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2019 Top 10 Professional Services Marketing Trends

Marketing Tools to Invest in This Year

Another year. Another digital revolution. Ingenuity’s team gathered the top 10 professional services marketing trends for you to stand out from your competitors in 2019.    

1. Personalization – 2019 is the year of YOU. Content creators are tailoring subject lines, calls to action (CTAs), headers, and, well, everything to speak directly to their readers. Make it about them, even in the images you choose for your website. 

We recently did an A/B subject line test for an email, with subject line A broad and general, “Great Ideas You May Have Missed,” and subject line B purposefully tailored towards our audience: “How You Can Gather Really Great Testimonials.” That positive, specific and personal shift led to subject line B performing much better than A. 

2. Google Business Listing – If your firm does not have a tailored Google Business listing yet, create it right now. A listing set up (and set up correctly) for each office location helps your overall Google ranking and acts as your online and mobile Yellow Pages. 

Use your 750-character description strategically to include key words and phrases about your services. 

3. The New Paid Social and Search – Notice the shift in how company pages are shown (or not shown) in feeds on LinkedIn and Facebook? This will make ad strategies even more important in 2019. Social advertising is a powerful B2B tool with robust capabilities to precisely target your audience and deliver a higher return on your ad investment. Plus, you can manage the budget and stay visible 24/7.  

In addition, Google Ads has expanded its features and targeting options to give you more opportunities to capture attention, drive traffic to meaningful content and generate leads. The key to effective paid social and search strategies lies in effectively identifying your target market and communicating how you solve their needs through attractive CTAs and meaningful, personalized content.  

4. Reviews – They are not going away. Surveys by Google and Bright Local have shown that people trust online reviews about the same as referrals from friends and family! Let’s not debate the logic of this. It’s an emotional factor that contributes to a prospect’s (or candidate’s) overall decision to contact your firm — or not. 

Invite your best clients to share their experience with your firm on these sites. Own your review page! Reinforce your review rankings with case studies and testimonials on your website.   

5. Motion Graphics and Video – Last year marked a big shift in motion design, with a greater emphasis on social content. Motion graphics offer clients a faster way to engage with your firm. It’s self-directed, too, which they (and we) love. 

In the same way, people crave video. Whether it’s a timely partner update, a live video forum or evergreen tutorials, video quickly communicates your brand personality. Make it a priority this year.   

6. Paid Content – Some media offer “communities” of professionals while others offer firms their own paid channel. You gain visibility from their media reputation (and SEO) as well as control of content. Getting followers is key. Make the articles and blogs valuable for your reader rather than self-promotional.

Continue to seek earned media opportunities, too, with your paid content channels serving as deep niche lead nurturers and website magnets. 

7. Design Simplicity – We like clean, uncluttered design in our hectic daily lives. With an emphasis on simplicity, your firm can improve conversion rates. As an example, CTA buttons will stand out better on a clean, uncluttered website layout. Visitors will identify relevant content faster, which makes your firm appear very service oriented and uncomplicated.

8. Logos – Tied to design simplicity, high-growth firms are rebranding with vibrant and clean logos. Add secondary colors and glyphs (symbols) that tell a story. Consider a client-focused tagline that communicates innovation. 

This firm’s rebrand transformed its growth in sales and new talent.

9. Personal Brands – Related to personalization, firm and industry leaders produce much more organic engagement than general firm or business social media pages. Include key leader social profiles into your social media posting strategy. Also, promote your experts on social through custom visual posts with their photo, personal details or key industry insights. Elevate your experts’ niche expertise through speaking, ghostwritten whitepapers and PR about their industry involvement. 

10. Talent Brands – Last but certainly not least, the value of communicating your firm’s core values and total rewards (defining what flexibility and autonomy mean along with compensation and benefits) help your firm shine with candidates who have a lot of choices. Create an internal branding strategy for recruiting and retention. We can help!

A bonus tip! Search Trends. 

It’s all about key phrases. With the evolution of voice search, phrases like “near me” and “where do I find” are a product of using digital assistants for search. Think about how you talk to Siri or Alexa, and frame your SEO to match that evolving consumer approach. 

Is your website optimized for leads? This firm is starting 2019 in style.

 

Digital Marketing for Brand Awareness and Lead Generation – Part II

Developing your Digital Marketing Toolbox – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media  

Click here to read Part I: Websites

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Getting on top of search results organically is a process that requires strategy and patience. There are many ways to build an SEO-friendly website to provide better rankings on Google and other search engines.
 

  • Choose keywords that are unique to your business. Brainstorm these words and phrases in your website committee and make sure they are used frequently in your site content. Consider working with an SEO specialist to find keywords and phrases to get additional possibilities and performance forecasts.
  • Try to establish external links to your website. Have your company name posted on organization websites to which you belong, contribute articles to trade sites, and allow relevant websites to link directly to yours. Just having your company name listed on another website can help boost your ranking.
  • Update your content regularly. At Google, fresh content is a key factor in search rankings.
  • Develop page titles, descriptions and meta tags with your keywords in them. Meta tags are the words that show up at the top of each web page and the title and description show your audience what that page is all about when it shows up in search engine results.

Social Media

It’s no longer a matter of IF you are on social media platforms, but how well you do it. It has virtually become a requirement for firms to engage through social media. A good social media strategy can help you retain clients, find prospects and recruit talent by increasing brand awareness and building trust. Social media can also boost your online visibility and organic search rankings.
 
To build an effective social strategy, the first step it to determine which platforms your audience is on and what content will drive engagement with them. Just because a firm down the street is having success on Twitter it doesn’t mean that you will also have the same measure of success. It’s important to do a bit of research to see where your current clients and prospects are spending their time online.
 
Next determine the type of content you will provide through your social channels. Understand the needs and goals of your clients and prospects and show them how you can help them.
 
They key is not simply to look at social media as something you must to do, but as a powerful tool to help you achieve brand awareness and firm growth.


How to use Digital Marketing for Brand Awareness and Lead Generation – A Three-Part Series

Developing your Digital Marketing Toolbox – Website 

Digital marketing has evolved very quickly and it seems as if some new tool, platform or app is popping up every day. As soon as you feel like you understand how the digital landscape works, it changes and there’s something new to figure out once again. It’s no wonder that digital marketing has become a point of confusion and frustration for many professional service firms. 

Today, more than ever, your presence online and on social platforms makes a difference in how you are perceived and in your firm’s sales effectiveness. With so many firms and individuals online, it takes strategy and agility to stand out from the crowd. In this three-part blog series, we will tell you HOW to use digital marketing for professional services. First up: your firm’s website. 

Website

Firms that are operating on outdated web platforms or with old design templates are missing some critical opportunities. When referred to a new firm, many prospects go first to the website. When seeking a new job, candidates often head to the website to learn about the culture. An old website can do more harm to your firm’s image than ever before.

If your website looks staid, boring, and “template-like,” that one chance to make a great first impression is over. The key to great websites is to think through who will use it, how they will use it and how to communicate your services and unique culture and the value you bring.

Before you write one word or design one page, consider what you want your website to do based on how the audience will use it. Do you want it to speak primarily to prospects or recruits? Is it an information service for clients? Do you want to get leads from your website?

Making it pretty is not enough. Be clear about your target market and what you want to communicate to them. When we work with clients on a website, we like to establish some key messages about the firm that can act as a guide for content. This sets a tone and ensures that the firm’s website isn’t cookie cutter.

Read our blog post: Are you getting value from your website?

Writing copy for websites is different than writing for a proposal or marketing flier. Use a professional writer who has experience with websites, as well as one who understands your industry. Have that person write the sections that matter most: your Home Page, Services, About Us and key leader and staff bios. If you are having trouble recruiting, hire a writer to add some snap to your career pages. If your firm is moving into a specialized niche, work with a writer to develop key messages and web content that helps your firm rise above your competitors.

In our next blog post, learn how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help your website rank higher on Google and other search engines. 

Or, if you need help now, contact our digital marketing consultants.


The Value of Testing Marketing Technology

Are you using marketing technology that is aligned with your marketing strategy? Leah Spielman, marketing consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, shares the importance of using the right marketing tools and technology for your firm. Learn some of the things to look for when assessing marketing technology and how you can test it out before jumping all in with a product. Your technology should fit your needs and improve your marketing success.

Learn about Ingenuity’s digital marketing services


Developing your Niche

Speaking your Way into Niche Development

If you look at the history of any firm that dominates a niche market, you will often find this domination based on one or two people who have become authorities in that industry. Everyone in the industry knows that when you have certain kinds of problems you reach out to these people first. They are frequently quoted in the press about the industry, asked to speak at industry events and maintain a high profile with the local and national associations. 

A lot of firms are known for certain niches, but very few have gained exclusive recognition —  the household name for agribusiness accounting or the predominant architect for designing public buildings. As more firms work at niche marketing, it is going to get harder to gain that exclusive “rock star” kind of recognition.

Many smart and strategic firms remain at the most basic level of recognition, which is simply to remain visible. Your people show up, meet people, write articles and offer to speak. Your firm sponsors an event and advertises in the niche market newsletter or publication. If you are personally charismatic and connect well with people, this may be enough to gain some measure of recognition and exposure. If you are not, you had better add more marketing strategy and focus to your niche development.

See this media infographic on all the ways to gain niche visibility.

One effective tool to use when expanding a niche marketing strategy is public speaking. When you have a toehold in a niche, speaking is probably the easiest way to both gain the reputation as an expert and develop personal relationships in the niche.

If You Speak It, Own It

Doing a few “pretty good” speeches or being on a panel or two is not going to cut it. The competition is tough and you just have to be better. When Ingenuity helps someone get breakthrough recognition through speaking, we start with strategy and follow up with integrated implementation toward the goals.

You need a purpose. Most of our clients speak in order to develop business for their firms. That’s pretty generic. Decide on the true reason for your speaking — which services do you want to promote and why are you convinced that people need them? The best speakers have a passion for their topic. You need to authentically convey that passion and believe that you make a difference with what you share.

You need a goal. Start with your end clearly in mind or you will be giving away a lot of valuable information for free to people who may not care and may never buy your services. We have heard many CPAs, financial advisors and attorneys give away the store in their public speeches. Because they are trained to be experts, they tend to give away all their knowledge in the PowerPoint, leaving the audience with no appetite for more. Not that you should use a hard sales approach that never works. Instead, use a thoughtful approach to your topics and track your results. The data will show what works pretty quickly.

Create a list of organizations filled with the kinds of people who can buy your services.  Find out when these organizations have conferences, what they are looking for and how their speaking decisions are made. Decide which audiences you will charge a fee to and which you will not, as well as how you will develop leads from speaking. If the organization allows, pass out an evaluation form to qualify leads.  If not, be creative and add a landing page with a survey or information that would be valuable for them to fill out a form and receive more detail.

You need packaging. A great photo, a speaker bio and a list of topics and audiences will help you sell yourself to groups of people who do not know you. You need a great package with compelling topics in order to get in front of the decision makers you want.

A speaking coach can smooth away your nervous tics, train you to take off your nametag and shorten your PowerPoint, and most importantly help you create something dynamic and unique for your audience. If your speaking style is shaky, you might need to invest six months at Toastmasters. Tape your speeches and make yourself watch them for improvement.

You need a platform. Start pitching tidbits of fresh information and ideas from the services you most want to sell and/or are passionate about. This needs to be done regularly as many organizations are staffed by volunteers who may take a while to make decisions. Your topics should touch on key areas of pain the niche audience experiences rather than creating a platform outlining the services of your firm. Address the needs of your audience, provide insight on industry trends and offer a limited sample of recommendations and solutions that tie to your services.

Platforms are the subtle art of public speaking. Your goal is new business, but your platform is about showcasing your knowledge and awareness of audience needs and potential solutions. Through your visibility and credibility as a smart and informed speaker, you’re on your way to developing your niche in a sustainable way.

Get help with your speaking and niche market development.


What Makes You Unique

How Your Brand Positioning Affects Your Firm

After working with professionals for many years, we’ve heard a lot of the same promises. Most firms claim to provide great service, technical excellence or expertise, high quality, and so on. Words like “service,” “excellence,” and “quality” have lost their meaning. You want to stand out from the firm down the street. 

The branding process is a work in progress comprised of

  • What you say you are or aspire to
  • What your community knows about you
  • What your clients depend on
  • What your competition does not own

 

Our clients are focusing more and more on their brand positioning in the marketplace. When we create a set of themes to distinguish their firm from competitors, we start by listening to four audiences: the firm itself, clients AND prospects, the competition and the community at large. Addressing these four groups with brand research and objective interviews will lead to clarity about your firm’s competitive differentiators. The results may surprise you.

Brand Research and Client Messages

Sometimes the messages we hear from clients and from firm leadership are very different. For example, a CPA firm might focus internally on their knowledge and expertise in a niche industry, but this isn’t what their clients remember. For one firm we worked with, the firm’s most treasured niche client revealed that “I chose to work with Joe because he is always accessible, answers my calls promptly and clearly understands my financial situation. I know that, no matter how busy he is, I am his most important client.” As a result, we focused the firm’s new brand messaging not just on niche prowess, but also on responsiveness and paying attention to client details.

Client interviews should be conducted by an experienced brand consultant. This provides more objective and detailed feedback because the viewpoint is fresh. In addition, your best clients hold the key to discovering how to attract more clients of that caliber. Asking the right questions can bring out open and honest feedback, which helps you align your message with how your clients view you.

At this point you can also talk to prospects about what they’re looking for in a firm. You may know prospects who are willing to talk to you, or you can ask your brand consultant if they can locate prospects in your key industry to interview.

This phase ends with a list of all the feedback and messages about what your firm values internally, what your clients value and what prospects assume is your value in the market.

Competitor Messages

The second step in the brand positioning process is to conduct a competitive analysis. To do this, look at competitors’ websites, advertising and social media, as well as information that came up about competitors in the client/prospect interviews. You can also hire a secret shopper of your competitors to find out how they talk about themselves. Often when we’re researching competitors in an industry, we find that there are messages shared by multiple companies. For example, a recent competitive analysis found these messages flooding an industry: “agile,” “strategic,” “proactive.” Those phrases are from three different competing firms! Take these competitor messages and put them side-by-side with all the messages that came out of your firm leadership and client interviews. Eliminate any message that is already overused by competitors. This does not mean that you cannot use the phrase if there’s a value that’s strong for your firm. If you really do have exceptional customer service, come up with a new way to speak about the service you provide and how it thrills and delights your clients. Share some customer success stories to demonstrate this brand message.

Community Knowledge

Lastly, competitive differentiators show up in your community. Some firms are already known for a level of charitable participation, a landmark building, an outrageous personality or some other unique feature of their community involvement. If you’re working on your differentiation internally, you may already be aware of what your community knows about you. Is it consistent with the messages from clients and prospects and your leadership? Is there something new to add?

Using Brand Positioning

At the end of this process you should have a list of three to five elements that distinguish you from your competitors. State them as phrases that are easy to remember. The end goal isn’t to have some words that your people parrot out at networking events, but for each person to remember the core ideas that define the brand of your firm. For example, at Ingenuity one of our consultants might say, “We market people, not products,” while another might tell you, “I know that your ability to promote your knowledge directly impacts the growth of your firm.” These are two versions of the same idea – one is less personal but catchy and might be used as an introduction to a large group; the other version creates a personal connection. When you give people core ideas, they can customize these to fit the situation they’re in at the time. The same ideas can be represented on your website, in public relations and community participation and also in the ways your clients talk about you when giving referrals.

In an information-flooded world, the beauty of clearly stated key messages leads to consistent branding and client expectations. If you want to be positioned for growth, all of the people associated with your firm need those messages on the tips of their tongues.

Learn more about Ingenuity’s brand positioning services.


Rebranding? Tips for Brand Positioning and Roll-out

Is your brand muddied by years of neglect or “remodeling” by a few industrious staff? You know, the niche leader who adjusts a logo for a sponsorship ad or the administrator who doesn’t stick to the branded colors?

Aside from wrangling internal staff to present a consistent visual brand, the biggest weakness and threat for professional service firms is often the outdated look and feel of their websites. The top offenders?

  • Old font styles
  • Cluttered home pages
  • Content that is too focused on firm services rather than visitor needs
  • Not responsive on mobile devices

Does My Firm Need a New Brand?

A rebrand is in your future if your brand is five or more years old. Also, if competing firms have already invested in updated branding, you can’t lag behind on first impressions. Most cold to warm leads today are creating a short list based on your website and online impression. You can’t afford to ignore your brand when your pipeline depends on it.

Are you ready to rebrand? Check out our branding services.

Branding is more than a visual image or color.  A brand is the promise you make to clients and potential clients about what it will be like to work with you. Your brand promises a certain experience.

The promises of your brand are based on:

  • Stories you and your staff tell about the firm
  • Stories your clients tell about the firm
  • Name of the firm that is easy to pronounce and memorable
  • Strong brand positioning statement, key messages, and tagline
  • Visual image of your packaging, including logo, font type, brochures, stationery, proposals, and website
  • Your delivery of the client experience
  • Your talent brand to attract and retain professionals

If everyone is saying something different about your firm, it’s hard to distinguish your value from the crowd through marketing messages or sales communications. It’s also not competitive to say that your firm delivers “quality service” or “seeks long-term relationships.” Those messages are table stakes that everyone says. You must dig deeper to your firm’s true value.

Why is Branding Hot?

The secret of good branding is in integrating what staff, clients and the public think and expect from your firm. The best branding gains a strong and permanent place in the mind.     

A complete branding process in a professional service firm involves:   

Research

  • Leadership research – Five or more leadership interviews to seek common themes
  • Client research– “A” client phone interviews
  • Competitive research – Research on three to five top competitors
  • Community research– Current marketing materials, involvement and sponsorship/philanthropy review

Themes

  • Create a positioning statement – a summary that distinguishes your firm within a target market or markets
  • Create key messages – essentially the experience you promise to deliver in three to five themes that is different from other firms
  • Gather feedback from leadership and key employees
  • Conduct client focus group(s) to gather feedback on the themes

Tactics

  • Finalize competitive themes and positioning statement
  • Train leaders and staff on use of themes
  • Develop marketing and business development tactics surrounding themes
  • Develop or refresh of visual branding kit, including colors, logo, stationery, website, etc.

 

How Long Does It Take?

This initial branding process can be completed within one to two months, depending on the availability of clients and leaders. But its value for getting everyone to speak the same language about your firm will pay dividends in the consistency and ease of promoting your firm going forward.   

New Brand, Now What?

To the roll-out! Finalize your new brand program by scheduling a firm story/key message training and integration of the brand into everyday use. Make it fun for everyone to embrace the new brand. Change is hard, so get everyone on board early in your roll-out. Consider a small celebration internally before you announce to clients and the world through your materials, client communications and public relations.

Learn how to roll-out your new brand in this blog post.

Remember that good branding is not safe and not always pleasant! If there is controversy about the brand promises or the images used to portray them, it probably means the work is good. It often forces a culture shift. Not everyone may like it.

How Do You Know That Your New Brand is Working?

It’s working when it allows you to talk about your firm with confidence and explain how it’s different from the competitors. It’s working when people respond with affirmative nods and additional questions. Now you have an opening to share your unique story and build stronger relationships. 

See how we created an award-winning brand for Casey Peterson, Ltd.

 

 


 

firm-newsletter

How to Write Terrific Articles for Your Firm Newsletter

 

firm-newsletter“We want to start a newsletter because our industry associations say it is a good way to stay in front of people.”

We hear this from quite a few of the firms that call us. A newsletter is an excellent way to support your content marketing strategy and leverage your time by keeping your brand in front of people you do not see often, establish yourself as an expert and cross-sell your services or products to your client base. But ask anyone who has published a good newsletter, and they will tell you it is a huge commitment. Before you start publishing a newsletter, think about the following options:

Don’t do it at all. If you do not like to write and do not want to pay others to write for you, put your resources into something else.

