How Influencer Marketing Can Help Canadian MSPs Enjoy Tremendous Growth

How Influencer Marketing Can Help Canadian MSPs Enjoy Tremendous Growth

Key Points in This Article:

  • Most Canadian MSPs overlook a powerful brand-building and lead-generating tool: influencer marketing.
  • MSPs can find credible individuals in their local communities with sizable audiences to help them promote their services.
  • The most effective influencer marketing stems from strong relationships between the influencer and client, which MSPs should try to cultivate.

If you're a Canadian MSP, one of the most effective untapped marketing tools is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is far more common outside the IT industry and rare among MSPs. But leveraging influencers can help you build awareness of and credibility for your business and gain clients. Here's how you can leverage influencers to help you grow your business.

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What Is Influencer Marketing?

When you hear "influencer" or "influencer marketing," the image of a 20-something making Tik Tok videos to promote fashion, entertainment, and sports brands may readily come to mind. But influencers and influencer marketing predate this trend considerably. Influencers are people whose word carries a lot of weight with others in the industry by their reputation, accomplishments, or other factors. And smart CEOs and business leaders have been leveraging them for a long time.

Two or three decades ago, these influencers weren't online. You could find them at local networking events, always in the middle of a conversation. Perhaps they were a sales executive, a CEO, an academic, or a lawyer. Whatever their background, they were well-liked and engaging, usually possessing a natural charisma and charm. These individuals also tended to retain an encyclopedic knowledge of their industry and of everyone they spoke to. And whenever and wherever they spoke, others listened.

Fast forward to the present day. Modern influencers are largely online, with sizable online audiences with whom they have great credibility. That credibility stems from a mixture of subject-matter knowledge and what old-school influencers had in spades: charisma, engagement, and honesty. When today's true online influencers speak, people listen.

The number of MSPs leveraging influencer marketing is low. That means your business has a real opportunity to distinguish itself in the eyes of prospective customers - before your competition does. When you appear on an influencer's platform, you can use the opportunity to demonstrate your industry knowledge and expertise. Your appearance alone will increase awareness of your brand while validating your expertise in the minds of the influencer's audience. And members of that audience will take action, whether by calling you for service or sharing your appearance, building further awareness of your business.

How MSPs Should Approach Influencer Marketing

When you think of "influencer marketing," you may think you're looking for another business leader in Canada's MSP industry. But you need someone whose audience overlaps with your target customers, who can speak with credibility to that audience about your company, and whose words move their audience to action. This could be a tech podcaster who provides business advice, a legal expert who discusses IT business law on their YouTube channel or many other types of individuals.

These influencers are always looking for great content. And you could be their platform's next subject. Perhaps the tech podcaster is looking for industry professionals to share their thoughts on what challenges the IT industry faces in the next year or two. Or the legal expert wants to explore cybersecurity solutions in the wake of a new online scam. Perhaps you can provide an overview of what solutions you're implementing for your clients and the best practices you're urging others to follow.

You build brand awareness and leads when your business is featured on an influencer's platform. You may find influencers who are willing to feature your business for free. However, many influencers will expect some payment. Even if they do, ensure you approach influencer marketing to build your business and a professional relationship with the influencer in question. And you may find some emerging influencers who are, in fact, willing to promote you without money exchanging hands. In these cases, it's even more critical to approach influencer marketing in a relational rather than a transactional manner.

The more time and effort you put into building a solid relationship with the local influencers in your area, the easier it will be for them to authentically and credibly promote your business. Don't just cold call for a spot on their branded channel, promote your business, and disappear. Instead, explore co-branding opportunities and potentially shared business goals. Provide ideas, referrals, and content for them to use. Keep in touch. The stronger the relationships you build, the more successful your influence marketing efforts will be.

Getting Started With Influencer Marketing

It's not difficult to get started with influencer marketing. First, take stock of the markets you serve. Start to identify potential influencers in each market relevant to your business. Make a list that includes each influencer's target audience. Next, compare each influencer's target audience to your target market, and remove any obvious mismatches from your list. You'll also want to keep your brand in mind. There might be someone tremendously influential with the business owners in your community. But perhaps they publish edgy or political content that isn't a great fit for your brand. If so, cross them off the list as well.

With the remaining list, start to reach out to them to see if there might be a mutual fit. It's important to make the right pitch. After all, influencers want to protect their brand's credibility by offering their audience content they'll find valuable and engaging. So take a look at each influencer's previously published content. Identify areas they haven't covered yet that may be of interest. Also, scan the news for items of likely audience interest on which you can offer an expert opinion. You'll want to craft a concise and compelling pitch that speaks to the content you'd like to co-create and how your background makes you the perfect candidate to do so.

Once you do, the sky is the limit. Remember, approach the opportunity as one in which you're looking to build a professional relationship, not just promote your brand. And soon enough, you'll start to reap the rewards.

Influencer marketing is a winning proposition for Canadian MSPs, who still have not taken advantage of this unique marketing opportunity. It's an excellent and cost-effective opportunity to build awareness, position yourself as an expert, and grow your customer base. And while your rivals are still relying mostly on paid ads and outdated SEO tactics, your MSP's own influence and success could grow exponentially with influencer marketing.

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