The term “professional services” could be the most generic-sounding business classification. According to businessdictionary.com, professional services “consist of accounting, legal, medical and other such services provided by a formally certified member of professional body.” Professional services firms provide solely service – they do not have a product or something tangible that helps differentiate their company. Word-of-mouth, referrals and testimonials are all critical components to marketing a professional services firm. As a professional services firm, how do you differentiate your firm without appearing too “radical” that you cut your firm’s credibility?
The most effective way to differentiate your professional services firm is by continuously engaging with your target market. Is your firm a thought leader among your target market? Is your website a resource center for common issues clients face? Are you regularly communicating with current and prospective clients with pertinent information? This can be done through email, social media platforms, phone, events, etc.
Fortunately most professional services firms are weak at marketing. They are too busy doing the actual professional services work and when it comes to marketing communications, they are more reactive rather than proactive. When it comes to professional services marketing, it’s all about being a step ahead of your client and serving as their trusted advocate. I can’t tell you how many small business decision makers complain to me that they never hear from their accountant or lawyer unless they need to be paid. A constant flow of communication to your clients will differentiate you from 90% of professional services firms.
Communication to current and prospective clients is part of professional services marketing. By implementing a marketing communications process, your firm remains credible and is able to be ahead of the competition. The communication can’t be irrelevant information though – it must be timely information that is of concern to your target market. The more a professional services firm can serve as a “content curator” and in-disposable time saver, the more valuable your company will be to your ideal customer.