As an MSP, you can’t just be a marketer. You also need to be a storyteller

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    According to a recent study, in the 1970s people were exposed to roughly 500 different ads per day. That was when you took into account television ads, ads you would see reading the newspaper or magazines, and other things of that nature. Flash forward to today and that number has grown to 5,000 — a trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Based on all that, it’s no wonder that a massive 30.1 percent of the U.S. internet population now uses ad blocking software of some kind — if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have time for anything else.

    Over the years I’ve seen the marketing industry change more times than I can count. But the most important lesson I’ve observed throughout all of this is underlined by statistics like those above. People don’t like to be “sold to” any longer – if they ever did in the first place.

    So why, then, are most MSPs still trying to do just that and little else? 

    These days, most managed services providers just try to sell when making an effort to reach out to their target audiences. They think that technology — and reams of technical specifications documents — are all they need to show people what they do and why they matter. In reality, almost the exact opposite is true.

    You shouldn’t be trying to “sell” in your marketing, in the literal sense. You probably shouldn’t even be trying to “market” at all.

    Instead, you need to tell a story. In a lot of ways, it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

    The nexus between storytelling and marketing

    As CEOs, owners, company visionaries, or just old fashioned entrepreneurs, it’s already our job to be a Chief Storyteller in a lot of ways. Think for a moment about the shape this takes when we look inward, towards our own organizations.

    We’re probably already using the tried-but-true techniques of classic storytelling to connect with and motivate our own employees. That annual speech you give as a CEO is more than just a bunch of words on a page — it’s the classic “we’re down by six points going into the second half, but by God we’re going to come together and pull it out in the end” locker room speech at the heart of every sports film you can name. It’s Luke Skywalker convincing Han Solo to return to the Death Star at the last possible minute in Star Wars so that they can collectively save the galaxy. It’s a succinct proclamation of “here’s what we’re doing, here’s why it matters and we’re all in this together.” 

    It’s motivation through narration and it works on your outward-facing initiatives, too. But for some reason, we’re still not doing it with our customers.

    One of the major things that we work on with our own clients in our MSP Marketing company during our “Strategy Intensive” workshops is exactly that. It is taking what you do and why that’s valuable, and translating it into a compelling, relatable, and emotional story. A lot of times the simple act of translating all of your efforts into a clear narrative can give you the perspective you need to recontextualize everything you’ve been doing — and everything you need to do moving forward.

    Writing that story is what is going to help you convert prospects into customers. It’s what is going to distill your message into exactly what they need to hear, exactly when they need to hear it. It’s going to play to their emotions in the best possible way, motivating to take the right action for the right challenge at the right time.

    But you’re never going to get to this point if you think that “selling” is the be all, end all approach to what you’re doing. Again, consider it within the context of a Hollywood feature film. What’s the difference between the latest, biggest, most expensive, paint-by-numbers, effects-laden Hollywood blockbuster that comes out every weekend — the kind that you see and almost immediately forget about — and a classic like Star Wars? After all, isn’t The Fast and the Furious 9 a better movie from a technical perspective? Doesn’t it have more actors, flashier effects, and bigger explosions? Sure it does.

    But what it doesn’t have is the beautiful story at the heart of Star Wars, and that’s the only thing that matters.

    If you focus on trying to tell a relatable story instead of just selling to your prospects, you WILL close more deals. More customers WILL be happier working with you. Your employees WILL be happier as a result, too.

    So based on that, your next step is clear: it’s high time you put pen to paper and get writing.

    Uncovering the story you need to tell, together

    Are you still not quite sure what story your customer needs to hear to take your relationship to the next step? Don’t worry — we’re here to help. In our one-on-one 60 minute strategy call with either myself or another team member at Tech Pro Marketing, we’ll help you uncover all of this and more — all by starting with your customers and working our way back to your business, connecting the two points with the narrative of value along the way.

    Nate Freedman

    Nate Freedman is the CEO of Tech Pro Marketing and Ulistic, the only MSP marketing group with 12+ years of experience helping MSPs generate over 20,000 high quality leads, with over 150 5-star Google Reviews to back it up. Connect with me on LinkedIn.