Episode 62: SPECIAL: How to fix your MSP's website
In this week's special episode Pretty much every MSP has one, and pretty much every single one just isn't good enough... the website. If you can make these simple changes to YOUR website, those improvements really could help attract new clients Another week, another special episode to kick start the year - join Paul to discover what you can do at the start of 2021 to fix potentially your best marketing tool Paul takes you through the 10 fundamental things to improve on your website, which could put you head and shoulders above your competitors Show notes Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert In this special podcast Paul mentioned the book Influence by Dr Robert Cialdini (there's a spoken version on Audible) Paul mentioned the outsourcing services fiverr.com, Upwork.com, PeoplePerHour.com & copify.com Find out more about Paul Green's MSP Marketing Edge which includes a book you can claim as your own and give away to help with data capture Paul mentioned automated appointment booking services Calendly, Microsoft Bookings, AppointmentCore and ScheduleOnce Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to email@example.com Episode transcription Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday, for MSPs around the world. This is an MSP Marketing Podcast special. Paul Green: It's the second of three marketing specials to get your MSP off to the best possible start for 2021. And this week, we're going to be focusing on the single most important marketing asset that you have at your disposal, it's your website. Today, we're going to talk about how you can fix it. Voiceover: This is an MSP Marketing Podcast special. Paul Green: I know that you're not happy with your website. I know that you're genuinely frustrated with it, and you don't understand why it doesn't generate enough leads and what exactly to do to fix it. And the reason I know this is I have looked at hundreds and hundreds, if not getting on for 1,000 MSP websites. Anytime I start working with any MSP anywhere, I just have a quick look onto their sites. It gives me a very quick snapshot of where their marketing superpowers are. Paul Green: And obviously the vast majority of MSPs don't have great marketing abilities, but it helps me understand what I'm working with. In fact, sometimes I come across a website that's just beautiful. And it makes me realise, "Wow, this MSP has upped their game. Let me see if I can push them further, and further, and further, and further." But the vast majority of websites just aren't great. Paul Green: What we're going to look at in this podcast special is how ordinary decision makers think and act. We'll look at why your website leaves them cold, and why you owe it to your children, your bank manager, and actually your future retired self to make your website as good as you can possibly make it. And to help you do that, I'm going to give you the 10 most important website elements to focus on. Paul Green: Now, you think about the ordinary decision maker that you want to reach, the ordinary business owner or manager. How does that person think? What do they want from you? And how do they make buying decisions? Well, they think less than we think they do, because when they're picking a new MSP, they're not doing it with their brain, they're doing it with their emotions. I think this is called your limbic system. It's that gut feel. Paul Green: Because the average business owner or manager, the average decision maker doesn't know what they don't know about technology and IT, therefore it is virtually impossible for them to judge whether or not your business is any good compared to your competitors. When they can't make that judgment, the decision just defaults down to that limbic system, to the emotions, to the gut feel. Their gut is picking a new MSP. Paul Green: Let me put this another way. They choose you if they like you. So yeah, they ask you all those questions, and they want to hear a little bit of technical stuff, and they certainly want to ... More than anything, they want to feel confident, feel confident, that you will look after their business and their staff, that you won't screw stuff up and that you've got their best interests at heart. And that's the vast majority of buying decisions. Perhaps not at sort of C-level, corporate-level enterprise, buying decisions are made differently there. Typically, buying decisions are made there to protect people's jobs. But the vast majority of decision makers that you may ... And by protect people's jobs, I mean them protecting their own jobs. The vast majority of decision makers that you speak to are making emotional decisions about whether or not they like you and they can trust you. Paul Green: I've said many times before that people do not buy technology, they buy outcomes. So why are we talking to them about technology? Why are we putting pictures of servers and network cables, and talking about cloud, and 3CX and other stuff like that on websites? That's not what they buy. Sure that stuff's got to be there somewhere, bang it on a service page. No-one's ever going to see it anyway. But these people are not making buying decisions based on very techie things. They're making buying decisions based on whether or not they like you, so let's make them like you. Let's help with that. Paul Green: And this is what makes your website your single most important marketing tool. It is the most critical one, because it's the one thing you can guarantee everyone will look at. Absolutely everyone. Because if they're thinking of buying from someone it's what we all do, we check out their website first. It's almost weird these days, if a business doesn't have a website. Paul Green: In fact, when you start a new business, what's the very first thing you do? You build a website. It's the most basic thing that you do. They are going to look at your website. And the goal when they look at your website is emotional engagement. We want them to be moved emotionally. Paul Green: Now, I realise this is not what your website is probably doing right now. And I realise again, that many