In this episode, Jeff Loehr, Tim Fitzpatrick, and Joe Rojas discuss the benefits of niching down, finding the marketing channels that resonate with you, and the importance of customer onboarding.
They emphasize the value of understanding your target market and crafting a message that speaks directly to them, as well as optimizing referral systems and creating a super-targeted list to attract ideal clients.
They also address the fear of going too narrow with your niche and the delivery challenge that comes with it but stress that niching down ultimately leads to higher profitability and more enjoyable work.
Tim has a passion for developing and growing businesses. He is an entrepreneur at heart, with 25+ years of experience in marketing, business development, sales management, and strategic planning.
Just after graduating from college, he had the good fortune of getting involved with a wholesale distribution company he co-owned for 9 years. They grew an average of 60% a year before being acquired in 2005.
He started Rialto Marketing in 2012 with a vision of having a positive, lasting impact on the businesses they work with. There are three critical elements of marketing: strategy, planning, and leadership. He enjoys all three and is good at them, so that’s what Rialto Marketing focuses on with their clients.
What is the problem you solve, and for whom?
I help MSPs that need a marketing leader to accelerate growth without the full-time cost.
We help B2B professional service firms that need a marketing leader to accelerate growth without the full-time cost.
How do you help MSPs
I help MSPs remove their revenue roadblocks so they can accelerate growth.
Your Company Website/URL
What you are promoting:
Jeff Loehr: Did I tell you what happened to our solar panels?
Joe Rojas: No.
Jeff Loehr: Squirrels ate ’em. The squirrels ate all the cables. So I get these errors, and they’re like, oh, you have to reset this and reset that. And like, all this stuff that you have to do. And they kept telling me, oh, you have to plug this in and restart this, and restart the other thing. And then they said, it’s not working. So they came out to look at it, and they’re all, oh, yeah, all of your cables were eaten by squirrels.
And then they said now we have to replace your panels. And they said, oh, but we don’t make those panels anymore, so we have to replace the whole system. And then, they said, you need a new inverter because the old one isn’t quite the right one. So now they’re replacing the entire system.
Joe Rojas: Holy moly. All because of your squirrels.
Jeff Loehr: The nice thing is it’s a lease, so I don’t have to worry about it. It’s a prepaid lease. Tim, welcome.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Thanks for having me.
Jeff Loehr: We’re talking about solar panels and the fact that I am in a construction zone here.
I’m feeling. More respect for some war zone correspondence at the moment. And their ability to talk quietly in the middle of everything going on. I’m also getting insulation done in my attic because we didn’t have much, which really sucks. So we’re finally putting it in there.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Man, I’m glad you don’t have to pay to replace the entire system.
Jeff Loehr: Oh, I would be livid. Yes. I wouldn’t be as relaxed as I am, but it’s cool. The way it’s structured is it’s a lease, a 20-year prepaid lease. I prepaid it because it was the cheapest way to do it, right?
Like you could pay over time. But I said I’m just going to pay. And then, they guarantee a certain amount of output. And so once it stopped, they were on the hook, and they had to come to replace the panels and replace the inverter. I lost six months of production but didn’t have to pay for the replacement.
Tim Fitzpatrick: God, that’s crazy.
Jeff Loehr: It’s amazing how much these panels save me. I can’t believe how much electricity costs. It’s really expensive.
Tim Fitzpatrick: I got a buddy in. Actually, I have two friends still in California, one in Sacramento, one in the Bay Area, and one in Sacramento. He actually sells them.
So he is, man; I should have put these in long ago. His electric bill was getting up to $800 a month. The return is like 8 to 10 years. He’s like man; I’m going to get my return because he was getting wholesale.
Jeff Loehr: Oh. Mine paid themselves off it; it took me about two and a half years. I did the math; no, it might have been four years. Four years to pay themselves off. Yeah, I had them for 10. Everything after, and the lease is 20. So it’s everything after that is gravy.
