Episode 95: Special: An MSP web traffic explosion

Episode 95: Special: An MSP web traffic explosion

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 95: Special: An MSP web traffic explosion
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In this week’s special episode

  • There’s no point having an amazing website… if no-one ever sees it. Getting the most out of your website is Paul’s main theme in this week’s special episode
  • Listen for 10+ free or low cost ideas to attract more traffic to your site. So you can turn the visitors into leads, prospects and clients
  • This deep dive into increasing web traffic touches on many tactics, including social media, reciprocal promotions, client referrals, public relations, promotional items and paid for advertising

Show notes

  • Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform
  • Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert
  • In this special episode Paul mentioned Google Analytics as way to find out how much traffic you’re currently getting
  • The service Stannp was mentioned for sending automated physically printed materials
  • Register for a free copy of Paul’s book
  • You can join Paul in the MSP Marketing group on Facebook
  • On September 14th Paul’s special guest will be Colin Knox from Gradient MSP, talking about how best to deal with your client’s data security compliance
  • Got a question from the show? Email Paul directly: hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world, this is an MSP Marketing Podcast special.

Paul Green:
Hello, welcome to a very special episode of the MSP Marketing Podcast. This week, we’re doing a deep dive into a subject that many people don’t talk that much about web traffic, because getting your website set up is almost the easy part. And there’s loads of places you can go for help getting your website perfect. But actually you’ve got to get traffic to your website. And then you’ve got to turn that traffic into leads, and those leads into prospects and those prospects into clients. And that’s the difficult, ongoing bit. If the website is the marketing engine of your business, then web traffic is the fuel. And without fuel, your website is an expensive and useless lump. So most MSP owners don’t invest nearly enough resource into driving enough web traffic. The days of setting up a website and people just getting to it, just visiting it, they ended, I don’t know, 20,21 years ago, the turn of the century.

Paul Green:
These days, your website will just sit there unvisited. So the trick is to focus on quality and not quantity. You don’t need 10,000 unique visitors every single week. You just need 50 to 100 highly targeted, relevant people every single week. The people who are most likely to go on to become great clients for your MSP. Now, as a side note, if you don’t know how many unique visitors your website currently gets, or even how many pages they view or anything like that, then install Google Analytics. It’s free, of course. It is a bit hard to read, but it gives you an insight into what’s happening in your website. And there are a lot of much more user-friendly alternatives to Google Analytics out there. If you just go and Google some, you’ll find them. Obviously, there’s a cost for that, whereas Google Analytics doesn’t cost you anything. So in no particular order then, I’ve got sort of 10, 11 plus traffic-generation techniques that are going to give you the best traffic to your website for your least investment in time and money.

Voiceover:
Social media.

Paul Green:
Facebook, Twitter, maybe Instagram, certainly LinkedIn. These are some of the most important ways of driving traffic to your website. With so many people regularly using sites like Facebook and Twitter and all of these, you’d be a fool not to use them to your advantage. All it involves is a little time and effort. Now, once you’ve set up all of your social media accounts, you just need to attract friends, or followers, or contacts. And to do this, you just get involved in what interests them and give them information that they’ll find useful. Post about stuff that relates to your business. You could give IT support tips, you could talk about your latest achievements, case studies, cybersecurity scares, all of that stuff. Now make sure that you link all of your social media sites back to your website and also link your website to your networks.

Paul Green:
You could even add in some kind of newsfeed widget. Have you seen that? It’s where the updates from your social media is shown in your website. The only thing is if you’re going to do that, make sure you only connect the social media accounts that you update regularly. Nothing dates your website faster than someone seeing that your last tweet was may last year. Now don’t use social media as a way of pushing promotions and offers, because that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about building a relationship with people and people will lose interest with you quickly, if you’re just pushing and selling all the time and do make sure as well that if anyone comments on any of your content that you go back and comment on it as well. In fact, one of the great ways to drive more traffic to your social media profile, and then in turn to your website, is for you to comment on other people’s stuff as well.

Voiceover:
Reciprocal promotions.

Paul Green:
Now setting up reciprocate cool promotions, which are also known as referral partnerships. Setting these up with another business can hugely increase traffic to your website and it can be very good for credibility with someone else’s audiences as well. All you got to do is find another business in your marketplace who has the same clients as you, but isn’t in competition with you. You can see why you would want to do that, because you can then help each other out in a variety of different ways. So, for example, you could run cross promotions. Literally they could promote something that you’re doing, perhaps some tripwire offer. A tripwire is, is where you get someone into the business by selling them something low cost just to get them in the habit of buying from you. And then, of course, you could promote their tripwire offer to your audience. Or you could just add each other’s contact details to your newsletters, to your websites. You could formally refer each other.

Paul Green:
For example, if you found a web design agency or a physical security company, like an alarm company, the things that people might ask you for referrals from, and you promote them, they promote you. You refer them, they refer you. And this can be a very, very smart way of doing it. Another way of doing this is to drive traffic to each other’s data capture. So, for example, if you’ve got a book, like we give away a book called Email Hijack to the clients of our MSP Marketing Edge service, and they can adapt that and put it on their website and gate it, which means that people have got to go through data capture to get their hands on that book. Well, you could set that up on your website. And your strategic referral partner could set up some data capture on their website. And then you email your list. So you email your email database to promote their book and they email their database to promote your book.

Paul Green:
Do you see what we’re doing here? So we’re not swapping data or anything dodgy like that. All we’re doing is telling our audience about something that is available to them. That can be a very smart way of doing it.

Voiceover:
Competitions.

Paul Green:
Running a competition on your website and on your social media networks as well can be a fantastic way of building up your website traffic. So give away something valuable or something that your clients or your prospects might find useful. Don’t just default to an iPad, because everyone just gives away an iPad. We’ve started doing competitions in this podcast. Producer James actually sorts them out for me. And he’s just approaching people and saying, “Hey, look, this is our audience. This is the kind of giveaway that we’ve done in the past. Have you got something big and exciting, please?” And some of the vendors say no to that, “That’s fine. Thank you for your time, anyway.” And some of the vendors say yes and they put together unique, big prizes, and it’s wonderful for us giving those away. And, obviously, we use this, in part, to drive people to listen to the podcast, but also in part to drive traffic to our website. Because to enter the competition, you have to go onto a specific page on my website.

Paul Green:
So we promote that in the podcast. We promote it on social media and we get quite a lot of traffic to that page for the week that we run the competition. So you can create quite a buzz about your competition on your website, on your social media platforms. You could even take out adverts to promote your competition as well. You just got to be careful not to attract the professional compers. So there are all sorts of forums out there full of professionals who swap tips on where competitions are. That’s why giving away an iPad is not a sensible thing to do, because it will attract compers, not the prospects that you want to attract. We only give away stuff that would be of interest to the average MSP owner. Just make sure you drive traffic back to your website for people to enter that competition, because that’s a critical part of this. You could even build something in where the more people they tell about this, the more entries they get into the competition. And there are some WordPress plugins and some Facebook plugins that you can find to do that.

Paul Green:
I’m not sure if business owners and managers would go for that. Consumer’s word, but we’re not interested in consumers. But it’s one of those things that it might be worth experimenting with.

Voiceover:
Client referrals.

Paul Green:
People trust what their friends and their peers say a lot more than what strangers say, which is why client referrals are so, so powerful. So to encourage your existing clients to spread the word about you and actually be a source of traffic to your website, you could set up a formal referral program. Maybe you offer them a discount, or a reward, or some incentive when one of their friends books an appointment with you. They don’t even need to buy, they just refer this. Now I don’t know, would this work? I’m not convinced certainly here in the U.K., British people, don’t like to feel they’re being bought. So maybe you could make it win-win, you know how like if you refer Dropbox, you get a bit of extra whatever it is, a bit of extra storage and they get a bit of extra storage.

Paul Green:
Maybe you’ve set something like that up. So the referrer and the referee get rewarded. I certainly wouldn’t reward people for a purchase. I would just reward people for the referral. So if they refer someone to you and that person visits your website or downloads your book or whatever it is, then that’s the thing that should be rewarded. I got to be honest. I think that you don’t need to reward people for referrals. There’s a great book about this and I’ve mentioned it a few times in the podcast. It’s called Unstoppable Referrals by Steve Gordon. Go and read that it talks about putting together a referral pack. And, of course, that referral pack, which could be a book, could be a pack of materials, but that would be hosted on your website. And therefore referrals turn into website traffic.

Voiceover:
Write articles, blogs, and contribute to forums.

