The professional services sector has changed. Today, you need to garner good-fit clients from a far broader network than before to maximise your impact and influence.
Professional services firms have long relied on referrals to drive business - the power of word-of-mouth connections. But this approach limits your reach - and fails to leverage an exponentially growing market online, where people are looking for services like yours.
Conventional professional services marketing tactics no longer work like they used to. The way people interact has changed too - the Internet has altered things for good.
Put simply: power has shifted from you to the client. Now, prospective buyers seek out information about a firm online before committing to doing business with them. So, you have to find a new way to form connections and do business with the people that matter most to your firm.
In 2016 we launched an inbound and content marketing programme and built a new website to be the heart of it. The results have been impressive so far.
Built a new website, and rollout an inbound programme. After launch, we worked with the JAMS team to improve blog output to increase views and readership.
The benefits of creating content to engage your target audience has been proven - with many professional services firms already involved. From blog posts to eBooks, website copy to emails, good content is the fuel that powers the marketing model that can help professional services companies in today's environment.
Creating useful, informative and valuable content increases your likelihood of being discovered by potential clients during their research. The right content can inform, educate, build trust and, ultimately, prove why you are better than your competitors; why you are the best choice.
According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62 per cent less than traditional marketing and generates approximately three times as many leads.
However, content in and of itself is not enough. You need a strategy to marshal your efforts into highly measurable outcomes. Outcomes you can remedy and repeat as required. You need a proven methodology that provides meaning and structure to your endeavours, helping achieve your goals. That methodology is "inbound marketing".
Like the referral model, inbound centres on building trust and relationships. Content allows prospective clients to self-educate and learn how to solve problems before engaging directly in a conversation. But, when they do speak to someone in a Sales role, they expect to get information beyond what they can find online.
An inbound approach focuses on generating relevant, high-quality contextual content that attracts traffic, converts leads and closes sales over time. Providing value is paramount – the kind of value that can build trust, that demonstrates the knowledge and expertise that will draw prospects closer to your firm.
An inbound strategy requires a starting point. A benchmark from which you can measure future progress. And goals that will help define the tactics and level of application you will need to realise those outcomes.
To create content that captures the attention of the right people, you need buyer personas – semi-fictional representations of your target audience based on interests, fears, aspirations and their buyer's journey, where they spend time online, and much more.
You need to focus on what’s truly important to those clients, not create a laundry list of the features and benefits of your services. There's an enormous amount of content online – to stand out, you need to be in tune with the questions your target audience are asking and the problems they are looking to solve.
You need content that responds to different persona types, lifecycle stages, and devices being used to consume your content. It's not for the faint hearted!
Ultimately, this data-driven content placement will enhance a prospect's experience of connecting with you and encourage them to share your content with their network in ways that migrate the referral online.
Once we have defined your inbound strategy, we can establish the correct sales and marketing tactics and how you can best utilise these to meet the needs of your target audience and achieve your goals.
Find out more about how this approach could benefit your firm by reading our eBook on inbound marketing for professional services, or, if you are ready, dig deeper into the process of developing an inbound strategy for your firm with a free inbound strategy review.