Use the Internet to help potential clients surface more quickly
The Internet enables anyone to comparison shop from the comfort of his or her own home. Consumers increasingly visit websites to check prices and read reviews for televisions, vacuum cleaners and even bed sheets before they ever set foot in a store. Some consumers even use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get recommendations from friends before buying. Your firm may not sell consumer products, but your potential clients are electronically comparison-shopping for professional services before meeting with you in person or over the telephone - and you need to outshine the competition both on and offline.
According to Hinge, a marketing and branding firm, professional services firms that generate leads online grow four times faster than their counterparts not using online lead generation. Since professional services firms win clients on trust and expertise more than price matching, your goal should be to establish trust with potential clients virtually. These three strategies will help set up your firm for success:
Position yourself properly. Visibility is step number one. Yet, while it's important that your website ranks high on search engines, a website alone does not win clients. Your website must establish your firm as an expert and clearly outline the services you provide in a language that resonates with your target market. Do this by sharing valuable professional insights with your audience.
Content is king. Rather than state that you have tax-planning expertise, your website should include educational materials that establish your firm as a thought-leader in tax planning. Establish leadership through articles, blogs, podcasts, case studies and even by providing links to industry association articles that prospective clients would find useful. This type of content positions your firm as an industry resource. Potential clients are also likely asking for professional service firm recommendations from their social media contacts. Become active on social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, and post non-self-promoting content. Use these forums as a way to share ideas and content rather than as a venue for pitching your services.
Provide exclusive incentives. While some content should be available to those potential clients just visiting your website, keep some content under wraps and available only to those prospects who complete an online contact form. Once you establish that your firm provides educational content, visitors are likely to consider your firm for more in-depth information and will be wiling to provide a contact email or phone number. You now have a lead who is already familiar with the value of your firm's expertise.
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