Send out occasional updates or letters. Keep it Simple. A newsletter can have one article or multiple articles. It can be a success tip or quick, timely update.

Purchase existing content. Ask to see at least four back issues to make sure you like the content. Geographic exclusiveness is probably a good idea to make sure your clients do not get the exact same thing from your competitors. Content should be customized to differentiate your firm and support your rankings in search engines.

Creating your own newsletter from scratch is time consuming but is probably the best way to continually show clients and prospects your expertise and philosophy of doing business. If you decide to go ahead and publish, here are ten tips for success:

Use “You” Instead of using passive language such as, “Participants in this process gain exposure and credibility,” use active second person language such as “When you participate in this process, you gain exposure and credibility.” Speak directly to the readers and involve them in the information.

Wrap the Facts in Stories Why do you think The Diary of Anne Frank continues to be popular? The story of what happened to one person is more emotionally powerful than statistics of what happened to millions. A good story lights up the statistics and makes them real and important. Rather than just telling the facts, be sure to include real or fictionalized stories about what happened to people when they do or do not follow your advice.


Give Advice
People read your newsletter because they want to find out what you think they should do. If they wanted the letter of the law or tax code, they could probably find it somewhere else. They want you to tell them what you think and share the wisdom you have developed working in the field. They read the newsletter because they trust you. Tell them what you think they need to know and do.

Call to Action Your articles should not only tell people what to do, but who to do it with: you! You can wrap this in a story with lines such as, “we helped this client by…” You can tell them about your expertise in the area and how you solved the problems. Always end the article with an invitation to learn more by contacting you and your contact information.

Be an Expert Always end your article with some brief information about yourself and/or your firm. While you might not want to mention your Harvard MBA in the body of the article, (“Back in my Harvard days, we…” sounds a bit like bragging), you definitely want to mention your credentials at the end. Make sure your bio extols your credibility, credentials, and includes a photo if possible.

Use Your Newsletter Strategically If you are passionate about opera or golf, you are welcome to mention it, but make sure the main articles are about services you want to sell. Having a dip in your personal injury practice? Make the case history of a client you helped be the lead story. If you create an expensive newsletter, make sure it works for you. Make sure it is targeted at your “A” clients. Make sure it brags about your accomplishments and achievements.

Be Allergic to Jargon Next time you have a group of your peers together, try to isolate words that are not used much outside your own field. Chances are you will not be able to because you are so immersed in your field. Have an outsider isolate the words that your audience will puzzle over and make you a list. Have the new employee in your office keep a list of words that are new. Sounding so smart that no one understands you is not a way to bring people in as clients; it is intimidating.

Hire an Outside Editor and Proof Even if you have great writers, a terrific proofreader and desktop publishing, you need an editor. A good editor establishes writing standards for the newsletter, helps authors learn to write better, keeps strategy in mind, interviews and writes articles you don’t have time for, nags nicely about the schedule, and always keeps the end audience in mind. Unless you want to do a terrific job on your newsletter, why do it? An outside editor is worth it. Make sure a great proofreader who has never seen it before proofs your newsletter last thing. When clients want to see you as an expert, perfect newsletters help them keep that vision.

Leverage Your Content Why write an article for just one publication? Could it also be submitted to your local newspaper, industry newsletter or talk radio station? Is there a website that publishes information like it? Once you have spent the time and sweat to create articles and a whole newsletter, think about who else you can send it to. Instead of only sending it to clients, consider sending it to:

  • Past clients
  • Past employees
  • Referral sources
  • Other tenants in your building
  • Targeted potential clients
  • Local chamber members and staff
  • Your local newspaper
  • Other media that might be interested in your areas of expertise

When people have been receiving your newsletter for a while, don’t be afraid to call them and ask for feedback or appointments. Use your newsletter as a basis for starting or continuing a conversation instead of replacing a conversation.

CPA Mutual was working with a Google AdWords rep to run online ads and sending a print newsletter to its 15,000 person database.

Click here to find out what happened when they started working with us.


What’s your firm’s story?

