Video for MSPs

The MSP’s ultimate guide to using video to get new clients

Paul Green Content, Videos

Video is the number one engagement tool on your website. In this ultimate guide, you'll discover how to make video a crucial part of your MSP’s marketing strategy



Getting business owners to choose your MSP above all the others is about influencing them at an emotional level, not a cognitive one.

They're not in the world of tech, so they can't tell a good MSP from a bad one. That means they pick a new one with their heart, not their brain.

And you know the fastest way to influence someone emotionally online? It’s VIDEO.

If you haven’t got the budget for a Hollywood production, don’t panic. ‘Good enough’ and on your website is far better than perfect but still in production. 

And the even better news is, there’s very little you need to buy. In this Ultimate Guide, I’ll show you how to quickly and easily pull together videos to start getting new clients. Action!

Why video is a must-have for your MSP, not a nice-to-have

You might be someone who’s not that bothered about video - but all the data shows your next potential client most probably is. 

People are watching more video online than ever before. Here’s a mind-blowing fact - video accounts for 82% of all internet traffic, double what it was in 2018. Yep, it’s that big a deal. 

Just like you, people are spending more time at home now, and often working there too, so demand for video has grown faster than anyone could have predicted. And while you may think we’re just talking about slightly unkempt millennials who have nothing to do with your business, actually, those millennials are now knocking on 30’s door and starting to become the decision-makers you want to reach. 

So, what do all those people binge-watching Stranger Things have to do with you getting new clients? It’s an inescapable fact that people aren’t just using online video as TV now, they also use it to help them decide what to buy. And it’s not just lawnmowers and cars - 86% of businesses using video in their marketing say it’s been effective for generating leads (Wyzowl, 2022) and almost the same number say it’s helped them directly increase sales. It’s no less true when it comes to someone choosing their next MSP.

Remember what I said about business owners and managers choosing you with their heart not their head? Seeing a face in a video - whether that be yours, one of your team or one of your existing happy customers - is likely to make a potential customer trust you more. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.

The brilliant news is that most MSP’s don’t get this. That makes you - reading this - already one step ahead. But it’s important to remember that not all online video is created equal. So before we start on what to make, let’s talk about what not to make.

The worst video I’ve ever seen - and how to avoid the same fate

I was quite embarrassed when this friend of mine showed me the video that he had put together to promote his business.

Now, let me state for the record. This guy, he's not in MSP, he's not even in the world of IT support. So if you've shown me a video at some point in the past, I'm definitely not talking about you!

No, this was a friend who runs his own business in a completely unrelated sector. And he decided - quite rightly - that he should put together a video to go onto his website.

It was (and I'm not exaggerating when I say it) one of the worst videos I've ever seen.

First of all, it started with a really, really, REALLY long logo shot. You know, a flying logo with all the different elements coming together and a bit of cheesy music.

It took eight seconds for the logo to come together. Very few people will get past those first eight seconds, which is maybe a good thing because what followed was seemed like it would never end. A cheesy internet voiceover under animations that my 12 year old could make a better job of. Sigh.

Believe me, that was a very awkward conversation as I told my friend just how bad that video was

It's not one of my super powers to hold back when I'm looking at some shocking marketing.

The good news is I've never seen an MSP video quite that bad. Thinking about it, I don't see that many MSP videos. And yet video is the number one engagement tool. It’s relatively straight forward to put you in the ‘has video’ camp

And if you’re worrying it’s going to need to be shot on something George Lucas would be at home with - don’t. It’s easier than you think.

You’ve already got a good enough camera - and other kit tips

The biggest video challenges lie in the lighting, sound and controlling the picture. You actually already have a perfectly good camera. A couple of them, probably.

Your mobile is more than good enough for decent video. I use an iPhone 11 for mine (more on how to use it later). If I'm not on the move and making a video at home, I use my three year old Canon EOS 70D (now replaced by the EOS 4000D) on a tripod. Which brings me onto avoiding making your viewers seasick. 

Controlling the picture

In a sea of content, quality matters. To make your business to look like a professional outfit people can trust, investing in a few key bits of kit to go with your existing iPhone or other camera makes all the difference.

If your camera isn’t moving, you need a decent tripod to keep things level. I’ve bought a couple of tripods off Amazon and been very happy with them.

I’ve also got a magnetic GorillaPod, which you can use to attach your phone to almost anything. This is the SLR version.

Of course, these days, you watch any TV and the camera is always moving. I saw an episode of Not Going Out being filmed a couple of years ago, and was struck by how all the cameras were moving, all the time. So a few months ago, I bought the DJI Osmo mobile phone stabiliser, which is wonderful.

You attach your mobile phone to it, and it uses a series of motors to keep your mobile steady while you move. It’s the same technology used in drones.

You can even use the DJI Osmo app to automatically track and follow an object, such as your face to keep it in focus.

Here’s a video I filmed for my MSP Marketing Edge members a few months ago.

I’m literally just wandering around a field where I live holding the DJI Osmo out in front of me! I think the results are quite impressive given that it's a pretty low cost gadget. It also helps that I'm outside, which brings me onto...

Lighting

If your video looks amateur, it could well be because you didn’t get the lighting right.

The easiest way to avoid this is to film outside, or if you’re going to film inside, sit close to and directly facing a window which will give you natural light and avoid you looking washed out.

Do a test and watch it back on your laptop to see what it looks like. I bought a cheap pair of studio lights to give me a lighting boost indoors.

Sound

Getting the sound right is another pro tip. I use a little microphone that I clip to my shirt for every video I film, even when my phone is just a few feet away from me.

It makes a real difference and costs very little. This is the microphone with a very long cable I use.

I seem to break them every few months, but they’re cheap enough to order two or three at a time.

Recording your computer screen

Because of the nature of what you do, being able to record your computer screen quickly and easily is a major bonus.

Plus you can still produce a video even if you’re having a bad hair day… 

There are hundreds of tools around. For very short videos, normally sent to one person to demonstrate something, I tend to use TechSmith Capture (formerly Jing). It hosts your short video for you making it very quick to film, load and share. It also includes an excellent screen shot tool.

For these videos, I use this lovely Samson Meteor USB microphone. The sound quality is great. And it looks so good, I could lick it.

Editing software

This is one of those areas where there is so much choice, you can try out different options till you find the one that best suits you.

I actually use Camtasia for all my video editing. I’ve found it to be the most stable, easy to use editor, and can easily combine live video with animated video and footage I’ve captured off my screen. I can also add effects, such as a highlight where my cursor is on the screen, which is useful.

If you're a Mac user like me, the bundled iMovie is a sophisticated piece of software that’s also very easy to use.

These days we all have access to the same tools that Hollywood uses, at a fraction of the price. Lightworks has been used to edit films you’ve probably seen.

A word of warning – if you use software that’s too complicated you could waste too much time learning how to use it. It’s fun to learn new stuff. But always better to use a simple editor and get videos finished. Videos can’t get you new clients or sell more to existing clients while they’re stuck on your laptop for days on end.

So, your kit’s sorted. But if you’re still stuck what to say, read on.

The two key types of videos you need, and where to put them

Number one, you need a slick, well-produced, 60 second video to go onto your website's home page.

It should be the first thing that people see when they get to your site. And the best kind of video for this is your clients talking about your business.

So rather than YOU talking about how great you are, you get your CLIENTS to talk about how great you are. More later on how to get them to say what you need them to. 

But a video like that, refreshed every two to three years, will have a major impact on the amount of leads that your website generates.

That homepage video needs to be done properly and professionally though. You need to get a storyteller who can produce lovely visual images, the right sound, and do it all in an entertaining way. And edit and cut it together so it's 60 seconds of pure pleasure for the prospect watching it.

Now, the second type of video needs a bit less of a commitment. It's the kind of video you share on LinkedIn and on social media, and put on your blog.

This kind of video can be literally just you talking directly to the viewer. It's much more disposable content. I’ll talk more later on about some ideas for what could actually be in this kind of video.

But ultimately, whether you're using video on your homepage or on your social media, there are three criteria that it must meet.

My three golden criteria

1) It must be full of real people, not presenters, not animated characters, but real people

2) It needs to be relevant to the viewer. This is a general marketing rule. The more relevant your marketing is to someone, the more likely they are to take action on it. It's why operating within a specific niche or vertical is so powerful.

And 3) it needs to be rapid. Have you noticed that the attention span of the average human these days is similar to that of a goldfish? We scroll, we skim, we switch between electronic devices without even noticing.

60 seconds is the perfect length for a home page video. You can do much longer on your social media videos, but it's still got to be fairly fast-paced. Start them off feeling like they’re not going to have to invest too much time just to get to the end.

And people are busy and easily distracted - so make sure you hook them in in the first 10 seconds. Open with a question or something funny. Then just get on with it and tell people stuff that they are interested in.

Four easy content ideas you can do today

1) Answer common questions 

Spend a few hours answering some first line calls and you’ll start to remember some of the questions people ask every single day. “How do I reset my password?” “Why won’t this do that?” Or get your techs to write down every question they hear in a day. Each question is a short video, and a great easy way to generate simple content. 

‘Explainer’ or ‘how to’ videos are incredibly popular on YouTube - just think of every time you’ve watched one to help you fix something at home or help your kids do something. Well guess what? Just like the experts that made those videos, you’re an expert too. Not only are you saving your client a phone call - and your team from taking it - you’re building rapport with them, and building trust with clients-to-be.

2) Interview an expert

We’re not talking about a boring, technical things, acronyms etc. Interview one member of your team. Interview all of them. Find out what they most enjoy about their job, what they do day-to-day. The more a potential customer feels they know about you and your MSP, the more likely they are to feel associated with you.

Why not take people behind the scenes? What’s routine and normal to you every day is actually interesting to other people. For example, seeing 6 laptops being set up and installed simultaneously isn’t something your average person has ever seen or would know where to start with. Phones have time-lapse now, so you could even leave a phone or iPhone running and film a bit of kit being set up to show how much time and attention goes into a task like that. As long as we don’t see bum cracks and people climbing under desks (yes, it happens, but no one wants to see that). But your techs proactively doing work, fixing people’s problems, doing the stuff you do every morning to stop machines from breaking - that’s content in itself.

3) Testimonials

There is no better way to influence humans to pick your MSP than having other real life humans wax lyrical about you on camera. Just getting six of your clients saying a super quick 5 second 'something nice’ about you gives you a 30 second testimonial video when you put them all together.

Book in to see one of your favourite clients, and when you’ve got through the agenda, whip out your iPhone and say, ‘How would you feel if I quickly asked you a couple of quick questions for our website?’ Some will say yes and some will say no. But just because you wouldn’t do it, don’t think others wouldn’t. 

Ask open questions as we want them to talk openly; 

What was your biggest fear when considering trusting us with all your technology? Did that fear come true? If not, what happened instead?

What specifically was your favourite part of working with us, and why?

If you were to recommend us to your best friend who was also a business owner, what would you say?

4) Run a competition

People love competitions on social media. Just go and have a look at the number of likes/comments on a post when a small business says they have a free box of candy to give away (seriously, you have to see it to believe it). So offer up a bit of tech, an iPad or something like that. Film yourself saying, ‘Hi, as a thank you for being part of our community, we’re giving away an iPad! To win it, like, tag a friend in the comments or share this post to your page. A like will get you one entry, tagging a friend two, and sharing three.’  The reason you do it this way is because that’s the way Facebook will score the activity on your post - the more people it sees engaging with you, the more people it will show your post to.

Where to put your shiny new videos

Now you’ve got some lovely videos, you need is somewhere to ‘host’ them so hoards of lovely potential new clients can actually watch them. Your chosen host will generate a piece of code which you can use to embed your videos into your website and on social media, and there’s nothing wrong with good old YouTube.

Because it’s part of Google, there are some “Google juice” benefits to putting your videos into your own YouTube channel, in other words, Google’s more likely to promote them in search results.

