Episode 219: How this MSP grew from 0 to 25 staff

Episode 219 January 23, 2024 00:43:57
Episode 219: How this MSP grew from 0 to 25 staff
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 219: How this MSP grew from 0 to 25 staff

Jan 23 2024 | 00:43:57

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Show Notes

Episode 219

Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week's show includes:

Featured guest:

Thank you to Chad Lauterbach, CEO of Be Structured Technology Group, for joining me to talk about how he grew his MSP business, from working alone out of his one-bedroom apartment to managing 25 staff. Chad’s passion for helping small to medium-size companies meet their IT and security needs fueled his decision in 2007 to create Be Structured Technology Group. Under Chad’s leadership, Be Structured continues to exceed the expectations of their clients’ outlooks on what an IT department provides. He is an avid learner who actively works to stay on top of the latest trends and security requirements in this fast-paced tech world. Chad is constantly pursuing knowledge, making him someone who will always be ahead of the curve. When Chad is not working, you can find him reading, running, listening to podcasts, hiking, camping, or backpacking. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chadl2/

Extra show notes:

Transcription:

NB this transcription has been generated by an AI tool and provided as-is. [00:00:00] Speaker A: Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. Around the world. This is Paul Green's MSP marketing podcast. Hello and welcome, my lovely friends, to another fantastic podcast. Here's what we got coming up for you this week. [00:00:15] Speaker B: I'm Chad Lauterbach, founder and CEO of Be Structured Technology Group. And from 2007 to date, I grew my MSP from just me in my one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles to 25 people in downtown LA. And you can hear my story on Paul's podcast. [00:00:32] Speaker A: And on top of that fascinating interview with Chad later on, we'll also talk about five more mistakes that you're probably making with your website. Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast. Let's kick off this week talking about something called remarketing, also known as retargeting. Now, last week I asked you the question, is Facebook a viable promotional tool for MSPs? And one of the things I didn't talk about last week because I knew I was going to do it this week was this thing called remarketing. So what is remarketing? Well, have you ever had that experience where let's say you want to go and buy think of something interesting. Let's say it's a Darth Vader helmet. Just go with me on this one. So you've seen this amazing replica Darth Vader helmet. It fits over your real head. These kind of products exist and it's got like the special breathing sound box, the I am your father, that kind of thing. And I may have one of these in my loft, by the way. Anyway, so let's say you go to look at one of these and you find it on a specialist site, and you get all excited and you think, I want to be dark labor. And you look at it, but then you think, I'm not quite ready to buy it. Now it's a couple of hundred pounds, dollars, whatever. So you think, right, you know what? I'm going to park that. I'm just going to forget about it and see if I think about it in a few days time until you go off and you do something else. And then later on that day, you are on your favorite news website. And on the right hand side of the news website, there's an advert for the Darth Vader helmet. And your eye kind of looks over it and you don't click on it, but you think, that helmet's looking good, man, I want to get that helmet. And then you go off and you go onto another website, completely unrelated, it could be some kind of channel site. And there's that advert again. And it's an advert for the exact product that you were looking at on the site that you were looking at the product on, if that makes sense. And of course, inevitably, there comes a point where you think, right, I give in. This is fate telling me I should spend the 200 pounds or the $200 on the Darth Vader replica helmet. So you go and buy it, you wear it at home, and your kids think you're cool. Your wife leaves you, but your kids think you're cool. It's not face that decided that you needed to get divorced. It's actually remarketing. So remarketing is where you show adverts to people who have done one thing but not done another thing. So in e commerce stakes, this is really cool, because, in fact, that exact scenario stands. I go to look at a product and then when I go and look at. But if I don't buy that product, when I go onto other sites in Google's sort of display network, I see adverts for that product. And the way it works is there's a bit of code that's within the website which tells either Google or Facebook or whoever you're doing the remarketing ads on it tells them, please show an advert to this person so it knows that me, Paul Green, I have been onto this site, I've looked at this product, but I haven't bought it. Because if I'd bought it, I'd end up on the purchase success page, which tells the adverts not to display. So we don't want to display an advert to someone that's already bought the item. Right. So I've been on the page, I haven't bought it. Those ads are going to be shown to me on lots of different websites that I go to. And this is what's called remarketing. Now, here's the really cool thing about remarketing, apart from the fact that you can set an off tag so you can stop it from being shown, remarketing doesn't cost you anything until you click on the advert, depending on how it is set up and on which platform you're using. But typically, certainly with Google, remarketing doesn't cost you anything until someone clicks on the advert. So let's take this away from Star wars and let's put this back in terms that you could use. Someone comes onto your website and let's say they go to look at one of your service pages, let's just say VoIP. For the sake of making it easy. So they come onto your VoIP page and they have a look at that, and that sets a tag. And you now sell Google or Facebook or whichever platform you're using for remarketing you, or the automation behind it tells them, start showing adverts to that person. We can now make an assumption about someone who's visited your VoIP page. The assumption we can make is that they might not be 100% satisfied with their existing telecom solution. So that's what we'd put in the advert. The advert creative could say something as simple as, are you still looking for a new phone system? Are you unhappy with your existing phone system? Are you thinking of replacing your phone system with a new 2024 VoIP system? Now, don't pick those messages up and go and use them as adverts. Those are just example messages. So you understand the kind of advert we put in the psychology of the buyer, and we have to guess this, don't we? But the psychology of the buyer is they've been onto a page and looked at something we think they might be interested in buying. So those adverts, now that we're showing them, are almost reminding them that they are interested in the same way that the Darth Vader adverts are reminding people that they were interested in buying a Darth Vader helmet. It's exactly the same thing. You're selling services, not products, but it's the same thing, and it's really cool. Now, remarketing, as I say, you don't pay until they click on it. And obviously, once they click on the advert, you don't just want to take them back to the same old page again, you want to take them through to a different page, which perhaps, and this is best practice for adverts, you would repeat the message that's been in the advert. So if the advert says, are you still fed up with your old clunky phone system? When they click on that, it takes them through to a new VoIP page, and the headline at the top is exactly the same and it says, are you still fed up with your old clunky phone system? And then there'd be a little bit about VoIP, but importantly, there'd be a call to action. The call to action might be call us now, or it might be book a 15 minutes appointment, and here's my live calendar. Something like that. The reason we want to really go heavy on the call to action is we know that someone who's clicking on the remarketing ad has already seen the page. Even if they just flick through it, we don't want to take them back to that same page. We want to take them through to something new. And that, in an essence, is remarketing. Now, there are some small limitations. So with Google, I think you have to have something like at least 100 unique visitors visiting your site every month. I think you can google that because the range does change, but it's not a massive number, is it? And let's be honest, if you don't have 100 people coming to your site every month, then you could just do some pay per click or something just to drive that traffic up. But Google is a great way to do that kind of remarketing. It can be done in Facebook as well. You should experiment on both of those to see which is best for you. And you can do it around services. You can just do it around people who are just generally visiting your site. You can do it, I believe, and I'm not a technical expert at setting these things up, it's been years since I've physically, personally set one up. But in the back of my head there's something telling me that you can do it. That only triggers if someone visits your site twice, for example, which would be a smart thing. If someone's come back twice, that means they're interested, right? Well, they're either a competitor or a vendor, or they're potentially interested because they've come back again. That would be really cool. You could also do it off specific pages. It might be that you send out an email to someone and that is getting them to click through to a specific page. Could be a blog page, could be a services page. It doesn't really matter. But you can trigger the remarketing adverts of specific pages as well as just general site visits. Do you know, I would love to know if you're doing remarketing, particularly, actually, if you're doing remarketing for your MSP and it's working really well, I would love to get you on this podcast talking about this kind of like a case study. Just drop me an email, will you? Hello at Paul Greengreens, mspmarketing.com. Here's this week's clever idea. Public service announcement. If you haven't yet heard last week's episode, go and check out episode 2118 right now because I talk about five typical mistakes made by MSPs on their website. And today I have five more for you. I do love a series at the start of a year, so let's call this mistake number six, mistake number six is moving too fast towards a sale. Now what I mean by that is you assuming that someone who is on your website today is really, really interested in talking to you about taking over their managed services. And the reality is they may or not be. In fact, if they've landed on your site because they've got an immediate and urgent problem. The server's down, this computer is broken, the that won't print, then yes, they are interested in immediate help, but that's a kind of a break fix scenario, isn't it? And I appreciate that that break fix scenario can lead into managed services and many MSPs. That's their marketing strategy. They use pay per click to reach people at a crisis point, and then they convert them into a proactive managed services client. Nothing wrong with that strategy at all. But for the vast majority of people who are visiting your website, they are in the research phase. They are unhappy with their incumbent MSP, but not yet able to take action. Maybe they're in a contract for another three months. Maybe they're scared of moving, maybe they're just looking around. Maybe they're thinking of doing a tire kicking exercise. So the vast majority of people who are coming onto your site are just kind of researching you. They're checking you out. They may not even have any intention to buy from you at all. They may just have clicked on a link on an email that you sent them or seen your profile in LinkedIn and just gone to check you out. So don't be too quick to work towards a sale. The best thing to do is always to have a very clear call to action. And that call to action, as I just mentioned earlier on in the podcast, it's your live calendar embedded into your website. Ask them for a 15 minutes video call. You see the people who book that are typically apart from the people trying to sell you stuff at vendors, the people who book into that, if they're leads or if they're prospects, they're people who are ready to invest some time into talking about this stuff. And if they're nearly ready to invest some time into it, then they're a lot closer to the point of actually making a buying decision. Mistake number seven then, is using old, stale content on your website. So I often go and look at MSPs websites. When I start working with someone new, I'll go and look at their site just out of interest. I'm always interested. Or if I'm talking to an MSP or I come across someone on LinkedIn again, I'll just go and check out their site because that's what people do. And the vast majority, if they've got a blog, the last blog was like may last year, or the little copyright at the bottom says Copyright 2023 or older, or they've pulled in a Twitter or an X feed or something from Facebook. And again, their last post was like six months ago. And the problem with old, stale content is it sends a message, which is we are not active. It's almost like we can't be bothered to put content out there. We are not active people now. In fact, this is so bad. That just was it last week. Yeah, last week I went to order something from, this is outside of the channel. I went to order something from a company I bought from two years ago. And I looked on their website and they hadn't done a blog for a year, and I looked on their Facebook and hadn't been in an update for a year. And so I live chatted them and just said, are you active? Because I want to order one of these things. And by the time I'd heard back from them 24 hours later saying, yeah, we're active. I'd already bought from a competitor. And I know that was a sort of a small like $20 purchase, it wasn't much. But the point was, when I looked at their site and we're talking a small business with two or three people in it, I kind of got the feeling they weren't there anymore. And so they lost out on my repeat purchase, which is a bit of a shame. So if you have old, stale content, if your blog hasn't had a lot of content added recently, just turn it off. Honestly, no blog is better than an old blog. It really is. By the way, if you are stuck in that problem, we have the answer for you. Our MSP marketing edge service just answers exactly this, because we have, well, at the core of it, and this is just one of the things we do. At the core of it, we have a weekly marketing system which includes a blog and a video and social media content and a LinkedIn newsletter. And it's all integrated and works together and it means that you never, ever, ever have old, stale content. MSP Marketing edge did I just give myself a very cheeky extra plug? I think I did. I won't do that again. Number three then, or number eight, I should say, is not measuring the performance of your website. People get their website done, they spend thousands of dollars on it, and then they ignore it for months and for years, and then they come back to it a few years down the line and go, oh, website's not very good, we should do it again. It's like a habit, isn't it, of every two, three years getting the website done because you're not happy with it. What about some performance issues? Put in Google Analytics at the very basics and don't obsess over your analytics, but just go and have a look. How much traffic are you getting on the website? If you're not driving traffic, proactively driving traffic, no one's seeing the website. Go and have a look and see. How many pages is the average person looking at? It's probably no more than two and a half, maybe three. If you're doing anything more than that, you're doing well. Don't obsess over it. It's just an interesting thing to know. I'll tell you what you can obsess over is what do people actually do when they're in the website? You'll get a better way of looking at that if you install something called Lucky Orange or hotjar. And what this does is this videos people using your site. It doesn't physically video their face, of course. It just videos their session and anonymizes it. So any information they enter is completely anonymized. But you can sit and watch videos of people actually using your website and it is terrifying. It's terrifying because people don't do what you think they're going to do. They don't scroll as far down, they don't click as much, they don't go onto as many pages. And I have learned more about web design and ux usability or user experience from watching videos of ordinary people using the website than I have from anything else. So mistake number nine then is kind of related to that. And it's about you trying out new things. So the mistake is not split testing. There are loads and loads of different ways to split test. You can go and use a service called Optimize league. Just go and Google that. Google Optimize is a free one where you can do it. So you take a page and in both of these services, you create an exact copy of that page without you having to do it. In your website, they create the copy for you and then you change one element of that. So, for example, the most common element to change is the headline and or the image. But you just do one thing at a time, because split testing is where you test one thing at a time. So you've got page a and you've got page b. They are identical, except page b has a different headline to page a. And what Google optimizer optimizely will do is they will split the traffic between those two pages until they figure out which of those pages performs better. Now, this is really easy for high traffic sites and it's kind of really easy for e commerce sites, because the split test result is down to what sells more of this item. In fact, if you've ever wondered why Amazon pages look the way they do, it's because of split testing. In fact, Amazon and all the big tech giants take it a whole step further. They do what's called multivariate testing. So they will have, because you think how much traffic Amazon gets to its pages, right? They will have tested many, many times over millions of visits. The difference in headlines, images, social proof, all these different things. And that's why Amazon pages are the way they are through testing. So you can do this at a much lower level, just testing different elements. The problem you have is that you don't have a lot of traffic. So your split tests will take some time. We're talking like months. And also, it's very hard for you to measure an outcome. You're not selling a widget, are you? Your outcome is someone booking an appointment, but you can at least measure, for example, engagement. What keeps more people on the page, what gets them to go further down, what gets them to request a report or go into a data capture or something like that. Even if you only do two or three split tests a year, you might as well do them right, because they can just sit there in the back end. And I could come up with some great headline suggestions for you. You could come up with some, but what would be better is to pick the headline that real people who visit your website are most inspired by, and the same with the image and other elements on the page. And then we come on to the 10th mistake, which is not obsessing over the speed of your website. So speed is an important thing. And I say this knowing that our website is a bit too slow. As our traffic has grown, our site has slowed down. We've got a lot in the background. So I know, as I'm saying this, I know we need to go and do some work on this. No site is ever perfect, but it's been a number of years since Google decided that the speed of your site is a ranking factor. It's trying to speed the whole world's websites up. And if you go on to on your phone or on a laptop, you go onto someone's site. And it's like a one, two, three second wait. That's too long. And Google knows that it's a three second wait. So there are all sorts of tools out there. Just google them to go and give you a snapshot of how fast your website is and whether or not you need to do something. If your website is too slow, do something about it. And again, I'm not a technical expert at speeding up a site, but I know it's things like good super fast hosting. It's about tidying up a lot of stuff in the back end. It's often about requests. You can have all sorts of cool tools. In fact, actually, here's an irony thing. Those tools I mentioned earlier, lucky, orange and hotjar, they are notorious for slowing down sites, right? So you put them in your site for like a month to test it, to watch what people are doing, and then you get rid of them. And the reason they're so slow is because they're sending so much information off to their servers and making so many requests of your servers. And that just slows everything down. I've always wanted to do that effect in the podcast anyway. You should be obsessed over your site speed. It's one of those very small things that can actually make a big impact on your performance. There you have it from this week and from last ten common mistakes you're most likely to make on your website. Paul's Paul's blatant plug. Blatant plug. Seeing as I was really naughty and gave myself a blatant plug in the last bit, let me make this blatant plug more about value for you. We have a YouTube channel and we are doing so much cool stuff right now. We've moved away from just sort of doing the short educational videos. Here's how to do some marketing stuff. Here's that. We have really thrown ourselves into entertainment or edutainment and trying to teach you and show you how to improve your MSP's marketing with some fun videos, right? They are so much fun to film. I have a wonderful team, Simon and James, who edit this podcast as well. And we are just enjoying ourselves making YouTube videos that we would want to watch. And hopefully you want to watch them as well. So go and check them out. They're [email protected] slash MSP marketing big interview. [00:19:49] Speaker B: I'm Chad Lauterbach, founder and CEO of be Structured technology group, managed service provider and managed security service provider in Los Angeles, California. [00:19:59] Speaker A: And thank you for joining me on the podcast, Chad. There is nothing better than getting successful MSPs to talk about their journey, what they've done, the mistakes they've made, what's working right now, and what they're struggling with, because that is such an inspiration for the thousands of MSPs who listen to this podcast. So give us, before we talk about your backstory, let's just get some context of you now. So tell us a little bit about your business. How many technicians do you have? You said you're in LA, so what kind of clients do you serve? Just give us that context to get us started. [00:20:31] Speaker B: Sure. Yeah, we're 25 people, not including. We do have a few overseas people on the knock, and two of them are dedicated to us. But we really make a big focus, and I feel like it's one of our winning characteristics that we're an LA based team. So our overseas technicians are working on other internal projects or projects for customers in a tangential way. They're not interacting with the customers directly, which we feel like is important for our audience. The LA market can be a little bit finicky, and I think they like being able to talk to somebody on the phone, and then if they come out to the site, they see the same person they talk to on the phone. Right. And if you're outsourcing everything, you're not going to have that. So we're based in Ontana, LA, 15 grand. We service all of LA County, a little bit of Orange county, although you will find the counties definitely have their own service providers. So San Bernardino county and Ventura County, San Diego County, Orange county, they all tend to have kind of their own set of MSPs, and people kind of like to work within that realm. So we mostly are focused on Los Angeles county, and the variety of clients varies. We definitely are b to b focused, so don't really do business to consumer, that's a totally different wheelhouse. Oftentimes, weekends, late hours, some different things, hotels and things like that can be 02:00 a.m.. Cetera. So we're focused on b to b. That can be wealth management, can be attorneys, can be tax accountants, can be food manufacturing. We actually have quite a few of those. There's actually a lot of food manufacturing that happens here, as you might imagine, with the port of Long beach and Los Angeles being the largest ports in the United States on the west coast. A lot of logistics, so we have quite a few logistics clients moving freight throughout the country. So those are probably our biggest verticals. Although we don't have a vertical focus, we're a pretty horizontal organization. There's a lot of unique businesses in Los Angeles because of its position with LAX, the ports, the railroads. There's just a lot of stuff happening here, coming in from China, getting assembled, moving around, et cetera. So we find all sorts of interesting businesses. Custom light manufacturers, bulk light manufacturers. I mean, you name the business you've never thought of, and it's probably here in Los Angeles. [00:23:05] Speaker A: Yes, that wouldn't surprise me, because LA has got to be. Surely, after New York, LA has to be the second most famous city in the US. And everyone, when they think of LA, I mean, you're talking about all those different businesses there, but we all just think know, we think entertainment. LA is the home of entertainment. And I will admit to something sad, which I don't think I've confessed to on the podcast before, but last time we were in LA, I went out of my way to visit the filming location of one of my favorite films from when I was a teenager. You've seen Terminator two, right? [00:23:37] Speaker B: Yeah, of course. [00:23:39] Speaker A: You know the scene where the lorry crashes sort of down off a bridge and into what you guys call the La river, but which is just basically a massive flood thing. We went to that location, the exact point where that happened, because they did that crash for real. This was pre cg. And, yeah, to me, that's Hollywood, that kind of stuff. But, yeah, it sounds like a fun place to be. So let's get in the time machine, let's get in the DeLorean. Never mind the Terminator. I suppose we could get in the Terminator time machine, couldn't we? Go back in the day and tell us how you got into this. So what got you into it in the first place, and what made you start up your first it business? Whether it was a break fix, or indeed an. [00:24:22] Speaker B: So, you know, similar to the famous stories about kind of being in the right place in the right time with, like, Bill gates, Steve Jobs, those kind of guys having access to the right technology at the right time. And yeah, sure, it was skill and persistence, but there's an aspect of luck, right? If they were born in a different place or different time, they might not be who they were, right? I think kind of the same for me. Not suggesting I'm anywhere near as famous or wealthy as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but I grew up with the Internet in its infancy and really personal computing in its infancy, right. I was very young when the Mac classic came out, when IBM XT came out, and I found those things to be really fascinating and really everything was kind of going digital things were moving from cassette to CD and I just got interested in all of it, right? I would like disassemble disc men and all the kind of goofy things that kids do, right? We're just like, how does this work getting in there? And what does that do? And I did the same thing with computers, right? If I could pick up an old Commodore pet computer, whatever, I'd like, pull it apart and figure out how it worked and figure out what was going on inside. Learned a little basic programming and things like that. Had a lot of interests, like anybody, I liked to run, I liked photography, I liked a bunch of different hobbies, music. But for me, I really saw it as the future, and I didn't know what that meant at the time, right? I saw technology, computers, and it as being just a critical piece of what was happening in the future. So when I was really young, I had like a small web development company and a small computer building company. But I decided it was important to go get a regular job and learn the ropes. So I had a job. I built an it department from the ground up for a logistics company here in LA, and then a healthcare company in Scottsdale, Arizona. Actually grew up in Scottsdale, so that was where I had the connection there, and then decided that I really wanted to be in LA. So I moved back to LA and started my own thing in 2007 in my one bedroom apartment here. It's grown from then until now to a 25 person operation in downtown LA. And we continue to grow. I mean, we're getting, honestly more prospects than we can almost are. We're very picky about who we take on, given the number of prospects there are out there looking for. [00:26:55] Speaker A: When someone, when anyone says, especially an MSP, says I'm attracting more prospects than I can possibly take on, I know that's possibly the headline of this entire podcast, because that's not something you hear very often from the average MSP. So it leads on to the question of what do you guys do? And I don't want you to give away any kind of secret sauce or anything that your many, many competitors, because I know, I think there are more MSPs in the LA county area than any other sort of couple of square miles of the planet. But without giving anything secret away, just tell us some stuff you've tried that didn't work and tell us what is working for you right now. [00:27:29] Speaker B: I mean, I think what didn't work was everything that seemed probably, again, this probably plays into the LA market being so competitive. I kind of joked with you earlier like what might work in St. Louis or Minneapolis, it just doesn't work here. Hiring a cold calling firm, hiring an outbound mailing firm, blanketing buildings, canvassing buildings, just knocking on doors. People won't even let you in, they don't want to talk to you. People don't pick up the phone, they just hang up the phone. They block your emails, et cetera, et cetera. Email. Drip marketing is really hard and we really wanted to outsource stuff, right? Especially when we were small. The idea of having somebody right now, me and one of my colleagues, splits the marketing duties here, but it probably equates nearly to a full time person now. And like, that wasn't really feasible when we were really small, right? So we were trying really hard to outsource, like what can we get for two, three, $4,000 a month? And we tried all those things that I mentioned and probably more chambers of commerce, you name the thing, and it just didn't work for us. Nothing brought return on investment, I shouldn't say it's not that we landed zero clients from any of those initiatives, but nothing returned on the investment we put into those things. So I felt like we were finally left with two options, and that was search engine marketing or search engine optimization. And the keywords, as you might imagine for LA, for search engine marketing, are insanely expensive. I mean, the really good ones can be $40 a click. I mean, it's crazy. So I decided to go the search engine optimization route. And this is mostly based on my own behavior. I tend not to click on the ads, I tend to look for the organic results, ads being a reinforcement. So if I see somebody in the ads and in the organic search, that's interesting to me. But if somebody's only in the ads and not in the organic, I know they're just buying it. And to me it's more interesting to see the organic result. I feel like Google's going to deliver a better organic result than a paid result. So it was years of really hard work, blogging, reaching out to get press releases on stuff, reaching out to get on podcasts like this one, really working on our LinkedIn profiles, really working on the website, completely redoing the website with the keyword focus. Twice now we've redone it. We've now gotten into video. So it's really all been search engine optimization focused. And it's not a one stop shop either. And it's not a game you play for just a small period of time. Google is constantly updating their algorithms and we're constantly having to change what we do. So we're monitoring something like 400 keywords that we want to rank for. The estimated value of the traffic that we bring in is about $8,000 a month. So it would be the equivalent of spending $8,000 a month on Google search engine marketing. But now we don't have to spend anything for it. Right, but I mean, time and energy, but not direct cost. But we found that to be highly successful. Anytime we bring on a new business line, we just build a brand new webpage, content laden with that keyword that we want to focus on. And because our domain authority and domain ranking and other Google sources are good, we tend to rank for more obscure keywords very quickly. So, I mean, that's how we've done. [00:31:15] Speaker A: So, yeah, that's really interesting. So it's really interesting to talk to someone who's doing very well at SEO search engine optimization in a very busy marketplace, because obviously the more people are competing for the same amount of, the amount of traffic doesn't change. So the more people competing for it, the harder it becomes. And as you say, with what you call search engine marketing, which we would also know as pay per click, where you pay, it's the Google Ads you pay when someone clicks on it. That's what drives the prices up, is huge competition. But yeah, I'm not surprised you've had to do an insane amount of work. Let me plug an episode of the podcast that appeared about a year ago at the beginning of 2023. It was with Marcus Sheridan, the author of they ask, you answer. And a lot of what Chad has just been talking about there is covered off in that book. They ask, you answer. So it's very much a content marketing driven