Last Thursday, I was invited to speak by Boxer Property in one of their buildings. The company has a new marketing initiative designed to provide valuable morning speakers to their paying tenants, also leaving the sessions open to the public. This event-based marketing strategy serves the dual purpose of customer retention and new customer acquisition by driving new prospects into their buildings.
My slideshow focused on professional services marketing strategies for doctors, lawyers, accountants, and more. In our audience we had lawyers, energy company executives, medical device salespeople, and even other independent marketers. We conducted the talk as more of a “fireside chat,” allowing interruptions with questions at any time.
The basic framework for my presentation is contained on the SlideShare below, but as always, you can’t type up everything you want to say on a slide.
Why Professional Services Marketing is Different
Professional services marketing is unlike most other areas of marketing and advertising because industry regulations govern how we as lawyers, doctors, and accountants can interact with and present ourselves to the public. Basically, we legally cannot mislead or lie, and are held accountable if we do.
We must be careful not to give medical, legal, or financial advice via social media, in response to blog comments, or in other online locations. You might inadvertently form an attorney-client relationship or other important legally binding relationship. You must also make sure that what you and your entity convey online, in print, and elsewhere complies with the applicable advertising regulations. These are just a few of the reasons that social media community management is so crucial for professional services providers.
Professional Association Involvement
Professional services providers spend a significant portion of their marketing budget (if not all of it) on business-to-business, or B2B marketing. Part of a B2B strategy should include involvement in, sponsorship of, and/or membership in relevant professional associations.
Professional services providers need to remain relevant, maintain relationships, stay top of mind with people in their own industry, and seek out referrals from fellow professional services providers. Attendance and membership also provide easier access to potential speaking engagements and writing opportunities.
Digital Marketing for Professional Service Providers
Digital marketing encompasses every aspect of the online experience and can be too large of an undertaking for an individual new to the field. The basics of what you will need to spend money on include a website and directory listings. An entire cottage industry has been born out of negative online reviews and ratings. Online reputation management is almost crucial in an age where a majority of customers research everything online.
Let’s admit it – professional services content can be a little dry. Use graphics to make complex content easier to understand. Show the human side of your business, whether it is showcasing pro bono work or community involvement. Show that your entity is more than a logo and some people in suits or scrubs. Show your real people engaging with customers and out in the community doing good things.
If you are a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, you should focus your digital efforts on:
- Building a digital presence for your entity if you are part of a group practice, which starts with a well-designed website
- Building a digital presence for yourself individually, both within the group’s assets and on your own (if the terms of your employment agreement with your group allow)
- Creating at least one print collateral item explaining who you are and what you do in an easily digestible format
- Building an email list of former and existing customers and personal and professional contacts
- Building out your LinkedIn individual profile and Company Page