Data breach

Yahoo: When a hack hits the headlines, it’s an opportunity for you

Paul Green Content, getting new clients, selling more to existing clients

Compared to your clients and prospects, you are not normal.

No offence intended. But you’ve forgotten more about IT and data security than they will ever know.

Put it this way – even if they are tech enthusiasts, the majority of your clients don’t know, what they don’t know. They are not immersed in IT every day, like you.

So when something like this week’s Yahoo data breach hits the mainstream headlines, this actually creates a huge marketing opportunity for your IT support company.

This isn’t about cashing in. It’s about understanding how ordinary business owners and managers think and act, and being there at the point they need help.

You see, someone who doesn’t know much about a subject can’t make a cognitive judgement about whether or not it affects them. So they fall back on an emotional judgement (I explore how to capitalise on marketing psychology in my MSP Marketing / MSP Marketing book. Get your free paperback copy posted to you here).

Fear sets in. “Oh my God, I use Yahoo, have my details been stolen? Is my data safe? What will happen to my business?”

There are five marketing activities that I recommend you roll out. They’ll be more effective if you roll them out this week (because timing is a major factor in effective marketing).

Activity 1) Email your existing clients to reassure them
The media are calling this the biggest data breach in internet history. Some of your clients will have heard the news. Some won’t. Most won’t be affected. Don’t let that stop you from sending out an alert.

You should put together a basic Q&A on your website’s blog or news section. This IT Pro article is well worth adapting. Don’t just copy it as that breaches copyright law and will be seen as bad duplicate content by Google. You can summarise and rewrite the main points.

Then email a link to this Q&A to your clients. Tell them it’s the biggest data breach that has ever happened. And if they have an email account through Yahoo, Sky or BT, they should take some basic precautions such as changing their password.

Of course, anyone who is worried should contact your helpdesk to have a full scan of their computers, and maybe even a data security review. People are more motivated by the fear of loss, than the opportunity to gain.

Leveraging news like this can be an effective way to reactivate clients who have been quiet for a while. There might be nothing that needs doing relating to this issue. But I bet your technicians find other problems they can help with.

Activity 2) Email your prospects to warn them
I hope you maintain a marketing list of people who have given their contact details through your website, or have previously enquired but never bought. The more you work that list and keep educating them about IT support, the more likely they are to go on to buy from you one day.

It’s about getting the right message, in front of the right person, at the right time. Uneducated buyers typically give their spend to the company that educates them.

Send them a link to the Q&A as well. But make the call to action a little different. Perhaps you would offer them a complimentary remote security and data review. Or a paid, formal Strategic IT Review on their site. Something that gets your foot in the door. You and I both know that you will find issues that you can help with.

Activity 3) Educate your social media audience
Put this same Q&A onto your social media. Encourage sharing. You might even consider boosting your Facebook post for a week to reach more of the local decision makers you want to reach. Facebook advertising is an incredibly cost effective way to reach the right people. Here’s a video guide I started last week.

Activity 4) Educate the local media
I started my career as a journalist and radio presenter, and know that it’s a headache generating fresh content every day.

A local twist on national news that people are already talking about is good content. Phone a couple of local radio stations and newspapers to tell them you have put together a Q&A for local businesses. Make them realise how many local people could be affected.

Most busy journalists will ask you to email over details, so have an email ready to go. Don’t think you need to put together a press release. This is a very useful tool for proactive PR, but the timing of the story is more important at this stage.

Worst case scenario you’ll be totally ignored. Don’t take it personally. Much of PR is luck and timing.

Best case you get a short interview in a newspaper or get invited onto your local BBC radio station to discuss data security and how it can ruin local businesses when it goes wrong.

Put any coverage you do get on your social media, and your website. There are copyright restrictions to be aware of… linking to content on the media’s own websites is fine.

Activity 5) Prepare a response for next time
This will happen again. And again. And again. It’s good proactive marketing to have a response ready to roll out the next time there is a big data breach of some kind.

Remember – the businesses that win these days are the fastest. Speed beats size. If you can get a marketing response out before your competitors, you have a greater chance of getting a good revenue return on the investment.

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Hi, I'm Paul. Couple of times a week I send great marketing advice to 1,885 other MSPs around the world. Want to join them? I'll also send you a free copy of my book Updating Servers Doesn't Grow Your Business