Paul Green:
There are thousands of blogs, forums, discussion groups out there about every niche and marketplace imaginable. Now, by writing engaging articles, you are demonstrating your expertise and giving people a good reason to visit your website, to view those articles. There’s also positions you as an expert, which is great, because everyone prefers to work with an expert. Experts write, experts present. They do things like podcasts. They do videos, but especially they write. So if you’ve got a blog on your website, if you haven’t got a blog, come on, get a blog, Google loves blogs. It loves it when you add new content every single week and when you post relevant articles to it. Now there are some services out there where you can buy unique blog content. There’s a few tech services. I don’t do one of these, because we’d have to do customised, bespoke content for every single client. Because you can’t put one article on hundreds of different websites. Otherwise, Google would recognise that as duplicate content. That wouldn’t be a good thing at all.

Paul Green:
But if you’re not a writer yourself, just find a writer on Fiverr or Upwork or other places like that. You can easily find writers. There are more writers than there are writing gigs. So it’s very much a buyer’s market. Then, once you’ve created some content, you can find forums, and it might be Facebook groups, it might be LinkedIn groups, it might be Reddit, dare I say. Reddit, I think is a bit of the wild west, but there are all sorts of places out there where your potential clients are hanging out. Are there Facebook groups for business in your local area? Are there LinkedIn groups for business in your local area. There most certainly are? Are there on Reddit? Are people discussing the vertical that you’re in? Are there other groups, are there news groups. Anywhere that anyone who could both you, go and find where they could be.

Paul Green:
And once you do that, you get involved in these and you start to make your mark. So you do this by adding value, you contribute, you write useful answers. You give good ideas, you don’t sell, you never sell. And then over a period of time, as you start to build a reputation in that group, you can start to just drop in your latest article. Or maybe if someone’s asking you a question about something, you write an article answering that question. That would be great, because you’ve then got a valid reason for posting that answer in there. So you can include links to your websites by doing this, just make sure it’s always relevant to the discussion topic. And some forums also allow you to create a signature. And, of course, in your signature, I would just have a link straight back to your web address.

Paul Green:
Essentially in forums and stuff, you should write things which provide knowledge, which gives advice about specific technology, relevant subjects. And at the end, squeezing the link for your website for the reader to find out more. This also strikes me that you could also approach your local news blogs, your local media outlets, newspapers, magazines, radio stations, local TV stations, if you’ve got them, and you could write content for them as a trusted expert. And that would send some great traffic to your website. You could show them your contributions to the forums and the content that you have written on your website, even though you haven’t written it yourself. And that would be the way that you show them that you can actually write and you would be a useful contributor for them.

Voiceover:
Public relations.

Paul Green:
Moving on from this. Then public relations or PR is actually a very effective way of getting news coverage for your MSP and getting some traffic to your website. So send press releases to your relevant media, either your local media or the media in your vertical, on a regular basis. And this will help you to create a steady flow of website traffic when they publish the stories. This also builds trust and shows that you’re an authority, because people perceive that journalists pick the highest authority figures to interview and to feature in their media titles. And the reality is they don’t. I was a journalist myself for 13 years. You pick the most convenient people. And often the most convenient people are those who are sending out press releases on a monthly basis. So being seen in these titles is great, but you must give the journalists solid reasons to publish your story, including your website address.

Paul Green:
So that starts with making sure that your press release, which is a story suggestion, is actually newsworthy. Now, if you send out a press release, explaining that you provide or you’ve launched a new service, that’s not newsworthy, no one cares about that, and you won’t get coverage. You need to send things that are relevant. We give a press release every month to the members of our MSP Marketing Edge service and they don’t always get published. In fact, it can be very sporadic, but a lot of our members send those out, every single month, to the local media and every now and again, a story gets published about them in their local media, which is just brilliant, because it sends a little bit of traffic to their website if their web address is in there. But also it shows that they are the perceived local experts.

Paul Green:
You can leverage this. You can then build up a relationship with local media journalists and be willing to offer your expert opinion anytime they need you. There’s going to be a story at some point in the future where they want to just pick up the phone and talk to a technology expert. So that might as well were you.

Voiceover:
Targeted letters and postcards.

Paul Green:
Another method of increasing your web traffic is by sending out targeted letters, postcards that promote your business and, of course, the call to action. The thing at the end drives them to your website. So you can use all sorts of services for this. There are like Stannp, S-T-A-N-N-P, .com, which operates both in the U.K. and in the U.S. and they’ll do everything for you. You just give them the design, I think they might have a design service as well, but you just give them the content and they’ll print it, they’ll mail merge it, they’ll post it for you as well. You want to make sure that whatever you send, your letters, your postcards, that they’re very direct about what you want people to do, which is visit your website. And there’ll be a reason for them to visit. It might be to download a guide or to see an offer about something.

