How do you get noticed in the professional services industry? It involves finding the right mix of content and tactics to attract and retain clients. In this guide to marketing for professional services, we’ll help you build a great team, develop a plan, and gather the right tools. Keep reading to discover trends and tips that will enhance your marketing strategy.
What is marketing for professional services?
Traditional marketing techniques are no longer enough to succeed in today's world. Instead, they should be designed to work seamlessly with today's clients, especially in the wake of the major changes that 2020 brought to the traditional workplace. This means finding strategies that will help you generate leads and close sales for the professional services niche.
There are many ways to market a business, both offline and online. Examples include everything from social media to search engine marketing to networking events. Online and offline marketing techniques combine to allow you to reach out to clients wherever they are. For a professional services organization, you’ll need a strong roadmap for conquering both.
There are two distinct and important concepts in marketing for professional services: niching down and customer-centric branding. While these aren’t unique to professional services, they should be top of mind for all marketing strategies in this sector.
Instead of trying to be the best in the industry, try to hone in on a specific area. This will allow you to stand out from the crowd and ensure that your customers are happy with your work.
Finding your niche market can also help you attract potential clients and partners that your competitors aren't specifically speaking to. Through niche marketing, you can expect to see more referrals and testimonials from your existing clients.
Before diving into the world of selling, you should carefully consider the following: are there customers out there who you can sell to? Many professional service companies fail to develop a brand beyond simply being a service provider.
Yes, it takes up a lot of resources to do. But when you shape your service around the client’s needs, you can confidently deliver it knowing that your offer is being marketed to who needs it the most. The result is a central marketing message that will be direct, clear, and memorable.
It can even help further develop your offline and digital marketing strategy over time since a client-centric organization will listen to its customers and develop solutions that fit their needs as they go. Customer feedback will allow you to create new campaigns that answer specific questions, offer educational resources, and solve their problems with both free and paid solutions. This will ultimately provide a strong foundation for long-term client relationships.
How to build a professional services marketing team
The question of how to build the optimal marketing team comes down to a simple yet critical decision: what roles do you actually need?. Most of the time, the answer is not clear. It often comes with a series of generic titles such as social media guru, content writer, or marketing administrator. While they are useful for discussing how to accomplish each step, the following will give you the exact actions you need to take as you begin to build a professional services marketing team.
Step 1: Ask questions
Instead of cultivating a culture of continuous improvement, firms tend to create a hodgepodge marketing team focused on meeting the demands of fast growth. If you have any questions about the firm's strategic direction or growth priorities, start by asking your partners. Clarity is key to building or restructuring your team. It’s easier to make decisions regarding hiring when you know what you need and why you’re hiring in the first place.
At a minimum, you should be able to answer the following:
- Where have we succeeded and failed in the past?
- How has marketing contributed to growth so far?
- Which of our services should be prioritized for marketing?
- What does success mean and how is it measured?
- Is our branding where it needs to be to reach our next set of goals?
- Which of our current marketing initiatives support our continued growth, and which do we need to revise, pause, or cancel?
Step 2: Create a roadmap
Most marketing managers don’t realize that, in order to build an effective team, they first need to create a comprehensive marketing roadmap that takes into account all their current and future needs.
How do you get people to see your marketing and convert them into customers? By going beyond building a strategy that simply drives traffic to one that monetizes said traffic through a series of well-thought-out action steps and corresponding tasks.
Doing so will help you map out the steps and resources needed to get it all done. This step will also provide a clear understanding of your long-term goals and how your future marketing team members will affect those goals.
In fact, you may even realize that your current team has all the skills necessary to move forward with your plan.
Step 3: Identify gaps
There are two types of gaps in marketing teams: skill and availability. Based on the roadmap you’ve established in the next step, it should be clear where these gaps are for your current team. If you’re still unsure, look to your project management tool for help.
For example, Wrike users can view individual schedules to determine where employees might have pockets of time to work on additional tasks. They can also redistribute work if the effort looks uneven. And if a particular team member has some out-of-office time coming up, managers can simply reassign tasks so that there are no bottlenecks in their absence.
This feature also makes it easy to identify employee skills and where they should be putting more or less time. For example, if you have an SEO expert on social media posting but need assistance with your new website, you’ll be able to see what they’re working on and quickly follow up with a reassignment.
Step 4: Make a wish list
Now that you know where your marketing is, where it’s going, and what gaps you need to fill, it’s time to create your marketing team wishlist. In a fresh document, create separate sections for skills, availability, experience level, salary, and location. Fill this out based on your answer to the previous steps and use it as a hiring guide as you move forward.
