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What’s a Social Media Brand Ambassador Program?

Your long-term clients know the ins and outs of your services, and they may serve as referral sources. But have you thought about how your dedicated clients can support your brand on social media?

Social media is a powerful tool that can help your firm generate quality leads, and it should be part of your business development strategy moving forward. One way to have social media support your firm’s branding process is to incorporate brand ambassadors to further your social reach. Ambassadors speak highly of your brand, services and events on their own social media channels. They can provide quick shout-outs to your firm or association, highlight upcoming events or timely services, and recommend your brand to their social media followers.

Here are three key elements to start building your own brand ambassador network to generate quality leads.

Who ‘Likes’ you?

On your social media channels, you may notice certain individuals who are consistently ‘liking’ or sharing your posts. This is one easy way to identify who is naturally falling into a brand ambassador role for your firm or association.

Check out your @mentions, post likes and comments to see who is already promoting your brand. You can also see who is using any of your company or industry-related #hashtags. If there is a particular client that you routinely recognize on your social media channels, chances are they would be a good candidate to become a brand ambassador.

Maybe you’ve noticed that people who ‘like’ you on social media and share your content are mostly employees of your company. Some of your employees should be brand ambassadors based on their public reputation or status. While you will have employees that you encourage to share information about your brand on social media, it’s also important to have a dedicated client serve as a social media brand ambassador to give a unique perspective to your services and products. Having a mix of perspectives allows you to speak to different audiences, which can help gain new referrals.

VIDEO: WHY YOUR NEW LEADERS SHOULD GET BRAND TRAINING

Remember, when your employees are active on social media, touch base with them to make sure their personal channels are professional representations of your brand with up-to-date competitive messaging. Review your social media policy with them

Criteria for Brand Ambassadors

You don’t want just anyone, even if they do engage with your content, to become your brand ambassador. Think about these key factors when determining who you want to represent your brand on social media.

  • Current Social Media Following Are their followers your target audience? If not, they are not a good brand ambassador for your firm. Also look at the size of their social media following, how their audience engages with their posts and if they naturally use a tone that you think fits your brand.
  • Dedicated Client or Referral Source Can they speak specifically to your service experience? Make sure an ambassador you select knows all the ins and outs. It’s much easier for you and your future ambassador to already be familiar with your brand instead of teaching or training them. This also makes their promotional efforts more authentic.
  • Networking Opportunities ­­– Make sure your brand ambassadors have networking opportunities on social media. Chat with your brand ambassadors about what social media networking groups they participate in and how your brand or service could be shared amongst those groups.

Guidelines to Move Forward

Since the brand ambassadors you’ve identified already understand your firm or association, you may not feel like you have to tailor specific messages for them. But being clear about how you can work with each other will help you avoid misrepresenting your messages or brand on social. Here are a few tips for professional service firms and associations to build long-term relationships with brand ambassadors.

  • Regularly discuss topics or upcoming events that you would like to see brand ambassadors promote. Here are a few examples of how your services or events could be shared on their personal social pages:

“If you missed ABC Construction’s webinar today on land surveying, you definitely want to watch the recording! I learned so much about the process and plan to share many take-aways with my own team. Here’s the link: [insert link to recording]”

“Planning for my individual and small business tax returns was made easy this year because of the counsel I received from 123 Accounting. Check them out for expert advice! [insert link to company homepage]”

  • Clearly identify how often you would like your brand ambassadors to be promoting your brand. Maybe set a standard of two posts a month.
  • Give back to your brand ambassadors! Offer a free service, conference registration or webinar to thank them for promoting your brand on their personal social media channels.
  • Create a ‘thank you’ post from the firm’s social media account to publicly recognize them. This is an easy way to boost brand loyalty for your firm and the individual promoting your work.

Social media is a powerful way for potential clients or members to learn about your brand and services. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to share what’s going new at your firm or association. Learn more about how you can with your target audience through social media.


 

Dice with social media icons on the top of them.

Social Engagement Article Published in National ASAE Magazine

Dice with social media icons on the top of them.

We contributed an article for Associations Now, the national magazine of ASAE. This is the primary publication for executives and leaders of professional associations.

Below is the article in its entirety, and you can also read it on the ASAE website.

Engage New and Potential Members Through Social Media

Social media has so thoroughly penetrated our daily lives that you may have put your social strategy on auto-pilot. That’s a mistake. Follow these tips to make sure you’re maximizing your reach and relevance among audiences that don’t yet know you well.

Social media is now baked into most associations’ communications strategies. Your active presence on social media helps your association appear higher in search results across the internet, which can lead to higher visitor engagement on your channels. But that’s not all. Content that is relevant and focused on the visitor also adds value to your new and potential association members—people you need to engage effectively to bring them fully into your community.

Put yourself in their shoes. Consider what social media content would capture your attention if you were a new member or prospect of your association. Build those topics and resources into your social strategy, whether it’s legislative news, event reminders, fun images of member involvement, or features and benefits of membership. Invite new members to follow your channels and explain the benefits, and then maintain a regular posting schedule of communications so they get in the habit of seeking your channels for timely and relevant information.

Your social media strategy should include posts on individual leader profiles. When key leaders comment on topics of interest to members, celebrate member achievements, or highlight resources of interest, this significantly expands your relevance to new members and reach to potential members. 

Conversely, less frequent posting and less engagement downgrades your social rank. if members don’t see your posts anymore, that’s not good.

Association Research Steps to Success

Here are a few more considerations for better engaging with your audience, adjusting your approach, or adding a new platform to maximize your visibility.

Know your audience. Address the pains and concerns of your prospects and members with a solution to solve their most pressing issues. To do this, ask yourself the following questions: What types of content resonate with them the most? Do they respond most to posts that highlight other members, or do they prefer topical articles or webinars and other event information?

Understand your current engagement. Conduct a regular analysis of your social media channels to identify the most effective channels and content. You may find that what works on LinkedIn does not generate the same engagement on Facebook or Twitter. Does your audience spend time on the social media platforms you are currently using? You will gain insights on how best to focus the strategy for each social channel if you dive into their specific analytics.

“When key leaders comment on topics of interest to members, celebrate member achievements or highlight resources of interest, this significantly expands your relevance to new members and reach to potential members.”

Be bold and try new things. If you are not sure about trying a new approach on Facebook or Instagram, test it out to see how your audience responds. Whether theylove it or it falls flat, you have tried something new and you now have clues on how to proceed.

Test out new content types. Posting links to your blog articles is great for your website’s search engine optimization, but adding a variety of content types can help capture the attention of your audience through their preferences. Some people prefer a video to a blog post. Some would rather listen to a podcast during their commute. 

Social Media Technical Tips

A few technical hacks can boost your success with social media. Create actionable and concise posts on your social media channels, but maximize your post character count, use appropriate hashtags, and tag members to expand your audience reach and post engagement. Hashtags and tagging can expand your reach beyond your own followers. These are searchable features on social media, and clicking on one will show all the posts on that social channel that use that specific hashtag.

The goal is not to be unique in your selection of hashtags, but to use common ones so you appear in the feeds of a broader industry or professional audience. The exception to this is if you are creating a hashtag that promotes your brand that you also want your members to use. Then your members can become your hashtag ambassadors.

When you tag new members, the posts can appear in the feeds of the members’ own connections. This tactic improves your brand awareness and could bring new prospects to your social channels. Additionally, when you tag others, they may return that action and tag you in their content. The more you engage with your social media followers by liking and commenting on their posts, the more they will engage with your association.

The one constant with social media is that it is constantly changing, with adjustments to search algorithms, user tools, and channel layouts. World and economic events may also necessitate fresh approaches to your social communications as you advance your strategy. Be the social resource your members and prospects turn to and prefer.


Speaking of a preferred association, we had a lot of fun with this branding project for the Wood Component Manufacturers Association. See our Work here.

You may also be interested in this video with 4 Ideas for Association Marketing.  

 

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!


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


 

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


What is a Digital Marketing Agency video title slide.

What is a Digital Marketing Agency?

When you partner with a digital marketing agency, you want to receive not just the work as promised, but recommendations on how to optimize your digital marketing to impact your lead generation. Your firm needs strong digital marketing consulting. In this video, hear from Dawn Wagenaar, Principal at Ingenuity Marketing Group, as she shares some important considerations about what professional services firms need when working with a digital marketing agency.

Check out these ideas as a way to personalize your firm’s values and experiences with clients and prospects.


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

Several years ago, Ingenuity worked through a strategic process to define the future of our agency. As you may have guessed, it included digital marketing.

Today, we help many of our clients develop campaigns that include social media, eblasts, SEO strategy, digital ad campaigns and other automated communications.

But professional services continue to be about relationships. When you are looking for assistance with fresh communications to support new business development, how do you evaluate a great digital marketing agency?

First of all, the agency should understand how buyers select professional services. It’s not product marketing. Your deliverables are different. Your digital campaigns must speak to why they need your service. What pain are you solving?

Next, the campaign must connect to your sales process. Who will follow up on campaign results and evaluate how to improve it? It goes beyond printing monthly data reports. You want your agency to translate visitor and buyer behavior for marketing as well as sales.

As a business owner myself, I’m not sold on complete automation of marketing and sales for professional services. But I do believe that your content should include strong keywords and search engine optimization – for every blog post, service page and video!

That way, your content is working for you to attract leads.

A great digital marketing agency must combine a strong business consulting strategy for professionals with a technical understanding of how people find and choose your content.

Anything less? Keep shopping. 


 

A graphic representation of the word "Content"

Adjusting Content Delivery and Messaging During a Crisis

A graphic representation of the word "Content"
The last couple months have likely put your well-planned marketing strategies and social media campaign into a tailspin. Organizations are needing to adjust strategy into crisis communication mode in order to distribute relevant information to their clients and prospects and that has left little time to implement already planned content. 
 
Even in a crisis, we recommend that our clients continue to produce blogs and videos about their core services, industries and niches. This is so they optimize their SEO strategy and do not lose ground by putting these efforts on the back burner. However, how this content gets distributed in a crisis situation is what changes significantly. 
 
In a recent blog post, we discussed creating a content strategy that keeps giving. During a time when it’s “business as usual,” we might promote this through a social post this way:
 
Not all your content needs to be new or original. Some real gems can be found in your older content and as a result, save you time. With a fresh update and some relevant examples, the old can be polished up and become new again. Read about this and other ways to repurpose your content.
 
When you are in the midst of a crisis, how you position your messaging may need to be put under a new lens, especially when it comes to your social media. The same blog post can still be used while simply changing the social media post and explaining the relevance to the situation. Here’s how we would write a social post during a crisis situation about the same blog post:
 
In the midst of a crisis, you’re likely scrambling to get urgent messages out to your clients, prospects and employees. You don’t have time to create new content but know that your SEO strategy still needs to be implemented. To keep moving forward, look no further than older, still relevant content to save time. 
 
Here are some tips to keep in mind for your social media messaging and content distribution during a crisis:
 
  1. Be intentional about your messaging. Always make social media posts relevant to your audience. This is even more critical during a crisis. How does the information you are providing pertain to the current situation and help them solve their problems?
  2. Don’t promote your services, industries and niches in an obvious way. Always look for how it helps your clients and prospects and approach your social posts with a proactive message. How does what you offer help them? 
  3. Use a personal, human touch. Relate to your audience and personalize your messages so they feel like they connect to your brand. Show that you truly care about them as an individual.
  4. Be sensitive to how your message can be perceived. Run your social media posts by a few people that you can trust to provide you with honest feedback. 
  5. It’s best to err on the side of caution, even if that means you are posting less frequently. This is not the time to move forward and ask for forgiveness later. There are plenty of examples of social media mishaps that have affected brands negatively. Coming back from a brand messaging snafu isn’t easy. 
  6. Create a plan for the next time you need to respond urgently or adjust your message. Many organizations were caught off-guard and didn’t postpone scheduled social media posts or were slow to adjust their messaging. Crisis comes in many forms so evaluate the lessons learned and prepare for how you will respond in different scenarios in the future.
You may be developing lots of content right now in order to maintain your SEO strategy and may not be able to promote it as much, or at all. Take heart, once things start to level off, you’ll have a gold mine of content to promote on social media and it will still be new to your audience. 
 
Don’t have enough time to keep up with all your communications and content right now? Find out how ghostwriters can help with timely communication and maintaining your SEO strategy during a crisis.

A table with a laptop computer, mobile phone, a notepad and a cup of coffee.

Trusted Ghostwriters Keep Content Marketing On Track in Crisis

A table with a laptop computer, mobile phone, a notepad and a cup of coffee.
A crisis can last for a few hours…or a few months. The effects can linger for years. 
 
One common issue in crisis is that people have a tendency to overreact. They may run headlong into the storm or they may freeze. It’s important during these times to have people around who have the strength to step back, assess and develop an objective plan that avoids further crisis. 
 
With that in mind, do you have a go-to ghostwriter? 
 
 
We’ve all been there…figuring out how to communicate complex topics in a way that gets prospects to understand and trust and take action. We also know amazing subject matter experts who are great at their work, but admittedly not so great at explaining how their work helps clients. 
 
Even professionals who like writing need a good ghostwriter to validate if their work is 
 
  • Too technical for the average client;
  • Too self-promotional;
  • Too long or short for the average blog; or
  • Too informational with no guidance for the reader to take action. 
How about adding search engine keywords and meta descriptions so that visitors can find that great content? Well, that part takes some professional practice and skill, not to mention research to identify the ideal keywords for your firm. 
 
You might assume that marketing specialists or managers are integral to maximizing your content. But in a crisis? An outside perspective can calm everybody’s nerves and get to the heart of your message. Meanwhile, your internal teams can focus more closely on the logistics of sharing, posting and following up on your content and crisis communications. Responding to questions in a crisis is job number one once people get the information they need.

Why Do I Need a Ghostwriter Now?

If you have never considered a ghostwriter relationship before a crisis, it may be the perfect time to build a relationship now. Here are the reasons our clients have told us that ghostwriting is central to their crisis communications planning and ongoing content marketing strategies.
 
• Objective third party to view their content and provide efficient editing
• Identify content opportunities that subject matter experts (SMEs) may not see
• Maximize the SME’s time through interview, drafting and editing
• Consulting on what is truly “news” to business and trade media
• Identifying content that can be used in multiple ways (blog, social, PR)
• Evergreen writing that doesn’t get stale after a month
• Seamless addition of SEO keywords into copy and descriptions of content
• Recommendations for companion eblast copy and social posts
• Knowledge of the industry to develop relevant content for your audience
• Research skills to add context and “why it’s important.”
• Calls to action for marketing purposes and relevant links 
 
When you have the right ghostwriter relationship for your content marketing strategy, you can adapt your marketing plan faster and gain context for what is happening across the industry. Since ghostwriters work with all kinds of clients, you can leverage their knowledge to help your firm write and publish content like the pros that you are!  
 
You might also like this video: What is a professional ghostwriter?
 
Ask for more guidance with Communications Consulting and PR.

Business man holding a gift with a ribbon on it.

Create a Content Marketing Strategy that Keeps Giving

Business man holding a gift with a ribbon on it.
A solid content marketing strategy shouldn’t simply revolve around creating a content calendar with a list of to-dos. It should align with the goals your professional services firm has identified for growth and utilize digital marketing resources that help you connect with your clients and prospects. A few things you want to consider when developing your content strategy include:
 
  • Utilize a variety of content mediums – Your audience is comprised of unique individuals who all consume content in different ways. Some prefer reading a blog post while others may prefer watching a video or reviewing an infographic. A varied content strategy will ensure that you are providing the types of content that will resonate with more than one segment of your audience. 
  • Set goals for your content – How does your content align with your firm goals for lead generation and growth? By understanding this, you can create more effective content that resonates with your clients and prospects. 
  • Determine what success looks like – Perhaps success is a certain number of leads coming from your website. It could be the number of views your video receives or the number of new email sign-ups you receive each month. Establish what KPIs are important for you and then measure them on a regular basis so you can determine if you are meeting your goals and how you can optimize your efforts for greater success. 
  • Maximize your content – You can use your content more than once and in more than one way by repurposing or updating old content. You can update older content or you can convert content from one format to another. 

Vary Your Content

Man working on a website on a laptop computer.There’s an incredible variety of content that can be created today. Blogs, video, podcasts, infographics, market and industry reports and whitepapers are just a few examples of what types of content can be used in your firm’s strategy. Because every individual consumes content differently, it’s important that your content marketing plan includes a variety while still producing what is authentic for your firm. 
 
We have worked with some clients who find great success through video content, while others connect better with their clients and prospects through their blogs and whitepapers. Your firm should focus on creating content that resonates best with your own clients and ideal prospects and not worry about jumping on the latest trends, even if your competitors are doing it 
 
If you find that you don’t have any individuals at your firm who want to be the subject matter expert in a video, this is an area you could outsource. Write a script and hire talent to be in front of the camera delivering your message. Or perhaps the individual would be more comfortable having a recorded conversation that is produced as a podcast. Play to the strengths of your firm leaders and employees to develop the best content that’s authentic to your firm. 

Maximizing the Usefulness of Your Content

Many professional services firms fall into the thinking that they have to be constantly churning out new content. This creates an overwhelming feeling that can lead to abandoning a content marketing plan. In reality, much of your content can be used more than once and in more than one way.
 
Of course, some content may be considered timely if your firm is addressing recent tax law changes or legislation that affects clients in specific industries. However, there’s a lot of content that falls under what we call “evergreen.” This is the type of content that remains relevant for months and even years. It can be easily updated and republished. 
 
