Marketing Professional Services Firms Requires a Professional
Let’s start with a definition.
Grow Your Firm by Nurturing Your Relationships
No offense to anyone not on the list below, but we typically define this client category as follows:
- Law Firms and Attorneys
- Financial Planning, Investment Management, and Wealth Management Firms
- Insurance Companies and Brokers
- CPA Firms and Accountants
- Architectural Firms and Architects
- Engineering Firms (Civil and Structural Engineers)
- Doctors and Medical Professional (however for our purposes, we have put these fine folks on a different page of our website)
We break the professional services industries out separately because such firms do require different marketing strategies than personal services.
Sure, your firm needs a lead generating website, for example. Still, most professional services firms obtain most of their clients by way of word of mouth referrals or introductions from centers of influence. Therefore, content marketing that nurtures relationships through the customer journey by providing thought leadership will prevail over pitching widgets and discounted offers, as you might otherwise see on retail sites.
Are you staying relevant through all 10 stages? If not, we can help.
Law Firm Marketing as an Example for all Professional Services
Let’s take law firms, for example.
There are website companies that exclusively work with law firms. On the surface, that sounds good as it suggests industry expertise. But when you dig deeper, you find that other than the logo at the top, colors, and swapping out the law firm name in the body copy, the website looks and sounds the same as everyone else. So much for differentiation and thought leadership!
Legal marketing performs best when you first identify your target audience within your practice area. For corporate attorneys, the persona you want to “speak” to will be very different than say an estate planning attorney. Personas can focus on the needs, the hopes, behaviors, and fears of a specific customer group. Your role is to bring them hope, acknowledge their responses, and alleviate their anxiety.
Figure out your customer persona, and you will solve your pipeline issue by becoming your client’s hero!
Digital Marketing Strategies for Professional Services Firms
Once you’ve determined your customer persona(s), you need to learn what they think, feel, need, want, and when. In short, you need a strategic marketing plan.
When we develop marketing action plans, we typically forecast out a maximum of 12-18 months and consider all of the tools in the toolkit. You can’t put all of your eggs in one basket, such as a templated website. Stand out from the crowd by conveying your distinct brand voice and value proposition with professionally written content that incorporates search engine optimization (SEO). The web pages will rank on a Google search. You also need to follow website design best practices to ensure your target audiences get the user experience they expect. If they don’t, they’ll bounce right off your site.
With your fabulous new website as your foundation, you now need to draw in people. Unfortunately, “build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. You need to build it and boost the heck out of it with additional marketing efforts such as email marketing, social media marketing, videos, checklists, case studies, and webinars. These are all examples of content marketing. Done effectively, and they will help increase both your brand awareness and reputation at the same time. As a bonus, you’ll deliver valuable content to your target audiences, keeping them engaged and improving the odds that they’ll contact you for service.
Having search engine optimized content is critical to being found on search engines like Google and Bing. That’s right. Don’t rule out Bing as Microsoft Explorer users most often use it. If you have the budget for Pay Per Click advertising, you may want to portion out an 80/20 or another percentage for both Google and Bing.
How does your firm measure up to your competitors?
Professional Services Firms Need to Have Personality
Brands have personalities just like people do, and the theory behind them is the same too.
Simply put, whom do you want to spend your time with — people you know, like, and trust, right? People with a similar personality or one that you admire or enjoy.
Brands work the same way. A customer can relate to the traits that he or she possess with the personality traits that a brand has. It creates an emotional connection, and when combined with the rational regard for your content marketing, you’ll be tough to beat.
While you can convey your brand personality in writing, videos, webinars, and podcasts can help your brand personality shine through.
Here at Incite Creative, we know our trade and combine strategy and creativity in everything we do.
Strategy tends to be more of our rational, formal side. At the same time, our creativity taps into our emotional, informal side. Where the two collide is where we reside. That’s why you’ll tend to see our videos incorporate plenty of applicable content with a touch of humor peppered in. That’s us. That’s our brand DNA and personality. Once you determine yours (with our help if you like), use the power of video to share it with your audience.
Now you may be thinking that videos are difficult to produce. That used to be the case, but not any longer. While we value our video production colleagues, time and budget don’t always allow for shooting custom footage, studio editing, and production. Technology has come a long way, and it’s pretty amazing what can be done with a smartphone camera in video mode, and some cloud-based tools to help you pull it all together. This approach is especially successful as part of your professional services content marketing strategy.
A video targeted to the right persona, packed with helpful information that is focused on a particular topic of interest, and delivered with just the right mix of thoughts and feelings, can help you and your professional services brand stand out from the pack.
If you need help marketing your professional services firm, call on the professionals here at Incite Creative.
Get the CMO Treatment
We are honored to partner with our fellow professional service firm clients. We welcome the opportunity to share our marketing knowledge and capabilities with you so that your firm can continue to thrive.
Mary Ellen Flynn
Principal, Andalman & Flynn