Now you know exactly how to build a professional services team that fits your unique needs while using critical thinking and data-backed analysis.
What to include in a professional services marketing plan
The fastest-growing firms are usually focused on a specific niche. Specialization is a marketing technique that helps define a certain aspect of a business or a certain industry. In fact, a firm’s competitive advantage often stems from its ability to identify and understand a specific segment of the marketplace.
In professional services marketing, this means a number of different things, including:
- Hiring full-time and freelance team members who have experience in marketing for professional services
- Highlighting niche subject matter experts for your top services as part of your outbound content
- Narrowing down your offerings to the highest ROI ones and building a campaign around one or two
Once you have your specialization strategy written down, at a minimum, you’ll need to build out each of the following to bring in more clients:
1. SEO content
Creating compelling content is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and how you can solve complex problems.
Blogging is useful for improving page rankings and strengthening your professional services website domain authority long-term. There are two sides to blogging: maintaining your own blog and contributing articles to other firms or industry publications.
2. Fully optimized website
A lead-generating website is a key component of any marketing strategy. It serves as the central point of contact for all of your online marketing efforts. A well-designed and well-implemented website is an integral part of any marketing strategy. It can help generate leads and improve conversion rates. Make sure that any website you publish has a fast-loading speed, a back-end SEO strategy, and a plan for adding consistent weekly updates.
Also, be sure to build out pages for each of the services you offer. Target keywords and publish written content that fully encompasses each specialty so that customers return to your site over and over again.
3. Event strategy
Even if your professional services company operates entirely online, an event strategy will help your brand stand out. Regardless of how much time or budget you have for events, there are lots of ways to use them in your plan.
Here are some examples:
- Sponsoring a popular event for your target industry
- Holding a virtual or live stream event
- Speaking and guest lecturing
- Hosting an after-party at a conference
- Networking with potential leads at an industry-specific event
Professional services marketing trends you need to know
Here are the professional service trends to look out for and how they’ll affect your marketing going forward:
In 2020, marketers had no choice but to embrace virtual events. And it turned out to be a positive change for many. Virtual events help attract new audiences and lower costs. And for professional services companies with clients and potential leads all over the world, connecting with them online in a more personal way isn’t such a bad idea. Everything from live streaming to virtual demonstrations can work.
Consumers are increasingly demanding that their purchases align with the brands they buy from, which can be challenging for marketers. But for professional services companies, your marketing can revolve around your mission statement, ethical hiring and wage practices, and commitment to personal service.
Professional services are focused on meeting the needs of the client. Before, many firms were able to provide these services through face-to-face client meetings. Today, clients are demanding more from their professional services firms. This means firms need to re-think their offerings and develop new ways to deliver value to their clients. This can be done through surveys, regular check-in meetings, and marketing materials focused on customer retention in addition to acquisition.
Tools you need in marketing for professional services
Because professional services brands focus on B2B clients, they’ll need to use B2B marketing tools to reach them. Here are the must-have tools for marketing professional services in 2021:
- Website traffic analytics
- Virtual meeting hosting service
- Content management and organization
- A/B testing tool
- Email sales funnel creator
- SEO research and reporting
- Keyword and search engine content analyzer
- Teamwide messaging tool
- File and media asset storage
- Workflow manager with status updates
- Automated social media posting tool
You can combine these tools into a marketing stack or look for solutions like Wrike that combine one or more of the above features into a single platform.
How Wrike can help with your professional services marketing
Most professional services firms know they need a marketing organization. But they don’t know how to build one that fits their business goals and needs. That’s where Wrike comes in.
Hands-on product management and project management help marketing managers align onsite and remote teams with an organizational strategy that builds consensus across all team members. This is beneficial for all teams but is especially helpful for those working on complex projects or across different time zones. And if you offer multiple services, Wrike can help you keep track of who is working on what for which client at all times.
Before any project begins, Wrike helps identify the key metrics and reporting infrastructure necessary to measure, monitor, and track marketing campaign success, even if you have more than one active project going at the same time. That way, your omnichannel marketing plan is all in one place.
During projects, Wrike gives professional services companies the ability to optimize their processes. They can do so by creating and editing workflow templates for recurring projects. They can also use visual timelines and Gantt charts to eliminate potential roadblocks before they come up. And if something disrupts the plan, Wrike makes it easy to recover seamlessly with in-app communication and simplified status viewing, so managers never miss a beat.
Wrike can help you align your marketing goals and processes all in one place. Wrike can also provide visibility into how those actions are impacting your success metrics through reporting and insights.