Before you develop ad content that will best appeal to new clients, we first need to understand the different stages they go through when making the decision to buy from an MSP.
The buying journey can be divided into three distinct stages - awareness, consideration and decision.
These three stages apply to almost every customer across every industry, yourself included!
Stage 1 - Awareness
Awareness is where a potential customer is aware they have a problem but they’re unsure how to solve it. We would typically refer to this as a ‘cold lead’.
Technically, there is a stage before awareness, during which the customer is unaware they have a problem.
However, this doesn’t form one of our key decision-making stages because it’s difficult to market to somebody who doesn’t yet realise they have a need for your product or service.
Stage 2 - Consideration
Consideration follows awareness. This is where the potential customer clearly defines their problem and begins researching solutions to fix it.
We would refer to this as a ‘warm lead’ because the customer is actively taking steps to solve a problem and knows they are going to need to make some sort of purchase.
Stage 3 - Decision
Decision is the final stage, during which the customer understands their problem, is ready to choose a solution and is looking for the best provider to deliver it.
This is what we call a ‘hot lead’. Customers in decision mode are described as being in a ‘buying window’.
One example would be a situation where positive word of mouth has led the customer to approach you directly to find out more.
They have been told by somebody whose opinion they trust that your company is the best company to effectively solve their problem.
It’s typically much easier to convert a lead into a customer when they are sitting in this sweet spot.
Targeting the 95%
The majority of your potential customers are going to be in the awareness or consideration stages, with very few in decision mode.
In fact, the number of customers ready to make a buying decision is likely to be as little as 5%.
Therefore, your business development activities should also focus on the 95% of potential new customers who are in the awareness and consideration stages.
Focusing only on the 5% that are in decision mode is a mistake we see companies make time and again.
If your marketing is only talking to a handful of hot leads (i.e. the %5 in decision mode), then you’re missing out on the majority of opportunities that could really help accelerate the growth of your company.
A Real-Life Example
Let’s say you’re an MSP that’s growing rapidly. You started out offering a break/fix service to quickly grow your client base. As your client base grows, you start hiring engineers and investing in better tools to manage your workload.
But at some point, you start to notice that things are falling behind. Tickets are backing up, errors are occurring, and profit is declining. Something’s wrong, but you’re not sure what it could be.
At this point, you’re in the Awareness Stage. You realise you’ve got a problem, but you’re not sure what it is.
When you start doing research you realise that the remote connection tool you’ve been using, which requires the end user to initiate the connection by going to a website and downloading a connection tool, is letting you down. It’s a drawn-out process, it wastes your team’s time, and your clients don’t like doing it.
You realise you need a professional RMM tool.
You’ve now moved into the Consideration Stage.
So you start to analyse and evaluate the tools available on the market and you narrow your choice down to three companies. You reach out to these three companies to find out who can offer the best deal.
This is the Decision Stage and you’re the hot lead.
Now, this is a fairly simplified scenario, but you get the gist. Generating your leads is all about how you position your services.
How To Write Ads
Imagine you’re in the Awareness stage and you see an ad on LinkedIn that says “25% off the annual licence fee for our RMM tool.” At this point, you’re not even sure what’s wrong, so chances are this ad isn’t going to resonate with you.
You don’t know that an RMM tool is what you need.
All you know is that support tickets are backing up, errors are being made and profit is declining.
But, what if you saw an ad that said:
“Are you an MSP that’s struggling to process support tickets in a timely manner? Are your team making more errors than usual? Have you noticed profit declining even though you’re growing faster than ever before? You’re not alone.”
This one makes sense to you. It’s talking to your specific problems, describing exactly what’s wrong. So it’s a no brainer that you’re more likely to click on this ad than the previous example.
The moral of this story is that you need to understand the buying stages of your customers in order to write effective ads that will get them to engage.
Getting Customers To Take Action
In the above example, by outlining the familiar problems an MSP may be experiencing, the RMM provider has made the content relevant and relatable to those in the awareness stage.
This all means a better chance of potential customers responding to the ad’s call-to-action and clicking through for further information, rather than scrolling straight past it.
For customers in the consideration stage, you should be developing marketing content that clearly outlines how your offering can help them overcome the challenges they face.
As the customer then moves from the consideration stage into the decision stage, your marketing content should evolve one step further to talk about how your company is the best option to provide the service.
What we can learn from this is how crucial it is to develop a clear understanding of your customer’s buying stages, so you can create effective marketing strategies and content that has the necessary cut through.
Being mindful of what your potential customer is experiencing at every stage can help move them along from cold, to warm, to hot!