  • Rewrite or update older content – Dig back into your content that’s two or more years old to decide what information is still largely relevant and how it can be updated and republished for your audience. You have valuable insights that don’t lose their value simply because it’s older information. 
  • Repurpose and revise formats – Perhaps you have a video that can be repurposed into a blog or vice versa. We’ve done this often at Ingenuity. While we don’t actively promote videos of former employees, it is still great content that our audience finds valuable. We repurpose that content as a blog post. With a little editing, the subject can quickly be revised and updated. This provides us with not only new content for our audience, but it provides us with SEO on our website and three to five social media posts.   
A well-devised content marketing strategy can help foster loyalty and create new opportunities for growth in your professional services firm. Start with the steps we outlined above to get started in creating a sustainable strategy. If you need assistance creating content, hiring a professional ghostwriter can free you up to serve your clients while providing you with researched and well-written content.
 

Understanding your audience is important for content marketing strategy. Learn how personas play a role in knowing your audience and how to develop them.


A person with grey mittens holding a warm cup of coffee.

Marketing to Real People in a Digital World

A person with grey mittens holding a warm cup of coffee.

One word you might see a lot today regarding business culture and marketing is authenticity – defined as something or someone “entitled to acceptance as authoritative, genuine, true or correct.”

You may also hear a lot about the term personalization — defined as “to render personal rather than impersonal or purely professional, to make or alter so as to meet individual needs, inclinations or specifications.”

This is the preferred approach to service delivery. Be a professional who is authentic and who personalizes the experience for every client. Perhaps it always has been this way, which is why professionals are in a great position to deliver what today’s clients expect.

Here is the challenge: with limited time, how do you create that personal and authentic experience for every client — and, just as importantly, every potential client whom you haven’t met yet?

In reality, it’s a people challenge and a technology challenge. 

Why Digital Marketing Matters

Qualified potential clients usually want to interact with your firm or organization online first. They will gather a sense of what your firm cares about and represents through your website, bios, social media profiles and your public relations. It’s not just about the messaging. It’s also about how easy they can navigate your site and find up-to-date social posts about issues they care about.

On social media, people respond much more frequently and positively to a post about someone winning an award or working a booth at a tradeshow (with a photo or video!) than they do to a news item or a link to the firm’s services.

Examples of Ingenuity Marketing Group Facebook posts.

Also, if your posts include real people, then real people will respond to it! See the difference in these two posts — one about a new employee and one linking to a blog post.

If your articles include real stories about how other clients navigated a common problem, then your key points will hit home much faster than if you simply state the problem and the solution.

For example, we were working with a client that wanted to reach out more personally to prospects, but didn’t have time to meet with each prospect in person right away. To get more responses, we suggested using the personal touch of “virtual coffee” by sending a coffee gift card by mail. The invitation to prospects — using their first name and personalizing the message — was much warmer than a generic email or postcard, and our client actually heard back from people!  

EXPLORE OUTSOURCED MARKETING

How to Create Personal Client Experiences

In the same way, your firm’s online presence has to be deeply personal and rooted in what your firm is at its core. When prospects see consistent messages from your firm that reflect a set of values resonant through all levels of what you actually deliver, it builds trust and makes them want to work with you.

What are your values? It’s not services, quality and years of knowledge. Authenticity requires an emotional and human connection that builds trust. Have you looked at your firm’s values and brand loyalty lately? Maybe it’s time for a refresh.

Try these ideas as a way to personalize your firm’s values and experiences with clients and potential clients.

  1. Explore your organization’s core values. As a different type of marketing exercise, come up with a list of cars, celebrities or songs that are distinctly a bad fit. Now talk about why they don’t fit your organization. In the negatives, you’ll learn a lot about who you really are and why you’re different from your competitors.
  2. Repeat great client experiences. Use a great client as a composite profile of more clients you would like to attract. Identify why the relationship works so well. Interview them about ways that you have built trust and personalized the relationship. Practice those skills with prospects and other clients. Just asking these questions can build more trust with your clients.
  3. Be human. Clients and prospects are looking for a way to connect. Take photos of fun times or “real” times with your team and share them. Celebrate new babies or anniversaries. Send a card if a client is sick. Stop the shop talk if you sense that your client needs someone to just listen.

This process of blending professional aspects of your business with personalization may not be easy at first. It requires being a bit vulnerable and less focused on the work sometimes. But in a service-based business, people care just as much about how you make them feel as they do about how you help them succeed.

Here are more examples of personalizing client experiences through your niche market.