Republished with Permission from RDT Content Marketing, LLC
In January, I presented a program on How to Successfully Market Your Firm in 2022. The reality is that what it takes to be successful doesn’t change that much from year to year. Thanks to COVID, some firms have put a new focus on marketing, but even as they spend more money, they keep making the same mistakes. So, the bulk of my program and this blog post is focused on identifying those problem areas and giving advice on how to fix them.
Problem #1. Relying on a generic marketing message. Many firms use the same overused language to describe what they do, who they help and how they’re “different.” The problem isn’t lack of creativity; it’s being afraid of standing out. Many professionals feel more comfortable saying the same things as their peers; they just want to claim to do it better. However, they offer no proof that they are actually better so it’s just the same old marketing copy.
If you want to improve your results, you have to focus on marketing your differentiators. Identify exactly why someone should hire or refer you over your competitors, what unique value you bring to the relationship and how you help. Be specific and make sure you have proof, such as positive reviews, success stories, case studies, activities like writing and speaking, media quotes, awards, relevant group memberships and other evidence that you are who and what you say you are.
Problem #2. Too much selling and not enough helping. Yes, promote your differentiators, but rather than telling people how great you are, prove it with helpful content. I believe in the 80-20 rule – 20% of the time you can be self-promotional but 80% of the time provide useful information that helps people with their problems. This will demonstrate your expertise and build trust and credibility with your audience. It will help you both attract new attention and stay top of mind with the people you already know. However, in developing content, focus on what your audience cares about – their interests and concerns. Also, remember to repurpose your content so you get the maximum return on your investment. For more on repurposing, see No Time For Content Marketing? 7 Tips For Successfully Repurposing Your Content Part 1 and Part 2.
Problem #3. Neglecting your total online presence. There is more to your online presence than your website or your social media pages. Prospects and referral sources will google you even if they got referred to you and they will compare you to others. First, google yourself and your firm to find out what people will see. Then google some of your competitors. Once you determine where you are lacking, focus on making improvements like adding useful content to your website, becoming more active on social media, stepping up your writing and speaking for third parties, getting more online reviews, increasing backlinks to your website, claiming your Google business listing and employing tactics to improve your search engine ranking.
Problem #4. Having a narrow view of social media. You want to take full advantage of social media especially since it is more cost-effective than many other forms of marketing. It’s a great way to stay top of mind with contacts and get found by new people. So, post a few times a week. Also, interact with others by responding to comments to your posts; liking, commenting on and sharing other people’s posts; sending personal messages to your contacts; and leaving a good review for your contacts on their social media pages. Also, use social media for market intelligence. Look at what your competitors, clients, industry are doing and saying. This can help you better target your message and where you promote it.
Problem #5. Overlooking your follow-up process. The best marketing in the world means nothing if you don’t follow up properly. Document your process for follow-up and track your activities and results to determine if you could be doing better. Explore technology that may help. For example, a CRM (customer relationship management) system may be useful especially if you have multiple employees involved in business development and account management. It provides a more robust database for tracking and managing your contacts and can interface with other programs. Email marketing automation can also help you nurture leads more effectively and with less manual work.
Finally, pay attention to everyone a prospect or referral source may come into contact with on the phone or in person. Poor interactions can easily lose you business, while good ones can help seal the deal. Customer service or sales training may be a good investment for you or your employees to give everyone the people skills they need.
Problem #6. Failing to have a written marketing plan. Before you leap into any significant marketing, create a written marketing plan. This is your roadmap for achieving your goals and putting it all in writing keeps you focused and accountable over the long term so you aren’t distracted and you prioritize your efforts where they count. The worst thing you can do is engage in random acts of marketing where you do a little of this and that without a strategy or thinking about whether it is the best use of your time and money. For more information, read How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan.
If you have any questions or need assistance with your own marketing, contact us.