But if you want total control of how your video looks and the quality of the hosting, you really can’t beat Vimeo. Vimeo is ad free, and it uses a higher bit rate than YouTube, so video will always look better quality there. Vimeo’s free plan has limited upload and storage limits, but you get what you pay for.

One of my favourite things about video is that it’s multi-platform - so once you’ve made a piece of content, it can go in more than one place capturing more than one audience. Video posts on both LinkedIn and Facebook get better engagement than every other post type (like photo posts, link posts and status posts). And while it’s ever-changing, videos are known to have been favoured by those platform’s algorithms, so you’re more likely to get to the top of people’s feeds with a video.

Targeting businesses with an Instagram account? Then you should have one too, and it should have video on it.

Something else to remember is that 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off. We all know what it’s like to scroll through social media on a train/in a public place where we don’t want our phone to start accidentally blasting a cat singing an Ed Sheeran song. The good news is that YouTube and Facebook now both give you the option to switch on automatic captions, saving you the trouble of making them yourself. They’re not fool-proof and you can get the odd rogue word appearing, but there’s also the option to preview and edit the captions yourself before posting (if you can be bothered).

An alternative idea: Get someone else to do it for you

Now you’ve got some lovely videos, you need is somewhere to ‘host’ them so hoards of lovely potential new clients can actually watch them.

Your chosen host will generate a piece of code which you can use to embed your videos into your website and on social media, and there’s nothing wrong with good old YouTube. Because it’s part of Google, there are some “Google juice” benefits to putting your videos into your own YouTube channel, in other words, Google’s more likely to promote them in search results.

But if you want total control of how your video looks and the quality of the hosting, you really can’t beat Vimeo. Vimeo is ad free, and it uses a higher bit rate than YouTube, so video will always look better quality there. Vimeo’s free plan has limited upload and storage limits, but you get what you pay for.

One of my favourite things about video is that it’s multi-platform - so once you’ve made a piece of content, it can go in more than one place capturing more than one audience. Video posts on both LinkedIn and Facebook get better engagement than every other post type (like photo posts, link posts and status posts). And while it’s ever-changing, videos are known to have been favoured by those platform’s algorithms, so you’re more likely to get to the top of people’s feeds with a video. Targeting businesses with an Instagram account? Then you should have one too, and it should have video on it.

Something to remember is that 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off. We all know what it’s like to scroll through social media on a train/in a public place where we don’t want our phone to start accidentally blasting a cat singing an Ed Sheeran song. The good news is that YouTube and Facebook now both give you the option to switch on automatic captions, saving you the trouble of making them yourself. They’re not fool-proof and you can get the odd rogue word appearing, but there’s also the option to preview and edit the captions yourself before posting (if you can be bothered). 

One last tip- watch your content on your phone before you hit publish- it always looks different on a smaller screen.

If all this sounds like your idea of hell, pick someone in the business - a tech or young member of your sales team who spends more time than you’d like on their iPhone - to take this on as a development task. 

Or, just as it’s a solid investment to use an accountant rather than mess up your tax return yourself, use a professional. There are thousands of people who can help you. Look on PeoplePerHour or Google for video people in your local area.

I shot this video with a local videographer at his little studio recently, and having a team of people running around adjusting lights and powdering my shiny nose (that actually happened, by the way) meant I could concentrate purely on what I was saying.

Pick someone based on their demo or showreel. Find a video style you like and ask them to do yours like that. With the amount of freelancers out there looking for work, it might not be as expensive as you think.

My recommendation is my friend Darren Wingham at Wideo.co.uk. He’s a former radio presenter like me and knows exactly how to communicate a message, efficiently and effectively. His pricing is very good, too. Say I sent you.

You can see some studio work I did last year, in his demo reel.

And just remember - the more you do this, the better at it and more confident you’ll get. Even the pros learn something new from every single video they make, and I guarantee that making your first video will give you an idea for how you want your next one to be.

And of course I’d love to see what you come up with! You can email me any time: hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

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