 

Think about a time when you came through for a client.

What challenge were they experiencing?
What solution did you provide?
How did you come up with a solution?
What was the outcome?

Now that you have a story to share, how can you share it?

You have a few options:

  • Create a case study for your firm website.
  • Pitch it to a local or trade publication.
  • Post it on your firm blog.

Once it’s published, how can you leverage the story?

  • Post a write-up on the firm website news page.
  • Add the article link to your LinkedIn profile to share with your connections and theirs.
  • Create a separate post with the article link to the LinkedIn home page as a status update. Provide an engaging headline with the article to explain why people should read it.
  • Use relevant articles to share with leads you just met or to bring to lunch or coffee meetings as a leave behind.
  • Add the article description (and link, if available) to your bio.
  • Repurpose the topics as newsletter articles or presentations.

Now, you have written, shared and promoted your story. Need more ideas or help? Contact us. 


 

8 Steps to Succeed at Niche Partnership Marketing

At Super Bowl LII, the makers of Doritos and Mountain Dew partnered up on dueling commercials while asking fans to share their own lip-sync performances on Snapchat. Their common fans agreed that the products go together and that the consecutive commercials made them want to buy both products. It was the perfect example of successful partnership marketing…and fun!

This strategy can be a great option for niche marketing. But we’ve seen too many examples of partnership marketing done badly, leaving one partner with success while the other gets a participation medal. To make a partnership marketing opportunity the best it can be, do the following:

1. Choose the right partner.

If you are a manufacturer, do not partner with another manufacturer unless your markets are complementary. Professionals, likewise, should partner with a strong referral source. You can even choose to partner with a media outlet if they offer programs in which they do all the marketing for the purposes of meeting new potential advertisers through the event or campaign.

2. Align your goals.

Make sure you are on the same page with the reasons for your partnership. If your partner is only interested in your clients and you get nothing out of it, it’s worthless. Talk about the potential audience and if that audience is beneficial to both of you. Make sure each partner is guaranteed some level of success with visibility, networking or sales leads.

3. Have a hook.

Why should people spend their time attending your event or paying attention to your campaign? What’s in it for them? You and your partner could play host to an attractive guest speaker or panel. We’ve seen instances where companies partner to host a popular author for a book signing. Others may co-host a charity outing. You must provide value to gain value.

Click here to read about our CFO Survey project.

4. Choose an attractive venue.

If your office is a terrible meeting place, do not force people to go there. They won’t. Choose a comfortable location that is set up well for mingling, listening to speakers or entertainment. Talk to a meeting planner about how to maximize attendance (e.g. date and time of event).

5. Promote heavily.

In addition to advertising, use your social media and direct invites effectively. People are busy, and they usually need to see something several times before they will pay attention and/or sign up. If your partnership campaign is a series of expert videos or podcasts, for example, continuous promotion will start to reach a percentage of your target audience. One announcement is not enough. Also, make sure your invite list is large. Things come up. Only a percentage of that list will commit and attend.

6. Position your company.

As a partner, your company should be central as sponsor or host. Create signage or have an attractive booth. Use your logo strategically online and at the event. Have people from your company positioned as greeters, experts or both to ensure that everyone knows or gets to know your business. This is not a hard sell situation. Through advertising of the event, campaign or product all the way through the marketing process, your company should stand out and get people to opt in to future communications.

7. Outsource logistics.

You don’t have time to worry about food, security, the sign-up table or the technology. Put your best vendors or people on key tasks to pull off a seamless partnership event. Your job is to mingle, educate and gather new contacts. If you are hosting an online event, have tech people on hand to deal with unexpected glitches or to facilitate live Q and A.

A great advantage to partnership marketing is splitting the cost of logistics with your partner!

8. Follow up with leads.

After all the work of conducting partnership marketing, do not forget to have a follow-up plan. Whether that’s a fishbowl drawing to collect business cards, an online contact capture tool or a related resource to share, be prepared to continue the conversation with attendees after your event.

A subtle type of partnership marketing is public speaking, particularly through niche marketing association events.

Click here to learn about our speakers bureau services as an outsource marketing option.