Online Lead Magnets for MSPs

MSP Price Engine


In general, the output of a website that’s designed to create leads can be expressed as :
Leads = Visitor Traffic x Conversion Rate %

I.e. to get more leads, you can increase the visitor-traffic or the conversion rate … or both.

Increasing the traffic to a website is outside the scope of discussion here, however it can include driving more visitors to your web page from SEO, online ads (e.g. Google Adwords), email marketing, social media marketing, PR, video … etc. Getting ‘eyeballs’ is usually the expensive part of web-marketing where very often, the conversion rate should be ramped up first, however, this is usually neglected.

Landing page optimisation is also beyond the remit here, although it’s worth mentioning that certain things can help to achieve quick “wins” to maximise leads (in decreasing order), such as great-copywriting, decent-headlines, social-proof, impact-images, above-the-fold attention-grabbers all the way down to lesser issues, such as load-speed, having a privacy-policy and even the colour of your opt-in buttons. All of these can be tested ad-nauseum if you have the time and budget.

Obviously, some things are more important than others. Amazon spent millions of dollars getting the right colours and page designs and it is still continually optimising landing pages. You don’t have the luxury of Amazon’s marketing department and neither do you have the same business-model. You just want to get leads and sign-ups!

The Big Question, What Do You Put On The Website to Generate Leads?

The answer to that question can only start at one place, specifically by asking who is your target market in this instance?

Another article in our series has already covered the benefits of the Ansoff Matrix for MSPs, however, you can also have a different type of matrix for your type of offer and type of prospect. As Dan Kennedy has been quoted as saying, success is all about “Market, Message and Media”. Well, we already know the media (i.e. the website landing page) so this means we can now just focus on 2 dimensions, i.e. the message and market. This lends itself to another 2 x 2 matrix style of analysis.

The market can be thin or wide, i.e. general or a vertical. The message (i.e. the offer) can also be a general message/offer or a very specific one. This means we can have, in increasing order of market-message resonance, 4 areas on the matrix, namely :

1 – Wide Offer To a Wide Marketplace.  
The Offer Could Be “IT Security Guidelines” and the Target Market could be “Businesses and Charities in General” E.g. “Download Our Free Guide To IT Security”.
Now, we all know that IT security has been a crowd-puller for years and perhaps it’s getting a bit jaded, so we can niche down a notch.

2 – Niche Offer To a Wide Marketplace.
This is where a single service, e.g. HaveIBeenPwned can come in useful, especially if it offers something novel, such as this dark-web checking tool, which users may not already know about and elicits curiosity.
E.g. “Check Now To See If Your Email Has Been In a Data-Breach”

3 – General Offer To a Niche Marketplace.
As a quick reminder, it’s usually useful to start with the target market rather than the offer because it’s the logical place to start – i.e. start by properly knowing where your hungry crowd. So in this instance we could have something like :

“Doctors! Download Your Free Guide to IT Security For Medical Practitioners” and all of a sudden this becomes a lot more irresistible for the owner or manager of a medical firm.
Arguably, the downside is you’ll have less traffic. However when you specialise in a niche or an area then the higher perceived value more than outweighs the reduction in traffic. Besides, you can always have multiple niches and use specific marketing techniques to generate traffic within those niches.

4 – Niche Offer To a Niche Marketplace.
Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), this is where you should (hopefully) see the highest converting results, simply because the message to the market is laser-focused.
Continuing in our theme, we could have something like “Doctors’ Data Downloaded!  Check Now To See If Your Doctor’s Details Have Been Compromised”.

Admittedly, that last headline needs a bit of work on the copywriting front, although hopefully you’ll get the point about the benefits of laser-focussed headlines. Getting the specific target market is another topic, although of course you can segment your market by vertical (e.g. medical professionals as just mentioned).

… or by geography “If your business is within 20 miles of Cheltenham, please register for your next complimentary ticket to attend our next networking dinner”.

… or by size and geography  “For businesses of 5 or more staff within 20 Miles of Cheltenham, claim your complimentary ticket to attend our clay-pigeon event & networking dinner”.

