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 marketing-made-simple.com, “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:

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If you love serving clients, but hate marketing…or are too busy to market … help is on the way.

Too many professionals see marketing as shameless self-promotion and aggressively pitching their services. Perhaps the norm in other businesses, these techniques don’t help market professional services.

Marketing professional services is about generating more new business.

There are two primary sources of new business.

The best source is repeat business from current and past clients.

The next best source is referrals from friends and family, clients and contacts.

Along with six other experienced professionals I am developing a website that help you learn what you need to know to generate more repeat and referral business. Watch for the launch of this site, coming soon.

If however, you enjoy marketing professional services, and want to join participate in the development, let me know. Experienced professionals are always welcome.

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.

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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?

This being my 200th blog post since January of last year, it’s timely to reflect on my the experience.

Two questions immediately come to mind.

  • What were the most popular blogs?
  • What have I learned from the past 16 months of blogging?

Identifying the most popular blogs is easy. Based on the number of views here are my top five blog posts:

  1. How To Market Professional Services: The Basics And Beyond
  2. 3 Reasons To Fire Clients
  3. 10 Challenges of Marketing Professional Services
  4. What To Do When You Love Serving Clients But Hate Marketing
  5. Overcoming 3 Fears In Marketing Professional Services

These posts share several common features.

First, they are all experience-based. Virtually all blog content is based on my own experience of marketing professional services. In some cases, the content is supplemented by the experience of others. It’s reassuring to recognize that experience remains the best teacher.

Second, they all focus on the process of attracting new clients and generating new fee revenue. Strange as it may appear, even the second most popular post, 3 Reasons To Fire Clients, has a strong connection marketing element. Think of it as weeding your client garden: by eliminating factors that do little more than drain resources, we can attract and serve more and better clients.

A third common factor is that like the process of marketing itself, the issues addressed by these posts are continuous and ongoing.

To maintain an sustainable flow of new and repeat business, it’s important to continuously apply the basics of marketing professional services. And to avoid having to fire clients, it’s critical to continue to qualify and select only the clients we love to serve.

From my perspective, the most valuable lesson from the past 200 blogs is the powerful role that experience plays in successfully marketing professional services.

The best experience gets even better when it’s shared. I willingly share my experience in the hope that it helps other like-minded service professionals improve their marketing.

If you have shared some of your experience in response to any of my posts…thank you. If however, you have yet to share some marketing experience, you are more than welcome to join the discussion.

By writing about the 10 Challenges of Marketing Professional Services, my intention was two-fold.

One element was to identify some of the marketing challenges that face those of us who market our professional services. And having identified these challenges, the other element was to offer suggestions for responding effectively to these challenges.

Now, having reflected on the response to this series of blog posts, there is a very clear and undeniable conclusion that can be drawn.

Ironically, this conclusion is reflected in the title of the March 27 blog post: What To Do When You Love Serving Clients But Hate Marketing, which attracted the most visitors of the series.

For the most part, service professionals really do love serving clients. As for marketing, it’s one of those things that we all know we should be doing…but realistically few of us enjoy it, even a little bit.

Instead of trying to overcome service professionals’ general dislike of marketing, it would be more helpful to re-frame marketing as an extension of client service. As part of this process, let’s consider what marketing is…and what it is not.

Here are 12 factors that help clarify what marketing is, together with the opposite factors that clarify what it is not.

  1. client-focused …. not standardized ‘one-size-fits-all’
  2. building and maintaining relationships … not adversarial
  3. continuous … not isolated or one time only
  4. conversation…not a speech, monologue, lecture or one-way conversations
  5. marketing as education offers new information…not the same old same old message
  6. investment for future benefits … not throwing resources at a problem
  7. mutually beneficial interactions… not one-sided win-lose scenario
  8. proactive … not reactive
  9. strategic … not just problem-solving
  10. transformational … not maintaining the status quo
  11. your best stuff … not bare minimum
  12. unique ‘one-of-a-kind’ interactions.. not marketing to the masses

Following the same approach followed with 10 Challenges of Marketing Professional Services, in and of themselves, these factors will help redefine marketing as an extension of client service.

Now the task is offer suggestions for applying these factors in such a way that marketing professional services become a logical and comfortable expansion of serving clients.

Stay tuned…over the coming weeks, I will prepare weekly blog posts about just that…helping you redefine and integrate marketing as an extension of your client service.