October 25, 2023 By Jamie Warner

MSP Marketing Strategies 2023 – Vertical or General


Jamie Warner, CEO of 50 staff MSP eNerds and MSP Software Invarosoft, examines how to scale your business by either a vertical or general market strategy.


It doesn’t really matter whether you go wide or in a vertical in building an MSP. We’ve been a generalist for 23 years, we’ve just signed up $50K in MRR Support in the last 5 months – across all industries. We’re a $10M MSP.

However, as you get bigger and do a good job it’s inevitable you start getting verticals simply by doing a good job in certain verticals. So we definitely have a few, we just don’t market to them specifically.

We’ve tried vertical and generalist, so definitely tried everything.

Client Problem

Every client has the same problem when looking for a new IT Partner;

  • They’ve been let down, mostly around proactive communication.
  • They’ve outgrown their MSP.
  • The MSP isn’t proactive.
  • The MSP promises and then doesn’t deliver.
  • The MSP is too slow around consulting.
  • Poor customer experience.

It’s generally nothing to do with a technical issue.

So when they look for a new IT Partner they go to Google, Ask a Friend or respond to marketing.

In our experience no client ever changes IT Partners until they want to change. Think about that. They never change because of a fancy message in marketing or sales – they change because they gave the relationship a go and for one reason or another it hasn’t worked. It’s a pain in the butt to change MSPs (like Banks, Accountants or Lawyers) so marketing won’t make that happen, a bad relationship will.

So think about that in terms of your marketing – they’re in the market looking – you need to simply be there and catch them. If they’re not looking, they’re literally not seeing your marketing.



  • Much easier to do content marketing and messaging.
  • Much easier to target.
  • If you do a good job you’ll get more referrals.
  • If you have more clients in an industry you have more social proof.


  • Usually smaller target market.
  • Given they only look when they’re ready (Versus your fancy spiel) its just limiting your growth opportunity.

Vertical Story

I tried to target Construction businesses in Sydney. We got the list (~300 businesses), we made marketing material targeted to construction, we got reference clients in construction, we hired a sales guy, we bought a car so he had something to drive, we literally knocked on their doors over 3-6  months and met them in person to see if they needed help. We dropped them into a drip email funnel with content marketing for 12 months. You can’t try any harder than this!

We got 1 converted lead.

Conclusion, if you understand the buyer you’ll understand why this will happen. They were happy and weren’t looking yet. It was a smaller market so statistically going to be less people looking.

It didn’t work … very well.



  • Wider audience.
  • Much better chance to find those businesses across all industries putting their hand up saying I need a new partner.


  • Harder if you want to do content marketing messaging. However, I’d counter this point that content marketing doesn’t usually work, because when a customer isn’t looking they’re not reading it. So the message is simply saying ‘hey are you looking, we’re amazing, speak to us’. You’re just making their job easier in finding a few options to review. 

Marketing Strategies

We’ve found the following has helped us scale as the #1 marketing strategies:

  • Referrals
  • Google AdWords (Although we’re giving it a break after 15 years, it’s not working as well as it used to)
  • Email Marketing (Getting lots of leads here with simple messaging trying to find the ones looking to change providers.)
  • Great website (Look bigger than you actually are)


Any marketing strategy will work. What can’t be denied though is some strategies work better than others.

Take advice from MSPs who’ve been there. Take advice from those that have actually scaled. 

It’s going to take a lot of time. Building a business where you’re essentially selling ‘relationships’ is much harder than product businesses. Shown by the fact 80% of MSPs are under $3M in revenue and 60% are under $1M.  Most have whether they like it or not grown from referrals – slowly.

Good luck!


About Invarosoft

Invarosoft® delivers one MSP software platform to replace five products – CX, vCIO, CSAT, Warranty & Engineer Scheduling. You also get 20+ tools helping your MSP reduce stack costs, improve CX, increase productivity, enhance communication and increase your sales. 

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