Home » Archives for Ingenuity Marketing

Author: Ingenuity Marketing

Car wheel spinning, stuck in the mud,.

Professional Services Marketing Ideas When You’re in a Rut

Car wheel spinning, stuck in the mud,.

If you’ve been doing the same marketing and content too long, here are three signs. 

  • Your analytics are flat lining.
  • You yawn when reading your own copy.
  • In place of leads, you hear crickets.
We get it. Sometimes how you’ve always done it is easier. But if it’s no longer producing your desired results, why are you doing it? 
 
From newsletters to blog posts to eblasts, your professional services marketing can get stale. When you notice that fewer people open your communications or click through, it’s the biggest sign that you’ve lost your marketing mojo. 
 
Don’t be afraid to change it up. It may take you out of your comfort zone, but we guarantee that doing the same thing you’ve always done will bring you diminishing returns. Embrace creativity!

Try a new medium.

Review each way that you communicate with your audiences and assess it: 
 
  • Why does it exist and what is your goal?
  • Is it valuable content or simply filling space? 
  • Is the delivery vehicle right for your intended audience? 
  • What are your actual results? 
For those marketing activities that no longer bring you joy, wish them well and let them go. With your extra time and space, add a new medium such as a video blog or targeted digital ad campaign. Experiment with new forms of delivery to attract renewed interest. 
 
Don’t forget about your website. Page analytics will tell you if certain pages just aren’t supporting your strategy. Refresh those pages with new content or new layouts to attract visitors. Promote your new pages on social media. 

Play with time.

Have you noticed that LinkedIn lists the average length of time to read a blog post? It’s an invitation to spend 6 or 8 minutes and learn something new. 
 
Seize that call to action to vary the length of your posts and presentations. Add a few 2-minute posts under 250 words. Then add a few 12-minute posts. Try a 30-minute or a 60-minute webinar. See if time makes a difference in the views you attract. Focus on ideal lengths of time, but keep it varied.

Introduce different voices.

We know it’s difficult to get more professionals in your firm or association to create content. But sometimes you focus too much on niche leaders or partners. Consider asking a younger professional to write a blog post or create a video. You may be surprised at the fresh variety that new voices add to your content on all channels.
 
It may require some training. Some people aren’t comfortable on camera, but they do warm up to it with practice. Others are naturals. Do some screen testing. Vary your content assignments and bylines to bring depth and interest to your marketing strategy. It’s also a great way to promote the depth of your team.

Maximize design.

Too often, we see marketing pieces that lack a balance between copy and design. People pick up on visual elements and color faster than words on the page or screen. But you also want the content to be clear and meaningful. Think about how to make your messaging more visual. Add fresh design or color to wake up your blog, videos, collateral or presentations. Redesigns should stay true to your visual brand, of course. Add a palette of secondary colors to expand your options. 
 
 
In proposals, elements such as graphs, flow charts, icons and other imagery can help your firm stand out in a competitive environment. You can maintain RFP/LOI requirements and also avoid the urge to stuff too much copy into a limited space. Color and bullet points, for example, help people notice copy and actually read your key ideas.
 
These are just a few ideas to get you out of a professional services marketing rut! Change your strategy as needed and maximize your results. You may also be interested in changing up your strategy through partnership and referral marketing. Read this blog post for tips.       

4 Ideas for Association Marketing Video Header

4 Ideas for your Association Marketing

Build your digital presence as a professional association by being a member resource as well as strategic with your marketing visibility. In this video for association marketing, Principal Dawn Wagenaar talks about four ways that professional association leaders and marketers can ramp up their outreach to existing and potential members.

It’s more important than ever to be visible to your audience online. Learn how.


Read the video transcript:

Association marketing is an exciting and challenging place to be, whether you are new to associations or a longtime leader.

The race to attract and retain members has ramped up. Many associations have also had significant leadership changes. The technology for marketing has also changed.

This presents an opportunity. And I want to introduce four ideas for you to consider in your association marketing. 

The first is a digital ad campaign. You have to approach it a little bit differently compared to print ads, but digital ads can work really well for attracting members.

For example, consider a LinkedIn ad campaign where you offer a valuable article or white paper when they click your ad. You can capture emails when the downloadable content is really enticing.

The second idea is DIY toolkits. Send an email that introduces a valuable toolkit to prospective and current members. The toolkit should help them navigate a common need or issue in their industry.

Here are two other ideas that kind of link together. It’s about going virtual.

You can set up virtual coffee meetings with potential members, and send them a coffee card to sweeten the deal. Or, expand your reach from a traditional conference or tradeshow and optimize virtual events. Take questions prior to the event to ensure livelier engagement. Book virtual “rooms” for small group discussion.

These are just a few ways to get creative with your association marketing. Call me at Ingenuity if you have questions or need help. 

See this related blog post about fostering brand loyalty. Don’t miss the link at the end!


Businessman wearing cape with arm in air.

Supercharging your Marketing Strategies with Partnerships and Referrals

Businessman wearing cape with arm in air.

If you have built up a positive brand reputation for your professional services firm, partnership marketing and referral source marketing are two tactics you should consider making a part of your overall marketing strategy. When two brands come together for their mutual benefit, the results can be quite impressive and create new opportunities to reach prospective clients or members.

Partnership Marketing

Partnership marketing is simply when two brands collaborate on a marketing campaign. Some of the most common ways we are seeing this accomplished within professional service firms and associations is through co-hosted webinars, newsletter shout-outs and creating co-branded content such as whitepapers.

As you consider who to partner with, be strategic and make sure that there is a mutual benefit. Maybe you have a larger client list but the other partner has a magnetic and trusting personality that makes webinars fun. Or perhaps you have more expertise in an area and your marketing partner has a very engaged audience. Even if your partnership marketing efforts are a bit lopsided, that’s entirely okay. Sometimes it is worth it in order to forge the relationship and create loyalty.

The benefits of partnership marketing are many and include increased brand awareness through exposure beyond your primary audience, new contacts for your nurturing campaigns and lead generation. It is also an association and professional services marketing strategy that is low risk. You can dip your toes into the waters of partnership marketing to see what resonates with your target audience and quickly adjust your strategies with minimal investment or cost up front.

READ: Marketing to Real People in a Digital World

Referral Source Marketing

When we talk to our clients, we often find that they are neglecting their referral sources in their networking and marketing efforts. If you are not optimizing this source of business development, you may be missing out on some great prospective clients or members.

Whether you are just building your referral marketing strategies or need a refresher in how to implement it, here are a few tips to boost your efforts in this area.

First, identify referral sources that could send business your way. For CPA firms, this may include attorneys or financial advisors. For an association, this could be a nonprofit with a similar mission that complements yours. Make sure they understand what you do and what your ideal prospect looks like.

Next connect regularly with your referral sources. Create a schedule so that you are routinely calling or emailing them just to connect. The goal is to stay top-of-mind so they refer you when the opportunities arise.

Finally, when you receive referrals you appreciate, pick up the phone and let them know. Once you’ve done that, take it a step further and do something nice for them. You could send a referral their way, give them a recommendation or review or make another type of introduction that would be helpful to their business. Go out of your way to send the message that you appreciate their support in your success by contributing to theirs.

WATCH:How to Get More Referrals

Implementing partnership and referral source marketing into your strategies can help you build your brand awareness and connect with new potential clients or members. Give it a try and see what works for your professional service firm or association.

You may also be interested in how you can boost your virtual business development efforts to bridge the gap with lost face-to-face networking and tradeshow opportunities.


 

The top header of The Marketer magazine.

SEO Techniques Published in National AEC Magazine

Marketer magazine cover from August 2020.Dawn Wagenaar and Christine Nelson co-authored an article in the August 2020 issue of The Marketer for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). This national magazine is a premiere publication for marketers and business development professionals in the A/E/C industry and other professional services.

We are honored to contribute our knowledge to A/E/C professionals and those who serve them. Below is the article in its entirety, reprinted with permission by SMPS, which reserves their magazine for members as a benefit. Let us know if you have any questions about your website SEO and how to optimize it for visitors, clients and leads!

Creating Dynamic Websites for Secure Online Marketing

While some firms have been fairly agile in moving to an online workflow and marketing approach, even before COVID-19, others are still counting the costs and missed opportunities of a delayed response. Although dynamic online marketing and business development have been available for many years now, adoption in A/E/C has been slow or even nonexistent.

