Many professional services firms fall into the trap of launching a website or setting up a social media site and think… “Job done! Now clients will flock to my door!”
Only a few firms understand that building a website or creating a social media page is just the first step. When transformed to respond to opportunities online, the impact of business development and marketing to reinforce brand values and harness opportunities and growth can be endless. We’d like to highlight some key steps into incorporating business development and marketing strategies into your digital plan.
- Start with the fundamentals. What do you offer to the market that makes you distinctive? Study your closest competitors’ websites to see how they are positioning themselves. You might be surprised how similar they are, if you look past the graphics. In Singapore, most smaller firms talk about personal service, good quality work and the practice areas of their partners – really they all sound the same! Focus on a really distinctive part of your offering? For instance, you may have found that helping new companies set up open doors for much more work later. If so, then you may want to double down on that door-opening work rather than given equal emphasis to all your practice areas. In considering your positioning, use information that you have gathered from peers, online, at events and so on so define a UNIQUE and meaningful Value Proposition.
- Ensure your website is up to date. Has the site been created with responsive design so it works equally well on a PC and a mobile device? Many older sites fail this test. Has the site been designed and written using carefully selected key words and meta-tagging for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? If you are not sure, then the answer is likely no. SEO is fundamental for prospective clients to find you through a Google search for any phrase other than your firm’s name.
- Invest in what clients are searching for. Prospects searching for your service will type phrases into their search engine (for instance “immigration lawyer Singapore” or “recruiter for engineering”, etc.). Your SEO may not be enough to push your website close to the top of the automatic, or “organic” search. Instead you want to be one of those top listing on search that appear with the little word [Ad] next to it: these are paid search results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) lets you set a monthly budget, select the words that are most important for your Unique Value Proposition and not used by all your competitors. Then, track your ROI monthly.
- Be visible on social media. In business, LinkedIn is an essential research tool for your clients and potential hires. Facebook and Instagram are optional but may be useful if you have a team and want to share the culture of your firm. Twitter is good if you are personally a social media fan. What is most important is that any platform have a clear purpose and regularly updated content and that you have an agreed internal strategy about how everyone in your firm will use social media. Many firms build-and-forget, which is lost opportunity.
- Be a thought leader and create content. Your clients will engage with you more if you are not always selling to them. Your website, your social media site feeds and your newsletter all require regular content that is interesting and informative. It’s important to start with a content strategy to prioritise what you want to be known for. You can create articles and infographics or curate interesting content from elsewhere. No time? No problem! Just delegate to ghost writer/ designer. A new, original article or interview once a month is a great target for a smaller firm along with curated content more often.
- Consider a GDPR/PDP-compliant newsletter. If you are creating content online, you will reach some of your clients and prospects. A regular, interesting newsletter with fresh content and news allows you to be in front of all your contacts so you are top of mind when a need arises for your services. There are great free mailing platforms which also provide valuable, actionable analytics to help you understand which clients are engaging with your content and what interests them. This can be business development gold dust!
- Make it measurable and ROI focused. Many small and mid-sized companies treat business development and marketing as a series of tactical executions, creating missed opportunities for failing to look at activities as a joined-up system and whose outcomes can be measured, documented and improved. A discussion with an experienced BD/Marketing expert can help you define what success looks like and to prioritise and quantify your key performance metrics.
Our surprisingly cost-effective Digital BD 101 monthly subscription lets you improve and continuously enrich your digital presence. You and your team have access to our professional services BD and Marketing account managers, ghost writers and designers to create, improve and optimise your online presence. We can also help you with ad hoc projects such as web site redesigns, brochures and sale collateral, updated brand visual identities and much more. For more information, please download our brochure here.
**Due to popular demand, the New Year’s special discount offer in our brochure is extended to 31 January, 2020. Just quote code 2020Vision when you sign up.**