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.

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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.