A strong marketing campaign should be comprehensive and well-thought-out. Its purpose is to address a targeted audience’s needs and pain points, enhance brand awareness about your product or service offering, inspire action, and set up your organization for success. However, much of what was just described is easier said than done—and when marketing efforts are knee-jerk, impulsive, and thoughtless, the opposite could occur, leading to business challenges and even the potential for your firm’s demise.

Whether your firm provides legal, accounting, consulting, engineering, or another professional services-based offering, there is a simple truth. A common thread regarding how these firms approach marketing is typically present—and it’s usually deployed from a no-frills, cookie-cutter perspective.

In this blog, the marketing experts at YGL Enterprises identify some of the most common (and avoidable) marketing mistakes.

Is Your Firm a Victim of These Marketing Errors?

As you read this article, and if you realize that your business is guilty of any of these marketing mistakes, firstly, don’t stress. It isn’t too late to turn your marketing efforts around. But, of course, it is also helpful to enlist the services of a marketing consultant who understands the internal operations of a firm like yours—and who has a proven track record of developing, launching, and sustaining strategic marketing campaigns that are thoughtful and produce a return on investment.

  • Your firm launches a new website but doesn’t understand who your target buyer is— nor how they search for your services. This doesn’t only apply to your website but your entire business. Identifying your target audience is the foundation of any marketing strategy—both traditional and online. It is necessary to understand your ideal prospects and customers, what type of pain they are experiencing when seeking out a firm that offers your expertise, and their online search patterns. Take time, in this regard, to conduct market research, determine motivations, identify geographic targets, and realize the buying journey a prospective client follows when searching for a professional services firm like yours.
  • You choose a low-cost provider to save money. There is definite truth in the adage “you get what you pay for.” Ask yourself, would you price your firm’s services at the bottom of the barrel? Your answer likely is no. You see value and worth in what you provide and the expertise you can offer to your clients. As such, the same holds true when deciding to partner with a marketing consultant. Just as you expect your clients to invest in the expertise you deliver, harness that same mindset when interviewing and selecting a marketing partner.
  • Your firm buys the same tired ad in the same tired directory—right next to your competitor. However, marketing approaches have changed in the digital age, and how prospective clients search for professional services firms is vastly different than they did in years past. Therefore, you must modernize your approach. If you are still buying ads in dated directories (just because your competitor does it), there is a high chance of your firm appearing irrelevant—the equivalent of a dinosaur who can’t keep up with the times. Instead of spending money on a directory listing, work with a marketing consultant to determine where your marketing dollars could get more traction and exposure.
  • You depend too much on referrals. If you expect your referral sources to generate enough leads for you to keep your firm afloat, then you could be setting yourself up for disaster (and financial ruin). Instead, you must proactively engage in business development that has the potential to result in new and repeat business. Every business should feed its sales pipeline consistently and constantly. If you rest on the laurels of your referral network, there could come a time when it dries up—and that’s no way to run a business.
  • You don’t understand how sophisticated buyers use Google. There is absolutely no reason for you not to understand how Google and the other search engines work—your business’s success depends on it. Sophisticated buyers are savvy in their online searches and how they qualify a business during their buyer’s journey. They search intuitively with keywords and phrases and place value in seeing up-to-date digital assets, including your website, social media channels, blog, and more. Additionally, they value honest reviews from current and former clients. Ultimately, by the time a buyer decides to contact you directly, they have already progressed 80-90% through their buyer’s journey—and their minds are practically made up. Your online presence must sell the expertise of your firm and act like a 24/7 salesperson.
  • You fail to communicate with your marketing vendor. Partnering with a marketing consultant is not a “one and done” sort of process, and if communication is not a two-way street, it is unlikely you will attain your goals or realize ROI. Therefore, you must treat your marketing consultant as a trusted team member who has your best interests at heart. This means that you share your vision, how you view success, and convey your goals. When you take the time to engage with your marketing team, you empower them to create a strategy that aligns with your firm’s mission—and you are much more likely to be satisfied both in the short and long term.

No Matter the Business, Marketing Goals Are Universal

It is true that professional services marketing in a B2B capacity is a different sort of animal when compared to traditional B2C approaches. However, the goals are always the same.

Your marketing efforts should:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate new leads from qualified prospects
  • Close sales and/or generate repeat business
  • Ensure client satisfaction
  • Keep your sales pipeline full
  • Welcome and encourage referrals

Effective marketing takes a comprehensive 360-degree approach. It is anything except one-dimensional.

Ultimately, a sound marketing strategy includes:

  • Showcasing your firm’s thought leadership. A marketing campaign should produce content that positions your firm and its members as subject matter experts who are well-versed on industry and market trends, offer around-the-corner advice, and deliver strategic counsel to those who place trust in them. You cannot only show your thought leadership once a prospective client is sitting in front of you—by then it will be too late. Thought leadership must be front-and-center through the entire buyer’s journey in the form of blogs, articles, press releases, relevant social media content, coverage of speaking engagements and/or presentations, and video messaging.
  • Understanding SEO and other digital strategies. There is simply no excuse for any professional services firm leader not to understand principles related to search engine optimization, keyword strategies, varied digital advertising approaches, and more. Now, of course, you don’t have to be an expert here—that’s where a marketing professional comes in—but you should have basic insight that allows you to have a meaningful conversation about how your firm can harness the power of these tools and strategies.
  • Displaying an active presence on social media, specifically LinkedIn. There is a common misconception amongst professional services firms that social media marketing doesn’t apply to them. But this is untrue. Sophisticated buyers take to social media regularly to research a prospective partner, and they qualify based on your messaging, activity, and relevancy. No, you don’t necessarily have to be active on every platform (but you should own your company’s name/page on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Additionally, you should make a concerted effort to be visible on a platform like LinkedIn. CEOs, COOs, HR Managers, Office Managers, and other targeted audience members will head there to engage in research.

Inject Your Marketing Initiatives with New Life—Contact YGL Enterprises

It is far too common for professional services organizations to take an outdated and passé approach to marketing—our team sees it all the time, and it is unfortunate. Traditional perspectives simply do not work anymore and belong in the past.

The Internet has led to the creation of a modern buyer who knows they are in control because they can access a plethora of information in seconds—and from any place on earth and at any time of day. Therefore, the moral is that professional services firms should focus on implementing marketing techniques and strategies that consistently build awareness, convey relevance, and bring in qualified leads that result in paying clients.

YGL Enterprises would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about bringing your marketing efforts into the digital age and helping you stay ahead of your competition. So reach out today and schedule a consultation.

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.