technical people, and this is not a criticism, it's just an observation. Many technical people find it very difficult to be emotional on a website. And we're not talking extreme emotions. We're talking just about moving them, moving their emotions, not their brain. That's what we want to be doing. Paul Green: Let me tell you how, and 10 different elements that you need to address on your website in order to achieve this. Element number one is humans. You've got to have more humans on your website. People buy from people, they don't buy from companies. I'm excluding the big brands that spend millions every year on advertising, on brand advertising to move us emotionally. Yeah, in that instance, we buy a brand. You buy a can of Coke. You're buying Coke. You don't know who the people are at Coke. But that's different. That's a product, it's a feeling. We are either a Coke drinker, or a Pepsi drinker. You're either a Givenchy perfume person, or a ... I don't know any other perfume brands, but you get the idea. At the level that we sell, people buy from people. They are not buying from the company at all. Paul Green: So put humans all over the website. As many photos as you can, videos as you can. Tell stories. All of these kinds of things. The more humans on your websites, the better the chance of emotionally influencing people. Paul Green: And I know that many, many MSPs really don't like the thought of being out there on your website. But unfortunately there's no way around this, unless you hire a model to be you, to be your public image of you. And please don't use a stock image. Don't think I'm suggesting use a stock image to be you. That would be awful. But the best results come from being the face of the business. Even if you're a one-man band, you can still be the face of the business. You don't have to admit to being a one-man band. Even if you've got 40 staff, you could still be the face of the business because people buy from people remember. The more humans you can stuff into your website, the more emotional engagement you will get, and ultimately the more leads you'll generate, the more prospects they'll turn into, and the more clients you will get. Paul Green: Now, the second element, and I've touched on this already, is to put in more stories. People love stories. Now, I may be a bit wrong with my description of technology here. But as far as I understand it, there are two types of MRI machine, the magnetic-resonance imaging thing that looks inside your body. The first type is kind of an in-depth one that you just put people in and it builds up a scan of whatever's being scanned. But the second one is something called a functioning MRI, which doesn't have all the detail, but it shows what's actually happening in real time in the body. Paul Green: If you put people's heads in a functioning MRI machine, and you tell them some basic facts about something, one area of their brain lights up, from what I've read. But if you tell them those same facts wrapped up in stories, there are several parts of their brain that light up. And that's good, because the more areas of the brain lights up, the more engaged someone is. In fact, it's widely believed that a lot of our myths and legends were actually knowledge being passed on from generation to generation, in the form of stories, because we didn't have written or permanent communication back then, so this was how one generation passed knowledge onto another generation, in the form of stories. We are literally hardwired to respond well to stories. Paul Green: Now, have a look on your website. What stories are you telling? And there are lots of different stories you can tell. You can tell your story. In fact, that should go on the about-us page. The two most trafficked pages of your website are the homepage and the about us page. They're the two that should get 80% of your attention, because all the rest of the pages put together won't have as much traffic as the homepage and the about us page, so you get those absolutely as good as you can possibly make them. Paul Green: You can tell your story on the about-us page. You can tell a client story in a case study. You can tell stories about your staff, just introducing people to your staff. What do they like doing outside of work? What's their favourite bit of tech? What was their first computer? These are all stories. These are ways of bonding potential future clients to your staff. It's beautiful. Stories, stories, stories, really, really work. Paul Green: And the third thing you need on your website is personality. Now, what I mean by personality is almost finding the voice. What's the voice of your business? And by voice, I mean your unique voice. Are you talking on your website in a way which only your business could talk, or are you talking in a very generic way that actually could apply to any MSP? Paul Green: The vast majority of websites I see use very generic text like, "We're striving to implement solutions and blah, blah, blah." I mean solutions, and strategies, and striving, and systems, and all of those S-words are terrible words to use on websites anyway. But how are you talking in your voice? I'll give you a clue how to do this. Paul Green: The way to have a voice on your website is for it to be your voice. You should write things that you love and that you're happy with. If you're happy with something, then it's probably your voice coming across. Because that's the thing, when prospects talk to you, assuming that you do the selling, they're hearing your voice anyway. They're hearing technology explained in the way that you explain it. And the wonderful thing is, no-one, but no one could ever be you. In fact, you are your USP, your unique selling proposition or unique selling point, which is critical that every business has in its marketing. Paul Green: Most MSPs just do the same thing as each other. You might have a different technology stack, and a different preferred tool, and a different PSA, and all of that kind of stuff. But none of that's relevant to the end clients really. The thing that's relevant to them is the way that you do things, your preferences, your ability to communicate in your specific way. That's your voice. And your challenge is getting that on your website in a way which emotionally engages people. Paul Green: This is where a good copywriter comes in. If you can find someone who could interview you and take the essence of what it is that you're saying, the essence of how you would explain things to a client, and then pass that on across the website, that's a very, very beautiful thing to do. Paul Green: And it leads me on to numbers four and five, which is photos and videos, because the more of you that you can put in photo form on the website, beautiful. And certainly the more of you that you can put on the website in video form, even better. Videos are the best way to get across you and your voice. Paul Green: And I know the thoughts of being in a video on your website is literally probably your idea of hell. And you would rather lose a toe than being in front of a video camera. But I promise you, if you can get in front of that video camera and do a professional, well-made video, that would just be absolutely beautiful, because people can see you. And it only needs to be 60 seconds. And you know it would be better just kind of talking off the cuff than it would be scripted. Paul Green: Some people do very well with scripts. Some people do better talking off the cuff. I'm one of those people that, like when I'm doing this podcast, I know what I want to say. And I've got a series of notes laid out so I don't go too far off piste. However, if you try and script me, I just don't quite sound exactly the same as if I'm just talking, which is what I'm doing right now. Paul Green: You need lots more photos and lots more videos. Please spend the money on professional stuff. Cheap photos stand out for all the wrong reasons. Just because you've got the latest digital SLR, or the iPhone 12 Pro Max Badge, or whatever it is, it doesn't make you a great photographer just because you've got a great camera. Have you heard the phrase, "All the gear, no idea."? There's more to a great photo than just getting someone to smile and having a great camera. It's about adding depth. It's about getting the lighting right. It's about helping that person be natural. This is what professional photographers do. Paul Green: There are wedding photographers and wedding videographers in your area who had a crap year last year because the weddings weren't happening. And I don't know how things are at the moment in your area, but it's likely that the weddings aren't going ahead right now like they used to, so give them a call. Say, "Hey, do you want to come and take some photos of me and my team?" Or, "Do you want to come and do a video with us?" These people are really good at making people look great in uncomfortable situations, because that's what a wedding is. It's an uncomfortable situation where you're having photos taken. You've got to look at for the next 20 years. Paul Green: And the same with the video really, because a good video will last you three to five years before you need to replace it. So let's get some under-worked professionals, let's get them in. Let's pay them the money that they're worth, and you will never ever regret having decent photos. Paul Green: As an aside, I have a professional photo updated every year. I normally have it done in the summer when I've got a bit of a tan, or if I've just lost a bit of weight, because that just makes you feel good to see yourself a little bit thinner in your photo. You need to make sure that your photo stays up to date. Paul Green: In next week's podcast, we're going to be talking about LinkedIn. And one of the most critical things on LinkedIn is to have an up-to-date photo. This photo that you're having taken for the website, you can use that on your LinkedIn profile as well. In fact, it's preferable that you do have the same photo so you have some consistency across the two channels. Paul Green: Number six then, of the things that you most need on your website, and this is social proof. Social proof is a phrase that was first coined by Dr. Robert Cialdini, who's a psychology professor based in New York. He only deals with marketing. And he coined the phrase in his 1980s or 1990s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, which is a great read by the way. Paul Green: Now, social proof is where most people prefer to do what most other people are doing. And again, this is behaviour that is hardwired into us. It's a safety thing. If you think about it, when we lived in caves, we were safe when we surrounded by other humans. And if all the humans were running, there was probably something chasing them that was going to eat them. So we just ran. In fact, we do it now. We don't even think about it. We are very heavily persuaded by what most other people are doing. And this is why case studies, testimonials and reviews are so powerful. Now, you may be a bit of a cynic and think, "Testimonials don't have any effect on me." But they do. They really, really do. Paul Green: If you see an abundance of testimonials of social proof and it's real, and that's key, when social proof doesn't work, it's because it doesn't seem real. If you've just got a testimonial on a site that's almost a bit too well edited, and it's from a manager or it's from David, that's not social proof, that's just something that someone could have made up. Whereas if you have, for example, a 60-second video of three of your best clients talking about how much they love working with your business, that my friend is powerful social proof. In fact, that's the most powerful social proof you could have. Because getting your clients on video, talking about you, okay, the technology is there with deep fakes and all that kind of stuff to create that. But no-one's going to do that. And that's what makes videos the most believable form of social proof. However much social proof you've got on your website right now, you need more. Get more social proof. Paul Green: Number seven on our list is content. You need great content. If you're not a writer yourself, go and find a great writer on fiverr.com, or peopleperhour.com, or upwork.com. That's where all the writers are. It is very much a buyer's market right now. And when I talk about content, I'm talking about well-written homepages and about-us pages, but also regular blog pages as well. Google wants to see your website growing. Ideally you'd add at least one new page a week on your blog. Paul Green: Because it's a buyers market with writers, go and find some writers, very easy to find them. You might need to kiss a few frogs to find them. The way to find a great writer, and I think we've mentioned this on the podcast before, is you do a brief, a written brief with perhaps an MP3 as well, of you discussing the subject that you want them to write about. And you give exactly the same brief to at least three different writers. The idea being that you can compare the results. You can have a look at the three different articles that have been generated and pick your favourite. Paul Green: Number eight, you need data capture. You've got to build your email database. It's a fundamental part of the MSP marketing system that I teach. Build multiple audiences, email, and LinkedIn being the two most important. Build a relationship with those audiences. And then commercialise those audiences to turn them into clients. And data capture is a critical part of building that email database, because data capture on your website is a way for people to choose to opt into your marketing. Paul Green: Now, most won't, which is a bit of a pain, you have to offer them something in return. And we call this an ethical bribe. It's literally something you give to people in return for their contact details. And a book is the best form of ethical bribe. It's why in my MSP Marketing Edge content service, we have a book called Email Hijack that you can put your name on the front as if you've written it yourself, and you can print it and give it away to people who choose to join your data capture. Paul Green: Number nine on your website is you need a very, very clear call to action. The thing that you want someone to do, the next step, and it needs to be on every page. It needs to be the top of every page and at the bottom of every page, especially if the page is long. In fact, if it's a super long page, it needs to go in the middle as well. Paul Green: And the standard call to action right now, the best practice is to book a 15-minute video call with you. And you actually embed your live calendar there on the page. You do this using something like calendly.com, or AppointmentCore is another one I've heard of, or of course you've got Microsoft Bookings, which is within 365. You don't get quite as much control over how that looks in the website, but it gets the job done. And the beauty of having your live calendar there is they can see when you're free and when it matches up for them. It makes it very easy for them to book. Paul Green: Now look, if you're not driving traffic to your website, you're not going to get many appointments booked. But we do, we have seven to eight appointments booked a week, and the vast majority of those show up. These are people who are choosing to talk to my business partner, Ben Smith, they're booking a 15-minute video call with him. The vast majority as I say, more than about 92% of people actually turn up for those video calls. And one of the reasons we get all of those bookings is because we're spending a lot of money, and a lot of time and attention driving traffic to those websites. If you drive traffic, and it's quality traffic, and you keep doing it consistently, people will book with you. Paul Green: The one thing to remember is that people only buy when they're ready to buy. You're not going to be inundated with bookings, but when people do book with you, the chances are that they're already in the sales cycle. And that's very exciting, because it allows you to be there at exactly that moment, that point at which they might be ready to buy. Paul Green: The final thing then, and number 10, is to give your website constant attention. Getting a website it's over the line and getting out there is great. But do you know what? A website's never finished. In fact, it should be a weekly task of yours. We talked last week about the things that you do every day affecting the lifestyle that you eventually get. It should be a weekly task for you to look at your website and just fix anything that needs to be fixed. Paul Green: We have a culture within our business. The second that we find anything on the website that's not quite right, or that could be improved, we do it. If that means I have to go and edit a headline at 10:30 on a Saturday night, I will do it there and then. And I would expect my team to do exactly the same thing, if they spotted something wrong or they had a good idea that we could put into place immediately. And that's because the culture within our business is that the website is the most important thing, so it must be as good as it can possibly be, as often as we can make that happen. Paul Green: It's never going to be perfect. And I'm sure you can find lots of broken things on my website. And if you do, just let me know and I'll thank you, just so I can fix those things. But no website is perfect, but we can strive to be constantly updating it and making it a little bit better every single day. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Paul Green: Our final special next week, we've just talked about the most important marketing element you've got, your website. Next week, it's almost your second most important marketing element, it's LinkedIn. LinkedIn isn't just a pain, or somewhere to go and hang out, or be pestered by people trying to sell you stuff. It's actually the world's greatest prospecting database. And we're going to go in-depth next week. Paul Green: We're going to look at what you need to change in your profile. And particularly, I'm going to tell you about the three Cs, the three things that you need to be doing on LinkedIn pretty much every day. Look forward to seeing you next week. Voiceover: Made in the UK, for MSPs around the world, Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast.