Not very long ago, the world changed almost in the blink of an eye. With social distancing and remote working in place, the way MSPs conduct business and what values customers are looking for in managed services changed forever. What all these changes look like from a technical, marketing, and strategic perspective is what most people have taken to calling “The Next Normal.” The degree to which marketers embrace this new normal will determine the success of their marketing endeavors in 2021 and beyond.

Take SMART risks

If your business has been heavily impacted by the COVID crisis, it makes sense to adopt the “survival mode” marketing strategy and stick to what worked in 2020 from a marketing and promotion standpoint. I would still suggest you cut costs, but do it right. Don’t remove your brand and your message from in front of your prospects entirely. Brand presence is crucial at this time and cutting ad spend for too long could have negative impact on your brand’s image.

If you are an MSP that did fairly well during the crisis, consider seizing the moment of subdued chatter in the market and build your brand – perhaps even increase marketing budgets. Not only is this a great time to position your MSP brand as optimistic for the future but also an opportunity to win market share for less investment. By increasing your marketing budgets at a time when competitors are reducing theirs will establish an advantage that could be maintained for years. To ensure all budget increment risks are SMART, make the most of data-driven advertising.

Implement a “Digital First” Strategy

As more people spend time at home and on social media, the ROI on PPC ads has skyrocketed. In the post-COVID era, the digital medium is clearly having its moment. It is probably the best platform to experiment, measure, and analyze your engagement. To optimize the cost, focus on nurturing your existing digital channels to engage with customers. To make sure you don’t end up duplicating your reach, closely track conversions to sales from each platform.

Remember, advertising messages are most effective when they are consistent and repeated. This is what makes “remarketing” another strategy to try in 2021. Expanding your focus to include customers in remarketing campaigns can help turn good partnerships into even better ones with upsell and cross sell messaging.

Give messaging an overhaul

Digital advertising matters now more than ever, but the messaging and strategy must be designed for the new world we live in. For example, amid skyrocketing cybersecurity threats, all MSP customers are looking for safety and trust.  To help customers feel connected to your brand, understand your audience’s new pain points, backed by data. Integrate this understanding into your advertising, social media posts, blogs, etc. This could also mean redoing your content calendar altogether or maybe putting some passive sales emails on the backburner while you focus more on blogs and podcasts that cater to doubts, fears, and questions related to the current business security landscape. Remember that your message and imagery should reflect the current environment, so be careful of references that may not align with current precautions, such as “gathering” or “shaking hands.” Be aware and thoughtful.

Put interactive content in place

Even when being pitched a service or product, people always crave human-to-human social interaction. Find ways to include idea sharing, collaboration, and networking in your messaging and content—and get creative when it comes to achieving that digitally. Use short testimonial videos or video case studies to showcase the “people” side of your business. You can even call out members of your team who earn kudos from your clients and feature them in your nurture emails or social media posts. Use polls or fun hashtag campaigns on your social posts that tie in with ad campaigns.

Final Thought: Finding your MSP’s unique selling proposition in the post-COVID landscape and investing in data-driven marketing will be essential for growing more in 2021 and beyond. Map out a creative plan and focus on speaking to your customers’ new priorities.