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Own Your Brand: Lead Generation Tools

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A longtime engineering and architectural firm needed to change its brand positioning strategy. Historically, it was perceived as only serving clients in a certain region, but the firm was gaining a national presence. Leaders also spoke of being overlooked for certain services even though they now offered a full-service solution.

This is a good problem to have because a strong, historic brand position is hard to shake once established. It’s also a bad problem because the full potential of this firm is not recognized by people who can offer new business. If segment leaders don’t change how they talk about the firm in all aspects of marketing, their firm’s former brand will persist.

If your firm is limited by old perceptions about your capabilities, then your brand positioning strategy needs to change. Otherwise, you can miss out on new leads and projects.  

Ask the Market about Your Brand

Research is a good first step. Talk to your clients and project partners about why they work with you and what you are best known for. Investigate how much they know about other services, disciplines or locations that you serve. We recommend up to 20 interviews among your best contacts or three to four interviews per market segment/discipline to get a good cross sampling. Interviews are better than a survey because you can ask more detailed questions to determine gaps in perception about your firm’s strengths and capabilities.

Sometimes your brand perception erodes because longtime project partners or clients experience a change in leadership through retirements or mergers. Make sure to interview those leaders and then follow up with a capabilities conversation.

Analyze all the interviews for common themes, such as lack of knowledge about (1) locations you serve (2) special skills (3) approaches or outcomes that are unique to your team. Make a list of what you are known for better than anyone else (your current brand), and make another list of what you want to be known for.

Clarify Target Clients and Growth Opportunities

Your new brand position should always be aligned to business goals. Identify your target clients and revenue goals as part of business planning. This will help you allocate a budget for strategic marketing spend and business development efforts.

Let’s say you want to increase awareness and revenue for your firm’s surveying services, but the market perceives your firm as mainly offering structural engineering. Practically speaking, your brand positioning strategy should include new messaging about your team’s skills and unique approaches in surveying.

The market already knows that you are a go-to firm for structural engineering. Let that branding stand on its merits and history for now. Focus your brand positioning strategy on the gaps and best kept secrets of your surveying team and services — the capability that fewer people know about, but should.  

Create Your New AEC Brand Messaging

What is brand messaging? It’s not really about your surveying services. Brand messaging lets people know how you deliver surveying services in a way that is unique to your firm…how you promise a certain level of quality. For example, your conversation about surveying services would address the outcome that people can expect when working with you: easy scheduling or team collaboration or quick results using new technologies.

Build awareness that you offer a service, but then take it a step further with branding messages that identify why your team is the best choice.

You can also create brand messaging around a geographic location that you serve. Emphasize your connections to local project partners or how fast you can mobilize your team. What is the difference you deliver that will help you stand out in this location? That messaging will make you memorable and will help you change a limited perception about your firm.  

What’s Next?

After conducting your branding research and creating competitive brand messaging, build a marketing plan that gets the word out about these expanded markets, locations and services. Add your new branding messages into your proposal copy as well as your website content, advertising and sponsorship descriptions. Start using this new messaging in client and sales conversations, too. Create talking points for leaders to use in prospecting discussions or presentations.

In six months to a year, check in with your clients and project partners. What is their perception of your firm now? Has it changed and evolved through your brand positioning strategy? The proof of change should be clear in new discussions and opportunities that you didn’t have before.


AEC Marketing Essentials



Writing with a Robot – Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Can robots handle your content marketing? During a recent webinar hosted by Associations North, a technology enthusiast/consultant gave attendees an update on marketing copywriting tools using artificial intelligence (AI). One of the most popular software tools is called Jarvis, which marketers can use to create blog posts, product descriptions, emails or ad copy. You type in a few keywords, describe the intended audience, tone of voice and other prompts. The tool does the rest.

The artificial intelligence of Jarvis, and other tools like it, will crawl the Internet and build unique content from the data. Some of the promised uses of these tools include:

    • Creating original, SEO-infused content marketing
    • Writing first drafts faster
    • Boosting digital ad conversion
    • Offering ideas to writers
    • Translating copy into other languages

Is AI the perfect, infallible answer to your content marketing needs? Can it replace a business ghostwriter? Not yet. The webinar describes AI like a “junior copywriter” who needs supervision. The webinar presenter frequently emphasized that a human writer must still review and maximize the final copywriting.

