Ready or not, we are drawing very near to the end of 2017. Over the next several weeks, many personal service firms can expect things to ramp up a bit as everyone tries to tackle last projects and tasks before taking a well-deserved break. In advance of the seasonal rush, often when business owners have end-of-the-year business to attend to before holiday closures interrupt workflow, now is the ideal time for firms to start considering goals and game plans for 2018. Here are the top areas we have on our list as those that will be most important to address in the new year.
Understand the Power of Relationship Driven Marketing
As many successful business owners understand (and the modern market reflects), reputation and foundational trust is just as valuable as gaining customer conversions. The focus for many firms, rather than chasing sales, is on creating a positive experience for clients. As such, it’s important to take steps from the very beginning that reflect the value you place on your firm’s relationship with a client.
The bottom line: get to know your clients. Learn how their business got its start, their philosophy and goals, and what work initiatives they are passionate about. It works the other way as well: help them learn about your firm and the work it does. Maintain consistent communication, carefully finding that balance where you’re not inundating them (a big turn off for many) but still staying firmly on their radar. Aim to keep communication relevant and meaningful. Above all, make efforts to understand their needs and pain points, so that when they are ready to move forward on something your firm can handle, they turn to you.
Use Social Media Wisely
For many firms these days, social media presence reigns supreme in garnering the attention of potential clients. We fully encourage the use of social media campaigns to boost your visibility—but we do advise that you go about it wisely and make sure your strategies are focused on conversion rather than just posting for the sake of posting. You can address this a few ways.
Firstly, avoid simply linking to your homepage in the hopes that people will chase down what they need—often they won’t and will move on. Instead, make sure to provide links to relevant and valuable content, such as carefully written blog posts (along with curated CTAs) that illustrate your firm’s expertise, and landing pages that reflect the value in your services and offerings. Also, you should promote your content appropriately for the type of platform you’re utilizing. What works on LinkedIn may not translate as well on Facebook and Twitter. Consider your audience and goals when creating posts so that you may achieve the right voice and share your intended message. Play with phrasing and images to help create a unique persona for your firm. When you go about social media postings thoughtfully, it is apparent to those in your network and will help you garner an effective response.
As great as it is to highlight your own content, it may be helpful to link to outside content as well, such as industry influencers. This will illustrate for others how your firm is keeping tabs on the market and understands what is trending. It will also reflect for your firm a sense of confidence—your certainty in your own services is strong enough for you to place external content alongside it so that others may see how visions overlap and align.
Intersperse links to your website content with other nuggets that are meaningful and interesting on their own. Think bold quotes, thought-provoking questions, funny memes and jokes, and other relevant tidbits that both support your brand’s unique persona and offer a break from the regular stream of content. When you offer content that is easy to digest and asks for nothing in return, potential clients will likely find it refreshing. Social media used as an avenue to reflect your firm’s uniqueness helps keep it front of mind and establishes a positive connection—further supporting our point above about building relationships.
Build Lead Generation Functionality Into Your Website
By now personal service firms should know that a website is the most basic component needed to do business. To move beyond that, however, and be successful in attracting clients and seeing business growth it’s important that your website work for you. There are several aspects you can address to help with this.
First, take stock of how your website is currently performing. With a strong understanding of how each page is doing (especially when it comes to lead generation), you will have a good idea of what needs work, what can be weeded out, and what needs to be added. Next, optimize the pathway visitors take to conversion, such as ensuring offers are relevant to what they initially searched for, providing forms at appropriate stages, and asking the right questions on forms that give you a clear idea of their needs. Make sure Calls to Action are clear and simple, placed appropriately at the end of blog posts and within sidebar spaces on landing pages. Speaking of landing pages, plan to expand upon those. Why? It’s as easy as this: more landing pages means increased opportunity—more chances to show specifically how your offerings can address the needs of a client, more variety of content covering the pain points your firm can address, more keywords you can rank for, and more places for visitors to click a button to fill out a form.
Additionally, consider adding thank-you pages that pop up once visitors have filled out forms, prompting them to review related offers or to share details on social media. A thank-you can also take the form of kickback emails. Optimizing your website for visitor personalization once they’ve signed up with their details can help foster the connection, building upon that ever-important business relationship. Combined with a planned workflow for new lead sign-ups (i.e. thoughtfully-paced email communication and offers), it’s easy to see how your website can get much of the legwork underway in establishing strong connections with potential clients.
Make Sure Your Marketing Has Trackable ROI
When you’ve put a lot of work into creating content that attracts and generates leads, evaluating the ROI can be a whole other beast. While at first tricky and perhaps daunting, it is possible to determine how well particular content is performing. Basically, you want to consider these metric groupings: consumption, sharing, lead, and sales. When you delve into each more specifically, you’ll be able to see what is working and what needs some tweaking.
● Look at how long visitors are engaging with content, beyond average time on site. Reviewing how long visitors spend on content for specific campaigns can offer the strongest indicators of engagement.
● Take into account return visitors. Remember that ultimate goal of building relationships? Understanding who is coming back for more will help you work toward this.
● Track bounce rates and views per landing page. Evaluate the volume of leads you’re generating on each page. When you pinpoint how a particular page is successful, you can try applying the same technique elsewhere on your blog.
● Take a look at your referral sources to help you see which channels are doing well and which need attention.
● Spend some time looking at if and how visitors are reciprocating engagement—comments on blog posts can offer a lot of insight into what potential clients need, providing you not only with an opportunity to generate a lead, but also give you possible material to cover in future content.
● Check out your subscription retention rates to see how long you’re holding the interest of leads beyond your initial point of contact. This will help you determine strategies to nurture your connections with relevant content.
● Evaluate how many people are sharing your content, looking beyond overall shares to how each piece is doing and how many people are landing on your pages from a piece of shared content
Maintain Consistency Across All Client-Facing Materials
We’ve discussed several areas of marketing, from website to social media to individual email communication. In order to establish and support your firm’s brand for clients, it’s imperative that all material they see reflects consistency across the board. Anything and everything that can communicate your message should be taken into account: philosophy, goals, voice and language, color scheme, logo, slogans and taglines, etc. And all of this extends to other materials as well, such as brochures, letterhead, business cards, and more. Remember that a consistent brand will reflect for clients a firm that has done everything possible to present its best—and they will likely provide nothing but the best in the service they offer.
Support in the Coming Year—and Beyond
Planning for the new year is crucial—however, with all the tasks that come with running a business, it may fall at the bottom of your list. But we can help lighten the load. Our expertise and experience in partnering with professional service firms allows us to take your goals for the upcoming year and put them into a plan of action that gets you the results needed for business growth. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can support your efforts.