And if you fly over California, the idea that all those rooftops are not covered with solar panels blows my mind because they’re all just sitting there collecting heat. It could be collecting electricity that runs the air conditioners. Like, I can’t stand it. It drives me nuts.
Tim Fitzpatrick: The thing is, most people don’t have the money to do it.
Jeff Loehr: But there are so many incentives, except SMUD in Sacramento actually doesn’t want you to because they’re doing so much solar centrally that they’re doing something different in Sacramento. But we got all these rebates. At the end of the day, it only cost us like 6,000 bucks for the whole system.
Tim Fitzpatrick: See, that’s not bad.
Jeff Loehr: It’s not that much. Especially if you consider how much money you’re spending on electricity. Anyway, that’s not what we’re here to talk about, Tim.
So I wanted to chat with Tim because I felt like we were kindred spirits. He’s in marketing; I do marketing. We tolerate Joe. But when we started talking about it, we started talking about the need to focus and the need to niche, and I thought we just had a good conversation.
Tim, what got you into marketing
Jeff Loehr: So then, what got you into marketing? So Rialto marketing is yours.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yes.
Jeff Loehr: So what got you to marketing and got you into Rialto? What happened there?
Tim Fitzpatrick: I’ll tell you the short story. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from college.
I was a math major. My dad had been a manufacturer’s rep for a long time. So he was a middleman between the dealers and the manufacturer. And he had started a distribution company. About a year or two before I graduated and he needed help. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I was like, let me help you for the summer.
And after the summer, I was like, man, I’m hooked. I don’t wanna do anything else, so please tell me that you want me to continue doing this. And he did. I worked with my dad for over 10 years. I ran the distribution company. He ran his rep company. We grew 60% a year for nine years.
We sold it. Then I got out of it, so this was like the 2008-2009 timeframe. We got bought by a public company, and I got laid off. They were freaking out about what was happening in the economy then. And so I was like, man, what the hell am I going to do?
This is the only thing I know professionally. I need to shift gears. So at that time, I had always been interested in real estate.
How Tim got out of his comfort zone by door knocking
Tim Fitzpatrick: So I got into residential real estate. Which I could not stand. I did it for about three years. I put myself outside of my comfort zone every damn day. I was door-knocking people in foreclosure and doing short-sale business, so I was working with the lender.
Jeff Loehr: Oh, that sounds like fun.
Tim Fitzpatrick: You know what’s crazy? The first time I knocked on a door, I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea what to expect, but the more I did it, the more comfortable I got. And I just got to a place where stuff didn’t surprise me. I had some interesting encounters with people, but that experience helped me get out of my comfort zone.
And if we’re going to be successful, we have to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. So I’m thankful for that time, even though I did not enjoy all of it. But I started, I got to a point where I was waking up every day going, oh my God, I got to do this. And to me, when you own a business, and you’re waking up like that, there is no point.
You got to shift gears. So I thought about, gosh, what did I love about distribution? Where are some of my skill sets? And that’s when I got into marketing, which, I’ll tell you.
How Tim got into marketing
Tim Fitzpatrick: My road in marketing has been a winding road as well. Marketing is so broad at this point. It is. The fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed, and I know we’re going to talk about that, but man, the tactics the channels are just evolving so quickly, and most people are just overwhelmed and, so it took me a while to figure out where I really fit in the space.
I’ve gotten to a point where I just. I’m good at strategy, I’m good at planning, and I’m good at running people’s marketing efforts. And so that’s what I’ve chosen to focus on, and I let everything else go, and I work with other people that do the other parts of marketing.
Jeff Loehr: The marketing fundamentals haven’t changed, and that’s true. But what happens with many people when confronted with the idea of marketing is that they just get buried in tactics and channels and produce noise.
And there’s like this belief that if I produce a lot of noise, then I will succeed, or people will want to buy my thing. And it doesn’t work that way. Producing noise for the sake of noise doesn’t seem to drive sales. It just seems to be expensive.
