure. And of course we all know that once that idea grabs you, you’ve got to act on it. So the E-Myth talks about how you get started in your business. In the first few months or few years, everything is hunky dory because you have this huge level of control.
Paul Green: You’ve got the ability to put all your passion into your business, you’ve got this ability to create something that’s exactly as you would want it to be. And then of course you have to take on staff. And of course your staff never quite do things exactly as you would like them to be done, and they never operate with the same passion. Even the good ones, they just don’t have your ability and your passion and your drive and your vision. And that just causes a huge amount of frustration.
Paul Green: And what Michael Gerber was really the first person ever to do was to capture the pure hell of being a business owner inside our heads because he absolutely got that it’s about seeing your vision and your control be watered down and diluted because you’re so busy, you need to have staff. And it’s what keeps a lot of people as one man bands because they just don’t want to go through that pain.
Paul Green: But of course a business without a staff isn’t really a business. It’s just a job that pays well or doesn’t pay well and doesn’t allow you to go on proper holidays. So Michael Gerber uses some fictionalised examples from a hotel, and I think the other one is a bakery to talk through this hell, to talk through this difficulty. And then he presents the solution. And the solution is to look at your business as if it going to be a franchise.
Paul Green: And you say, if I was going to go off and sell some franchises on this, I’d need to put together an operating manual. I’d need to put together some systems so you systemise the business. In fact, this really fits with what a lot of MSPs do with things like IT Glue and ITBoost, where they’re documenting everything. But this isn’t about documenting what you’re doing for the clients.
Paul Green: This is about documenting how your business works. So everything has a standard operating process, a system, a checklist, all of that kind of stuff. So the E-Myth is a must read and make sure you buy The E-Myth Revisited. Michael Gerber wrote the book originally just as The E-Myth and it didn’t have those fictionalised stories. It was actually quite hard to understand what he was saying. And then he rewrote the book as The E-Myth Revisited. It’s an absolute classic and it’s on Audible as well.
Paul Green: Now the second book I’m recommending, it’s a version of the same thing. It’s a more recent book, just a few years old. It’s called Built to Sell by John Warrillow. And again, it talks about the hell of running a business and particularly when you need to be there for the business to thrive. Rather than sort of repeating what’s in The E-Myth Revisited, what John Warrillow has very cleverly done is say, “Well, hey, you need to change the business and rebuild the business so that one day it can be sold.”
Paul Green: Now I’ve sold a business. I sold a business in 2016 and that was a very systematised business that had lots of recurring revenue. I didn’t need to turn up every day in order for the business to thrive. I just used to go into the office one morning a week. That was a great business. Why did I sell it? I sold it because actually we got a very good offer and I was a little bit bored with it and it was just time to sell that business. It was the culmination of 11 years worth of hard work.
Paul Green: And it’s funny, I read Built to Sell after I’d sold the business and realised that more out of luck than judgement, I’d put together a business that was easily sold. Because when someone buys a business, they don’t want to have to fix all your problems. They don’t want something that’s going to fall over.
Paul Green: People sometimes think that a business that isn’t particularly optimised very well is actually more sell-able because someone else can fix it. But you know what? Most buyers, they don’t want to fix it. They want to bolt it on, they want to pay you off and they want to just add some profit streams. And we’d built a business that was a very systemised, that didn’t need the owner in order to thrive. And that’s exactly what Built to Sell is about.
Paul Green: And it talks about how the more systemisable your business, and the more monthly the recurring revenue coming in, the easier it is to sell that business. What’s interesting is that when you’ve built that business, that’s also a business that gives you a great lifestyle without you being trapped in an office every day. So it’s exactly the same route with different outcomes.
Paul Green: Maybe you want to sell the business, I mean you’re going to want to sell it at some point, because you will leave that business at some point. Either you’ll be carried out on a stretcher or the business will go bust or you’ll sell it. So you might as well build the business to be sold at some point. Because it can take up to a year to sell a business.
