It’s no secret that marketing is “cool” again across the profession.
If you want to achieve greater results from your marketing efforts in 2011, there are many things you can do now to jumpstart your efforts. Here’s how:
- Play to Your Strengths — Scrap the “one-size-fits-all” marketing approach. Identify areas that you and the professionals on your team enjoy. Match firm growth goals with individual strengths. For example, if you like to write, you can pen an article for a trade association, start blogging or write a column for the firm’s e-newsletter.
- Eliminate the Expectation Gap — Everyone wants to be on a winning team. But practitioners are not always clear on what part they should play in the overall growth agenda. Big gaps often exist between firm growth goals and what is expected at an individual level. To maximize return-on-investment (ROI), work with individuals to clearly outline how each should contribute.
- Adopt a Litmus Test — As marketing gains momentum, it’s easy to lose focus by piling on unplanned initiatives along the way. To eliminate the temptation, use a Litmus Test. Here’s how it works. If someone proposes a change of plans, ask five questions to keep you on track:
- Why are we considering this initiative?
- How will it help us achieve our growth goals?
- Do we have a champion committed to it?
- Will we follow up after the initiative?
- If we take on this new initiative, what others will take a backseat?
- Capitalize on Thought Leadership — Innovation and information are power tools in today’s economy. Use your smarts to gain traction with your target market. Try these winning strategies to provide new insight:
- Blog or contribute to other thought leader’s blogs
- Speak at targeted conferences and seminars
- Write a guest column for an industry or business publication
- Develop regular articles for your firm’s e-newsletters
- Use social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to help others find you
- Cross Serve — For years, selling additional services to existing clients was commonly referred to as “cross selling.” Just the mention of the “s-word” has given this important function a bad rap. To make matters worse, it has caused many firms to leave valuable profits on the table. It’s time to start thinking of it in a whole new way. For starters, remove selling altogether. Rename it “cross serving.” Now use it to help you meet the changing demands of your clients. Consider this function as an extension of the advice you provide to existing clients.
- Look Them in the Eyes — Winning new business requires more face time. Start with your clients. Find ways to get in front of them outside the engagement. Meet them for breakfast, lunch or coffee. Find out what’s new. Don’t stop there. The same goes for your referral sources and prospects too. Conduct a lunch and learn session, host an open house, invite them to attend a function with you. Get face-to-face in 2011.
- Recycle — Recycling has become a big part of our lives. Why not recycle your marketing? In other words reuse, repackage or repurpose contents from existing marketing initiatives in ways that enable you to expand its reach. Try these ideas to start your recycling program:
- Retool a recent seminar into a webinar
- Use the seminar/webinar content to write an article
- Post the article on the firm’s newly created blog
- Include the article in the firm’s e-newsletter
- Share the article or blog link through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
- Take a copy of the article on upcoming sales calls
- Add Social Media to the Mix — If you are not already using social media, it’s time to get aboard. Explore ways to fit it into your existing initiatives. It’s also a great way to pull your younger generation into the marketing mix. Start slowly. Pick one or two things that are right for your firm. Check out Michelle Golden’s new book, Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms for some pointers.
- Link Marketing to Sales – Many successful marketing efforts fail to produce optimal results for one simple reason. Practitioners don’t link marketing to sales. Let’s say you met several potential prospects at your firm’s recent seminar. Unfortunately, you didn’t follow up with them because “busy” got in the way. Bad news! Chances are much of your recent marketing investment will be lost. If you’re going to maximize marketing ROI, you or someone in your firm must take steps to reconnect with the prospect. Try these tips:
- Debrief each marketing initiative
- Identify a follow up strategy for potential prospects
- Determine persons responsible and timelines
- Make calls, send letters or e-mails to reconnect
- Find ways to stay in touch — e-newsletters, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
- Track It — We operate in an environment that thrives on measuring results. To achieve maximum marketing ROI, we must apply the same types of metrics we use in managing our practices to our marketing. For starters, select three to four key areas to track in 2011 including:
- Referrals into and out of the firm
- Web and e-mail statistics
- Win and loss rates
- New business
- Celebrate Success — People want to know their efforts are appreciated and contribute to firm success. Celebrate marketing achievement in your firm by recognizing individuals and teams for their efforts. For starters, do something special. End the workday one a month with a “rainmaker hour.” Have champagne or sparkling cider to toast the occasion. Recognize people in front of their peers. Tell stories so others can learn and get amped about what is happening in the firm.
If you want to make 2011 the best year ever, you can’t afford to leave marketing success to chance. Take purposeful action to boost your marketing ROI. Start now.
|Rate this article 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor).
Send your responses here
Tracy Crevar Warren, founder of The Crevar Group, helps professional services firms win more new business and build more profitable practices. A sought-after consultant, facilitator, author and speaker, she advises clients on practice growth through marketing, sales and client service. With a proven track record and positive high-energy style, she inspires and empowers local, regional, national and international groups to do more of the work they love. She has just finished working on her first book, Bull's-Eye! The Ultimate How-to Marketing & Sales Guide for CPAs produced by the AICPA and AAM. You can reach her at 336-889-GROW (4769) or www.thecrevargroup.com. If you are looking for more practical tips to help build your practice, visit her new blog.