Paul Green:
And you’ve got to make sure they’re well-designed and they’re attractive, because often people will glance over things like these and they’ll glance over them just before throwing them away. So you’ve got to make sure you have an eye catching image, you’ve got an eye catching headline. You want to follow the AIDA formula. This is an ancient marketing formula, which stands for attention, interest, desire, action. And the two As are the most important parts. You’ve got to catch their attention and you’ve got to tell them how to take action. Now, the way for them to take action is to visit a specific page on your website. In fact, you’d make this call to action big. You’d put it in its own box at the bottom of your direct mail. It’s the thing they do. They go to your website to get the thing or do the thing you want them to do.

Voiceover:
Promotional items and emergency stickers.

Paul Green:
So promotional gifts, such as branded pens, calendars, mugs, that kind of thing. They can be one of the most effective ways of attracting attention and increasing brand awareness for your business. Because everyone, everyone loves a freebie, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem. So they’re great way to thank clients. Clients who are under contract, just send them a gift. Free gifts like this are great things to send out as part of an impact box to help you get new clients, but also they could increase your web traffic, because they can just remind people that you’re there. Something as simple as a high-quality pen with your name and your website address on it can do the trick, because people keep those pens around for years sometimes. And it goes without saying that you should have a bright red or a bright orange sticker with your website address and the emergency support number, the help desk number, which should be on every computer, every monitor, and every printer that you deal with.

Paul Green:
And I would put that on every device. In fact, it’s worth, I know you don’t like going to people’s offices, because it’s inefficient and it’s expensive. But it’s worth a trip to everyone’s office, when you start working with someone or even just to all of your clients, just to put the sticker on every single, every single device. Because most times people who need support, will just call that number without thinking about it. And if you ever lose that client in the future, you will still get calls from their staff, unless they’re new MSP removes all of those stickers, which reminds me when you take over a client, make sure to visit their premises and remove any existing stickers from their old MSP. Because otherwise they will call the old MSP and you do not want your new clients calling their old MSP.

Voiceover:
Newsletters.

Paul Green:
Sending weekly email newsletters is a great way to communicate with prospects. And it opens up an avenue to not only inform them and educate them for edutain them, educate them and entertain them, but also to exchange ideas with them. Because you can use your email newsletters to tell prospects about the exciting things that are happening in the world of tech, things that are happening in your business. You can encourage them to reply, to ask questions, to interact with you on social media. And, of course, to just hit reply to that email, if and when they’re thinking of switching MSP. So you’ve got to make sure that your newsletter is concise and it’s original. People will not spend a huge amount of time reading through a long, wordy newsletter. What they’ll do is they’ll just scan your email for nuggets of information that instantly appeal to them.

Paul Green:
I prefer the idea that you have just one idea in one email. So you send out one subject, teach them about one thing in each email newsletter. And, in fact, the other thing I recommend is that you get people to click through to read whatever it is you want them to read about. So let’s say you’ve got a subject that’s in your email newsletter. You actually make it a blog article. You create a piece of content, you put it on your blog and then you send out the email and to read it, they’ve got to click to go through to your website. So this becomes a source of web traffic. What you do in the newsletter in the email is you just put the first few sentences to wet their appetite. And then they’ve got to click to read the full article. This is what I do, by the way.

Paul Green:
If you are not on my email list, go on to paulgreensmspmarketing.com. There on the homepage, you can request a copy of my book., which is called Updating servers doesn’t grow your business. And you’ll then, in my email list, and you’ll see that when I send out my weekly email with new content, that’s on my website, you have to click through to read it. In fact, that’s our biggest source of web traffic is I’ve got a list of about 3,000 MSPs. And my biggest source of traffic is the day I send that out and we get a several hundred people visiting the website. Now, another advantage of this is you can track what kinds of articles your audience are most interested in, because the more clicks you get and the more people reading something shows you those are the subjects. That’s where their worries and their fears are, but also you’ll know which of your readers are most engaged with your content. And you can track this in your CRM. The more someone clicks something and the more they read on your website, the more engaged they are. Phone those people.

Voiceover:
Paid for advertising.