Paul Green: It took a year to sell mine, so you want to have it in… It’s almost like having your house ready to sell at any point just for when it grabs you, you can sell it. Exactly the same with your business. Get it into a shape where it’s a sell-able entity and actually that sell-able entity gives you less stress. You can take more holidays, you can spend more time with your family, you can do more stuff.
Paul Green: And this is what Built to Sell is about. And again it uses a fictional story. In this case it’s an advertising agency to tell the story of how you build your business up. Very similar solution to that recommended by Michael Gerber, which is to systemise the business and put in place processes for everything. If ever there was a sector, which I think is absolutely perfect for this. It’s the world of IT support.
Paul Green: Because you think most jobs, yes, you’ve got complex things that need a lot of creative thinking, but most of the jobs, 80% of what you’re doing is systemisable work. It’s all done through checklists. And we live in a great age where there are so many tools around like IT Glue, like ITBoost and all the others that allow you to systemise the business. And it’s standard, it’s normal.
Paul Green: So I think these are both great books. The E-Myth Revisited and Built to Sell, both available on Audible. I like nice paper books myself because you can draw on paper books and you can highlight them, but these certainly a two that you should get on your bookshelf and actually read them as well.
Voiceover: Here’s this week’s clever idea.
Paul Green: If you’ve ever spent serious time looking at the Google analytics for your website, then frankly you’re a better marketer than I am because my goodness, it’s just difficult isn’t it? I know that all the stats are there and it can show you some amazing things, and in fact I have a colleague called James who is very analytical, really into his data and he spends hours looking at the analytics for our websites and all the projects we’re working on. But me, I don’t know, I’m just not that kind of detailed guy.
Paul Green: I find Google analytics a bit of a mystery and that’s why I was so excited to come across something called hotjar.com, because what Hotjar does is give you a bit more of a warm, fluffy view of what people are actually doing in your website. Because it videos people. No it doesn’t video them it doesn’t identify them at all. So it’s not like access is a webcam or anything silly like that, but it videos how someone is using your website.
Paul Green: So we have the free version of hotjar.com on most of our websites and every now and again, just to see what people are doing. I’ll just go and watch some of the videos and I’ll often just do it in the evening. And I’m not looking for anything in particular, although you can use it to answer specific questions. Just looking to see where are people getting to, how far down the page they’re getting.
Paul Green: And the answer by the way, is not as far as you think. Which pages are they clicking on? What are they doing that’s creating problems for them? Now, Hotjar isn’t a particularly scientific way of doing it. It does offer functionality called heat mapping where it will show you where people’s attention are. And that’s quite useful. Me, I just find that the real value in it is just sitting, looking at videos of people using your website.
Paul Green: And you start to spot trends. My MSP Marketing Edge website, I completely revamped that about two years ago because the videos of the original website just showed us that people were not getting into the core guts of it. They weren’t really getting right down into the content. So we redesigned all the content to draw people in and to show them, what we wanted them to do.
Paul Green: The same with the call to action, the CTA, the call to action on that wasn’t very clear. So we made the call to action, the page we wanted them to go to, to look at it, to buy. We highlighted that in yellow in the navigation, and that worked. More people spotted it and therefore more people went over to it. And we only know this, not just through the analytics and through obviously the increased sales, but also through watching people on the videos.
Paul Green: Actually seeing mouse cursors on videos, going up and clicking on that navigation. So go and have a look at hotjar.com. There is a free plan, which for most people is good enough. If you have a serious website or you have a full time marketer or marketing team then the paid one might be worth looking at, but it’s one of those things you should just put into your website just because, just because every now and again you can go and have a look and see what people are actually doing.
Voiceover: Paul’s blatant plug.
Paul Green: So talking about the MSP Marketing Edge as I was just then, that’s my blatant plug for this week. It’s a service which gives you marketing content that you can use to promote your MSP daily, weekly, or monthly for a very low fee, it’s just 99 pounds a month in the UK, 129 dollars a month in the US. The idea is that you’ve just got content and it’s done for you and you’re the only MSP in your area that can use it.
