In a recent post, I raised the question How Many Marketing Strategies Do You REALLY Need?

2009_bestWith the answer leaning to less is better, the obvious next question is what are the best strategies for marketing professional services? In the simplest of terms, what strategies will generate the most new business?

Sources Of New Business

Regardless of the service that we provide, there are only two sources of new business:

  1. new clients
  2. more business from existing clients

In order to attract more new potentially ideal clients, it is important for to offer them a compelling reason for choosing you instead of the competition. One element of this compelling reason is our personal brand, which helps distinguish us from the competition. The second element is our brand promise, which helps prospective new clients understand how they will benefit from our services.

Similarly, to generate more repeat business from past clients, it’s important to offer a compelling reason for hiring us again.

What value will they enjoy from more of the same type of service that they received in the past? Or equally important, what value would they receive from one of the your service areas that they have not yet experienced? (As a side note, helping clients enjoy services they have yet to experience, raises the question of how much clients know about your entire range of services. Concentrating only on those services that clients normally need could represent a huge lost opportunity).

Pull Marketing

Offering compelling reasons for potentially ideal choosing you or current clients choosing repeat business are examples of pull marketing. According to, “A pull strategy involves motivating customers to seek out your brand in an active process.”

In other words, it’s about “Getting the customer to come to you”

From the perspective of marketing professional services, the best pull marketing strategies include:

  • referrals
  • user-friendly information-rich websites
  • blogging
  • social media
  • public relations activities such as writing for publication and
  • public speaking

Given that marketing services marketing is about attracting more new clients and repeat business, the best marketing strategies for professionals get the clients to come to us. And that’s the magic of pull marketing.

To learn more, see:


How is your personal brand holding up in the noisy and competitive marketplace?

Is it still as fresh and distinctive as it was when you launched it? After several years, most brands start to look tired and outdated. The colors and artwork that were stylish when they were introduced eventually take on the appearance of relics from the past.

What about your brand promise? Does it promise clients the benefits that your services deliver today? Or is it a reminder of how you used to help clients?

Few of us deliver our services the same way we did 5 or 10 years ago. As a result of a continuously changing market, clients need and want different kinds of help from us. In response, most of modify our services and how we satisfy clients.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that even though we continue to enhance and upgrade our services to maintain and perhaps increase client satisfaction, these improvements are not always reflected in our personal brands.

As a result, our services can be stronger than our brands. That’s good for existing clients, but not so good for your marketing.

If you haven’t thought about your brand recently, maybe it’s time to evaluate how strong your brand really is. Here are some questions to get you started.

  • What are you and your firm best known for?
  • Relative to the competition,
    • How strong is your personal and professional reputation?
    • How visible are you in your market?

The best and most helpful answers come from the market. Ask the same questions of clients, contacts and others who might have an opinion on your brand.

You might not like all the answers you hear. But if you don’t know there’s a problem, how are you going to fix it?

Marketing As Education

May 14, 2013

Another entry from the ‘What Is Marketing‘ Department.

In addition to attracting new clients and also your favorite definition of marketing here is another definition that you can add to the list.

Marketing is all about education. Specifically, it’s about helping five groups of people learn more about you, and how you help clients.

Helping Support Staff & Colleagues Learn

Before even thinking of telling the world about our services, make sure that everyone at home base is on the same marketing page.

Anyone and everyone who will have any client contact plays a part in our marketing. In practice, this means that it’s essential that they fully understand who we are, what we stand for and how we help clients.

As an added bonus, these people can and often do, offer helpful insights and observations that might improve the effectiveness of our marketing.

Helping Referral Sources Learn

Networking and referrals remain the major source of new clients for service professionals. This being the case, it is essential that our referral sources fully understand who we are, what we stand for and how we help clients.

It’s also essential that they understand who the kinds of clients we love to serve…our ideal clients. If they know the kinds of people we love to serve, it’s unlikely they will refer any potentially problematic clients.

Helping The Market Learn

Strange as it may appear, parts of our market remain unaware of our services and similar services of comparably qualified professionals.

This means that the starting point for marketing as education is helping the market understand not only the existence of our professionals services, but also how these services can help them make a difference in their lives.

Instead of echoing what everyone else in your industry is saying, tell your own story, which includes an introduction to your personal brand and brand promise.

Helping Potential Clients Learn

For potentially ideal clients to hire us, they must see us as likeable, competent and trustworthy.

Instead of promoting personal and professional achievements, a better approach would be to outline common problems that face people like them…and then discuss how these and similar problems were resolved. Another good place for your personal brand and brand promise.

Ideally, our marketing will help potentially ideal clients learn why we are their most logical choice as some one who can and will help them with their problems.

Helping Clients Learn

Consistently, professional services includes huge elements of helping clients learn. For the most part, this involves learning more about the technical aspects of out service.

We can also help clients learn to make the most of our help…how to get even better results from our service. Even better results will produce even more satisfied clients, which in turn will probably produce even more repeat and referral business.

For most of us, education is a critical component of our client service.

Why not also make it a key element of marketing professional services?

Guess what? Spring’s here…and our winter-weary landscape is starting to refresh itself. Kind of like getting a new lease on life.

After a long winter, almost everything was starting to look tired and world-weary. Definitely time for renewal and refreshment.

Speaking of looking tired and world-weary, how is your personal brand surviving the wear and tear of the marketplace?

Is it still as fresh and exciting as it was when you developed it? Or like the out-of-kilter picnic table, has it seen better days?

If your brand is basically sound, but has lost its shine and sparkle, maybe it’s time to refresh it.

Provided your brand continues to distinguish you from the competition, you do not need a total brand makeover. Some minor tweaking to the visual elements of your brand can refresh your image, just as a new spring wardrobe helps us look, and feel better.

If you don’t have a logo, try adding an image to present a more contemporary look. Or maybe modify the look and feel of your website and marketing materials.

The purpose of refreshing your brand is not to reinvent yourself. Ideally, refreshing your brand will confirm your brand promise while boosting your profile in the marketplace.

Sometimes the simplest modifications make a huge difference.

A brand promise is the cornerstone of branding as a professional service marketing strategy.

Properly developed and managed, the promise can generate new business and referrals from past clients.

However, poor brand development and weak business management will lead to broken promises.

Broken promises drive customers to the competition.

The Good News About Promises

By consistently providing quality service, in effect you promise that clients will continue to receive the same quality.

This promise of quality is reassuring to your clients and contacts. It increases their comfort in continuing to deal with you and also recommend potential clients to you.

Not surprisingly, this promise of quality is a key element in both your overall marketing plan.

This is the good news element of the promise: it reassures clients and contacts, which in turn will generate more business.

The Bad News About Promises

The bad news element is the all-too-familiar problem of dealing with fallout from broken promises.

Fulfilled promises-–or expectations–-are great.

Remember how eagerly you anticipated that special meal in your favorite restaurant? And how wonderful it was when the experience was even better than what you expected?

But what about when the food or service failed to met your expectations? The experience may have been so upsetting that you vowed never to go back.

Broken Promises—The Worst Case Scenario

In making promises, whether explicitly in words or implicitly through actions, you are setting standards that you must continue to meet.

As long as these standards are met, all is well.

However, once you fail to honor your promises, all hell can break loose.

Most consumers tend to be well-informed.

They know that in today’s competitive marketplace, they have many choices.

Few things annoy consumers more than broken promises. Unhappy customers can, and usually do, respond by taking their business to the competition.

Instead of happily promoting a business that has pleased them, they will joyfully badmouth one that has displeased them.

To learn more about branding as a strategy for marketing professional services, see Ignore The Myths.