What are the basics of professional services marketing? It’s a common question and it boils down to the same three stages that you see here on the Tenato website: research, strategy, and then execution.
Stage 1: Research
The reason you want to do research is to help you define what makes you different from your competition. In order to do that, you need to talk to clients about why they selected you over other similar professionals. You also have to compare your message to that of your competition, so you’re not just saying the same old things that everybody else around you is saying. You really have to work hard to try to find out what is truly unique about you.
Stage 2: Strategy
- What kind of vision do you have for your company?
- What are your services going to be?
- How should your pricing be structured?
Regarding pricing, it’s strongly suggested that you do some additional reading about pricing and pricing methods. (In fact, there’s a lot of different blogs here on the Tenato website about it). It’s a kind of a trap to fall into the typical hourly rate. Mainly the problem with hourly rates is that clients never know what their bills are gonna be and it’s really hard to justify a high enough hourly rate that people won’t look at you and go, “Geez, why should I pay you?” Even if it’s just $100 an hour or $200 an hour.
The idea is that, when you’re building your strategy, you have to be very clear about what makes you different. Then you create a set of services and a pricing methodology around that, so that people can understand. Now you might say, “Okay, so how do I choose my target markets and how do I reach them?” Hopefully, once you’ve decided what your main unique selling feature is, there will be a certain target market that lends itself best. For example, for us, we really like helping the good guys win. As a result, we work with businesses, or nonprofit organizations, who really make something worthwhile or who give back in some way. As well, they have their environmental and their socially conscious policies figured out.
Stage 3: Execution
It’s important to note that when you’re trying to reach out to win those clients, there are certain things you need to have in place. For instance, you need to have a really strong brand. You have to work hard at coming up with a unique name and a logo that reflects that. Then you can build a website that explains your business strategy, your values, and your business approach.
In addition, you can do the following to increase your chances of making a valuable business connection:
- Regularly publish, or blog, about your area of expertise. This works particularly well with professional services businesses. When you write your blogs, they should be posted on your website but you can post them on LinkedIn, your Facebook page, or your Twitter as well.
- Contact your local media to let them know you’re an expert in your area, should they ever need commentary on your particular topic.
- Consider putting all your blogs together into a book.
- If you’re good at speaking, look for public speaking opportunities or publish a video blog.
- Try the simple act of outreach – by doing a professional cold call or networking.
- Join associations that include the target markets that you’re going after. For example, there’s an association for renewable energy products (if that were your target industry). Now you can go to their events, with your nice business card, and meet people. Then they can visit your website and think, “Hey, this person’s writing something that we like and they seem to be on our wavelength.”
It comes down to really knowing what’s different about your company, building a strong brand, writing and publishing frequent content…and then getting out there, whether you’re speaking or networking, so that people have a chance to see you and understand what you stand for. So, if you’d like to learn more about professional services marketing, please do get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.