“A revolution is underway” (Hinge Research Institute).
Fortunately, it's not a bloody, violent one, but for professional services marketing change is afoot.
Traditional marketing methods - such as referrals, advertising and direct mail - are becoming less effective as more and more individuals and companies rely on online resources and searching the web to guide them through the buyer’s journey.
Within this new system, content is king. In order to attract (and keep) the attention of the people that are looking for the solutions you provide, it’s necessary to create useful and educative content that tells them what they want (and need) to know.
So how can you achieve this? Probably the best option is to appoint a content writer or writers to craft the excellent content you require. This person or persons might be a new hire, or they might already be within your company. In fact, you might be surprised to find that you already have more content writers than you think.
But what benefits will a content writer bring to your professional services marketing? Well, they can help you to achieve a number of things…
1. Move beyond referrals
Referrals have always been at the foundation of professional services marketing. Companies glean new customers and clients via glowing recommendations and word of mouth. It’s a tried and tested method that is underpinned by trust.
And referrals continue to be an important element of your marketing - they do work. However, they are no longer sufficient in isolation.
This is because the way potential customers interact with your business has changed. Now, buyers are more likely to carry out research online before engaging with your company. They have specific questions and problems for which they want answers and solutions. It’s now crucial to align your marketing efforts with this new behaviour.
A content writer can create informative and valuable content that provides those answers and solutions. With helpful content, you can ensure that you are supporting a buyer’s research when they need it most. Therefore, you position yourself as an excellent choice to alleviate their pain when they come to buy.
By utilising the reach of online publishing, you can significantly extend your client base. You are no longer limited to the pool of people accessible via your current customers and can attract more people that need your services.
2. Show off your deep knowledge and expertise
With a content writer providing the material, you can become your own publisher, demonstrating to clients just how qualified you are. Helpful posts that pass on useful knowledge and demonstrate expertise are the way forward. While a buyer is in the research stage, you need to educate and assist. Yes, it can initially seem daunting to give away your "secrets", but don’t be afraid to demonstrate to potential clients that you have the authority and expertise to rise above your competitors.
A content writer can craft blog posts, eBooks, podcasts, and the like that delve deeply into topics about your company and your wider industry. They can consider the most common questions posed by your customers and look at the latest trends and updates. The investigative skills of a good writer can be applied to researching topics and interviewing customers and staff.
You don’t have to give everything away, but it’s a good idea to exhibit your knowledge and prove your credentials through your content.
3 Provide powerful content to share on social media
Social media thrives on content - stories, news, features, and the like. Without content, you have nothing to share, nothing to say.
Once you have a writer (or writers) producing content, social media comes into its own. You can share your blog posts etc. across various platforms, thereby further extending your reach and influence.
Popular platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have proven their worth to professional services marketing; however, depending on your company and industry, there may be other, more specific forums you can join and participate in, giving you more opportunities to promote your content to the right audience.
It’s important to ensure you’re not seen as a nuisance, though. This can easily be avoided by making sure that your content is genuinely helpful, sharing your content sensibly and engaging with other users on your chosen platform. So, for example, if you join a particular group on LinkedIn, don’t just share your own posts; share other users’ posts that you think are useful, leave comments and ask questions. In other words, be active and engage with people.
The benefits of social media to a business are many, but they only come from sharing well-written content that is useful, helpful and of real benefit to the reader.
4 Create evergreen resources that attract customers
The work that your content writer or writers produce will often be non-time-specific and, therefore, will be useful again and again - and again. A fantastic blog post or compelling eBook can help to attract new prospects to your business over an indefinite period.
Content can also be repurposed. For example, an eBook can prove a rich source of blog topics while the statistics mentioned in a podcast might make a great infographic.
Professional services marketing is experiencing a sea change. While old methods, such as referrals and paid advertising, continue to prove useful, they are no longer sufficient on their own. Now, it is essential you create and publish content too.
And the best way to create content that is informative and valuable to your target customers is to assign a content writer or writers to the task. The work that they produce will help you to move beyond referrals and show off your deep knowledge and expertise. Armed with this new resource, you will be able to use social media to your advantage and produce content that will prove useful again and again.