Paul Green: So it’s just simple concept really. So we’re making something once and selling it multiple times. That’s why we can give you so much content, because there’s a video in there, there’s a guide in there, there’s social media content, there’s emails, there’s a press release, and then every year we also give our clients a brand new book that they can use. We’ve just delivered to our clients about a month ago, a book on cybersecurity.
Paul Green: It’s called Email Hijack. And the idea behind that is they put their name and their company name on the front and they can change the text and they can change the book name if they wish, print some off and now they’ve got a 48 page business card, and they can use it as an ethical bribe on their websites to get people to opt in. So there’s all of this stuff which is given to you every month.
Paul Green: You can tweak it, you can just use it as it is. The point is, there’s marketing content. So you can build a relationship with people. We all know that prospects buy when they’re ready to buy. This is your way of being in front of them every single day, week or month. So that at that point they’re ready to buy, you’re very much top of their mindset as the MSP that really they should speak to.
Voiceover: The Big Interview.
Paul Green: I’ve been working with Andrew and Jean Eardley for a number of years now, and it’s been fascinating following their journey as they’ve transformed their business into something that’s chocker with monthly recurring revenue, and is a business that thrives without them having to be there. Now one of the things that they identified early on is that they needed to automate more jobs that were just taking up technician time.
Paul Green: And they put together a very clever toolkit which works with Office 365 and just makes life easy for the techs. And a couple of years ago they figured out, hang on a second, we can also use this to generate revenue, because there were extra services in there that some of their clients wanted to buy from them. About a year or so ago, they realised that there were other MSPs that would want to access this toolkit, and so they launched MSP Easy Tools. They completely revamped those tools and they’ve scaled it up so that it can be used by any MSP anywhere in the world. And I interviewed Andrew about the launch of MSP Easy Tools. First thing I asked him to do was to tell me about his MSP.
Andrew Eardley: So Prompt PC was formed in 1997. I started as a one man band and we were doing the usual things, office, small business servers, desktop support, all the rest of it. Got to about 150, 170 servers overall. And then probably in the last four or five years we’ve turned the vast majority of them off, moving over to Office 365. Now we’ve probably got about 10, 11 servers left. And to be sure that we knew what we were doing, we became Microsoft Gold partners.
Paul Green: So you developed the MSP Easy Tools, and this was something you put together to fix a very specific problem, wasn’t it?
Andrew Eardley: We’d been putting Office 365 into our clients for some time. And do you know what clients are like, they like things to be as the same as it always had been. So they wanted their T drives and the V drives, the usual drive letter mappings and we’d been using Microsoft Sync to do that. But then Microsoft went and messed everything up virtually overnight.
Andrew Eardley: And we were getting, we were inundated with calls through the office. The help desk was literally bombarded with calls about synchronisation errors and corrupted files and duplicate files. And we asked them what were the solution for it, and that’s where Prompt Mapper was born.
Paul Green: So how did the toolkit develop from there?
Andrew Eardley: To be honest, it’s happened because of the problems that we’ve encountered with our clients. Every time that we’ve seen an issue that we’ve struggled to find the answer for quickly, we’ve gone away and developed it. So a good example, for example, when we had email forwarding issues, clients were being compromised, accounts were being breached. And the cyber criminals were putting email forwarders on.
Andrew Eardley: There’s three locations in Office 365. When you’ve got a hundred users in a business, takes a long time to go through them. So we scripted and got it fixed. So that automatically checks on a very regular basis for when there is an email forwarded on the system. And it now means that the end client can actually turn it off. It doesn’t even need a call to us.
Paul Green: And what kind of a difference did this make to the way that you actually ran the business?
Andrew Eardley: Oh, it’s made a massive difference. We’ve no longer getting those help desk calls in about issues on syncs. In terms of security, I’m sleeping way better at night because I’m no longer worrying about if a client gets breached and they start threatening us with court action, because we’ve not detected that someone’s breached their system and put an email forward on, for example.