approach. Now, Marcus didn't write that book about SEO, about search engine optimization, but it could be about it. And in fact, you do see a lot of organic traffic coming in from optimizing your pages and writing good content that answers questions that normal people have. So if you haven't checked that out from memory, it was the first show of 2023. It was a special with Marcus Sheridan, the author of they ask, you answer. Let's talk about not giving up. So you mentioned there that you tried lots and lots of different things, and you then mentioned that you did SEO and you had an SEO approach, but you said again that it took a long time to see results. So a lot of, an enormous number of people, and not just MSPs, but all business owners, I know if they don't see a return within a couple of months, they stop. Which is so frustrating, particularly within MSP marketing, because as you and I both know very well, Chad, it takes a long time. People buy when they're ready to buy. There can be an exceedingly long sales cycle. You're attracting lots of prospects now because you're getting in front of people at the point they're searching and they're searching because they're ready to switch, right? So that kind of long tail of SEO is paying off for you. But back when it wasn't working, when you were putting in an insane amount of work creating content and optimizing the content and you weren't yet getting the traffic, what kept you going? What kept you focused on knowing that this would work for you one day? [00:33:29] Speaker B: That is a really good question. I think for me, I feel like I tried everything else. We'd done lunch and learns canvases, et cetera. And again I go to these conferences and I hear people like, oh my gosh, we do these lunch and learns. We get five prospects every lunch and learn we do. You know what, in LA, nobody wants to drive 30 minutes for lunch. They don't care how nice it is or how free it is. And 30 minutes is being generous, right? Like 45 minutes to an hour each way plus a $45 valet. Am I going to comp that? Am I going to pay for that? It's just like LA is just not that kind of city, right? It's not like New York where you walk five blocks to a lunch and learn. It's just not so. I really, really dug into, I think buyer personas are really important and I really dug into our buyer personas. Our buyer Persona is one of two people generally. I mean, of course there's an exception to every rule, but generally speaking, it's one of two people. Either it's a C suite member. So CEO, CFO, COO, usually that is searching specifically for an IT service provider or MSP, right? They either have one and don't like them or they want to outsource their in house it department. They know exactly what they want and they're looking. And when they see that we've won awards and we have a website that ranks for the keywords they're looking for, they give us a chance. And usually they're getting three bids and we don't win all of them, but we win a lot of them. And this will tie back to, I think, where we were going. Secondarily, it's the assistance of those people. So executive assistance of those people where the COO says, hey, get me five quotes for MSP services, right? And they're just getting quotes, right? Which is fine. Ideally, we get to the gatekeeper directly, but if we can't, we provide the quote and we still win those sometimes. Or at least get in for the meeting with the C suite. So, that being said, I've lived in LA since 2000, right? So I have a sense of the culture here. And I just realized people, I mean, I look at our web traffic, and it's unusual, right? Like, 93% of our traffic comes from desktop web browsers, not mobile. It's like, I know what's going on, right? I have a sense of what is happening. It's, people don't want my phone calls, they don't want my emails, they don't want lunch. And learns they don't want anything. When they have a felt need, they go online and they google. That is what they do. And I can see it in the rankings. 65% of our traffic is organic search. Now, I can see that that's what people are doing. So given that buyer Persona, I just believed. I'm like, I tried all this other stuff. None of it worked. And I just believed, like, I think search engine marketing could have worked as well or could have worked in conjunction. At the time, it was a bit out of our budget, but I just believed. And even though I was focused on the hard keywords, like, it support Los Angeles and things like that at the same time. And this is where I think I got maybe not a full ROI, but saw success quickly, which made me think I was on the right track, is I focused on the fringe keywords, right? So I made a bunch of blogs and landing pages for, like, gmail to office 365 migrations, and the inverse office 365 to Gmail migrations. And guess what? We started to get some of those, and then those became MSP clients, and they were still somewhat challenging, but they were much easier keywords to get than IC support Los Angeles. So I kept focusing on the fringe words while I was focused on the big ones. And eventually, we did get the big ones. I can't tell you exactly where we rank right this second, because it does move around, but we're on page one for, like, it support Los Angeles. It services Los Angeles. Computer server support Los Angeles. I mean, all those kind of really difficult keywords. We've made it to page one, and we've been there for the past couple of years, but that's because we rank for, like, 300 other words that are more fringey. [00:37:37] Speaker A: Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. Final question, Chad. We do have a little chat before the interview, and you were telling me that you sell some services that a lot of MSPs don't sell. And I was quite surprised by the list. So just give us an insight into some of the other things that you sell which, as you say, are not a traditional MSP offering, and tell us how you got into those things. [00:37:58] Speaker B: I think for all companies, having a unique value proposition or unique selling proposition is really important. Right. So for us, we were like, ok, what is that? And for me it's two things. Number one is we are almost entirely an LA based staff, and everyone that one of our customers would talk to is based in Los Angeles. So any back office staff we have that's overseas, our customers would never talk to them. And to me, that's a value proposition. When we tell that to clients and they're like, well, your bids higher? And we're like, well, yeah, what do you think we have to pay? We literally will say, ask your competing bids if they have in house Los Angeles based people. And when they answer no, it gives the business owner pause. Right. They have to think, okay, do I want to spend less and be talking to Malaysia, the Philippines, India, whatever, or do I want to spend a little more with, be structured and know that if I'm talking to Ryan and then I need somebody to come out, Ryan's going to drive his car out to my like, that's a different thing. Right? We literally have a neighbor just caddy corner across the street, and they outsource everything. They have two guys that run around Los Angeles. Everybody else is overseas. Is that bad? [00:39:11] Speaker A: No. [00:39:11] Speaker B: They can offer cheaper prices than us, right, and potentially better margins. But that was a unique selling proposition for us that I think was really important. Number two is we really tried to be as much to our clients as possible. So that means the biggest growth area for us right now is cybersecurity. That's just the no brainer. Everybody's calling and asking about cybersecurity. We're pushing that really hard. We're getting a lot of business for cyber and we're getting a lot of upsells with our existing clients for cyber. But some of the services that have been really interesting, that have allowed us to cross sell MSP services into other markets is a lot of MSPs don't want to do office moves, they don't want to do cabling, they don't want to do surveillance, they don't want to do access control, et cetera. And so we've landed deals because like, hey, our existing MSP said they won't move our office or do our cabling, will you? And we're like, sure, no problem. And then they love us. And then they're like, we don't like our MSP that much anyway. What do you cost? Right? And then it's like, oh, you guys are 15% more. And we can go right back to like, yeah, well, everybody's based in LA and you just saw like eight of our staff people. So what do you think? Right? It becomes less about the price. And we're justifying the price not by like, oh, we're making so much more money. We're saying like, look, the price is higher because we have LA based people with medical, dental, vision, 401K, blah, blah, blah, all the stuff. Of course our rates are going to have to be higher and owners understand that and they just have to make a decision of who they want to talk to. And we win a lot of deals because of that, because people like that, we're not outsourcing in the traditional way that you might think of. So yeah, we really try to be everything that we can to our clients and we really try to keep as strong of an LA presence as we can, which I think are our two unique factors as an MSP. [00:41:05] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that. And that's actually known as a Trojan horse in marketing terms, where of course you're selling a service. It's not really your core service, but it's easier for you to sell that. I mean, for a pure MSP, backups, just focusing on selling backups and talking to people about backups, and you use that to get them in and then ask the question and say, hey, we noticed that you guys are using Windows seven machines. We noticed that you're doing this. We noticed you're doing that. And it's a way of starting a relationship with someone. I think that's a really smart thing to do. [00:41:35] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:41:35] Speaker A: Chad, thank you so much for your time. You've been so generous with telling us what you do to grow your business. And I do love getting, nothing is more exciting for me than getting actual MSP owners on to talk about what they've done and how they're growing their business. For people who are listening, watching us right now that want to get in touch with you, what's the best way to get in touch? [00:41:55] Speaker B: LinkedIn is great. You can find me on LinkedIn. My username is Chad L two. So I think that's LinkedIn.com. In Chad L. Two. I'm Chad L. Two everywhere, actually. So to Twitter, you're welcome to email me. That's Chad l at BSTg Co. Or you could even fill out the sales form. I see all of them. So if you just were like, hey, I want to talk to Chad. I'm an MSP owner. You can reach me that way as well. So there's a lot of different ways to reach me. X, formerly known as Twitter Chad L two again. And be structured, of course, has its own landing pages as well. So Zoe or me will see those and she'll pass them along. [00:42:35] Speaker A: Paul Green's MSP marketing podcast this week's. [00:42:39] Speaker B: Recommended book hi, I'm Jake Gregorich, and the book I recommend is extreme ownership by Jaco Willink. The book goes into his Navy SEAL experiences and then ties them to real life business experiences. They're about taking ownership as a leader and pushing down decision making to the front lines to empower people to make those decisions without having to ask for permission and impact the end customers on creating a great experience coming up next week. I'm Trevor W. Goodchild, Facebook ad policy specialist. I've worked at Facebook in ads, tech, and project management. And on Paul's podcast, I'm going to tell you about the one thing that. [00:43:18] Speaker A: You do not want to do to. [00:43:19] Speaker B: Get your business shut down on Facebook. [00:43:21] Speaker A: And you really are going to love that interview next week. I've also got for you some myths, in fact, five myths about MSP marketing, things that might be holding you back. Let's do some mythbusting next week and get you moving forward. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP for MSPs around the world. Paul Green's MS MSP Marketing podcast.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Fresh every Tuesday for msps around the world. Around the world. This is Paul Green's MSP marketing podcast. Hello and welcome, my lovely friends, to another fantastic podcast. Here's what we got coming up for you this week. [00:00:15] Speaker B: I'm Chad Lauderbox, founder and CEO of be Structured Technology Group. And from 2007 to date, I grew my MSP from just me in my one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles to 25 people in downtown LA. And you can hear my story on Paul's podcast. [00:00:32] Speaker A: And on top of that fascinating interview with Chad later on, we'll also talk about five more mistakes that you're probably making with your website. Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast. Let's kick off this week talking about something called remarketing, also known as retargeting. Now, last week I asked you the question, is Facebook a viable promotional tool for msps? And one of the things I didn't talk about last week because I knew I was going to do it this week was this thing called remarketing. So what is remarketing? Well, have you ever had that experience where let's say you want to go and buy think of something interesting. Let's say it's a Darth Vader helmet. Just go with me on this one. So you've seen this amazing replica Darth Vader helmet. It fits over your real head. These kind of products exist and it's got like the special breathing sound box, the I am your father, that kind of thing. And I may have one of these in my loft, by the way. Anyway, so let's say you go to look at one of these and you find it on a specialist site, and you get all excited and you think, I want to be dark labor. And you look at it, but then you think, I'm not quite ready to buy it. Now it's a couple of hundred pounds, dollars, whatever. So you think, right, you know what? I'm going to park that. I'm just going to forget about it and see if I think about it in a few days time until you go off and you do something else. And then later on that day, you are on your favorite news website. And on the right hand side of the news website, there's an advert for the Darth Vader helmet. And your eye kind of looks over it and you don't click on it, but you think, that helmet's looking good, man, I want to get that helmet. And then you go off and you go onto another website, completely unrelated, it could be some kind of channel site. And there's that advert again. And it's an advert for the exact product that you were looking at on the site that you were looking at the product on, if that makes sense. And of course, inevitably, there comes a point where you think, right, I give in. This is fate telling me I should spend the 200 pounds or the $200 on the Darth Vader replica helmet. So you go and buy it, you wear it at home, and your kids think you're cool. Your wife leaves you, but your kids think you're cool. It's not face that decided that you needed to get divorced. It's actually remarketing. So remarketing is where you show adverts to people who have done one thing but not done another thing. So in e commerce stakes, this is really cool, because, in fact, that exact scenario stands. I go to look at a product and then when I go and look at. But if I don't buy that product, when I go onto other sites in Google's sort of display network, I see adverts for that product. And the way it works is there's a bit of code that's within the website which tells either Google or Facebook or whoever you're doing the remarketing ads on it tells them, please show an advert to this person so it knows that me, Paul Green, I have been onto this site, I've looked at this product, but I haven't bought it. Because if I'd bought it, I'd end up on the purchase success page, which tells the adverts not to display. So we don't want to display an advert to someone that's already bought the item. Right. So I've been on the page, I haven't bought it. Those ads are going to be shown to me on lots of different websites that I go to. And this is what's called remarketing. Now, here's the really cool thing about remarketing, apart from the fact that you can set an off tag so you can stop it from being shown, remarketing doesn't cost you anything until you click on the advert, depending on how it is set up and on which platform you're using. But typically, certainly with Google, remarketing doesn't cost you anything until someone clicks on the advert. So let's take this away from Star wars and let's put this back in terms that you could use. Someone comes onto your website and let's say they go to look at one of your service pages, let's just say VoIP. For the sake of making it easy. So they come onto your VoIP page and they have a look at that, and that sets a tag. And you now sell Google or Facebook or whichever platform you're using for remarketing you, or the automation behind it tells them, start showing adverts to that person. We can now make an assumption about someone who's visited your VoIP page. The assumption we can make is that they might not be 100% satisfied with their existing telecom solution. So that's what we'd put in the advert. The advert creative could say something as simple as, are you still looking for a new phone system? Are you unhappy with your existing phone system? Are you thinking of replacing your phone system with a new 2024 VoIP system? Now, don't pick those messages up and go and use them as adverts. Those are just example messages. So you understand the kind of advert we put in the psychology of the buyer, and we have to guess this, don't we? But the psychology of the buyer is they've been onto a page and looked at something we think they might be interested in buying. So those adverts, now that we're showing them, are almost reminding them that they are interested in the same way that the Darth Vader adverts are reminding people that they were interested in buying a Darth Vader helmet. It's exactly the same thing. You're selling services, not products, but it's the same thing, and it's really cool. Now, remarketing, as I say, you don't pay until they click on it. And obviously, once they click on the advert, you don't just want to take them back to the same old page again, you want to take them through to a different page, which perhaps, and this is best practice for adverts, you would repeat the message that's been in the advert. So if the advert says, are you still fed up with your old clunky phone system? When they click on that, it takes them through to a new VoIP page, and the headline at the top is exactly the same and it says, are you still fed up with your old clunky phone system? And then there'd be a little bit about VoIP, but importantly, there'd be a call to action. The call to action might be call us now, or it might be book a 15 minutes appointment, and here's my live calendar. Something like that. The reason we want to really go heavy on the call to action is we know that someone who's clicking on the remarketing ad has already seen the page. Even if they just flick through it, we don't want to take them back to that same page. We want to take them through to something new. And that, in an essence, is remarketing. Now, there are some small limitations. So with Google, I think you have to have something like at least 100 unique visitors visiting your site every month. I think you can google that because the range does change, but it's not a massive number, is it? And let's be honest, if you don't have 100 people coming to your site every month, then you could just do some pay per click or something just to drive that traffic up. But Google is a great way to do that kind of remarketing. It can be done in Facebook as well. You should experiment on both of those to see which is best for you. And you can do it around services. You can just do it around people who are just generally visiting your site. You can do it, I believe, and I'm not a technical expert at setting these things up, it's been years since I've physically, personally set one up. But in the back of my head there's something telling me that you can do it. That only triggers if someone visits your site twice, for example, which would be a smart thing. If someone's come back twice, that means they're interested, right? Well, they're either a competitor or a vendor, or they're potentially interested because they've come back again. That would be really cool. You could also do it off specific pages. It might be that you send out an email to someone and that is getting them to click through to a specific page. Could be a blog page, could be a services page. It doesn't really matter. But you can trigger the remarketing adverts of specific pages as well as just general site visits. Do you know, I would love to know if you're doing remarketing, particularly, actually, if you're doing remarketing for your MSP and it's working really well, I would love to get you on this podcast talking about this kind of like a case study. Just drop me an email, will you? Hello at Paul Greengreens, mspmarketing.com. Here's this week's clever idea. Public service announcement. If you haven't yet heard last week's episode, go and check out episode 2118 right now because I talk about five typical mistakes made by msps on their website. And today I have five more for you. I do love a series at the start of a year, so let's call this mistake number six, mistake number six is moving too fast towards a sale. Now what I mean by that is you assuming that someone who is on your website today is really, really interested in talking to you about taking over their managed services. And the reality is they may or not be. In fact, if they've landed on your site because they've got an immediate and urgent problem. The server's down, this computer is broken, the that won't print, then yes, they are interested in immediate help, but that's a kind of a break fix scenario, isn't it? And I appreciate that that break fix scenario can lead into managed services and many msps. That's their marketing strategy. They use pay per click to reach people at a crisis point, and then they convert them into a proactive managed services client. Nothing wrong with that strategy at all. But for the vast majority of people who are visiting your website, they are in the research phase. They are unhappy with their incumbent MSP, but not yet able to take action. Maybe they're in a contract for another three months. Maybe they're scared of moving, maybe they're just looking around. Maybe they're thinking of doing a tire kicking exercise. So the vast majority of people who are coming onto your site are just kind of researching you. They're checking you out. They may not even have any intention to buy from you at all. They may just have clicked on a link on an email that you sent them or seen your profile in LinkedIn and just gone to check you out. So don't be too quick to work towards a sale. The best thing to do is always to have a very clear call to action. And that call to action, as I just mentioned earlier on in the podcast, it's your live calendar embedded into your website. Ask them for a 15 minutes video call. You see the people who book that are typically apart from the people trying to sell you stuff at vendors, the people who book into that, if they're leads or if they're prospects, they're people who are ready to invest some time into talking about this stuff. And if they're nearly ready to invest some time into it, then they're a lot closer to the point of actually making a buying decision. Mistake number seven then, is using old, stale content on your website. So I often go and look at MSPs websites. When I start working with someone new, I'll go and look at their site just out of interest. I'm always interested. Or if I'm talking to an MSP or I come across someone on LinkedIn again, I'll just go and check out their site because that's what people do. And the vast majority, if they've got a blog, the last blog was like may last year, or the little copyright at the bottom says Copyright 2023 or older, or they've pulled in a Twitter or an X feed or something from Facebook. And again, their last post was like six months ago. And the problem with old, stale content is it sends a message, which is we are not active. It's almost like we can't be bothered to put content out there. We are not active people now. In fact, this is so bad. That just was it last week. Yeah, last week I went to order something from, this is outside of the channel. I went to order something from a company I bought from two years ago. And I looked on their website and they hadn't done a blog for a year, and I looked on their Facebook and hadn't been in an update for a year. And so I live chatted them and just said, are you active? Because I want to order one of these things. And by the time I'd heard back from them 24 hours later saying, yeah, we're active. I'd already bought from a competitor. And I know that was a sort of a small like $20 purchase, it wasn't much. But the point was, when I looked at their site and we're talking a small business with two or three people in it, I kind of got the feeling they weren't there anymore. And so they lost out on my repeat purchase, which is a bit of a shame. So if you have old, stale content, if your blog hasn't had a lot of content added recently, just turn it off. Honestly, no blog is better than an old blog. It really is. By the way, if you are stuck in that problem, we have the answer for you. Our MSP marketing edge service just answers exactly this, because we have, well, at the core of it, and this is just one of the things we do. At the core of it, we have a weekly marketing system which includes a blog and a video and social media content and a LinkedIn newsletter. And it's all integrated and works together and it means that you never, ever, ever have old, stale content. MSP Marketing edge did I just give myself a very cheeky extra plug? I think I did. I won't do that again. Number three then, or number eight, I should say, is not measuring the performance of your website. People get their website done, they spend thousands of dollars on it, and then they ignore it for months and for years, and then they come back to it a few years down the line and go, oh, website's not very good, we should do it again. It's like a habit, isn't it, of every two, three years getting the website done because you're not happy with it. What about some performance issues? Put in Google Analytics at the very basics and don't obsess over your analytics, but just go and have a look. How much traffic are you getting on the website? If you're not driving traffic, proactively driving traffic, no one's seeing the website. Go and have a look and see. How many pages is the average person looking at? It's probably no more than two and a half, maybe three. If you're doing anything more than that, you're doing well. Don't obsess over it. It's just an interesting thing to know. I'll tell you what you can obsess over is what do people actually do when they're in the website? You'll get a better way of looking at that if you install something called Lucky Orange or hotjar. And what this does is this videos people using your site. It doesn't physically video their face, of course. It just videos their session and anonymizes it. So any information they enter is completely anonymized. But you can sit and watch videos of people actually using your website and it is terrifying. It's terrifying because people don't do what you think they're going to do. They don't scroll as far down, they don't click as much, they don't go onto as many pages. And I have learned more about web design and ux usability or user experience from watching videos of ordinary people using the website than I have from anything else. So mistake number nine then is kind of related to that. And it's about you trying out new things. So the mistake is not split testing. There are loads and loads of different ways to split test. You can go and use a service called Optimize league. Just go and Google that. Google Optimize is a free one where you can do it. So you take a page and in both of these services, you create an exact copy of that page without you having to do it. In your website, they create the copy for you and then you change one element of that. So, for example, the most common element to change is the headline and or the image. But you just do one thing at a time, because split testing is where you test one thing at a time. So you've got page a and you've got page b. They are identical, except page b has a different headline to page a. And what Google optimizer optimizely will do is they will split the traffic between those two pages until they figure out which of those pages performs better. Now, this is really easy for high traffic sites and it's kind of really easy for e commerce sites, because the split test result is down to what sells more of this item. In fact, if you've ever wondered why Amazon pages look the way they do, it's because of split testing. In fact, Amazon and all the big tech giants take it a whole step further. They do what's called multivariate testing. So they will have, because you think how much traffic Amazon gets to its pages, right? They will have tested many, many times over millions of visits. The difference in headlines, images, social proof, all these different things. And that's why Amazon pages are the way they are through testing. So you can do this at a much lower level, just testing different elements. The problem you have is that you don't have a lot of traffic. So your split tests will take some time. We're talking like months. And also, it's very hard for you to measure an outcome. You're not selling a widget, are you? Your outcome is someone booking an appointment, but you can at least measure, for example, engagement. What keeps more people on the page, what gets them to go further down, what gets them to request a report or go into a data capture or something like that. Even if you only do two or three split tests a year, you might as well do them right, because they can just sit there in the back end. And I could come up with some great headline suggestions for you. You could come up with some, but what would be better is to pick the headline that real people who visit your website are most inspired by, and the same with the image and other elements on the page. And then we come on to the 10th mistake, which is not obsessing over the speed of your website. So speed is an important thing. And I say this knowing that our website is a bit too slow. As our traffic has grown, our site has slowed down. We've got a lot in the background. So I know, as I'm saying this, I know we need to go and do some work on this. No site is ever perfect, but it's been a number of years since Google decided that the speed of your site is a ranking factor. It's trying to speed the whole world's websites up. And if you go on to on your phone or on a laptop, you go onto someone's site. And it's like a one, two, three second wait. That's too long. And Google knows that it's a three second wait. So there are all sorts of tools out there. Just google them to go and give you a snapshot of how fast your website is and whether or not you need to do something. If your website is too slow, do something about it. And again, I'm not a technical expert at speeding up a site, but I know it's things like good super fast hosting. It's about tidying up a lot of stuff in the back end. It's often about requests. You can have all sorts of cool tools. In fact, actually, here's an irony thing. Those tools I mentioned earlier, lucky, orange and hotjar, they are notorious for slowing down sites, right? So you put them in your site for like a month to test it, to watch what people are doing, and then you get rid of them. And the reason they're so slow is because they're sending so much information off to their servers and making so many requests of your servers. And that just slows everything down. I've always wanted to do that effect in the podcast anyway. You should be obsessed over your site speed. It's one of those very small things that can actually make a big impact on your performance. There you have it from this week and from last ten common mistakes you're most likely to make on your website. Paul's Paul's blatant plug. Blatant plug. Seeing as I was really naughty and gave myself a blatant plug in the last bit, let me make this blatant plug more about value for you. We have a YouTube channel and we are doing so much cool stuff right now. We've moved away from just sort of doing the short educational videos. Here's how to do some marketing stuff. Here's that. We have really thrown ourselves into entertainment or edutainment and trying to teach you and show you how to improve your MSP's marketing with some fun videos, right? They are so much fun to film. I have a wonderful team, Simon and James, who edit this podcast as well. And we are just enjoying ourselves making YouTube videos that we would want to watch. And hopefully you want to watch them as well. So go and check them out. They're [email protected] slash MSP marketing big interview. [00:19:49] Speaker B: I'm Chad Lauderbach, founder and CEO of be Structured technology group, managed service provider and managed security service provider in Los Angeles, California. [00:19:59] Speaker A: And thank you for joining me on the podcast, Chad. There is nothing better than getting successful msps to talk about their journey, what they've done, the mistakes they've made, what's working right now, and what they're struggling with, because that is such an inspiration for the thousands of msps who listen to this podcast. So give us, before we talk about your backstory, let's just get some context of you now. So tell us a little bit about your business. How many technicians do you have? You said you're in LA, so what kind of clients do you serve? Just give us that context to get us started. [00:20:31] Speaker B: Sure. Yeah, we're 25 people, not including. We do have a few overseas people on the knock, and two of them are dedicated to us. But we really make a big focus, and I feel like it's one of our winning characteristics that we're an LA based team. So our overseas technicians are working on other internal projects or projects for customers in a tangential way. They're not interacting with the customers directly, which we feel like is important for our audience. The LA market can be a little bit finicky, and I think they like being able to talk to somebody on the phone, and then if they come out to the site, they see the same person they talk to on the phone. Right. And if you're outsourcing everything, you're not going to have that. So we're based in Ontana, LA, 15 grand. We service all of LA County, a little bit of Orange county, although you will find the counties definitely have their own service providers. So San Bernardino county and Ventura County, San Diego County, Orange county, they all tend to have kind of their own set of msps, and people kind of like to work within that realm. So we mostly are focused on Los Angeles county, and the variety of clients varies. We definitely are b to b focused, so don't really do business to consumer, that's a totally different wheelhouse. Oftentimes, weekends, late hours, some different things, hotels and things like that can be 02:00 a.m.. Cetera. So we're focused on b to b. That can be wealth management, can be attorneys, can be tax accountants, can be food manufacturing. We actually have quite a few of those. There's actually a lot of food manufacturing that happens here, as you might imagine, with the port of Long beach and Los Angeles being the largest ports in the United States on the west coast. A lot of logistics, so we have quite a few logistics clients moving freight throughout the country. So those are probably our biggest verticals. Although we don't have a vertical focus, we're a pretty horizontal organization. There's a lot of unique businesses in Los Angeles because of its position with LAX, the ports, the railroads. There's just a lot of stuff happening here, coming in from China, getting assembled, moving around, et cetera. So we find all sorts of interesting businesses. Custom light manufacturers, bulk light manufacturers. I mean, you name the business you've never thought of, and it's probably here in Los Angeles. [00:23:05] Speaker A: Yes, that wouldn't surprise me, because LA has got to be. Surely, after New York, LA has to be the second most famous city in the US. And everyone, when they think of LA, I mean, you're talking about all those different businesses there, but we all just think know, we think entertainment. LA is the home of entertainment. And I will admit to something sad, which I don't think I've confessed to on the podcast before, but last time we were in LA, I went out of my way to visit the filming location of one of my favorite films from when I was a teenager. You've seen Terminator two, right? [00:23:37] Speaker B: Yeah, of course. [00:23:39] Speaker A: You know the scene where the lorry crashes sort of down off a bridge and into what you guys call the La river, but which is just basically a massive flood thing. We went to that location, the exact point where that happened, because they did that crash for real. This was pre cg. And, yeah, to me, that's Hollywood, that kind of stuff. But, yeah, it sounds like a fun place to be. So let's get in the time machine, let's get in the DeLorean. Never mind the Terminator. I suppose we could get in the Terminator time machine, couldn't we? Go back in the day and tell us how you got into this. So what got you into it in the first place, and what made you start up your first it business? Whether it was a break fix, or indeed an. [00:24:22] Speaker B: So, you know, similar to the famous stories about kind of being in the right place in the right time with, like, Bill gates, Steve Jobs, those kind of guys having access to the right technology at the right time. And yeah, sure, it was skill and persistence, but there's an aspect of luck, right? If they were born in a different place or different time, they might not be who they were, right? I think kind of the same for me. Not suggesting I'm anywhere near as famous or wealthy as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but I grew up with the Internet in its infancy and really personal computing in its infancy, right. I was very young when the Mac classic came out, when IBM XT came out, and I found those things to be really fascinating and really everything was kind of going digital things were moving from cassette to CD and I just got interested in all of it, right? I would like disassemble disc men and all the kind of goofy things that kids do, right? We're just like, how does this work getting in there? And what does that do? And I did the same thing with computers, right? If I could pick up an old Commodore pet computer, whatever, I'd like, pull it apart and figure out how it worked and figure out what was going on inside. Learned a little basic programming and things like that. Had a lot of interests, like anybody, I liked to run, I liked photography, I liked a bunch of different hobbies, music. But for me, I really saw it as the future, and I didn't know what that meant at the time, right? I saw technology, computers, and it as being just a critical piece of what was happening in the future. So when I was really young, I had like a small web development company and a small computer building company. But I decided it was important to go get a regular job and learn the ropes. So I had a job. I built an it department from the ground up for a logistics company here in LA, and then a healthcare company in Scottsdale, Arizona. Actually grew up in Scottsdale, so that was where I had the connection there, and then decided that I really wanted to be in LA. So I moved back to LA and started my own thing in 2007 in my one bedroom apartment here. It's grown from then until now to a 25 person operation in downtown LA. And we continue to grow. I mean, we're getting, honestly more prospects than we can almost are. We're very picky about who we take on, given the number of prospects there are out there looking for. [00:26:55] Speaker A: When someone, when anyone says, especially an MSP, says I'm attracting more prospects than I can possibly take on, I know that's possibly the headline of this entire podcast, because that's not something you hear very often from the average MSP. So it leads on to the question of what do you guys do? And I don't want you to give away any kind of secret sauce or anything that your many, many competitors, because I know, I think there are more msps in the LA county area than any other sort of couple of square miles of the planet. But without giving anything secret away, just tell us some stuff you've tried that didn't work and tell us what is working for you right now. [00:27:29] Speaker B: I mean, I think what didn't work was everything that seemed probably, again, this probably plays into the LA market being so competitive. I kind of joked with you earlier like what might work in St. Louis or Minneapolis, it just doesn't work here. Hiring a cold calling firm, hiring an outbound mailing firm, blanketing buildings, canvassing buildings, just knocking on doors. People won't even let you in, they don't want to talk to you. People don't pick up the phone, they just hang up the phone. They block your emails, et cetera, et cetera. Email. Drip marketing is really hard and we really wanted to outsource stuff, right? Especially when we were small. The idea of having somebody right now, me and one of my colleagues, splits the marketing duties here, but it probably equates nearly to a full time person now. And like, that wasn't really feasible when we were really small, right? So we were trying really hard to outsource, like what can we get for two, three, $4,000 a month? And we tried all those things that I mentioned and probably more chambers of commerce, you name the thing, and it just didn't work for us. Nothing brought return on investment, I shouldn't say it's not that we landed zero clients from any of those initiatives, but nothing returned on the investment we put into those things. So I felt like we were finally left with two options, and that was search engine marketing or search engine optimization. And the keywords, as you might imagine for LA, for search engine marketing, are insanely expensive. I mean, the really good ones can be $40 a click. I mean, it's crazy. So I decided to go the search engine optimization route. And this is mostly based on my own behavior. I tend not to click on the ads, I tend to look for the organic results, ads being a reinforcement. So if I see somebody in the ads and in the organic search, that's interesting to me. But if somebody's only in the ads and not in the organic, I know they're just buying it. And to me it's more interesting to see the organic result. I feel like Google's going to deliver a better organic result than a paid result. So it was years of really hard work, blogging, reaching out to get press releases on stuff, reaching out to get on podcasts like this one, really working on our LinkedIn profiles, really working on the website, completely redoing the website with the keyword focus. Twice now we've redone it. We've now gotten into video. So it's really all been search engine optimization focused. And it's not a one stop shop either. And it's not a game you play for just a small period of time. Google is constantly updating their algorithms and we're constantly having to change what we do. So we're monitoring something like 400 keywords that we want to rank for. The estimated value of the traffic that we bring in is about $8,000 a month. So it would be the equivalent of spending $8,000 a month on Google search engine marketing. But now we don't have to spend anything for it. Right, but I mean, time and energy, but not direct cost. But we found that to be highly successful. Anytime we bring on a new business line, we just build a brand new webpage, content laden with that keyword that we want to focus on. And because our domain authority and domain ranking and other Google sources are good, we tend to rank for more obscure keywords very quickly. So, I mean, that's how we've done. [00:31:15] Speaker A: So, yeah, that's really interesting. So it's really interesting to talk to someone who's doing very well at SEO search engine optimization in a very busy marketplace, because obviously the more people are competing for the same amount of, the amount of traffic doesn't change. So the more people competing for it, the harder it becomes. And as you say, with what you call search engine marketing, which we would also know as pay per click, where you pay, it's the Google Ads you pay when someone clicks on it. That's what drives the prices up, is huge competition. But yeah, I'm not surprised you've had to do an insane amount of work. Let me plug an episode of the podcast that appeared about a year ago at the beginning of 2023. It was with Marcus Sheridan, the author of they ask, you answer. And a lot of what Chad has just been talking about there is covered off in that book. They ask, you answer. So it's very much a content marketing driven approach. Now, Marcus didn't write that book about SEO, about search engine optimization, but it could be about it. And in fact, you do see a lot of organic traffic coming in from optimizing your pages and writing good content that answers questions that normal people have. So if you haven't checked that out from memory, it was the first show of 2023. It was a special with Marcus Sheridan, the author of they ask, you answer. Let's talk about not giving up. So you mentioned there that you tried lots and lots of different things, and you then mentioned that you did SEO and you had an SEO approach, but you said again that it took a long time to see results. So a lot of, an enormous number of people, and not just msps, but all business