Marketing professional services is more than self-promotion and advertising. It’s all about generating more new business.

There are many ways generate more business from selling commodities.

However, professional services are not commodities.

For professionals, there are two fundamental techniques for generating new business:

  1. repeat business from current and past clients
  2. referrals from friends and family, clients and contacts

If you want more new business, you will need more repeat and referral business. It’s as simple as that.

The same approaches that help satisfy clients will also help generate more repeat and referral business.

Marketing Professional Services Is Like Serving Clients…Really!

Marketing is something that we all know we should be doing…but realistically few of us enjoy it, even a little bit.

Instead of trying to overcome whatever dislike of marketing you may have, let’s consider marketing as an extension of client service.

Here are five factors that help clarify how professional service marketing is like client service:

Client-focused

In serving our clients, a professionals we help identify and meet individual needs, instead of applying standardized ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions. Similarly, the best marketing illustrates how we help individual clients instead of trying to be all things to all people.

Relationship-oriented

The best client service is based upon mutually rewarding relationships between professional service provider and their clients.

The best marketing includes building and maintaining relationships between you as a professional and your potentially ideal clients.

Conversational

In-person conversations between professionals and their clients are conversational…not speeches, monologues, lectures or other one-way delivery of messages. Professional service marketing communications are also conversational.

Educational

For the most part, client service include elements of education.

Educational in nature, professional service marketing offers new information…not just repeating the same old same old message. From a marketing perspective, the business that educates the most attracts the most new business.

Your Best Stuff

Regardless of the nature of your clients or the help they need from you, as a professional you deliver your best service… not just a bare minimum. In marketing their services, successful professionals showcase their own best stuff, instead of accepting the lowest common denominator commonly adopted by others.

To learn more about generating more new business, click here.

Advertisements

Now that the most expensive election in US history is over, the media has turned its attention to analyzing the process and the results.

One of the more interesting questions is the role played by the massive expenditure on advertising.

Each of the Democratic and Republican parties is reported to have spent about one billion dollars on advertising. And that doesn’t even include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by so-called Political Action Committees. Now there is a misnomer if ever there was one. In my mind, political action is abut more than just sending money. It’s about taking action such as personal participation in campaigning.

Was President Obama re-elected because his advertising was sufficiently better than that of Mitt Romney to have made the difference on election day? Probably not.

According to CBS News:

“They [Romney’s campaign advisers] misread turnout. They expected it to be between 2004 and 2008 levels, with a plus-2 or plus-3 Democratic electorate, instead of plus-7 as it was in 2008. Their assumptions were wrong on both sides: The president’s base turned out and Romney’s did not. More African-Americans voted in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida than in 2008.”

To put a marketing spin on this interpretation, Romney’s campaign advisers misread their market…and the competition. They assumed that the market, and by extension the competition, would act as it had in the past.

What they did not take into consideration was the competition’s actions to increase its share of the votes by getting more supporters to the polling stations. In effect, these actions took the form of reaching out to voters and doing whatever it took to get them out to vote.

It’s worth noting that these actions were more the result of personal participation in the campaign than spending money.

From the perspective of professional service marketing, there are three things that we can learn from the election.

  1. Advertising is not as effective as many people would like to believe.
  2. Throwing lots of money at an issue is not a substitute for focused action.
  3. Direct contact..also known as outreach…can be a very effective way to achieve our goals.

To learn more about outreach as a tool for marketing professional services, see Contacting Potentially Helpful Strangers.

 

The Marketing Muddle

July 24, 2012

Whenever I conduct a marketing training event, I enjoy asking the question: “What is marketing?

After a short pause while participants collect their thoughts, the responses begin.

Invariably advertising, promotion and sales are among the first answers. The come terms like networking, direct contact, referrals, and keeping in touch. Internet-savvy participants offer up website, email, blog and social media.

A little prodding helps generate concepts like research and communications.

My pleasure comes when I advise the group that all of the answers are correct…but they all are also wrong.

All of the responses are correct in that each is an element of marketing.

However, they are all wrong because marketing is more than the sum of its parts.

As a planned activity, marketing was initially developed to help dairy farmers sell more cheese.

Since then it has become the tool of choice for virtually everyone from the neighbor staging a yard sale to the world’s largest business and non-business organizations.

Along with the information explosion generated by computer and Internet technology, there has also been what might be called the marketing muddle.

To learn more, see I Am A Professional!

First, there were 4 Ps in the marketing mix:

  1. Product: what you sell which paradoxically includes professional services
  2. Price: how much you charge for your product
  3. Place: where you sell your product
  4. Promotion: how you promote your product

The 5th P of Marketing

Then some one added a 5th P: People

This addition makes sense. People are the most important element of marketing.

It is after all people who plan, prepare and implement marketing activities.

From the client perspective, from individuals to large impersonal organizations, it is people who are sufficiently motivated by the marketing process to make the decision to purchase professional service from us.

3 More Ps

In an already crowded marketing mix, we can now add 3 more Ps: Pull, Push & Permission Marketing

Basically, pull marketing involves posting an ad with the purpose of pulling or drawing prospects to you. Typically applied to online advertisements, this concept can also apply to offline advertising.

The purpose of your website or blog is to pull prospects to you, to qualify them as prospects and identify how you can help them.

Push marketing on the other hand is about pushing your message directly to the prospects, usually by email. Newsletters and special promotions push your message at prospects, clients and network contacts. Hopefully they will like what you are telling them enough to contact you for further information.

For those of us who hate SPAM, permission marketing is the brightest light on the horizon. The basic concept of this approach is that you can only email electronic e-mail to those people who have agreed to let you do so. I only wish the same provisions were applicable and enforceable for telemarketers and door-to-door canvassers.

8 Ps In The Marketing Pot

So with all of these Ps in the marketing pot, what does it all mean for those of us who just want more clients for our professional services?

It seems to me that if we stick to the basics, the issues swirling in a pot of Ps will sort themselves out.

If for example, we consider the basic purpose of marketing to be attracting more and better clients, (which includes repeat clients), the Ps will take care of themselves.

If we offer a product, that people…including corporate types…are prepared to buy at our suggested price, we are almost halfway there.

In order to promote the benefits of our product, we must go to the online or offline places where we can connect with prospective clients. Some promotional initiatives will be intended to pull prospective clients to us, while others will be intended to push our message at prospective clients and referral sources, provided of course, we have their permission to send our messages to them.

There you have it…the 8 Ps of attracting more and better clients.