Professional Services Marketing Blog

Apr 23 2014

Making the Case for B2B Content Marketing: Why Professional Services Executives Should Care

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As a professional services executive, you have a lot on your plate. Between concerning yourself with billing rates, recruitment, retention and overall firm growth, B2B content marketing can struggle to make your list of priorities. You might know it’s important, but you still aren’t quite clear on the purpose.  

Take a conversation we recently had with a CEO of a multi-million dollar firm. After mentioning he was pleased with the outcome from our recent work in re-launching the firm’s website and developing a content marketing strategy, he asked, “So, about this content marketing—what exactly is it again?” Despite knowing his firm needed content marketing and even taking steps to provide it, he still didn’t know what he was getting. 

So, what is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of producing informative and valuable content to help your target audience educate themselves. These materials can come in the form of blog posts, videos, eBooks, webinars or white papers. The key is providing information without directly promoting your firm.

Content marketing works by building the brand strength of your firm. Consider your brand strength as a combination of your firm’s reputation multiplied by your visibility in the marketplace. Content marketing helps increase both. By providing educational content, you give prospective clients a taste of what it may be like to work with you and help to establish your firm as an authority in your field. Plus, search engines love content. Producing content helps increases your ability to be found in search (SEO) and makes you more visible to prospective clients.

 

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Apr 21 2014

How to Become a Visible Expert: A Conversation With Mark Amtower

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If you have been following this blog, you are seeing more and more about Visible Experts℠. The Hinge Research Institute, our research unit, has been releasing results from two large studies. One is a survey of over 1000 professional services buyers and the other is an in-depth study of 130 high visibility experts.

In addition, we have been publishing a series of case stories of Visible Experts including Charles Green, Rick Telberg, Robert Lang, Tim Ash, and Andrew Sherman to name just a few. 

Never heard of some of them? If you are in their niche, you know who they are.

Now we’re ready to introduce a new wrinkle, a live webinar with a Visible Expert, where you can ask the questions that are on your mind.

Meet Mark Amtower

If you are in the federal government marketplace, you probably already know Mark. He is perhaps the most well-known expert on getting business through government contracting.

Many folks have heard of Mark through his weekly radio program, Amtower Off Center or read one of his books, or attended a workshop or speaking engagement. He is the real deal.

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Apr 18 2014

3 Strategies to Take LinkedIn to the Next Level

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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.

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Apr 16 2014

What is a Visible Expert?

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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.

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Apr 14 2014

What Every Managing Partner Needs to Know About Marketing Professional Services

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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. 

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Apr 11 2014

How to Grow Your Email Contacts Organically

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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.
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