Top 6 Professional Services Marketing Techniques to Build a Successful Brand
The reputation of professional services has been declining over the past few years. This is why professional services marketing strategies that are effective in the long run are imperative. While normal advertising like pamphlets and billboard ads might work for many organizations, the traditional way of advertising has its limitations.
It is important to consider that advertising professional services might stick out like a sore thumb to people because they are still not used to seeing it happen. In fact, some clients, competitors, and even media sources might think it suggests that your services lack competence.
Plus, because of the instability in public opinion, professionals face a lot more challenges now than they did years ago. So here are a few marketing strategies for professional services that will help your business overcome these challenges and build a reputation that lasts for a while.
Here’s what we will be discussing:
- Challenges faced by professional service businesses
- Effective professional services marketing strategies
Challenges faced by professional service businesses
1. Buyer trust and longer buyer’s cycle
Any professional service is a “credence” good. This means that buyers need to have a lot of trust in the seller and the service to close the deal. Plus, the uncertainty continues after the service because determining whether the audit is done thoroughly or whether the case was pleaded properly is subjective. This leads to dissatisfaction due to inflated expectations.
Additionally, a professional service is not a product. The buyer’s cycle is significantly longer – it may take weeks or even months from when the purchase was made. There is a huge gap between the number of prospects and the number of actual clients at the end of the cycle. This means every stage of the client stage needs to be analyzed.
2. Intangibility of services
This leads us to talk about the main problem with professional services. Be it for business consultants, photographers, or freelancers, the quality of these services is intangible. A service is a form of a relationship and providing value in a service is abstract.
Your clients will look for factors like the location of your office, the equipment you use, you and your employees. And these might lead to an inaccurate assessment of the quality of your work. So it is important to have proof of good quality – it could be in the form of referrals or customer testimonials.
3. Limited distinguishing factors
Another factor that marks a challenge for professional services is the lack of differentiability between services. As Harvard Business Review quotes:
Differentiating one accounting audit, title search, or eye examination from another is very difficult.
This implies that knowing the difference between professional services is not like being able to differentiate between a product.
Doing research into your target audience and knowing what is required exactly is imperative in this case. Professionals can show that they possess these characteristics and have what it takes to provide the perfect service – that is when they start to set themselves apart successfully.
6 Effective marketing strategies for professional services
1. Target your niche and improve branding
It is always good practice to know who exactly your target audience is. It makes it easier for you to be the expert in that particular niche in your area. Your prospects expect you to understand their specific needs. This means trying to sell to the widest possible market will be seen as unfocused, and you might not make a dent in the space at all.
When you show your specialization and hone on a niche, you position your business as the expert in that space which leads to trust and credibility. And this, of course, leads to a sustainable brand. A good brand-building strategy will help not only improve your reputation but also increase your visibility to your target demographic.
Seek out prestigious clients and work on deliberate dramatic results that can be shared. Write case stories that you can boast to prove expertise in the field, intimate understanding of your target market, and desirable results regardless of client economic stature.
2. Optimize SEO to generate leads
Your online presence, be it on your socials or your website, is your central point of contact to channelize your leverage your professional services marketing plan. A well-designed, optimized website is paramount to implementing a successful strategy of marketing for professional service firms.
Key things to consider for your website are to have a solid back-end SEO strategy and a weekly content calendar. Creating content that is not only compelling but also demonstrates how you solve problems posed by clients is imperative. It is also useful to improve domain visibility and page rankings.
Adding a call-to-action to your website is also a good way to prompt your clients to take immediate action. There is less friction in the buyer cycle, making it convenient for your prospects. Many scheduling software in the market provide the functionality to add an online booking system to your website to facilitate bookings.
3. Publish work on a signature topic
Having a major research study accredited to you that is relevant to your target audience is an added plus to your expertise. This invokes a level of trust in your potential clients and establishes your authority in the same breath.
On the other hand, the work that you publish does not have to be at the scale of a research paper. It can also be content you post on your website, like blogs and articles. You can promote thought leadership in your industry by posting bite-sized information, charts, infographics, and newsletters.
The key is to be in a place of authority to develop trust. No matter what field you choose, having published content that is easily accessible so you can provide value to your prospects and improve your reputation.
4. Participate in speaking events and trade shows
It is important to recognize that you are not just the product but also the marketer of your services. And the best strategy to market your services is to increase your visibility as an advocate.
The audience for your speaking events will not just be prospects but journalists and bloggers who are looking for trends and sources. This will add credibility to you and your business as a thought leader and also spread your message across a broader audience.
Trade shows are also a great place to market your business. Focus on 1) trade shows for your industry and 2) trade shows for your ideal audience. Make your pitch such that the attendees don’t forget about you and your services. While they might not have immediate authority to purchase your service, they will surely remember to consult their team about you, before buying your services.
5. Leverage social media and reviews
One of the best ways to market your service is to leverage the social media space. Using tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is quintessential if you want to reach a wider audience who trust your brand. You can also encourage bookings by adding a Book Button on your Facebook.
Social media is a great place because not many have adopted social media as part of their marketing for professional service firms, which makes it possible for you to stand out. With the corporate landscape changing, and everything going digital, it’s a good decision to establish a strong online presence.
Most clients will read online reviews when researching your services, which means having a decent number of reviews for your professional services on Google is imperative. Good reviews not only help your reputation but also help you rank higher on Google. Additionally, responding to negative reviews urges more than 45% of the total customers to visit you for your services!
6. Use a scheduling software
Wanting more ROI in less time is the perfect reason to use a scheduling software. Putting your business processes and management needs on auto-pilot to focus on your clients will lead your business to do better financially, and help you create lasting relationships.
Embracing technology will aid you in making data-driven decisions, appearing on top of the Google search page, creating a common interface to take bookings, and helping in client convenience.
Appointy is a tool that gives you more time to work on projects and facilitates business management. It not only helps you simplify the daily admin effectively but also is a perfect fit for all professional industry segments, from business coaches and consultants to photographers and designers.
Distributing your time and efforts to do professional services marketing, admin work, and also focus on your clients sounds tough. Plus, keeping in mind the ever-changing landscape of the market, and the changing buyer perception, it is important to strategize your professional services marketing plan so you can instill trust in your services.
Therefore, leveraging existing tools that make your job easier is a must! Try Appointy’s professional services scheduling software out and join a community of professionals who trust Appointy globally!
We hope that these strategies help you grow your business exponentially and build lasting client relationships.
All the best!
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
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