September 27, 2014 Robert Woodford

New “Norms” in Marketing for Professional Services

Professional services (and I include recruitment in this too) marketing is not a realm that has a reputation for speed, especially when it comes to new techniques. The issue, as far as I see it, is that professional services are something of a lifeboat for their clients, helping them to safely negotiate the rough seas of the business world.

It’s hardly surprising that such services have not been keen to embrace the “new” worlds of digital marketing, such as mobile platforms and social networking. Not many barristers ask for a recess during court procedures so they can send a tweet.

Marketers are loathed to suggest digital avenues for professional service providers. In that world, Twitter is something that birds do, and a blog is a bad typing error.

The time though is upon us for professional services to wake up and to learn to warm to this scary new world, and to adapt to the fast pace at which the digital world moves. It’s no good spending years getting accustomed to MySpace and Napster and then wondering why everyone is suddenly talking about Pinterest and SnapChat.

Why is this important? Here’s why:

  • Nine out of ten mobile device owners have at least one mobile device within reach, 24/7
  • Between 2012 and 2013 membership of LinkedIn expanded by 45 percent, and just under 40 percent of LinkedIn members are executives or business owners
  • While a mere 16 percent of networked users have Twitter accounts, these are typically SMEs who have the influence to help build professional reputations
  • 53 per cent read daily business media using their smartphones
  • Online content is now more trusted than rankings by third parties

This is the normality that professional service providers have to face, however unwilling they are to face it. It is no longer appropriate to simply send a pdf document to everyone on your contacts list in the hope that everyone will read it. Marketing needs to be vibrant, contemporary and to create urgency.

So how is that done?

  • Content is king. Nail down each pertinent piece of content that’s important to your business and make sure it has its own place on the web. Don’t hide your content down some labyrinth of meaningless URLs.
  • Twitter like a startled budgie. Send your content URLs out regularly over the Twittersphere. Once you’ve established a decent Twitter network, having people re-tweet is an excellent source of “free” advertising.
  • Build up your network. Get a LinkedIn profile, and link to everyone you’ve ever come into professional contact with. These people will have networks that you can add to your extended network.
  • Maintain your Blog. Your blog is a way of creating interesting content through which you can promote those URLs. Your readers will spread your URLs by creating natural in-bound links.

When it comes to the “new” world of fast-paced, digital marketing, anyone who refuses to be swept along by the rapid changes that digital channels organically create runs the risk of being branded a digitally-dumb dinosaur. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs.