When it comes to standing out from the crowd, professional services firms face a real challenge in a hugely competitive market.
How do you make what you do sound different to the thousands of other businesses in the UK that offer the same services? And how can you achieve success? Here are some top tips from our professional services marketing team.
Have a strong USP
If you took a random sample of accountancy or law firm’s websites, how many would say a similar thing? Phrases such as “we go beyond the numbers”, or “we care about your business” are common.
So how do you create a genuinely compelling USP as a professional services firm?
A good starting point is consulting with your team and clients. You will soon find out why clients and people NEED your firm and WHY they choose your firm. View this exercise as discovering your USP not inventing it. It needs to be a genuine, powerful statement – avoid cheese! Our client Harrison Drury found its ‘We Make It Possible’ USP following staff consultation and used this to underpin its entire brand.
Sell the benefits
Too many firms fall into the trap of focussing their message 100% on themselves, their skills and services. Of course, this is important but what is in it for the client? You may have a ‘tax team of 20 people with unrivalled expertise’ but the benefit to the client is… ‘we can help you save tax’. Sell the benefits of working with your firm.
Be sector experts
Don’t just focus on your services – emphasise your sector experience. This is beneficial because it says to target customers, ‘I know your world’. However, it’s not enough just to say you have experience of a sector. You must be a genuine expert and you must own that space.
For example, if you want to be known for your hospitality and leisure sector expertise, sponsor industry events, host roundtable discussions, write blogs on the subject, create surveys and produce reports.
Professional services firms are built on relationships, so harness these to create powerful partnership marketing initiatives. It’s a well-beaten path in the professional services industry to form partnerships with other professional contacts and intermediaries.
But be prepared to think outside the box too. For example, if you’re targeting a service at people with a high-net-worth, is there a luxury brand that you can align with to run an event or experience.
Have a well-oiled people-to-people (P2P) machine
People do buy people. Your top people have a magnetism that can attract new clients and customers to your business. Your people are your sales team. Have a plan that sees them invest in relationships with key clients, contacts and prospects. Invest in training too. It’s money well spent.
Also, make them a visible part of your PR and communications strategy. Have them speaking at conferences, get them out at networking events, showcase them on your website and in your PR activity.
Get serious about your online presence
If your website no longer exudes digital competency than you can be sure it is alienating a good chunk of your current and future customer base. Websites that aren’t mobile responsive and don’t offer a good visitor experience will be shunned by customers and search engines alike.
Get serious about your online presence and your digital marketing activity. It is great for your reputation and will help you to generate leads.