On a spectrum of digital priorities for the new decade, more than 50% of professional services firms emphasized new content creation, but less than one-third were focused on analytics or website design, according to the 2020 High Growth Study by Hinge. This begs the question: With the amount of time it takes to develop and post new content, what’s the true benefit if no one sees it?

Lead generation through content requires analytics, which in turn require dynamic digital platforms. The Hinge statistics would need to be flipped for a true revolution to an online marketing and growth platform. For firms that are serious about growth through online marketing, here are some basic upgrades in SEO and security they need to consider.

Updated Web Platform

Sometimes, an old platform just can’t continue the digital journey, particularly if platform themes weren’t updated regularly along the way. In that case, your firm may need to invest in a new platform or updated theme to make the website more secure and searchable.

To help you decide if you need a web refresh or a whole new website, conduct a site audit to identify important things like missing metadata or outdated site functionality.

Secure Web Certificate

A secure website is dependent on many things, but one easy way to see if you have a baseline secure website is to see if your URL address is “https” rather than “http.” New websites are already developed with “https,” but some need back-end work to update their certificate and avoid search engines labeling them as not secure—and advising visitors to leave immediately. You don’t want that happening, as most antivirus software won’t even allow visitors to open or use unsecure sites.

ADA Compliance and Opt-In Policy

Do the images on your website have descriptions and alt tags to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements? Are font sizes large enough? Do your videos have captions and transcriptions? If not, it’s time for an update.

In addition, your website collection information should provide clear opt-out marketing messaging and a written privacy policy, so visitors know their privacy rights and expectations for data collection. It’s a courtesy as much as an evolving standard for digital marketing.

Working Analytics

Strangely, we see this common problem, even in new websites: The back-end analytics code is added twice, or it’s skipped altogether. The site’s analytics should be checked postlaunch to make sure pages are indexing properly and the analytics are collecting data on visits. If the web developer doesn’t do this, invest in a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert to make sure your firm isn’t losing weeks or months of visitor data.

Once your analytics are in good working order, create tutorials or training for staff on which analytics are important for your firm to track. Monthly SEO reports have no meaning unless they’re translated as part of your overall marketing and business development goals. You need to know if content campaigns are working and attracting visitors and leads in order to know which ones to repeat or maximize.

Keyword Research

This is a huge area of digital marketing but is far too often missed in the development of content. Your firm should have a set of strong keywords and phrases that are searched for your specific services. You can create the list by seeing which bring visitors to your website now, and then add related keywords and phrases.

Keyword research is just as much an art as a science. Success can depend on whether people are searching on mobile devices, through voice assistants, or on their laptops. Balance popular or widely searched keywords with those that are more unique to your firm and geography. Use more than one keyword tool to create a strong list.


This is a huge area of digital marketing but is far too often missed in the development of content. Your firm should have a set of strong keywords and phrases that are searched for your specific services.


SEO

Once you have a solid keyword list, your content needs optimization. This means that keywords get incorporated strategically into headlines and body copy, but also that page titles and meta descriptions are built into all new content. You can make this step easier by creating a blog template that asks the writer (or ghostwriter) to add in the SEO while they are writing the content. Be mindful of character counts in page titles and the sensible use of keywords for your readers.

As part of your SEO campaigns, you may choose to focus on certain key phrases that align with the services you’re promoting each quarter for growth and leads. This will keep you focused on attracting visitors for those services, but also help your firm improve its search engine ranking for those phrases. Again, this is an art and a science because search engines continually update their algorithms and methods of ranking sites for relevant content.

Some of the rankings also consider if your firm is conducting paid digital advertising. This is, of course, how search engines make their money.

Calls to Action

Too many websites leave visitors trying to figure out where they should go next. For example, it doesn’t help to say, “Contact us for more information” at the end of a blog post with no detailed information or link.

Strategic calls to action guide visitors directly to the link of a related blog post, video, or whitepaper. Entire content campaigns take the visitor on a path from blog post to client success story to whitepaper to service area and a formal needs assessment or query. This is how qualified leads happen directly online. The visitor qualifies themself and requests a call, more information, or a demo.

In fact, during the early months of working-from-home this year, we saw a noted increase in search queries and use of website contact boxes by visitors who were desperate for information on a variety of business needs. They found it easiest to ask a question via contact box. The firms that were ready to respond quickly got the lead.

