Online marketing is like a special sauce that professional service firms depend on. The industry is increasingly shifting towards digital marketing and those left behind are losing. Today, the battle arena has shifted to online where clients watch, support and even vote on who’s the best firm in various fields.
Online marketing has rapidly grown and continues to grow in response to the massive shift in consumer preferences and behaviors. More than half of all clients are now online and depend on the internet to provide instant answers to their questions.
Before online marketing.
Some businesses tend to think that simpler times were before online marketing, but if you know the benefits of online marketing, you know that’s not true. Professional service businesses are people driven which means you have to delight people by understanding what they want and how they want it. At times firms tend to forget that all marketing isn’t necessarily, b2b or b2c but actually “p2p” person to person. Which means the days of treating customers like numbers on a spreadsheet are long gone.
Initially, the customer’s journey didn’t have a lot of steps to it. It was straightforward which made marketing then network driven. Before digital marketing, customers relied on what their friends said about a product or service. In hindsight, clients didn’t have much choice then.
As a result of these changes, businesses have followed the clients online to build their brands and visibly position themselves. The key benefactor with online marketing isn’t you can now cast a wider net, but rather you can focus your marketing on a very specific type of customer, like a sniper. If this is done correctly it allows you build relationships with prospects and understand what they’re in search of.
Customers are in control.
Today, customers have a lot more options, and they know what they want, how they want it and when they want it. They have little patience for firms that don’t value their time. The buyer’s journey has also evolved to include several more steps.
As opposed to trusting referrals, clients now embark on a discovery journey where they take their time to learn about your business as well as others. After that, they move on to shortlist and finally weigh until the pick the best contender. In other words, you are the interviewee, and the customer is the interviewer. The information you provide about your company or service and the way you provide it, determines whether or not you score the client and when you score the client. A well crafted customer journey can significantly reduce the time it takes for a decision maker to approve your service purchase. If a sales cycle used to take 8 months it can be reduced to 4 or even 5 months.
The Risks of not going online
In this modern age its surprising that some businesses remain adamant and stick to traditional ways of marketing. These businesses are at great risk of not only losing clients but eventually becoming obsolete. Companies that are closed off to online marketing hold the following misconceptions about it:
Online marketing is technical.
Unfortunately, many small to medium size businesses view online marketing as a technical strategy that requires tech gurus to implement. The truth is the opposite, technology is very easy to use, and most platforms are created with the user in mind. The reality isn’t that it’s technical, but rather requires more work than simply approving a full page newspaper advert with no measurable ROI.
Too many businesses are already using online marketing.
Standing out from the crowd is one of the best ways to market your business. This is the mindset that most businesses that stay clear of online marketing adopt. Sadly, this is not a winning way of thinking. There are infinite ways of approaching things online which is why all businesses using online marketing don’t use the same approach. The key is not necessarily to just be online but rather be online and be different in your approach.
Online marketing requires a lot of time
Yes, online marketing requires that you invest time in it but what marketing technique doesn’t? In truth, digital marketing needs a lot less time than other marketing avenues. For instance, your social media outlets will send you notifications when there’s activity on your page. This saves you time which you’d spend combing through the pages. Online marketing tools enable you to find out who accessed your page and posts, when and where. With the advent of marketing automation allot of online marketing tasks are intelligently taken care of. Additionally, if you ever see a tweet at 6am chances are it’s was scheduled up to 2 weeks back.
Why professional services firms that don’t adopt online marketing are at risk.
It’s easy to get caught up in fears and misconceptions about something when you’ve not even tried it. However, as a professional firm owner, it is essential to take advantage of every available tactic to grow your business.
Additionally, ask yourself this, how will you compete using traditional techniques when all your competitors are online as well as your clients? More than 60% of professional services firms are using digital marketing strategies which are fast and effective compared to traditional marketing.
If you’re still doubtful about online marketing, you can efficiently run both traditional and digital marketing. This way, you get to see firsthand which one is more useful for your company.
Another reason why your business is at risk without online marketing is consumer behaviors. First of all, customers today rely on information. They do due diligence on every company before they buy from them. Customers also want the warmth of a relationship with businesses. Without these, you have no chance of scoring prospects or keeping your clients.
Benefits of online marketing for professional services firms.
All things considered, online marketing is the most powerful marketing technique available for consulting Firms firms today. Some of its benefits to businesses include:
I. Helps you showcase your expertise
To succeed in the professional services industry, you need to position yourself as an authority in your field. Once you become the top dog, people will look to you first for answers then solutions. You can show your in-depth knowledge of your field through blog posts, webinars, videos and social media posts.
II. Online marketing is less expensive
Compared to other marketing strategies, online marketing is more affordable. For small businesses that are skeptical because their operating budget is not huge, online marketing is the way to go. You get more for less.
III. Helps you cast a wider net
The appeal of online marketing is that there are no boundaries. Time differences and geographical locations do not limit you. With digital marketing, you can reach prospects in the New York city without leaving your office in Johannesburg.
IV. Enables you to build and nurture relationships with clients.
Besides valuable content, clients also look for understanding. They want a company that listens and hears their concerns. They also want to work with a company that holds conversations with them and values their feedback. Through online marketing, you can build meaningful relationships with your prospects and clients. This way, they learn to trust you.
Online marketing is the future of professional services marketing. The reputation of your firm is dependent on the image you build online. E&A digital republic is here to help you leverage the powerful online marketing tools that transform your business. Professional services firms that don’t adopt online marketing are at risk of going extinct.