Many professional services firms miss out on some simple, yet effective marketing techniques.
Because of their misconception that marketing is only for bigger and more profitable firms. In reality, however, even small firms can see results from very inexpensive – and sometimes even free – marketing activities. Consistent marketing can lead to additional clients, and niche specialization within your firm, as well as increased brand awareness and a heightened stature of your firm in the community.
In the age of search engines and social media, reaching potential customers may seem like a challenge, but many of the following tips are things you probably already do in some manner or another.
Here are five simple marketing and PR activities to try, none of which will require a substantial amount of time or effort.
#1: Use Social Media for Your Business
Social media is free, and even a minimal presence can add to your exposure. For maximum effectiveness, post updates about something your firm specializes in. For example, if you’re an:
Accountant, you might want to talk about new tax laws
Architect, you could post about recent design trends
If you find articles online that you think would be of interest to your audience, share those too.
Some of the main social media platforms you should use are:
LinkedIn: As a social networking platform designed for B2B, if you don’t post anywhere else, make sure you do so here.
Twitter: This is a great platform for short posts, such as, “This article explains the new small business expense rules. Is your business prepared?” with a link to the article.
Facebook: With Facebook Business Pages, you can create feeds that automatically update your business page with posts from other social media sites. Both Twitter and Facebook also offer relatively inexpensive advertising options, which means you can test things out for as little as $20-$30. Both are highly customizable, so your ad will only be visible to your intended target audience.
YouTube: Just as MTV became a channel with non-music content, YouTube now has more “content” that is not music, ranging from cute cats to DIY videos. Need to speed up a business process using step by step instructions? Use YouTube. This is a natural fit for professional services firms like yours to showcase expertise, share helpful information and perhaps get new clients. Need another reason to give it a shot? YouTube now ranks second only to Google when it comes to search engines, according to a March 2021 analysis by Search Engine Journal.
BONUS TIP: Have one of your junior staff members handle your social media. Younger employees grew up in the age of social media, and so it’s second nature to them. Turn them loose, but provide oversight and guidance on content. Also, using a social media management tool like HootSuite, Sprout, or TweetDeck will give you the ability to manage all of these platforms from a single dashboard, which can simplify things and help prevent posts meant for your personal account from accidentally winding up on your business page.
#2: Keep Your Website Updated
When was the last time you updated your website? If you can’t remember, that means it’s been too long. You need to periodically check and update information to ensure that the list of partners, staff, contact information, and other data is correct.
Your contact information needs to be easily visible on the homepage. At the very least, your main office line, as well as your firm’s social media links, need to be located there. You can link the additional contact information, address, etc. on another page.
Keep the primary pages short. Your website visitors likely didn’t visit to read a novel, so keep your service descriptions, bios, and most other items no longer than two or three paragraphs. If you think a longer description is necessary, add a link to a page dedicated to that specific topic or service.
Add a human touch. Your firm’s website should reflect both the scale and the culture of our firm. As such, customize your website so that it’s business casual: like a conversation you might have in an elevator.
#3: Newsletter Marketing
Producing a newsletter can become labor intensive, and especially if you’re not an expert writer yourself. Instead of going it alone, use pre-created newsletter tools produced for accounting, engineering and architectural firms. For instance, there are newsletters that are available for CPA firms to send to their clients that already have articles prewritten on current topics that are authored by tax and financial professionals. All you need to do is add in your details, and then distribute them to your client and prospect lists.
#4: Get Involved with Your Niches
Many professional services firms have developed niche groups of clients in specific industries. For example, architects may have strong experience in restaurant design and build outs, while accountants may focus on niches in food service or medical care. Seek out online and in-person communities of these groups – and of course, your local Chamber of Commerce – so that you can connect with these potential clients and stay at the top of your game.
#5: Get Noticed in Local Media
While newspapers aren’t completely gone yet, many are reorganizing to live primarily online. Whether in print or online, however, there are always business reporters/editors who need good stories. So, use this to your advantage. When there are stories about new tax laws, a local tax pro with experience and insights would be invaluable. The same applies for architects, lawyers, and other professional service experts.
So, how do you get them to notice you? Just give them a call, and in 30 seconds, tell them who you are and that you can talk about how X, Y, or Z might affect local businesses. Then offer to take them to lunch or coffee. If there is a topic that is currently newsworthy and that you have some insight on, they may jump at the chance, since you would be an addition to their stable of experts on a particular topic.
Take Your Time
Marketing and PR isn’t rocket science, and it’s not a mission critical task that has to be successful immediately. Take your time, and choose options that are most comfortable to you. By the end of the process, your firm will have elevated its reputation, and hopefully, landed a few new clients in the process.