Flip the script on your website experience. Focus now on the infrastructure and right analytics that will get more eyes on your informative content. Your 24/7, secure, and optimized website will pay dividends when you can’t market in person.

Here’s a free tool to get started. Our SEO Checklist helps you determine where your website could use some updates to attract leads and persuade referrals.

GET THE SEO CHECKLIST

Also, check out this related blog post on identifying gaps in your niche marketing strategy.


 

Professional Services Marketing During and After a Crisis

In a short or prolonged crisis, it is essential to continue marketing. You just have to be sensitive to your audience and their changing priorities.

Your firm or association is a business that needs to grow, but you are also a resource. Being a resource is already in your culture. You can apply that approach to your professional services marketing in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas to   market effectively during and after a crisis — and continue to make a difference!

1. Revise your personas.

You may have written your target personas or client profiles at the beginning of the year or earlier, but a crisis has cropped up and affected what may be important to those audiences. 

What is a persona? Read more here.

Revisit and revise your personas to acknowledge new challenges, new threats or new opportunities to that potential new client. That way, your messages and guidance will relate to their most urgent concerns and priorities. 

2. Explore unmet or critical needs.

As you notice that potential clients are focused on new priorities, there are probably new opportunities for your firm or association to serve them. Discuss ideas that position you as a resource, a guide or a translator of complex information. 

Can you open a new channel for connecting people or sharing information? Can you offer new assessments or promote a white paper that addresses their worries? Would a webinar answer their most pressing regulatory, safety or financing questions? These offerings can be timed to launch once the initial shock of the crisis is over and people are turning toward solutions. Have them ready to launch.

Also, make sure that these ideas are still aligned with your underlying niche marketing strategy. In other words, don’t chase shiny objects based solely on a crisis. 

3. Choose your words carefully.

During a crisis, especially a national or global one, you will start to see the same words used over and over to describe the situation. We’ve seen words and phrases overused such as “these uncertain times,” “unprecedented” and “we’re in this together.” There is nothing wrong with them, but people stop hearing them. 

When crafting your emails, client letters, proposals, articles and social media messages, be true to your own voice. During a crisis, you don’t need to follow the crowd to show sensitivity and be heard. Think about how you would encourage a friend, and your communications will resonate better than if you use phrases that people are tired of hearing. 

4. Be visible.

Being visible is a human and a digital challenge. If you are often working remotely or unable to organize many in-person events, you can still stay visible through videos on your website that show real people sharing their guidance and ideas. You can host virtual events and networking meet-and-greets. If you can get out into the community, lend a hand and share it on social media or on your website’s career pages.

You also need to be visible digitally. Right now, too many firms and associations lack the knowledge or consistency to integrate search engine optimization with their professional services marketing. It’s an opportunity for you to get ahead of the crowd.

Read: Why your blog content needs SEO for visibility

One of the biggest things we’re recommending to firm leaders who want to maintain digital presence is to conduct a web audit, keyword research and integration of SEO into all of their content — from blog posts to digital ads, video descriptions and social posts. Search engines can then recognize and rank you for certain services, guidance and advocacy. 

Without this visibility, you’ve lost the opportunity to reach out and highlight services that actually help people in crisis. When people really need you, be where they are searching — through digital techniques and messaging that focuses on them.

If you need some help to be more visible and stay on message for your target audiences, view Ingenuity’s Outsourced Marketing Services.


 

Why Your Blog Content Needs SEO for Visibility

Writing content for your blog and website is just one part of an effective content marketing strategy. You need a good SEO strategy for your content to be found organically online. In this video, hear from Christine Nelson, Communications Consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, as she shares some important considerations when it comes to your SEO strategy and how keyword research and technical elements are critical elements in this strategy.

Get some easy tips to improve your website’s search engine optimization with the SEO Checklist on our resources page.


If you prefer to read the video transcript, you may find it below:

Do you write content for your website? Then you probably know that fresh content is a great way to bring visitors to your website to learn about your services. If you are writing a blog post or two…or more a month, that’s great. Keep doing that. But I also urge you to step up your game with search engine optimization.

Due to the volume of new content produced every day on the Internet, your great content will get lost without SEO. SEO is a broad term for many things that search engines consider when sending visitors to your site. These include user experience, mobile friendliness, and a number of other technical aspects like website page speed and website security. Just to name a few. 