Joe Rojas: Because noise is just noise.
Jeff Loehr: But do you see that as well?
MSPs have a strategy when you market; do not just make noise
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, absolutely. And there’s so much noise out there now. As you said there, Jeff, there are so many different channels and tactics within those channels.
There’s all kinds of noise, which always comes back to information overload. People say, “Oh my God, I need a YouTube channel. I need to be on Facebook. I need to have a blog. I got to do all these things. In reality, most of us really don’t need to do that much to have a successful marketing effort.
We need to hone in on the best things for us. Focus on less to accomplish more.Tim Fitzpatrick
And the other thing is that it’s so easy to jump to the tactics, right? In marketing, because there’s so much noise and people feel like, gosh, if I’m going to spend time on strategy and laying that foundation, That’s time that I’m not taking action.
And so I’m actually losing time. But what most people miss and how I think of strategy is fuel. The marketing channels and the tactics are the vehicles. So if we jump into the vehicle and have no fuel, it won’t work. Some people have success for a while, but it’s like you’re pushing the car down the road.
Yeah. But what happens when you hit the hill? You’re like, oh crap, I can’t; I don’t have fuel. I can’t get up this hill.
Jeff Loehr: One of the things that we talk about is that you can get lucky. You can, yes you can. You can get lucky.
Something can happen. Like you can post something and have a billion people want it the next day, it happened to somebody. But it, that’s just a terrible strategy.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yes, it is.
Jeff Loehr: So if your strategy is, I’m going to get lucky, right? It’s just not a good strategy. ’cause then you are doing stuff with the hope that you get something, and you get lucky, and it could be a better strategy.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Do you wanna take the chances that you’re going to be that one-in-a-million person, or do you wanna improve your odds?
Jeff Loehr: Most people want to take the chances that they’re the one in a million.
Joe Rojas: Listen, that’s why the lottery works, bro.
People confuse busyness with businessJeff Loehr
Jeff Loehr: Yeah. The reason why it involves less thought, and it’s what you said earlier, is you’re in action, so you feel like you’re doing stuff. People confuse busyness with business all the time. And they’re going to say, oh, I want the strategy.
But when it comes to strategy, it scares people.
Tim Fitzpatrick: It does. There’s a lot of fear around it. Yeah. It’s gosh. When we talk about the target market, we talk a lot about, Hey, you need to focus. Yeah. And we’ve all heard the saying, fear of loss is a greater motivator than gain.
Most people’s biggest roadblock, when you tell them that they need to focus, is, what about all the other people? What about I’m going to miss out? And the reality is the people that focus. Find out that when they do focus, life becomes so much easier.
Jeff Loehr: And what’s interesting is that you become attractive, right?
And not in the sense that you’re going to look pretty because clearly. But, in the sense that people want to work with you if you’re focused, right? People want because they see what you do, and oh, that’s about me. And I know you start. I’ve looked at your program on your website, and that’s where you start.
Yes. It is with this finding the target market.
How do MSPs start their marketing strategy
Tim Fitzpatrick: I didn’t come up with this. When you look at marketing, sales, or any discipline, the fundamentals don’t change. They’re the same today as they were 50 years ago and will be the same 50 years from now with marketing.
I think it all. Starts with your target market. Suppose you do not understand your target market and your ideal clients within that market. In that case, everything else down the line will be out of alignment. And you might get lucky, as you said, Jeff, but most of the time, you’re not going to get lucky, and it’s going to feel like you’re banging your head against a wall.
Joe Rojas: It’s going to be an uphill slog. And I was in MSP for 20 years, and the first three years of that, it was like, holy, it was like, This is the hardest thing, right?
Yeah. You’re trying to break through rock with a two-by-four, and it’s so hard, and you’re banging away at it and banging away at it and talking to everybody. But the second you get narrow, the second you say, oh, I only work with personal injury lawyers. What I discovered is that you really understand the problems that you’re solving for that particular person. And I always talk about this with MSPs.