Paul Green:
If you serve a geographical area, so you’re not focused just on a vertical, most areas now have these free community magazines and lots of local businesses can advertise there for just pounds or dollars, not huge amounts of money. And these little community magazines are great, because they just reach the whole of the local area, often because they’ve got volunteers delivering them. And they can give a great return on investment, which compared to local newspapers. I would never suggest that you advertise in local papers or magazines. That would like suggesting you advertise in Yellow Pages. It would be a bit 1997. But these magazines, which will cost you, I don’t know, £50, $50 because they’re created by and for the local community. They’re crammed full of normally like crosswords and weird articles reviews, but also local advertisers.

Paul Green:
What you tend to find is that people really read these. Business owners read these because they come into their home. So it’s worth you spending the 50 bucks on an advert. Just make sure it’s eye catching, it’s informative and make sure that you state that you are a B2B company. You don’t want someone ringing up, because they’ve cracked their iPad screen. I think those little community magazines are really worth a punt a couple of times.

Voiceover:
Pay per click.

Paul Green:
So Google Ads, of course, is the best known example of pay per click and that’s the sponsored links at the top of search engines’ results pages. Do you remember back in the day, they used to look really different. They used to be in their own like box, like an orange box, like a wash behind. And Google essentially taught us to jump over the ads, didn’t it? And to go down to the organic search results. Well, these days the ads look exactly the same as the organic listings. Google has been very clever to get away with doing that, because even I sometimes find myself clicking on an ad in error. I’ve searched for something and I’m trying to jump over the ads and go to the top, organic listing. And then I realise I’ve clicked an ad in error. So Google Ads can work for you. It’s certainly you’ll get a lot more clicks now than you used to, because, as I say, they’re now hiding the ads.

Paul Green:
But many MSPs struggle with Google Ads, primarily it’s because of the cost per click. I know a few MSPs that love Google Ads and they don’t mind the high cost per click, because it just gets them above their competitors in Google search results. And also they tend to look at it as a long-term thing. You think if you win a new client tomorrow and they’re spending a thousand a month with you and they’re in a three-year contract. Well, that’s guaranteed 36,000 of revenue. The reality is they’re going to stay with you for 5 to 10 years. So actually it’s going to be potentially hundreds of thousands in revenue. I guess that’s the mindset you’ve got to have with Google Ads. You’ve just got to make sure that you’ve got enough cash to pay for those ads.

Paul Green:
Facebook Advertising is another example of online advertising. LinkedIn as well. My team is struggling to get a good ROI from LinkedIn Advertising. In fact, if you’re doing well with it, please do let me know. Drop me an email. hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com And I’d love to explore what you’re doing, so that we can put it in a future episode of the podcast. But with all of these things, again, it’s just worth spending a little bit of money every single week, just so you have a guaranteed presence. Unless you’re in a massive, massive market where you’re completely priced out of Google or you’re in a tiny, tiny market where there’s just not the search volume available, you’ve got to invest some money into online advertising. With all of this stuff, as we’ve been talking about here, traffic is not free. It hasn’t been free for a very, very long time.

Paul Green:
You’ve either got to invest a little bit of cash, or you’ve got to invest a little bit of time to drive some of this traffic, like writing the articles like we were talking about earlier. But, ultimately, your website is sat there without enough traffic and one of the ways to generate more leads is simply to throw more relevant, targeted traffic at your website. If this is something you want to discuss, we have a great forum that’s just for MSPs like you. It’s the MSP Marketing Facebook group. Go into your Facebook app, type in MSP Marketing at the top, go to groups. And if you are an MSP, please apply to join. Because it’s only for MSPs. We don’t have any vendors in there. So apologies if you’re not an MSP owner or don’t work in an MSP, we won’t accept you in. But if you are come and join more than 1,300 MSPs discussing exactly the kind of marketing that we’ve been talking about in this week’s show.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week…

Colin Knox:
Hi, I’m Colin Knox with Gradient MSP. I’ll be on the show next week to talk about my experiences in building, growing, and exiting an MSP, all about helping MSPs make better decisions by becoming more data driven inside their own business.

Paul Green:
We’re going to be picking up one of the things we were talking about today, public relations. So I’m going to explain to you next week the difference between PR and advertising, and why I think you should do a dramatically larger amount of PR activity. You should be hitting your local media outlets at least once a month. It’s also my turn to suggest some books to you next week. Normally at the end of each podcast, certainly in the regular episodes, we have a guest coming on recommending a book. Next week, I’ve got three oldies, but goodies to recommend to you. They’re books that have been on my bookshelf for many years. They’re really good marketing and business growth books, and I’m looking forward to recommending them to you next week. Have a great week and I’ll see you then.

Voiceover:
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