They also look at the trustworthiness of the content and they look at how many other quality sources, also known as backlinks, are pointing to your content. You can optimize your blog posts in several ways.

First, do keyword research for the services and topics you want to write about so that you have a better chance of people organically finding your content through their online searches.

You also need to think about your reasons for writing content. Is it to inform visitors about important information? OK, but is it also tied into the services you provide? Your blog content needs a strategy that informs, but also leads visitors to a decision. Otherwise, that’s a lot of energy spent with less hope for new business.

As we’ve found with clients who request SEO help for their blog, it’s also best to optimize your content while it’s being 
written rather than after it’s posted. What I mean is, don’t forget about the back-end of your blog post. Elements like page titles, meta descriptions, header tags and alt text will help search engines and visitors know if a search result is a good fit for them.

In my experience as a ghostwriter, writing a blog post is the easy part. But to get more visitors viewing your content and learning about your firm, you also need SEO built right into it. Otherwise, your website might be invisible to great potential clients.

Interested in learning more?  Call us at Ingenuity.


5 Effective Email Nurturing Sequences

A graphic showing a sequence of emails.

If one email to a new business lead is good, are more emails even better? Not so fast. Here’s why your email marketing could use a makeover.

Email marketing for professional services isn’t like product marketing. People don’t change service providers very often. They also don’t choose a provider based on one or two emails. But email does help you stay in front of them until they’re ready to entertain a change.

Email marketing is still an effective brand positioning strategy for high-growth firms. However, those high-growth firms are probably using email nurturing sequences to automatically stay in touch with leads until the lead is ready — and excited — to have a conversation.

What’s an email nurturing sequence? Read more here.

Email nurturing sequences are a conversation. You are pointing out common pains and providing informative ideas and resources by email over a short period of time to keep the lead interested.

As every good professional knows, timely nurturing of the relationship leads to more new business. Designed correctly, these nurturing sequences can be automated but still feel like a series of personal emails from someone in your firm or organization.

Try This: 5 Effective Nurturing Sequences

Here are five options to turn your email marketing into a nurturing conversation that drives lead conversion. If you have a CRM and marketing automation software, you can automate your email sequences to run 24/7 whenever a visitor is searching for your services.

1. Set up a welcome sequence.
Let’s say a new lead comes on your radar by downloading an article or signing up for your newsletter. Set up a nurturing welcome sequence that introduces them to other resources through a series of automated emails and links. Make the emails friendly, short and to the point, and schedule out three or four over a few weeks.

2. Add sequences to new resources and events.
Don’t miss the opportunity to keep the conversation going once people download your resources or attend a webinar. These actions can trigger a follow-up series of emails. Create these nurturing emails at the same time as your resource or event content so that they relate well and entice people to contact you.

3. Create nurturing sequences for stalled conversations.
Maybe a lead went quiet or didn’t engage as you had hoped. Create an “inactive” nurturing sequence that acknowledges, “Now may not be the right time to connect, but I still value your interests and want to stay in touch.” Send them links to content they may have missed.

4. Use a nurturing sequence to optimize your list.
Over time, your database may become stale with old contacts that aren’t a fit, but haven’t unsubscribed. Send a series of emails to invite people to re-engage or to let you know if they wish to be removed from your list. Sometimes that “invitation to part ways” is enough to get a new conversation going. But it also cleans up your list in a friendly way.

5. Segment your sequences.
To personalize your email marketing while also automating it, create nurturing sequences that entice leads for a specific service or industry niche. Address common pains that you see among existing clients, and then show these new leads how you solved the problem. Three short emails can offer links to case studies and representative examples.

Remember, email nurturing should not involve hours of long email writing — or more than a few emails per sequence. The content can be written like a short voicemail, but you and your team don’t have to spend time leaving hundreds of them.

Besides keeping the emails short, point people to their next possible step in the conversation. And be patient.

Written correctly and timed strategically, email nurturing sequences will get the right leads interested and contacting you!

SEE INGENUITY’S COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES


 

A dial marked with the word "Trust" and turned to high.

Fostering Brand Loyalty

A dial marked with the word "Trust" and turned to high.

