In this column I'd like to share three simple strategies that will help any professional services firm to market their business more effectively.
The three strategies are:
1: Get noticed and build an audience of 'raving fans' who recommend your services regularly.
2: Position your business as an expert or authority in your field.
3: Give amazing customer service.
Let's take a quick look at each strategy...
Strategy 1: Build an audience of 'raving fans' who recommend your business regularly
The idea behind this strategy is simple.
You want to create an 'audience' of people who hear from you regularly. In this audience you want to include your existing clients, warm prospects and key referral sources.
Existing clients are people who have already spent money using your professional services.
And include past and present clients.
Warm prospects are people who have made an enquiry about using your professional services and you have given them information about how you could be of help. However these people have not yet made the decision to use your services.
Key referral sources are people who can potentially give your business regular referrals.
So if you are a legal firm then a key referral source for your business could be a number of local accounting firms.
If you want to build an audience of 'raving fans' you need to do two things:
A: Make contact with people regularly. (Ideally at least once a month.)
B: Add value whenever you make contact. In other words leave people better off after they hear from you.
Strategy 2: Position your business as an expert or authority in your field
This is surprisingly easy to do. Just provide useful tips and ideas that ideal clients for your professional services would find useful.
You can share these tips in either written or spoken format.
So you might write an article, blog post, or create a short 'how to' booklet etc.
Or you might record a short video or audio message.
Now when potential clients for your professional services read or listen to or watch these helpful tips and ideas you are automatically positioned as an expert at what you do.
Strategy 3: Give amazing customer service
Here you do small things that customers really appreciate and value.
Here is an example of all three strategies in action.
Karen Healy and Simon Foster run a finance business called The Finance Lady.
They specialise in providing finance for cars, trucks and heavy equipment.
Karen and Simon started their business about 18 months ago. (Karen has been in the finance industry for many years and Simon has had a similar length of time in the automotive industry.)
The Finance Lady is based in New Plymouth and when they started Karen and Simon had zero existing clients for their finance services. So they were starting from scratch.
To get noticed Karen had her car professionally sign written. This cost around $2,000 and over the last 18 months has been responsible for generating a large amount of new finance clients.
They also set up a business Facebook page and invited people to 'like' the page by running fun competitions.
They then began sending helpful articles to people on the Facebook page.
One article was called 'Why you should never put your car finance on your home mortgage'.
Another article explained '5 things you should know about car finance'.
These articles position Karen & Simon as experts in car and truck finance and they are useful reading to potential clients.
Karen and Simon started sending a 2 page positive motivational newsletter to all their clients, warm prospects and key referral sources each month.
What was different about this newsletter is that it is sent to around 200 people a month in hard copy format by good old fashioned 'snail mail'.
Karen and Simon discovered that very few businesses today send out a helpful newsletter in hard copy format.
Which meant that their newsletter was noticed, it got read and it also got passed around.
By doing this their business became associated as one that shares positive ideas.
And within a few months they had generated a nice amount of repeat and referral business from the people they were sending their newsletter out to.
Karen and Simon also began using handwritten thank you cards in their business from the first month. And they send out a hard copy birthday card to clients as well.
They also have a simple business slogan that explains what they do.
These thank you cards and birthday cards and slogan get them positively remembered.
Finally Karen and Simon provide amazing customer service.
They genuinely care about their clients and their clients always know exactly what is going on with their finance.
As a result of using these simple strategies business is going extremely well for Karen and Simon.
Over 80 per cent of their finance business is now repeat and referral sales.
And every month their sales are higher than the previous month.
These three strategies have worked well for The Finance Lady and could potentially work very well for your professional services firm as well.
"If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks." - Leo Burnett
If you have offer professional services, how can you get noticed and stay in touch with clients, potential clients and key referral sources regularly in a way that adds real value to them?