Use caution with AI copywriting tools

One of the cautions about AI copywriting tools is that they are not advanced enough to distinguish true features and benefits from exaggeration. In other words, “AI lies.” Particularly in professional services or marketing for associations, overpromising on client outcomes could create a legal and ethical mess.

Secondly, artificial intelligence doesn’t always understand intention or business goals for your copywriting. AI-generated content can be very interesting, and it can spark the human writer’s creativity, but it isn’t creative or original in itself. When writing copy for websites, you don’t want your content to sound like every other website.

Experiment with AI Copywriting Tools

Before you invest in a monthly subscription* for AI copywriting software such as Jarvis or Rytr, you can experiment with the product demos. Costs can range from about $30/month to several hundred a month. For a free tool to try, Write Cream offers a free monthly demo plan to try out its features.

As you experiment, think about the ways that AI-supported content marketing can save you or your team time. On fairly simple articles or sales copy, for example, the tools may help you generate a rough draft in minutes. Sometimes it’s easier to maximize existing copy than to stare at a blank page, right?

Also, the software may help you maximize existing copy to improve SEO strategy. By adding in your preferred keywords, these tools could help with writing multiple responsive ad descriptions or writing copy for websites.

As you experiment, the tool will learn from your inputs and should produce better results over time. That might seem either creepy or exciting to you. Either way, it’s how AI works. It continues to learn and adapt.

We will revisit this topic to give you an update on new tools for creative content marketing. If you have questions about SEO strategy or hiring a business ghostwriter, contact us at Ingenuity.

*Ingenuity Marketing Group, LLC does not endorse or receive compensation from mentioning any marketing copywriting tool in this blog post, and this blog post is not intended as professional advice. Readers should use their best judgement and read terms for use of any subscription-based digital marketing tools.

More Insights: Proposals Copywriting and Design Tips



6 Ways to Show Clients Appreciation

Building a Brand

Gratitude. It may be in short supply in your life, or you may wake up each day with a thankful heart. Nevertheless, showing appreciation for others is a rare but powerful opportunity to build a relationship…and a brand.

Here are six creative ways to show your clients a little love and gratitude. The idea is to plant a seed that communicates how much you value them. The harvest might come later with new work or a referral.

1. Handwritten notes

Handwritten notes and letters experienced a positive rebound during 2020 when people had time to reflect on the relationships that matter most to them. If you were one of the lucky recipients, you know the warm fuzzies that it delivers. Someone took time to write about their appreciation, send their greetings or just say “hi, how are you doing?”

Don’t let this art die. Be the rare person who reaches out with a branded card and personalized note. For an extra gesture, include a coffee gift card.

A handwritten thank you note next to a cup of coffee.

2. Active Listening

Short attention spans are rampant, but active listening is an art. Can you keep your mind quiet and focus on the words of the other person without judgment or thinking of what you want to add? Can you then paraphrase and repeat back what you just heard?

One of the best ways to build a relationship is to hear someone out; share and acknowledge their excitement or their upset. Practice active listening with your clients to hear their words, but also the meaning behind them.

3. Introductions

Within your network, are there people who should meet each other? You probably have clients right now who could refer business to each other or be strategic partners. Being a matchmaker can be fun, and it’s as easy as emailing your contacts for a virtual introduction or drawing them into conversation at an event.

It goes beyond professional. Perhaps you can refer a professional musician to a client whose child is getting married. Maybe you know of a volleyball league looking for new players. Show interest in your clients’ lives and hobbies, and then listen for opportunities.

4. Go the ‘extra mile’

Going the extra mile matters — even when the client doesn’t notice. Handling panicked client requests is an easy way to show that you care. Just as important, though, are the ways you deliver a high quality product day in and day out because it’s the right thing to do. When you consistently dot the “i,” and cross the “t,” you build a reliable and trustworthy reputation that reflects highly on your firm’s brand positioning.

Bring your best self to the work, and you will sleep well at night while also demonstrating client appreciation.

5. Small gifts

It’s always fun to receive a gift. It should not be extravagant, as some clients may not be able to accept large gifts. But gifts such as gourmet food, wine, a gift card or tech gadget are often appreciated.

As a special touch, you can sometimes personalize these gifts with the client’s brand colors, logo or an individual leader’s name.

Two wine bottles sitting on a desk with a card that says "Cheers"

6. Compassion, pass it on.

If your clients are showing signs of stress or not responding in a way that is familiar, do not shy away from asking how they are doing. Some of us have been taught to separate our business lives from our personal lives, but more often it’s better to ask after a client’s welfare than to stay silent.

Compassion is showing concern without assuming that you know what the client is going through. Offer encouraging words or genuinely say, “thank you,” to help strengthen your relationships. Asking how you can help is another way to show your support.

In this season of giving, take time to appreciate your clients as much as your loved ones. After all, your clients help you make a living, which supports your loved ones!

More Insights: Four ways to enhance client service


What Do Your Colors Mean?

Professional Services Branding

Your color palette can communicate the promise you make to clients in professional services marketing. It is important to choose colors that match your professional services branding messages. Use your color palette consistently to strengthen brand awareness.

Design Consultant Robert Wasiluk talks about how to choose the right color combinations and why you need to pay attention to how colors affect readability, such as on your website. A good understanding of color theory along with ADA compliance standards can help you get started. See more tips in our video.

If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

Adding color is a great way to help your proposals, your presentations or your website stand out.

But too much color can take away from your messaging. It can get distracting instead of helpful. 

It’s important to understand how each color complements the other colors. You also want to have some white space and neutral colors to give your eyes a rest! 

When I design a color palette for professionals, I consider their industry but also the industry of their clients. A color like blue is associated with trust, for example. But a touch of orange adds energy. 

The same goes for a primary color palette of green, which is associated with wealth or growth. You could add fuchsia as a secondary color, which means that you take action. But a little goes a long way!

To get some inspiration, start with a color wheel and see which colors work well together. 

As a designer, I also use online resources like the Adobe Color website, where I can start to create my own color palettes or be inspired by palettes that other users have uploaded. 

Once you have established your color palette of primary and secondary colors, use them consistently in your marketing and sales. 

For example, include color in your proposals for subheadings or a tinted box to emphasize certain information. 

Use bright colors to grab the eye. You should also keep your paragraphs short, because black is also a color. It can make your information feel heavy when it’s in a long block.

And finally, check your website for any color combinations that make your information hard to read. This often happens when text is placed on top of an image like a slider or call to action. This can adversely affect your site’s ADA compliance.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when creating a branded color palette and using it well for professionals. If you have any questions, I’m happy to help here at Ingenuity.

See more ideas to refresh your brand with color.  


When is it Time for a New Website?

Close up of a rooster

Online Content Marketing

Your website is your 24/7 communications hub. What happens when your communications hub is not functioning the way you would like? It can result in higher bounce rates, that is, people coming to your site and leaving again. It can also affect your brand positioning when visitors have a frustrating experience. Most importantly, an older website has a greater chance of security breaches because it has a higher degree of security flaws.

Chart indicating top reasons to leave a website

The average website today lasts about three to five years as security enhancements come along to improve the security of websites, but also as website designs change. After that amount of time, you should start planning for a new website, but most companies wait far longer until there is a problem. Assuming that you have kept your website theme and plug-ins up to date, here are three hints that it’s time for a new website.

1. Your design looks outdated compared to other sites.

When you look at your website on your desktop or mobile device, does it function well? Does it look modern and inviting? If not, it’s an easy sign that you need a refresh or a whole new website theme or customization to stay current with your website users.

People are looking for bite-sized pieces of content to engage with, which means less copy and more visual cues. Grid or gallery design, “card” layouts and introductory videos will improve your visitors’ experience and keep their attention.

Example of card style web design layout.
Card-style web design, similar to Pinterest or Instagram

2. Your site has poor navigation.

If you were to use a heat map tool on your website to identify how people navigate through it, you will probably be surprised at what you see. You may notice that visitors don’t scroll down far enough on a page to find your call to action. You might notice that they pay attention to numbered subheads and pretty pictures more than on your messages in the body copy.

Example of Hotjar heat map on a website.
Source: Hotjar heat map example

3. You can’t easily update the site yourself.

Today’s new website design should make it easy for someone within your company or organization to add copy or videos, to change headlines, to add new pages and anything else that helps you share new information.

You should not have to request changes from a web programmer.

 Investment in a new website will be well worth the daily efficiency for your marketing strategy and communications in the long run.

Plus, you will be able to increase visitors to your site and attract new business and recruits. That’s the whole point, right?

If you are wondering if you need a website design refresh or a whole new website, ask yourself the following questions:

When was our site launched?

If it was a couple years ago, you could do a refresh. If it was three to five years ago, start planning and budgeting to launch a new site.

How easy it is now to update information on the site?

If you go to an outside source to update your site, is it because you have outsourced marketing? That’s great. If it’s because your current platform requires a degree in coding, then you should consider a new site.

Is the site design still modern looking or is the structure feeling outdated?

Sometimes you can refresh your home page to improve the visitor experience. If your site is copy-heavy, contains old stock images or lacks options for video or podcasts, you probably need a new site.

How long are visitors engaging with our site overall?

If your bounce rates are high on just a few pages, redesign those pages and monitor them. If bounce rates are creeping up to 70% on most pages, you probably need a new site.

Are we getting requests for information or leads through our site?

Sometimes you need to improve your content marketing calls to action by moving that information to a higher or more visual part of the page (e.g. subscribe buttons, demos, applications, etc.). However, if your website isn’t a lead generation funnel, then you are working too hard and you need a new website.



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Proposals Copywriting and Design Tips


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Business Development Strategy

Professional service firms have a renewed focus on proposal copywriting and design. There are a few reasons for this:

    • Rebranding proposals with the firm’s new logo, updated colors and fonts
    • Differentiating messaging and visuals in a competitive market within strict RFP or LOI limitations
    • Streamlined processes and templates to deliver proposals quickly and with high impact

Ingenuity’s communications and design team has worked with several clients to improve and update their proposal copy and design. Due to client nondisclosure, we can’t discuss the clients or show examples of these projects. But we can share approaches that will help you pursue a great first impression with your proposals.

1. Rebranding Proposals

When a firm has completed a visual rebranding with a new logo, style guide and color palette, it is important to consistently represent the brand across all materials, including proposals.


Look at the current proposal layout and the elements that are common for most proposals: cover page and cover letter, logo, headers and footers, headlines, graphic elements, bios, etc.

After identifying those common elements, concept a template that incorporates the new logo and font along with a color scheme using refreshed brand colors in headlines, charts, header and footer design and any callout elements such as client testimonials or statistics.

If your firm has branding messages, weave those into the cover letter and firm profile content. The template should be designed in a way that prevents static visual elements from being changed, but allows template users to customize the copy and edit it.

We recommend a customized Word document or PowerPoint file if InDesign or Adobe templates are not as easily edited or accessible to everyone in the firm. Using a proposal software solution can support accessibility as well as design consistency (e.g. Proposify, RFPIO, Qvidian).


The new proposal template offers a consistent way for anyone creating proposals to focus their efforts on personalizing the content, with confidence that the first visual impression will be positive and professional.

2. Differentiating Proposals

When clients are limited in the way they can submit proposals, such as through government or public entities, there are still ways to differentiate your content and presentation of information. Many firms are moving toward a simplified and more visual display of information, especially when page counts and word count are restricted.


When you have proposal restrictions, including page dimensions, try switching to a landscape layout rather than a profile layout of your pages. 

Differentiation can also be achieved by creating a “key issues” section in your executive summary. This shows that you read and understood their request and unique needs.

Other tips for differentiation include showcasing client testimonials, awards, industry involvement and diversity, equity and inclusion measures. Recent studies have shown that including specific DEI measures as part of your firm profile or differentiating information, even if not asked, is recommended.


A subtle change of view through a landscape layout or a box highlighting your insights about the prospect can go a long way in helping your proposal stand out from the rest. We have helped clients improve their scoring with government or public agencies by making the most important differentiators stand out with clear writing (less jargon) and strategically colored elements on the page.

3. Streamlining Proposal Templates

One of the biggest branding problems for larger firms is maintaining consistency in their proposals. Even with proposal software, someone needs to be in charge of updating template pages as things change in the firm. That person can have a full-time job when there are multiple divisions, disciplines or practices and services to track, not to mention changes in personnel.

It is also difficult to develop a strategy if you have competing voices and goals for business development. Add in knowledge of design and what’s truly possible for streamlining your template, and it is little wonder that most marketing leaders need the help of a specialist.


Before bringing the copywriter or designer to the table, the biggest hurdle for streamlining your proposal template is to understand which elements can be universal and which elements will change with every proposal. In our experience, static elements include the cover page, the firm boilerplate (who, what, where, why) and bio layouts. Besides those elements, everything else can be customized, and every firm leader is very passionate about how their services should be portrayed. This is what makes complex proposal templates such a monumental task. But never fear! Discuss this order of planning before you even begin to discuss copy or design:

    • Identify areas of the firm that actually require RFPs for business development
    • Prioritize each area based on greatest overall business need and schedule out proposal updates accordingly
    • Design the overall firm proposal shell visually without content
    • Discuss with select subject matter experts the most common RFP questions and elements to include in ‘most proposals.’
    • Determine with subject matter experts the elements of the template that will need to be customized every time, and make those sections easily customizable without losing design integrity.
    • Develop the template outline to integrate easily with your chosen proposal software
    • Roll out the templates with training and buy-in for consistent use
    • Maintain an owner or owners in the firm for regular or needed updates over time

There is no shortcut to developing a proposal template for complex organizations. The pre-planning and strategy piece are vital to a successful workflow and end result.


We have seen proposal projects get delayed for many reasons, ranging from leaders getting busy to those larger priorities popping up to a complete change in project ownership. Delays can be unavoidable for a project of this scope, and that’s why approaching it in planned phases or by practice or discipline can help you manage it under other inevitable pressures and deadlines.

Your result is a streamlined proposal process across the firm. Regardless of where your template(s) exist, you need ownership and maintenance for continued success as well as a rollout that gets everyone excited and comfortable using it. Handled with patience and care, you shouldn’t have to worry in the future if someone is using the most “up-to-date” proposal information for your organization. And you will put your best foot forward to win new business.

Let us know if we can help.


Quick Read: Boost your market position with partnerships and referral programs.


Proactive Association Member Recruitment

Recruiting new members to a professional services association can be difficult. Ingenuity Marketing Group is here to help. Watch our video or read the transcript below to learn how to maximize your leads for new members and grow your organization.

We talk about creating a sense of urgency, personalizing your approach and more. Happy hunting!

If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

Associations are always on the hunt for new members. It’s a long process, but proactive recruitment can support your success.

Here are three ways that you can achieve more success and value from your recruitment efforts.

My first tip is to narrow your focus. Member marketing is very personal. Whether you use a lead qualifying service or do the prospecting on your own, your list should be highly targeted and well researched. Then start with 10 to 20 specific prospects for your strategy.

Next, develop a personalized approach to your communication. Potential members want to feel important. Your association should feel VIP to them.

For this strategy, don’t send a generic postcard or email to everyone at once. Instead, a handwritten note or a personal invitation to an event is much more successful.

And finally, once you have made contact, don’t wait more than a week or two to follow up. Create urgency for their response with a follow-up email that communicates your desire to have them as part of the association and how it will benefit them.

You can even leave a quick voicemail to make sure they received your personal invitation.

This is only the beginning of proactive recruitment. Then comes the hard part, getting them to join!

This can require several check-ins, little tokens of appreciation and ready-to-send resources. Set up these touches on your calendar so you don’t forget. Remember people like to be wooed.  It’s just like dating.

One more tip. Don’t be afraid to opt out if the lead isn’t going anywhere. You will know within a few months if it’s an opportunity or not. If not, add a fresh prospect to your list and move on.

In other words, don’t wait for potential members to come to you. Get out there and show them how much your association can help them.

Click here to find out how Ingenuity can market your Association.



3 Marketing Mistakes Engineering Firms Make

When creating an elevator speech for networking purposes, we were taught to say our name, our role, the company and the services offered. Unfortunately, this habit of focusing on services has leaked into every area of marketing. Especially in professional services marketing, many firms end up looking and sounding the same.

Consider engineering firms. They can describe their engineering, design, surveying or consulting services, but that doesn’t give a potential client much differentiating value. Offering service descriptions is the number one mistake when marketing for engineering firms. This mistake is also why firm leaders don’t believe that websites support leads and business development.  

Digging into this mistake further, it’s not wrong to describe your services. Just don’t stop there. Collect and show evidence for your best-in-class services as part of consistent outcome-based research, strategic marketing and messaging.

Let’s look at two other mistakes that lead firms to fall back on service descriptions as their only form of marketing.

Mistake #2: Inconsistent Marketing

Inconsistent marketing can mean two things. It can mean that your marketing messages don’t match your actual deliverables and results. It can also mean that you only pursue marketing when you’re not busy with client work or chasing proposals.

Solve this mistake by investing in marketing with a designated budget that includes an in-house or outsourced marketing professional. In addition, this professional will focus most of the time on marketing with only a portion devoted to developing proposals. Following a consistent marketing plan tied to firm business goals is a great place to start.

To create your marketing plan, discuss your best-in-class results. Where do your clients derive the most value from your services? What problems and challenges do you solve regularly on projects? Who are your superstar professionals whose technical and management skills are lauded by clients? What are those skills?

Read: Competitive research for differentiation

As you look at what your firm does best beyond delivering projects on time and on budget, your messaging will emerge to support web copy, advertising and differentiation in your proposals.

In a recent series of client of client interviews we conducted, we heard competitive themes about the firm’s reputation among key government agencies for bringing stakeholders together on a project. That message certainly goes beyond service descriptions.

You can identify competitive differentiatiors when you invest in consistent research, marketing strategy and messaging that describes the outcomes you achieve.

Mistake #3: Not Tracking Project Results Along the Way

Because projects take months and even years to complete, it’s important to document positive outcomes throughout the project and keep your marketing professional in the loop. Too often, marketers are left trying to catch up at the close of a project when some of those amazing solutions and experiences are forgotten.

In the early stages and middle stages of projects, put your marketing hat on. You are listening for repeatable experiences that are unique to your team. Ask about ways that your team went above and beyond to solve a challenge or when they utilized a new process or material to manage the timeline or project budget.

Tip: Prepare your questions for a project debrief that include marketing questions.

Tip: Prepare your questions for a project debrief that include marketing questions.

Ideally, your marketing professional can brainstorm with project managers and technical professionals on challenges overcome, solutions delivered and new technologies utilized. Down the road, these progress reports will support a strong project case study, award submission or testimonials. In the meantime, progress reports can fuel stories for social media or blog posts! An in-progress image coupled with a short story about how your team is moving a project forward can provide the real-life evidence that enhances your traditional service descriptions.

For more tips on marketing for engineering firms, contact us at Ingenuity.

For more tips on marketing for engineering firms, contact us at Ingenuity.



Marketing Content and Sales Content: What’s the Difference?

Professional services firms and associations create marketing content and sales content to reach their goals. Marketing content builds credibility while sales content persuades and asks for new business. When should you use marketing content? When should you focus on sales content?

Communications Consultant Christine Nelson gives examples of marketing content and sales content in this video. You need both types of content, but learn why marketing and sales content are not the same thing! 

If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

What is the difference between marketing content and sales content? It is sometimes confusing to tell the difference, but there is a difference.

Marketing content is written to educate and interest your potential clients. It should offer a glimpse of your knowledge, your approach, and even your firm’s personality. You will see marketing content in blog posts and social posts, on your website’s homepage, and as part of your public relations.

