5 Ways For MSPs To Create Marketing That Can’t Be Ignored

Most people, when they think about tenacity, don’t think about marketing. But I do. Other folks may conjure images of triathlons or grueling ordeals that require both physical and mental toughness. And they’re not wrong: Running a triathlon does require toughness. But so does effective, powerful marketing. It’s not for the faint of heart.

So, I’ve written a new book called “Get Different: Marketing That Can’t Be Ignored.” In the book, I make the case for why you need to have a marketing plan, and I share actionable strategies for growing your business by winning new clients. 

But I’ve been thinking about the notion of mental toughness and its relationship to health, achievement, and success. Speaking from a physical standpoint, I know I have to get regular exercise or I feel like crap, both physically and mentally. Fitting that exercise in, especially when I’m on the road, requires discipline — making healthy choices not just occasionally but regularly. I exercise, and I feel good.

It occurs to me that there’s a real connection between mental tenacity and marketing as well. People don’t just get lucky and accidentally finish a triathlon. They train for it. Likewise, businesses don’t just get lucky and have a fully formed, effective marketing strategy appear out of thin air. Both the triathlon and the marketing plan require discipline and toughness, effort sustained over time. And, like the triathlon, a powerful marketing strategy is not only worth having; it’s what will help your business to grow and thrive.

How exactly is marketing like running a triathlon? I’m glad you asked.

You Must Set Ambitious Goals.

James Lawrence didn’t just wake up one day and start doing Ironman events. He trained, planned, and persisted over time. Most people won’t complete a single Ironman event, and Lawrence set his bar ridiculously high. Why? Because you don’t accidentally achieve great things. You must work for them over time.

When you’re working on your marketing plan, don’t sell yourself short. Set goals that are measurable and achievable, but set your own bar high. Track your progress and reward members of your team who exceed expectations. If you aim low in your marketing goals, sure, you may achieve them, but you’ll never know how much more you could have achieved. Set lofty goals and get ready to work hard.

Differentiate Yourself.

No matter your industry, you exist in a sea of competition. You’re competing not only against other businesses that would love to take your customers, but you’re also competing against all the noise that bombards us: news, social media, and all the other signals streaming our way every moment of every day. How do you deal with the competition?

You stand out.

Whatever it is you do, wherever it is you are, find your “EST.” Be the most interesting, most vibrant version of you, and you’ll differentiate yourself and your business from the competition. I’m not saying you should be outrageous, garnering attention just for attention’s sake. But the first step of tenacious marketing is to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

If you commit to a print ad, make sure the colors and font pop. If you’re doing a series of networking or speaking events, choose something that makes you memorable, whether it’s a cool hat, awesome (and comfortable) shoes, or an unforgettable tagline. You want to stand out in a good way that reflects positively on your business and your brand. 

It’s not always easy to find a memorable and positive way to differentiate yourself, but it’s worth the work.

Attract Your Ideal Customer.

Some items on your work to-do list are things you get to cross off and move away from. Some items … like this one … never go away. Attracting your ideal customer is a perpetual task. Not only do you have to identify your ideal customer, spend time where they do (both physically and virtually), and tailor your pitch to resonate with the right person, but you also have to make it easy and comfortable for your prospective customers to say yes.

Part of the challenge of attracting your ideal customer is infusing your business and your brand with your values — values your customers share. The other part, of course, is communicating those values to those customers. And that means you have to get to know them. You need to engage with them frequently. You need to establish yourself as a trusted authority in your industry, a member of the group you’re selling to. If you’re an insider, it’s much more comfortable for customers to support you and your ethos.

This job isn’t one and done. It’s achieved by sustained effort over time. Tenacity is required.

Direct Your Customers.

I used to know a guy who was always one of the smartest people in any room. He was funny, charming, and knowledgeable, so he was a logical, natural fit for sales. He gave the greatest presentations. He’d lead you by the hand through whatever he happened to be selling at the time, and people would be absolutely enchanted.

And then the presentation was over.

He never asked for the sale.

He didn’t direct his prospective customers. He didn’t ask for the order. He didn’t set appointments to follow up. It was almost as if he found the act of taking an order to be distasteful, somehow, but after years of frustrating and disappointing results, he finally had a manager who handled him like a coach. The manager walked him through a pitch and taught him that he had to ask for the sale, had to direct customers about what they were supposed to do with all this amazing information they’d just been given.

Overnight, the guy’s sales improved, and they never declined. It’s not enough to run most of a triathlon if you’re not going to take the final few steps. Persist to the end and give your prospects a clear, logical directive. What’s your goal for your pitch? Do you want them to make an appointment? Try your new service? Share your newest blog? 

When you’ve been tenacious and differentiated yourself, along with attracting your ideal customer, don’t fall short of the finish line. Direct your customers to take specific action.

Get Different. Get Tough.

Anyone who’s ever trained for something like a triathlon has had blisters. They’ve had sore muscles. And they’ve had days when they just didn’t feel like putting in the work. The same is true for marketing, too. Nobody gets it right all the time. We try things, and they fail. What differentiates good marketing from bad is that one failure doesn’t stop good marketing. 

Marketing requires work. It requires creativity. It also requires grit. You have to be determined to succeed. Some days you may not feel like it, just like there are travel days when I’m tempted to blow off a workout and eat an enormous cheeseburger instead. What I’ve learned, though, is that I feel better if I’m disciplined. If I’m mentally tough enough to go work up a sweat, then I can have that cheeseburger.

Great, powerful marketing only happens when you’re willing to put in the work, when you’re tough enough to stay the course. It’s worth it in the end.

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