Andrew Eardley: And it also means I’ve got engineering time back where I can get them onto projects or our monthly support contracts are already paid. And I’ve got free time now for my engineers to go earn me even more money. So it a big smile on my face.
Paul Green: And how did it affect the profitability?
Andrew Eardley: Dramatically improved it. We’re charging them fixed monthly fees, they’re happy to pay it because they’re getting a service that works reliably. They don’t have to keep calling up about it. And money just keeps coming in to us. Yes, we spent the money in developing it, and I’m now getting the reward from it.
Paul Green: So what was it that triggered you to start selling this to other MSPs?
Andrew Eardley: I’ve got to be honest, Paul, it’s when I sat in your mastermind groups with the other MSPs. We sat talking about what we were doing and where we’re heading and during the tea breaks and, well, even during the meetings they’d say, “Can we have some of that? How can we get some of those tools that you’re using?” And that’s why the reason why we’ve developed it.
Paul Green: Okay. So it’s now being used by a thousand end users and it’s rolled out already to a number of MSPs. What have you done to change it so that it can be scaled up and it can be used by thousands of MSPs?
Andrew Eardley: To be honest, what we’ve ended up doing is actually breaking it all back down and rebuilding it from scratch, to make sure that we can sell it to multiple MSPs, to thousands of MSPs. Make sure the license in there, we’ve locked it down properly, made sure it’s totally secure. It’s been a complete revamp. Whereas it was a tool that was designed for us and our internal usage, and it can be a bit frayed around the edges.
Andrew Eardley: We’ve thought about how it’s going to be at… If I was going to buy a tool from a software warehouse or a software vendor, what would I be expecting? You know, how would I expect to see it? And that’s how we’ve redeveloped it. So we know that we’re answering all the questions that an MSP would ask, because I’ve already asked them. If you’ve got more questions after that, obviously give us a call.
Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast, ask for anything.
Speaker 4: Hi I’m Greg Micallef from GMA, providing IT services and telecoms. We’re looking at the idea of a wider catchment area and as part of that, looking at virtual offices, what are people’s thoughts?
Paul Green: That is an interesting question. Thank you very much Greg. So I think maybe 20 years ago, if you wanted to break into a new area, you certainly needed to have a presence in that area, a physical presence. But marketing and the world of IT support has changed so much over the last 15, 20 years that I don’t think that’s necessarily something you need to have any more.
Paul Green: We all know that you can support anyone anywhere. In fact, you probably support users hundreds and hundreds of miles away, and you do so mostly without stress until you need to have some kind of physical presence, which is, let’s be honest, it’s such a minimal thing these days. I think to break into a new area, there is a marketing advantage of having a physical address in the area, but I don’t know that you need to have an office for that. It’s ever so easy to rent addresses just to have somewhere in the area.
Paul Green: But let’s be honest, the clients aren’t coming to see you, the prospects aren’t coming to see you. You can arrange neutral meeting places if they don’t want to meet at their place. So I think just in terms of keeping overheads under control, no, you don’t need virtual offices. Maybe an address, maybe not even that. People buy in completely different ways to the way they did 15, 20 years ago.
Paul Green: We’re not marketing to consumers here, consumers who may be looking for a local provider. We’re marketing to business owners and to business managers and their criteria for picking a new IT support company; can I trust you, and what can you do for me? So for that reason, no, I wouldn’t bother taking on the overhead. I’d just focus all your marketing on that area. And it’s more about what you can do digitally than it is about what you have to do physically.
Voiceover: How to contribute to the show.
Paul Green: I would love to hear from you with any feedback you’ve got about the podcast. Good or bad. You can just drop me a line. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voiceover: Coming up next week.
Fiona Challis: They’re sending these big, long and impersonal messages that, they’re really just taking what they would’ve said in the cold call and they’re putting it in a LinkedIn message and expecting a result.
Paul Green: That’s my friend Fiona Challis, also an MSP sales expert, and she’s going to be telling you next week how to get more new clients into your business. We’re also going to be talking about remarketing using Facebook. It’s a way for you to completely dominate social media and websites that your prospects are browsing.
Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.