Brand loyalty is up for grabs. It’s rare these days to do business with a client for a lifetime, but there are things you can do to inspire your clients to work with you for a long time. It is not enough to do everything right or to simply not make them want to leave. You need to take your communication and connection to the next level.

It probably goes without saying but providing the highest quality customer service and making your clients feel valued is one of the best things you can do to create brand loyalty. This is a great foundational start but now you want to see that loyalty expand to create a community of raving fans for your brand who refer others. Here are a few ways to help you do that.

Provide timely updates about changes that affect your clients and prospects. If you have a robust CRM, you can segment your contacts based on their industry or niches, their role in their organization and what you know they are interested in. You wouldn’t send a manufacturing tax update to a prospect in healthcare. By segmenting your lists to provide relevant information, you show your audience that you care about what interests them. This can make the information appear personalized to them and foster their loyalty to your brand.

Create opportunities for individual connection and make it personal. If you are keeping notes about your clients and top prospects, you likely know a few personal facts about them. Perhaps you know they just took a family vacation or that one of their children graduated from high school. Asking about these events during the beginning of a call or email is a great way to get the conversation going. You can then bridge into the business at hand, but remember to always show an interest in them personally.

READ: THE ART OF VIRTUAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Thank your clients for working with you. You may be thinking that this is an obvious one and, yes, most everyone is good at thanking their clients for their business around the holidays. However, when was the last time you sent a client a thank you card at a random time of the year or a gift card to a coffee shop? Perhaps they just got through a challenging audit or completed a coveted development project. Sending a gift when one is not expected is when you will stand out and, even more importantly, it will make them feel special. We aren’t saying you should forgo the holiday gifts but sending a thank you at an unexpected time will stand out.

Fostering brand loyalty is something that begins with a prospect and continues throughout the client relationship. Once someone becomes a client, it doesn’t mean the work ends. This is when the relationship can truly grow and thrive.

You may also be interested in four ways you can enhance client service in your professional services firm or association.


Take control of Your Firm's Website Content and Site Updates.

Take Control of Your Firm’s Website: Content and Site Updates

When we get asked to consult on a website or begin working with new clients, we often come across situations where they don’t have control of all their digital assets, websites are not updated regularly or outdated themes are still being used. These situations can affect website security and SEO, putting your firm or association at risk.

In this video, Robert Wasiluk, design consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, discusses the differences between a hosting service and web management service. He also shares some of the technical aspects of a website that firm leaders and marketers need to keep in mind. Afterall, it’s not just about the pretty colors and sleek design.

Do you enjoy Robert’s videos? Check out this next video to hear how you can refresh your brand with color.


If you prefer to read the video transcript, you may find it below:

How do you know when it’s time to do technical updates on your website? Maybe it’s something you don’t think about as a firm leader or marketer because your website host should handle that, right?

Well, we’ve seen situations where sites are not optimized regularly, leading to lower visibility on search engines, page errors, and outdated themes that make it difficult to add content.

A hosting service is different from a web management service. Your site host is the company that has agreed to let your website “live” on its server. A web management service will actually work with you to update your site and make recommendations for content optimization.

Can you do site optimization in-house right now? Is your in-house IT team well versed on how content should be optimized for marketing? Or are you stuck with an unresponsive vendor that you call every time you want to do a design update or add a photo? 

When we develop and optimize websites at Ingenuity, we don’t host the sites. But we do strategize on the best methods for your firm to keep your site updated and in good working order.

Actually, you work directly with me on those updates. 

The danger of not updating your site with regular maintenance and SEO is that search engines like Google will stop displaying your site as a search result. That’s bad. You could have great content, and no one is seeing it!

When is it time to make sure that your site is SEO optimized and easy to perform back-end updates? Don’t wait until there are technical difficulties.

Schedule regular updates on the back end of your site that actually support your marketing efforts, and call Ingenuity if you have questions about how tech and marketing should work together.


 

Illustration of a virtual business meeting on a laptop

The Art of Virtual Business Development

Illustration of a virtual business meeting on a laptop

Face-to-face networking and tradeshows have been quickly replaced by digital business development for professional services firms and associations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to continue building your pipeline and turning prospects into clients, it’s necessary to take a look at your approach and shift to a more virtual business development strategy.

