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Professional Services Marketing Blog
If there is such a thing as marketing dogma in professional services, it is that cultivating personal relationships is the best way to market. “It’s all about relationships” is the battle cry.
The influence of this belief is pervasive. Many, perhaps even most, marketing budgets are built around networking opportunities and personal contact. Golf outing, anyone?
But is it true? Is developing personal relationships the best way to market professional services?
Reputation vs. Relationship
As it turns out, there is an answer to this question. We recently conducted a major study of professional services buyers (Buyers) and the professionals who sold services to them (Sellers). The 822 Buyers were matched with 533 Sellers to allow us to look at both sides of the relationship.
As part of the study we asked both Buyers and Sellers to identify the best way to market professional services to the Buyers. The results were both clear and compelling.
Reputation Trumps Relationship
Figure 1 tells the story. By a wide margin (47% vs. 27%), professional services Buyers identified developing a reputation for producing results as the best approach and more effective than developing a personal relationship with them.
Figure 1. Best Way to Market as Identified by Buyers and Sellers
Content marketing is rapidly becoming a "must have" component for professional services firms. This growing acceptance is probably driven by several key considerations:
- It helps firms to better communicate their expertise
- It gives potential clients a feel for how a firm approaches problems
- It provides education and thought leadership
- It helps potential clients find a firm through search engine optimization and social media
It is a cost-effective way to generate new business leads
The net effect of these benefits is that professional services firms that generate at least 40-60% of their leads online grow up to 4X faster and are up to 2X more profitable, according to our recent study of online marketing for professional services.
While many folks are familiar with content marketing as an approach to generate and nurture new business leads, there are other roles that a well-executed content marketing strategy can play in the business development process. In this post we want to focus on how it can help you with the daunting task of qualifying leads.
There are many reasons why a professional services firm might consider rebranding. Most of them are firmly rooted in a need to reposition the firm in the marketplace.
It could be as simple as the merger of two firms or as complex as a major shift in target client or business strategy. But whatever the reason, a firm eventually faces the question of how to rebrand in a way that yields the desired business result.
That is what we are going to cover. What is the right strategy to rebrand your professional services firm? (For a more in-depth exploration of these issues, download our professional services rebranding kit.)
These are exciting and scary times for marketers of architecture, engineering and construction firms. In A/E/C, we have previously competing firms that are now fighting to stay alive, mid-sized firms disappearing and established firms that have plateaued and are seeking growth. What’s a marketer to do? Marketing is fluid in today’s economy. So, dream big, I say!
Is your website pulling its weight at your firm?
Is it helping you achieve your business goals or making it harder? Have you thought through what you want it to do for your firm?
Your website is arguably your most important marketing tool. It may also be one of the most misunderstood and neglected, as well. Let’s take a closer look at what your alternatives are and how to think through what might be best for your firm.
Two Types of Websites
When it comes to professional services there are basically two types of websites. The first is what we call a branding website. The branding website is designed to convey your brand message and provide all the basic information about your firm, such as what you do (your services), who you do it for (your clients) and who you are (about your firm). Sometimes branding websites are referred to (somewhat disdainfully) as “brochure” sites.
By Sean McVey
Is your firm generating online leads? For most firms online lead generation has become a primary focus over the past several years. More people are using the Internet to find service providers and it’s your job to attract potential clients and prove your credibility online.
Online lead generation techniques come in all shapes and forms. A recent Hinge research study evaluated fifteen popular techniques and asked firms to rank the effectiveness of each in terms of generating new business. Here is a snap shot of the results:
We segmented the data so that we could see how high growth firms compared to average growth firms. While some of these lead generation techniques were deemed more effective (SEO, blogging web analytics, etc.), all of the techniques have specific value that can be applied successfully in certain situations.
Let’s take a closer look at the techniques to understand how they work and when you may want to consider putting each into action.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is this?
SEO (also called organic search) is a process that attracts traffic to your website from Google and other search engines and makes it easier for prospective clients to find you when searching on a wide range of relevant search terms. The lead generation technique involves creating or editing content, making technical adjustments to your website and increasing your site’s search engine authority by encouraging other websites to link to yours. Research is critical to SEO. It involves uncovering the keyword phrases that will draw qualified web searchers to your site.
Why might I need it?
More and more, businesses are using search engines to find and evaluate professional services. When you rank for relevant terms in your industry, you can attract interested, qualified visitors — people who may otherwise never find you — to your website.
When should I do it?
SEO is an ongoing lead generation technique, but you should start working on it as soon as possible. Expect three months before you see significant results. And because search engine algorithms change frequently and new competitors crop up periodically, you will need to make adjustments over time.