owners, I know if they don't see a return within a couple of months, they stop. Which is so frustrating, particularly within MSP marketing, because as you and I both know very well, Chad, it takes a long time. People buy when they're ready to buy. There can be an exceedingly long sales cycle. You're attracting lots of prospects now because you're getting in front of people at the point they're searching and they're searching because they're ready to switch, right? So that kind of long tail of SEO is paying off for you. But back when it wasn't working, when you were putting in an insane amount of work creating content and optimizing the content and you weren't yet getting the traffic, what kept you going? What kept you focused on knowing that this would work for you one day? [00:33:29] Speaker B: That is a really good question. I think for me, I feel like I tried everything else. We'd done lunch and learns canvases, et cetera. And again I go to these conferences and I hear people like, oh my gosh, we do these lunch and learns. We get five prospects every lunch and learn we do. You know what, in LA, nobody wants to drive 30 minutes for lunch. They don't care how nice it is or how free it is. And 30 minutes is being generous, right? Like 45 minutes to an hour each way plus a $45 valet. Am I going to comp that? Am I going to pay for that? It's just like LA is just not that kind of city, right? It's not like New York where you walk five blocks to a lunch and learn. It's just not so. I really, really dug into, I think buyer personas are really important and I really dug into our buyer personas. Our buyer Persona is one of two people generally. I mean, of course there's an exception to every rule, but generally speaking, it's one of two people. Either it's a C suite member. So CEO, CFO, COO, usually that is searching specifically for an IT service provider or MSP, right? They either have one and don't like them or they want to outsource their in house it department. They know exactly what they want and they're looking. And when they see that we've won awards and we have a website that ranks for the keywords they're looking for, they give us a chance. And usually they're getting three bids and we don't win all of them, but we win a lot of them. And this will tie back to, I think, where we were going. Secondarily, it's the assistance of those people. So executive assistance of those people where the COO says, hey, get me five quotes for MSP services, right? And they're just getting quotes, right? Which is fine. Ideally, we get to the gatekeeper directly, but if we can't, we provide the quote and we still win those sometimes. Or at least get in for the meeting with the C suite. So, that being said, I've lived in LA since 2000, right? So I have a sense of the culture here. And I just realized people, I mean, I look at our web traffic, and it's unusual, right? Like, 93% of our traffic comes from desktop web browsers, not mobile. It's like, I know what's going on, right? I have a sense of what is happening. It's, people don't want my phone calls, they don't want my emails, they don't want lunch. And learns they don't want anything. When they have a felt need, they go online and they google. That is what they do. And I can see it in the rankings. 65% of our traffic is organic search. Now, I can see that that's what people are doing. So given that buyer Persona, I just believed. I'm like, I tried all this other stuff. None of it worked. And I just believed, like, I think search engine marketing could have worked as well or could have worked in conjunction. At the time, it was a bit out of our budget, but I just believed. And even though I was focused on the hard keywords, like, it support Los Angeles and things like that at the same time. And this is where I think I got maybe not a full ROI, but saw success quickly, which made me think I was on the right track, is I focused on the fringe keywords, right? So I made a bunch of blogs and landing pages for, like, gmail to office 365 migrations, and the inverse office 365 to Gmail migrations. And guess what? We started to get some of those, and then those became MSP clients, and they were still somewhat challenging, but they were much easier keywords to get than IC support Los Angeles. So I kept focusing on the fringe words while I was focused on the big ones. And eventually, we did get the big ones. I can't tell you exactly where we rank right this second, because it does move around, but we're on page one for, like, it support Los Angeles. It services Los Angeles. Computer server support Los Angeles. I mean, all those kind of really difficult keywords. We've made it to page one, and we've been there for the past couple of years, but that's because we rank for, like, 300 other words that are more fringey. [00:37:37] Speaker A: Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. Final question, Chad. We do have a little chat before the interview, and you were telling me that you sell some services that a lot of msps don't sell. And I was quite surprised by the list. So just give us an insight into some of the other things that you sell which, as you say, are not a traditional MSP offering, and tell us how you got into those things. [00:37:58] Speaker B: I think for all companies, having a unique value proposition or unique selling proposition is really important. Right. So for us, we were like, ok, what is that? And for me it's two things. Number one is we are almost entirely an LA based staff, and everyone that one of our customers would talk to is based in Los Angeles. So any back office staff we have that's overseas, our customers would never talk to them. And to me, that's a value proposition. When we tell that to clients and they're like, well, your bids higher? And we're like, well, yeah, what do you think we have to pay? We literally will say, ask your competing bids if they have in house Los Angeles based people. And when they answer no, it gives the business owner pause. Right. They have to think, okay, do I want to spend less and be talking to Malaysia, the Philippines, India, whatever, or do I want to spend a little more with, be structured and know that if I'm talking to Ryan and then I need somebody to come out, Ryan's going to drive his car out to my like, that's a different thing. Right? We literally have a neighbor just caddy corner across the street, and they outsource everything. They have two guys that run around Los Angeles. Everybody else is overseas. Is that bad? [00:39:11] Speaker A: No. [00:39:11] Speaker B: They can offer cheaper prices than us, right, and potentially better margins. But that was a unique selling proposition for us that I think was really important. Number two is we really tried to be as much to our clients as possible. So that means the biggest growth area for us right now is cybersecurity. That's just the no brainer. Everybody's calling and asking about cybersecurity. We're pushing that really hard. We're getting a lot of business for cyber and we're getting a lot of upsells with our existing clients for cyber. But some of the services that have been really interesting, that have allowed us to cross sell MSP services into other markets is a lot of msps don't want to do office moves, they don't want to do cabling, they don't want to do surveillance, they don't want to do access control, et cetera. And so we've landed deals because like, hey, our existing MSP said they won't move our office or do our cabling, will you? And we're like, sure, no problem. And then they love us. And then they're like, we don't like our MSP that much anyway. What do you cost? Right? And then it's like, oh, you guys are 15% more. And we can go right back to like, yeah, well, everybody's based in LA and you just saw like eight of our staff people. So what do you think? Right? It becomes less about the price. And we're justifying the price not by like, oh, we're making so much more money. We're saying like, look, the price is higher because we have LA based people with medical, dental, vision, 401K, blah, blah, blah, all the stuff. Of course our rates are going to have to be higher and owners understand that and they just have to make a decision of who they want to talk to. And we win a lot of deals because of that, because people like that, we're not outsourcing in the traditional way that you might think of. So yeah, we really try to be everything that we can to our clients and we really try to keep as strong of an LA presence as we can, which I think are our two unique factors as an MSP. [00:41:05] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that. And that's actually known as a Trojan horse in marketing terms, where of course you're selling a service. It's not really your core service, but it's easier for you to sell that. I mean, for a pure MSP, backups, just focusing on selling backups and talking to people about backups, and you use that to get them in and then ask the question and say, hey, we noticed that you guys are using Windows seven machines. We noticed that you're doing this. We noticed you're doing that. And it's a way of starting a relationship with someone. I think that's a really smart thing to do. [00:41:35] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:41:35] Speaker A: Chad, thank you so much for your time. You've been so generous with telling us what you do to grow your business. And I do love getting, nothing is more exciting for me than getting actual MSP owners on to talk about what they've done and how they're growing their business. For people who are listening, watching us right now that want to get in touch with you, what's the best way to get in touch? [00:41:55] Speaker B: LinkedIn is great. You can find me on LinkedIn. My username is Chad L two. So I think that's LinkedIn.com. In Chad L. Two. I'm Chad L. Two everywhere, actually. So to Twitter, you're welcome to email me. That's Chad l at BSTg Co. Or you could even fill out the sales form. I see all of them. So if you just were like, hey, I want to talk to Chad. I'm an MSP owner. You can reach me that way as well. So there's a lot of different ways to reach me. X, formerly known as Twitter Chad Al two again. And be structured, of course, has its own landing pages as well. So Zoe or me will see those and she'll pass them along. [00:42:35] Speaker A: Paul Green's MSP marketing podcast this week's. [00:42:39] Speaker B: Recommended book hi, I'm Jake Gregorich, and the book I recommend is extreme ownership by Jaco Willink. The book goes into his Navy SEAL experiences and then ties them to real life business experiences. They're about taking ownership as a leader and pushing down decision making to the front lines to empower people to make those decisions without having to ask for permission and impact the end customers on creating a great experience coming up next week. I'm Trevor W. Goodchild, Facebook ad policy specialist. I've worked at Facebook in ads, tech, and project management. And on Paul's podcast, I'm going to tell you about the one thing that. [00:43:18] Speaker A: You do not want to do to. [00:43:19] Speaker B: Get your business shut down on Facebook. [00:43:21] Speaker A: And you really are going to love that interview next week. I've also got for you some myths, in fact, five myths about MSP marketing, things that might be holding you back. Let's do some mythbusting next week and get you moving forward. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP for msps around the world. Paul Green's MS MSP Marketing podcast.

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