MSPs especially just wanna help everybody and be agnostic and be out there and be out, not missing anything. But then what?
Jeff Loehr: I’m going to step in here and say I’m sick and tired of talking about it with MSPs.
Do you work with MSPs Tim
Jeff Loehr: So you work with MSPs, Tim?
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yes.
Jeff Loehr: That’s your target customer, right?
Yeah. We work with MSPs. And I’ve got to ask guys, so just between us, like nobody else is paying attention, just between us. Why don’t they get it? Why is it so hard? It’s been Marketing 101 for the last hundred years that marketing has existed. Define your target niche and go after them.
Otherwise, it’s not going to work. That’s been as true when it was about newspapers as it is when you’re talking about Instagram, right? That’s not changed at all, and yet, Every single person fights it. Do you find that too, Tim?
Do you think MSPs have a hard time picking a niche
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. Oh yeah. The vast majority do. And I think, Jeff, it comes back to what we touched on earlier.
It’s just fear. I’m fearful that if I make this choice, it won’t help me. And here’s the reality of it. Just because you make a choice to focus on a very specific niche. It doesn’t mean that you’re pouring concrete and your feet are stuck in the concrete.
I’m making a choice for now. Like Joe said, ” Hey, look, I started working with personal injury attorneys, and I didn’t like it. Okay, great. Then change again. It’s okay. You can make that shift. It’s so easy.
Joe Rojas: You sell the company. That’s what I did. And then you start over again.
You do not have to stay with the same niche foreverJoe Rojas
Tim Fitzpatrick: There you go. That’s one way to do it, right Joe? So we’re not saying you need to do this forever. All we’re saying is you have to make a choice right now because, especially with MSPs, you know when ’cause look, a lot of MSPs are smaller, owner-operated, they don’t have a ton of people don’t have a huge budget.
You can’t target broadly without hundreds of millions upon maybe even billions of dollars. And even large Fortune 500 companies, they don’t target broadly. Their campaigns are very narrowly targeted. We don’t see that as the consumer. So you got to make a choice. A lot of MSPs are selling geographically. That’s starting to shift now because of the pandemic; MSPs are beginning to realize, gee, I don’t need to go in and serve most of my clients. And, especially as things shift to the cloud, it’s man, I can do business anywhere.
So, focusing geographically is one way to reach a niche, right? I think it’s easier to niche on a specific vertical.
Joe Rojas: A hundred percent because it, there are two things. You niche geographically. I’ve done that, too, right? I’ve run several MSPs, and I’ve helped run MSPs.
When your niche geographically is great because you can get a technician anywhere within 20 minutes if you tighten up that, that geography is really tight, right? The problem is onboarding. See, let’s talk about delivery for a minute. See people talk about niching from a marketing perspective.
Why you should niche from a delivery perspective
Joe Rojas: Forget that you got to niche because it’s impossible to deliver. If I’m doing retail stores over here and HIPAA compliance over here. This is two different animals. Like for the retail store, I need cameras, I need some register, blah, blah, blah, whatever. But there’s not there’s PCI, but it’s not like a big deal.
For HIPAA compliance, or if I’m doing FINRA compliance or doing some really hardcore, I need some serious gray matter to go at that.
Jeff Loehr: And by the way, Joe, Tim, and I will explain that marketing actually includes delivery, but you said an important thing, and I’d be interested in your thoughts, Tim, and the onboarding. The onboarding ’cause one of the things that we find over and over again is if your onboarding is amazing, people will forgive errors later on.
What are your thoughts on customer onboarding
Jeff Loehr: And if you’re, if your onboarding is terrible, then every little thing later becomes a major disaster. And onboarding is really hard if you’re doing something for the first time. But if you’ve done it a million times, onboarding is easy. It’s just a process. So again, that really supports this idea of knowing whom you’re serving.
And when you’re looking geographically, the only thing you can say is, Hey, I’m close by. But that’s not solving your clients’ real fundamental problem. And it might be easier to onboard in terms of you can go to their office, though, with services like FieldNation, but not really.
It’s still as easy, even if you’re not there. Still, you could argue that onboarding in person is easier that way, but you don’t solve a problem. Or you’re really onboarding them. In terms of delivering a service. If you don’t have some understanding of their business and their vertical.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. There’s a couple things to play off of here. ’cause Joe, you’re a hundred percent right. You’re reinventing the wheel every time.
Tim shares his interview with Chris Knowles
Tim Fitzpatrick: I interviewed a guy named Chris Knowles on my podcast from Beyond Computer Solutions, and he focuses on real estate attorneys and title companies.
And one of the things that he talked about in the interview was that their help tickets are minimal. And why are their help tickets minimal? Their help tickets are minimal because they can serve the people they serve at the highest level. They know exactly what needs to happen so that their systems run as efficiently as possible.
He handles help tickets in-house. He doesn’t have to worry about outsourcing it somewhere else or having a ton of people on staff. There are so many benefits in going narrow and serving a very specific vertical.
Jeff Loehr: So that’s because you understand your niche. You can deliver it; you can deliver it well, and you don’t have help tickets, which means you have a lower cost. It also means that you can charge more. So you have a lower delivery cost, but you can charge more because you are more valuable because your customer doesn’t like calling the help desk, and they’d be very happy to have stuff work all the time.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yep. And you’re more profitable too.
Jeff Loehr: A hundred percent. Because your cost is lower and your price is higher.
The other huge benefit of niching
Tim Fitzpatrick: The other huge benefit of niching is, Your message, right? That’s the second roadblock. Revenue roadblock. We help clients remove. You got the target market, then you have your message.
Even if you’re focused on a geographic area. It’s still going to be more challenging to craft a message that’s really going to resonate. But if you’re speaking to MSPs or attorneys, they have their own lingo. And when you can talk their lingo and the message you’re putting out there is in their words, and they’re like, geez, man, Joe gets me.
That is how you are going to convert customers and attract them. And it’s hard to do that if you don’t focus on a narrow niche.
Joe shares how he ran Computer ER a, MSP for doctors
Joe Rojas: Yeah. We ran a company called Computer ER. And so all our tech wore scrubs; we worked only with doctors. And we didn’t have; we had charts.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Hey, there you go.
Joe Rojas: You triage your problem. Everything. And the guys used to wear it. Do you remember the old grounding straps?
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. Yeah.
Joe Rojas: But on a stethoscope, they wore a grounding strap. It was so much fun. We walked in, everybody had their clipboard, we had all our stuff. If you could tell how long ago this was, we had clipboards and work orders. You had a little doctor’s bag with your tools in it. It was the whole thing. But the reason we did it that way is ’cause we really wanted to speak directly to doctors.
Then we niched down even further and went down to ophthalmologists.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Doctors talk about patients. Attorneys talk about clients. And so the more narrow you can get and specific with the language you use, that they use, that all helps your marketing message.
And you can’t do that when you target broadly.
Are MSPs scared to niche because they are scared to deliver
Jeff Loehr: I have another thought. I’d be interested in your thought on this as well, Tim. Another reason why companies struggle to define a niche is not just a fear of marketing but a fear of delivery. What happens when you niche is putting yourself more on the line because you’re saying, I understand what you do, so I can deliver a higher level of service around exactly what you need.
So now it’s not generic anymore. Now you actually have to know something. So when Joe goes into an ophthalmologist, he has to know something about…
Joe Rojas: a LASIK machine!
Jeff Loehr: He has to know how a LASIK machine works.
You get this wrong, and people are going to be pissed off like their eyes are going to be backward, and it’s just not going to be good at all. So there’s a delivery challenge with niching as well, that we get scared as entrepreneurs to define a niche because it means that our ass is more on the line. Do you see that?
Tim Fitzpatrick: So here’s a hypothetical question if you’re having to reinvent the wheel every time ’cause you’re working with different types of clients, is that any different than initially starting to work with ophthalmologists?
Sure. The first few times you do it, you might be scared, and there’s a ton of things you have to figure out. But once you figure out those things, all of a sudden, the puzzle pieces are coming together. Then you’re done.
Jeff Loehr: I think we can hide in ambiguity.
Like we can hide in, I do this generic thing. But when you’re talking to an ophthalmologist, and you say, I do ophthalmology; you’re going to have to know LASIK. Like clearly, I could not go into an ophthalmologist’s office ’cause I have perfect eyes. I’ve never even been to one.
What do I know about ophthalmology? But it’s true what you say. You do that two or three times, you really get to understand their problems, and then it’s a cakewalk. But it does mean that you’re going to have to learn their business.
If your MSP is agnostic, then you are a commodity
Joe Rojas: See, this is the thing if a computer is a computer, then you’re a commodity.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, absolutely.
Joe Rojas: If I understand how ophthalmologists deliver services and that the most important thing for them is how many patients they can see in a day.
Then I’m going to figure out how do I get you to stop taking notes by hand. Now let’s get you a Bluetooth. Let’s get you to transcribe the notes verbally. Let’s get you an EMR that is all pull-down menus, so you don’t have to type because you have a lot of notes that you have to take for the eyes and a lot of measurements, and every single time you have to type it.
Let’s find something that’s very niche and specific for you. When you’re not niche, you don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. That’s the client’s problem and their vendor’s. The problem is that you’re a commodity. So it’s all about price now. If you wanna make money, you got to stop being a commodity.
Tim Fitzpatrick: So I wanna piggyback off this, Joe, ’cause I think that’s an awesome example. So their goal is to maximize the number of patients they can see in a day. If I’m targeting broadly, I’ve got a message; we make it simple or let us run your IT so that you don’t have to do this.
If I’m an ophthalmologist and I go to that website, and then I go to yours, and it says IT, that helps you maximize the number of patients you see every day. Who the hell am I going to call first? There’s, it is no question. And, like you said when you’re seen as different.
You can maximize how much you charge.
Jeff Loehr: and you can actually have more fun with it. ’cause now you can also talk about your LASIK machine is going to be working so much, it’s going to break down because you’ve already used it up like in a month, and you’re going to be so happy to buy another LASIK machine because you have so many patients, like the whole time, like you get to tell more interesting stories at that point.
How niching down helps you find your customer
Tim Fitzpatrick: You absolutely do. Here’s another thing to think about when you know. I’m calling an ophthalmologist. It becomes much easier to start to create that list. Like one of my mentors said, success starts with a list. You got to have a list of where your ideal clients are when you know that you’re going to target ophthalmologists.
It is much easier to create a list of how to get in front of them than if I’m targeting small businesses. It’s too broad. It’s like trying to find a needle in the middle of a football field rather than knowing, Hey, I need to be right on the one-yard line.
Jeff Loehr: Yeah. Isn’t that interesting?
It’s so much harder to get a small business than it is to a list of ophthalmologists.
Tim Fitzpatrick: It’s so much easier.
Jeff Loehr: There are so many small businesses, but how do you know which one to target?
Joe Rojas: But you just go to Google, you type ophthalmologists in your zip code, and you hit enter, and “boop,” There they all are!
How do I find my target avatar
Tim Fitzpatrick: It’s that. But it’s also what trade shows they go to.
What events do they go to? When ophthalmologists get publications from associations, they follow specific influencers in the space. You can create a super-targeted list so that if you go to any of those places, you’re fishing where the fish are so much easier.
Jeff Loehr: You just brought up something for me. This may not be new for you, but it’s new for me. I’m learning here, but it’s the idea that if you can’t easily create a list. If you can’t answer that question around what conferences does my target market go to, or where do they congregate, or what do they do if you can’t answer those questions and you can’t, for a small business, like if you say no small business under $50 million, where do they congregate?
I don’t know. Everywhere. You can’t. You clearly don’t have a niche. Whereas, ophthalmologists go to ophthalmology conferences and they download these magazines, and they work in this place, and they do this. That’s actually a really good test for Do you have a niche that’s valuable?
Can you go too narrow with your niche
Tim Fitzpatrick: Absolutely. The flip side to that, too, Jeff, is sometimes people go am I going too narrow? Going too narrow if you’re having a hard time creating a list. ’cause you’ve gone too narrow, right? It can. It can happen that way as well. I tell people, look, if there’s a conference around a particular vertical or niche, it’s probably big enough, and here’s the reality. Most MSPs only need a few clients. The fear of going too narrow, it’s dude, you don’t need 500 clients.
Jeff Loehr: There’s not too narrow.
I have yet to come across a niche that is too narrow. Like I, I haven’t either. And this is this has nothing to do with MSPs, but
Jeffs’s story about a niche blog
Jeff Loehr: I was listening to this woman who runs a blog on succulents. Indoor succulents. And somebody was saying, wow, that’s a really narrow niche. Do you have enough to write about with indoor succulents?
And she said I started this thing. I didn’t know anything about it, but now. That niche is so broad, there’s so much now I really wanna just focus on, like green succulents with pointy, pointy leaves. I don’t know what it was. She’s like succulents are way too broad.
What we don’t realize is that people actually exist in pretty narrow niches and that we have in this economy. There is basically a market for everything. So if it’s done once, it’s done a thousand times, and you only need 50 clients.
So I’ve come across a lot of people being afraid that their niche is too narrow. I haven’t once actually seen a niche that is too narrow.
How niching down helped Joe in a networking event
Joe Rojas: Yeah. What I’ll tell you is this also, I remember when I did the first one, I did attorneys right. I would walk into a networking event before I niche, right?
And people would ask me, so what do you do? And I would say I’m an IT company, and I work with small businesses. And they would go, right? Oh no, he is going to try and sell me something. And then afterward, After I niche down, I would go, I’m an IT company, and I only work with attorneys.
They would go, hold on, let me introduce you. Let me take you to the attorneys that are in the room. They grab me by the wrist and walk me over to the three attorneys in the room and say, Hey, look, Joe works with only attorneys, and he is an IT guy.
Jeff Loehr: Don’t you need an IT guy? You told me yesterday that your email didn’t work.
Joe Rojas: It looks like a whole different animal. Because when you’re marketing to everybody, then everybody puts their guard up. But when you’re so narrow that you’re like, no, not you, that guy, they’re like, oh, I know that guy. Come on. I’ll introduce you.
Tim Fitzpatrick: It becomes easier for them to identify who’s the best person for you to be introduced to.
It’s a perfect example, Joe. It’s, oh yeah. Do you know a small business owner? I’m looking for MSPs or attorneys, whatever. Oh, I know exactly who you need to talk to. So much easier for people to refer.
Jeff Loehr: Tim, do you have any other thoughts or ideas on how MSPs can simplify their market? We’ve really dug into the niche thing, and personally, I think this is the most important step. But do you have any other thoughts or any other ideas from your…
Do you have any other advice for MSPs
Tim Fitzpatrick: Oh man, they’re going to us, Jeff; we could have a whole other episode.
Here’s what I would say.
Target market and niching down is the most important place to start. And once you do that, you can then create a message that’s going to attract and engage those people. There are a couple of things I would add to that with your messaging. You just wanna make sure that it’s simple and that it’s focused on who you intend to attract.
Don’t talk about yourself. Nobody cares, right? They only care about the problem you can solve and what the outcome looks like. That’s what they care about.
Jeff Loehr: See, Joe, I’m not the only one who says that. Thank you.
Tim Fitzpatrick: The other thing that I would add, once you have those things in place and you start to think about the marketing vehicles that you’re going to use, don’t feel like you need to be everywhere. You don’t. I’d much rather, and I always recommend clients go narrower and deeper. You don’t need to have six different marketing channels. Most of us have a really consistent business. Two or three, get those dialed in. Referrals are great; here’s the other thing, don’t reinvent the wheel.
Look at what’s already working in your business. Optimize that. First and foremost, most MSPs are growing on referrals. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of them have no system to actually get consistent referrals.
Joe Rojas: Yeah.
Tim Fitzpatrick: So optimize that system, then start to jump into and test other marketing channels.
Jeff Loehr: I love that; that is a really good observation. I think you’re really right. Cool. Before we go, I did check out.
Tims Revenue Roadblock Scorecard
Jeff Loehr: Your Scorecard, which I thought was very cool. RevenueRoadblockScorecard.com, right?
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yes. RevenueRoadblockScorecard.Com.
Jeff Loehr: And we’ll put a link in the show notes.
But I thought that was very cool. I went through it, and you asked a few simple questions to put us on your model and identify some of those areas, to work on. And I thought that was super, super useful and insightful, and well done. It really looks good, I felt Professionally presented there, and it’s like you say you do something really good.
It’s simple, but it’s informative. It helps you know your target customers; your MSPs really understand what’s going on in their business, and that just makes it attractive. You just wanna work with me, right?
Tim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. Thank you for the feedback, Jeff.
Jeff Loehr: I think anybody listening should go check it out, and I think, Tim, I think we probably will have to do another episode or something, or maybe have you come talk at one of our summits. I just think you, you got the story spot on. Maybe it’s just because I agree with you. I don’t know,
Joe Rojas: It’s about what works. It’s like gravity. Like gravity works. You could argue against gravity,
Jeff Loehr: You’re like, gravity sucks, man. Okay. But it’s there. And the funny thing is, as you say, Tim, we’re not reinventing the wheel here. This is just Marketing 101. It’s been Marketing 101 since the beginning of time. And social media actually has not changed that. It’s just given you a different channel.
Joe Rojas: And it hasn’t made it better either, right? It just gave you a different channel. To jump on what you said, Tim is, really understanding where your people are; which channel are they on? And then go on that channel. And if that’s the only channel you’re on, you’re golden.
That’s where your people are, and that’s it.
Jeff Loehr: Or, and I’m going to blow your mind here or no channel.
Joe Rojas: Nice.
Jeff Loehr: What if you didn’t do social media at all?
But that’s where your referral system comes from, Tim. That’s where some of these other thoughts come in. Maybe you don’t even need to be on social media.
Find the marketing channel or tactic that resonates with you
Tim Fitzpatrick: Oh, the other thing I tell people, like, look, if you don’t like it, Then you should not have it in your marketing plan. Like, we obviously love video. We’re doing video right now, but damn, if you’re terrified of video and I put a video in your marketing plan, you are not going to do it well, and you’re going to stop doing it.
So you get, any tactic can work. You got to find the ones that resonate with you. I love that they’re going to help you get in front of the people you wanna work with.
Jeff Loehr: I love that. And I think that’s such an important message for people to hear because I think there’s this belief that I’ve got to do all of this stuff.
Everybody’s telling me I have to do video, or I have to do podcasts, or I have to do writing. It’s I hate this stuff. Find the thing that works for you, and I think when it’s authentic, it’ll probably work out. But I think that’s brilliant advice.
Jeff Loehr: Awesome. Has been a real pleasure.
This time flies by when we’re having fun. Next time we’re going to have to do it in Colorado. Maybe. We’ll go up one of those 10,000-foot mountains and do it from the top of there.
Joe Rojas: I’m all in, baby. I’m all in.
Tim Fitzpatrick: I love it.
Jeff Loehr: Go check out Tim’s marketing Scorecard. And go to the niche.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Thank you for having me. It’s been great connecting with you guys.
Joe Rojas: There’s that last thing. Remember that you are loved.
Jeff Loehr: Thanks, guys.