Content marketing has long been known as the technique for promoting products. But tides have shifted, and now it is also the magic portion served for professional services marketing.
For the lawyers, accountants, consultants, and architects, their tools of marketing have been traditional customer referrals-‘word of mouth’ so to speak…until recently.
It is no secret that speaking engagements through seminars and trade shows are a bit old school for the fast-paced world we live in today. We also agree that customer referrals are great marketing tools. ‘Word of mouth’ tactics are more human, but the reality is that digital marketing has taken over.
The latest research reveals that approximately 80% of clients demanding professional services today use online sources compared to 55% who use the traditional methods.
To stay ahead of the pack, the old ways of marketing have to be supported a great deal by relevant and effective content marketing strategies.
The thing about Professional Services Marketing…
The world of digital marketing is murky, and these days everybody is selling something. For an online marketer, there are many dynamics to consider. For example, is the same language used to advertise a product such as a blender applicable and in marketing a service like plumbing?
Product marketing aims at getting you to add that new exciting blender (that you probably don’t need) to your shopping cart. Professional services marketers, on the other hand, just want you to listen to what they have to say. They’re here to establish a relationship with you and woo you.
Of course, behind every marketer’s portfolio is profit-but unlike product marketing which counts its profit by the number of boxes off the shelf, professional services marketing calculates its profit by billing hours and ‘face time’ with clients.
Therefore, for knowledge-based service providers, they must first convince their online visitors to become fans, and then convert them to clients. This implies that professional services marketing goes beyond visibility. It is about selling a reputation.
The place of Content Marketing
Now that we are done with the prerequisites of what professional services marketing entails, it’s time to dive deep into the details of why content marketing should be a priority rather than an option for all knowledge-based firms.
The unique challenge of selling an ‘intangible’ good like expertise is that churning pages and pages of words is not enough. Content is king, but for professional services marketing, it is immortal.
Excellent content marketing will play a vital role in promoting your brand and making your work seen. On top of that, your site will be a platform to tell a story about your brand, the success stories, and the milestones you have achieved.
Here are a few leads on how to get started on content marketing for professional service providers. They are true, tried and tested.
Know your audience and address it
The fundamental rule in making a customer out of a random person on the internet is addressing their need. It is a universal rule of marketing.
Once you have identified the questions that a potential customer may have based on market research and trends, your job is to create content that provides answers to the readers.
If you are a family lawyer, there is nothing as disappointing as someone visiting your site looking for information on related litigation only to find articles on criminal law.
Specializing is a thing even in professional services marketing. Make this clear in your content by avoiding generalities. Instead, invest your time in generating high quality, valuable content for one or two main areas that your firm deals with.
Once you have gained the customer’s trust as the best site for educational content or helpful information in a certain niche, they will bookmark you and keep coming for more. In fact, they will recommend your site to other users!
Another important factor to consider is analytics. There are many tools that you can use to tell traffic to your site, the visitor to customer conversion rate and so on. These data will give you better insight on what type of content to generate.
Be original and authentic
It is easy to tell a fraud, and all it takes is a few Web searches to uncover that your content is copied and lacking in-depth explanations. Furthermore, the law is against plagiarism!
On the subject of authenticity, strive to make your tone, your attitude, and your voice as unique as possible. No matter how fancy or sophisticated your competitors are, creating your own style will earn you more respect, and most certainly, clients.
It is also important that you have credible sources for any material you publish on your website. If possible, refer readers to these sources.
Customer proofs and testimonials from people who enjoyed your services also go a long way toward boosting your credibility. When new visitors to your site see reviews of people whose problems you solved, they are more confident to take the leap and spend money on whatever it is you have to offer.
Another hack that many professional service marketers ignore is the use of visible experts in the industry. This is almost like in advertisement where big brands use celebrities to promote a certain product, say perfume.
Using a visible expert to produce webinars or write blog posts for your firm portrays your firm as an authority, and this will translate to more clients.
Finally, take it seriously…
Many firms see content marketing as a side marketing strategy that is not that important. This should not be the case.
Content marketing should be part of the daily discussion in a professional service firm that is interested in building a loyal fan base while attracting new visitors.
It is advisable to have a documented strategy and a dedicated team rather than hiring a freelancer and leaving them to their devices. If a freelancer generates content for your site, they should be well versed with the values and policies of your firm.
Once you have this figured out, it’s time to grow your brand and grow your profit with content marketing!
How Can E&A Digital republic Help:
Don’t overlook the importance of content for your firm. Content gets to the core of what will resonate with those audiences—and is an integral part of what E&A Digital does for clients. To learn more about how we can help your firm, take full opportunity of our Free marketing assessment or contact us to learn whether content makes sense for your professional services firm.