When should you use marketing content? You should educate and engage your audience with marketing content when they are new visitors and as they begin to consider becoming a client or a member. Sales content, on the other hand, is about influence and persuasion. It’s written in a way to get your potential clients to take action. Sales content should share the features and benefits of working with your firm or association and then ask for a conversation, a download, or attendance.

Persuasive sales content is for prospects that are deeper into their consideration. It can be in the form of sales sheets that discuss the features and benefits of your service or an assessment for a nominal fee. While marketing content establishes your credibility, sales content gets specific about your desire to work with new clients and why you are the best option.

Often marketing content and sales content work together, especially when you can’t talk to your leads in person. For example, a blog post can educate a visitor about new legislation, but at the end of the blog post you can include some sales content to invite the visitor to have a conversation or to explore your services further through an assessment. After you host marketing events such as a seminar, your sales content could be the carefully-written emails that encourage a conversation with your team.

As you can see, marketing and sales content should work together, but they aren’t the same. If you have questions about how to create the right balance between marketing and sales content, contact us at Ingenuity.

Here is an example of branding messages woven into an ad campaign for credibility and prospecting.



Accounting Marketing Campfire: Content Marketing Trends

Recently, we served as the subject matter experts on a virtual networking call with the national Association for Accounting Marketing.

We picked up some tips and trends for accounting firm marketing to share with you. Here they are in no particular order:

Use content marketing scheduling tools.

Many of the accounting marketers discussed their approach to scheduling content and making sure they have a plan each month, especially when last-minute content is added.

Tools mentioned included a separate calendar in Outlook to coordinate their team and to plot in content deadlines. Others use project workflow tools such as Monday.com and Airtable.

For some marketers, it helps to create a theme for the month or quarter, tied to your marketing keywords or to the firm’s business goals. Then address the types of content you will create and how often each month.

How many blog posts is the right amount per month? We advised that frequency of any content is less important than the quality of content and your firm’s marketing goals. You will learn how frequently you should post and promote new content by what your analytics are telling you through the year. Let that data inform how you schedule content for the coming year.

Plus, it’s ok to repeat content for people who may have missed it the first time!

Make content creation competitive or required.

Marketers still struggle with the age-old challenge of getting their practice leaders or technical experts to help them develop new content, let alone write it, create a video or participate in a podcast.

The Association for Accounting Marketing members had some great answers for that issue. One idea is to make it a competition and instill the fear of missing out (FOMO) among different practice groups. Another is to request content from directors or managers rather than busy partners, those in your firm who are eager to establish their own reputations and books of business.

A final idea is to have content creation required. Top leadership can direct this activity as part of the firm culture. If each leader contributed an idea or article a month, marketing would be a whole lot easier.

Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose.

Once accounting marketers get ideas and/or content from the subject matter experts, they all agreed that their job is to use that content in as many ways as possible. A blog post can become a speaking topic or magazine pitch. A video script can become a blog post. A longer video can be mined for micro-video clips to share on social media, and the audio portion can become a podcast.

When practice group leaders realize that one small effort can produce massive visibility for their team, they may be more willing to offer ideas and keep the party going.

Be mindful of the experts’ preferences because some of them are better at writing while others have a great personality for video and presentations. Play to their strengths, and they will gain confidence.

Hire a business ghostwriter.

It was interesting to learn that most mid-sized accounting firms have a ghostwriter on call to help them produce the volume of content they need each month. It makes sense from a capacity standpoint, but also for the ease of interviewing subject matter experts.

The accounting marketers said that you need a professional to draw out the ideas and key points from the practice group. Your technical experts have the knowledge, but an experienced ghostwriter is focused on the marketing angle and your audience.

READ: How to develop a content marketing strategy

The Association for Accounting Marketing is the principal organization for accounting firm marketing in the U.S., and their annual conference is anticipated and actively attended. It was a privilege to participate in their “campfire” conversation about content marketing for accounting firms.

Your content marketing approach can benefit by taking time to network with other marketing leaders. At the very least, you can learn what other marketers are doing to solve common challenges, such as getting your practice leaders to create content!

Take time for networking opportunities, and let us know if you have any questions about content marketing or ghostwriting services.

You may also like our blog post about virtual networking.