Make Personal Contact

Illustration of a business person in the center of a cog.Picking up the phone or sending an email isn’t just a strategy of the past. It is still highly relevant today and, in many cases, can make you stand out when so many others are relying on less personal methods to develop their business pipeline. When the idea to call or personally email a prospect or client crosses your mind, be sure to do it right away because “later” can turn into a missed opportunity. Connect by asking how their weekend at the cabin was or send an article that relates to a previous conversation. It’s not about hard selling them on your firm but about connecting and staying top-of-mind to create brand loyalty.

WATCH: FIVE TIPS FOR PROSPECT FOLLOW-UP

Email and Direct Mail Opportunities

Email iconDepending on your audience you may want to consider an email or direct mail campaign as a way to get in front of them. This could be a three-part email or mail piece series. Email is still a popular way to promote your brand and thought leadership; however, many organizations are finding this is the only way to get in front of your prospects during this time. This also means that your prospects are receiving more email than ever before.

To stand out from the email masses, you may consider sending direct mail. If your prospects are back in the office, this is a way to differentiate yourself and send something that might get noticed. Whether it’s an oversized postcard series or a unique branded card with a gift card to Starbucks to have a virtual coffee, this can set the stage to start a great conversation.

READ: CREATE DIGITAL MARKETING NURTURING SEQUENCES FOR LEADS

Develop Solid SEO Foundations

Price tag with the words SEO on it.We have heard many professional services firms say their website serves as a digital brochure. They are not actively employing a strategy to use their website and social media for lead generation. For firms that saw the need to create a lead generating website before the pandemic, you are steps ahead of your competitors who didn’t have the same foresight. If you find yourself a bit behind in turning your website into a lead generating machine, don’t be dismayed. There’s still time to jump on board. A good SEO strategy incorporates all of your digital means of communication from your website content and email nurturing sequences to social media and video strategies.

READ: HOW TO USE DIGITAL MARKETING FOR BRAND AWARENESS AND LEAD GENERATION WHITEPAPER

Also remember to look at the back end of your website to ensure that you have quick page load times, no broken links and good imagery and design. There are so many elements that contribute to strong SEO rankings. You can be publishing innovative content but if all other SEO elements aren’t optimized, you may not be getting in front of prospects who are trying to find you right now.

Utilize LinkedIn

Colorful linking chainsLinkedIn is becoming more necessary than ever. It’s a way to expand your reach, especially when you aren’t able to meet people through tradeshows, conferences and other networking events. Through LinkedIn, you can meet new prospects, connect with clients and engage with people you otherwise may not have the opportunity to meet. Most of your connections would likely be willing to make an introduction to someone they know, if you just ask for it.

Here are a few simple tips to help you engage on LinkedIn

  • Have a complete profile on LinkedIn with a professional photo, a good headline and summary of what you do that uses industry keywords.
  • Connect with individuals who are your clients and connect with more than one person in the company.
  • Similar to business development you would do offline, show an interest in your prospects and clients. Comment on their updates, congratulate them on career milestones and engage the same way you would want people to do with you.
  • Follow businesses and engage with their updates. Be sure that you follow the business pages of all your clients and prospects. Be creative here…perhaps you proposed on some business last year and didn’t get it but you’d still like to work with the company. Follow that company, comment and show an interest in them. Then when the opportunity comes back up, you’ve remained invested and built up some report with them.
  • Join a few groups and take part in the discussion. Don’t push yourself or your firm. Simply answer questions and add to the conversation in a way that makes members of the group message you to find out more.

Think Outside the Box

Illustration of lightbulb coming out of blue box.With tradeshows and networking events cancelled, finding new and unique ways to connect with prospects is vital. This could be the time to implement a video strategy, webinars or create a few thought-leadership pieces. One of our clients has implemented a virtual town hall where they are inviting clients and prospects to take part and ask accounting questions about their particular niche. The first event is still coming up, however, this is the type of out-of-the-box thinking that is going to help fill the gaps. Not every idea will be a winner, but don’t be afraid to try new ideas.

Like any business development efforts, it takes time to develop nurture prospects and build relationships, and this is especially true in a digital medium. You may have to review your typical lead generation timeline and make some adjustments as you see virtual business development take more or less time. Keep track of what you find works so you can continually optimize your process.

LEARN MORE ABOUT INGENUITY’S DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES