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Professional Services Marketing Blog
In professional services marketing, research shows LinkedIn is the most effective social network for producing referral traffic and generating qualified leads. Similarly, this data also shows that professional services firms with the highest growth place the most focus on LinkedIn out of all the major social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+).
Many B2B marketers use LinkedIn on a fundamental level. You may have joined a few groups, connected with friends and colleagues, checked who has viewed your profile, recruited professionals for your firm, or even sought out other career opportunities. These are all helpful techniques for beginners, but we’re going to challenge you to take your LinkedIn efforts to the next level.
Here are a few strategies to consider:
Leverage LinkedIn as a Top Promotional Outlet
At this point, you have probably built out a LinkedIn Company page, including your message, services, and brand promise. You’ve given the visitor a clear picture of who your firm is. (Remember, LinkedIn has updated their Service Pages to Showcase Pages. Make sure to fill out yours.) This is a good start. But in order to fully leverage LinkedIn, you need to think of it as one of your top promotional outlets.
This means sharing and promoting your content, events, webinars, speaking engagements and thought leadership across LinkedIn – including in groups, Showcase Pages, and across employees’ profiles as much as possible.
A Visible Expert℠ is an industry expert that is well-known in the marketplace. Your firm likely has individuals that are well-respected and are the internal experts on your industry. However, they don't provide the same level of impact that a Visible Expert does. In this video, learn more about Visible Experts and the value they provide for your firm's brand.
Every day, managing partners are required to make decisions about topics we are not fully informed about. One day it may be about investing in a new piece of software, the next it may be about structuring a new compensation system.
Perhaps the area where these decisions are most common and most fraught with peril is marketing.
In most firms, the managing partner does not have an extensive background in marketing. Yet we are called upon to make decisions that will directly impact the growth and profitability of our firms.
A Little Perspective Please
In this post, I’d like to take a step toward helping you understand the realities of modern professional services marketing. My goal is to help you be more informed when making some of those critical calls on marketing strategies and tactics.
Here are five of the most commonly misunderstood characteristics of professional services marketing:
1. Marketing is a discipline that must be learned and honed.
Just as with accounting, law, engineering or management consulting, no one is born a marketer. It is a professional discipline backed by a body of knowledge. There are processes and tools that must be learned and practiced.
Many firms have a tradition of viewing marketing as a low-level administrative support function that exerts little real impact on firm performance. When approached in this manner, marketing will indeed have minimal positive impact on the firm. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t, just that it is not being implemented to its potential.
In many firms, it seems that everyone is free to have an opinion about how marketing should be done. Yet we rarely allow uninformed opinions about accounting or IT security. Why is it okay to let marketing be guided by uninformed consensus?
As important as it is to have a competent accountant, attorney or human resources professional, it’s equally important to have a well trained, competent and fully funded professional services marketing function.
By Kathy Dam
The benefits of email marketing have been proven time and time again. Here are a couple notable statistics. About half of B2B companies spend at least 10% of their marketing budgets on email, and email marketing’s ROI has been found to be 127%. In other words, for every $1 you put into email marketing, you can expect to get $1.27 in return.
But before you can reap the full benefits of email marketing, you need a list of contacts to actually email, and not any old list will do. It should be robust and full of individuals within your target audiences.
So, how do you attain and build this list?
Let me start with an impassioned plea.
Stop purchasing email lists. Commit to stopping now.
It can be tempting. With a metaphorical swipe of your credit card, you magically have 10,000 shiny new contacts. Your firm might purchase email lists because it’s routine or due to uncertainty of how to get contacts otherwise. But there’s a better way.
While a handful of people might end up being interested, here are some simple, yet compelling reasons why purchased contacts aren’t worth the time or investment.
- Purchased email lists aren’t targeted contacts. They might be of a particular demographic or located in your desired geographic region. But in all likelihood, these contacts don’t know who you are, what you do, or what you stand for. They haven’t expressed interest in your products or services. They may not need them — now or ever. No one appreciates unwarranted emails.
In both our research and our day-to-day experience, we’ve repeatedly seen that when professional services buyers require expertise, they tend to search for professionals who have achieved a high profile and outstanding reputation in their marketplaces. Whether they’re looking to overcome a challenge or pursue a new opportunity, purchasers want to engage a particular type of professional that we call Visible Experts℠.
This demand for expertise can be a tremendous boon for professional service providers with in-house Visible Experts℠. The high profile and credibility delivered by these individuals can truly make a company. But what about the clients who seek and engage providers for the knowledge of their Visible Experts℠? What benefits do they see? How exactly do they go about identifying and verifying expertise in the first place?
We knew from our previous research that expertise was crucial to professional services buyers, so now we wanted to understand exactly how and why purchasers engaged high visibility experts. As a component of a larger, forthcoming study on the Visible Expert℠, we surveyed 1,028 buyers of professional services across industries including accounting and finance, architecture, engineering, and construction, technology, consulting, and law.
At Hinge we have been studying Visible Experts℠, people who have attained high visibility and expertise in their industry, creating a personal brand that is recognizable industry-wide. We study them because we want to understand how they attained that status and what we can learn from them. This profile focuses on Staci Riordan, a Visible Expert for fashion law.
Growing Up in the Fashion World
Staci Riordan learned about the fashion business at her family’s kitchen table. With a mother who made and sold children’s clothing, and a grandfather and great-grandfather who were also in the garment industry, learning the fashion business was as routine as eating dinner and doing homework. Staci could sew by the age of five, and was running her mother’s tradeshow booths by age 10. As a kid, “I learned to buy for the store, and how to talk to dealers,” Staci says. “I learned the business from the inside out at a very young age.”
Based on Staci’s background, it was not a big surprise when, as she was about to graduate from Emory University, her mom called and invited her to move to Los Angeles to help launch a new clothing business. Staci got her degree and moved west. Almost immediately, the fledgling company won a huge order from the retail clothing giant, The Limited. As excited as they were, they had to tell The Limited that they could only handle a smaller order, and then they scrambled to make it happen. The new relationship made their business an overnight success.
Becoming a Fashion Entrepreneur
The new business tapped into Staci’s entrepreneurial side. Working with her mother, Staci managed the business while her mom and her partner handled the design and development. Since she had grown up inside the industry, Staci found herself with the unique ability to understand both fashion and business. “In an industry like fashion, you will generally find people who can do either the creative side or the business side,” Staci says. “Most people can’t do both creative and business.”