… or by size and geography and behaviour “For businesses of 5 or more staff within 20 Miles of Cheltenham using Microsoft Dynamics, claim your complimentary ticket to attend our clay-pigeon shooting event, networking dinner & 2-day training bootcamp”.

Generally speaking, the more valuable and qualified your target market is likely to be, the more you can afford to ethically ‘bribe’ people with your offer – you’ll need to qualify them of course.

Different Offers for Different Sections and Different Seasons

On one end of the spectrum, the hapless MSP will have a website with no offer and just an email address or contact form and expect people to call or email if they want help. It’s like asking fish to jump onto the bank for the benefit of the fisherman.

In the middle of the spectrum, the better MSP website will have a single offer and this offer will be along the lines of a network audit or health-check or something equally uninspired and unappealing. Ugh!
Using our famous fishing analogies, this is the equivalent of using the same bait forever, irrespective of the fish sought or the weather conditions or location etc … all of which is lazy and (at best) sub-optimal.

At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll have the best MSP who will have segmented their website into various categories and each category will have a different offer or call to action or engagement device of some sort.
This means that the offer of free security-check (such as HaveIBeenPwned) will be on (say) the security page whilst a downloadable whitepaper about VoiP-Fraud could be an engaging and relevant offer on the telephony web-page. Not only can the different webpages on the website have different offer (each pertinent to the relevant section), the offers can be tested and measured and adjusted accordingly – especially if they are time-sensitive or seasonal.

Schools or colleges may have different buying cycles or seasons or requirements depending on the time of the academic year to an accountant that may be sensitive to an IT related offer at the end of the financial year – maybe something pertaining to accounts software or payroll or whatever.

At the very least, each section should have it’s own information-related offers or downloads, which can be in the form of checklists or ready-reckoners … these usually convert well.

A Note About Price Engines

In all the years running a marketing company from 1998 to when MKLINK started writing content for MSPs in 2014, the two biggest successes on behalf of clients we managed were the following :

1-The first biggest success was saving a niche heating-oil company over £1million pounds (annually) in wasted Google Adwords-spend for a single payment to us (£1K). Perhaps we should have charged more – lesson learned!

2-The second biggest success was in building from scratch a price engine for a flat roofing company around 2002 where we increased their conversion rate from visitors to leads from less than 1% to 7% on their best day.

This was done by building and optimising a multiple-step signup process which ultimately resulted in emailing a live-price to the visitor that wanted an online price. This made the owners millions of pounds of revenue and the ROI was astronomical – although it’s now been copied by multiple competitors in their own industry and is now used in many other industries as well.

Interestingly, we’ve tried it in the MSP space and completely failed to make a success of it. This is frustrating, especially having heard anecdotally that some MSPs are getting good results with price-engines and other types of calculators. In one instance, an MSP is using an energy-saving calculator to great effect.

Given the ability to make landing pages with price calculators a lot more easily than coding everything by hand in PHP like we used to 20 years ago, I would therefore suggest that you try different options here.

As an aside, MKLINK ran a press release once for a data-cabling company that had an online quote-engine which enabled people to calculate the cost of re-wiring their office and they had tremendous results from that and from different counties too. That was also around the turn of the century.

In Summary
Here are some observations, having tried various offers and “calls to action” over the years :

1 Momentum helps. Having multiple-step signup forms makes it a lot less intimidating for a prospect to start than a large, single form (and a lot harder to stop once halfway through), so make it “softly, softly catchy-monkey”.

2 Curiosity and salesmanship and copywriting are key. Don’t scrimp here, you’ll definitely want to make it as appealing as possible for prospects to start to enter their prized information on your form.

3 Add lots of social proof and credibility on your website because visitors are a lot more sophisticated and wary about giving away their contact details than they were, even just a few years ago.

4 Test and measure and come up with multiple irresistible headlines and offers and on different pages too. Being lazy and just trying one headline will dramatically cut down your chances of getting more leads.

5 Things change so find out what is hot at the moment. Use PPC tools to ascertain what search words people are using currently to search for. Jump on any trends or issues which may be in the news that people may be Googling about. Have an offer and at least an info-product to give away for it!

If you’d like a guide for copywriting, we have a free one available for download – just ask.


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Mike Knight