Home » Marketing Strategies

Category: Marketing Strategies

Virtual Networking: It’s Here to Stay!

 

Virtual networking provides countless advantages to boost your business development strategy. Not only can you form long-term relationships with potential clients and business partners, but you get to connect at your own convenience.

Taking advantage of virtual networking allows us to connect with anyone from anywhere. There’s no longer a limit to how far we will travel to meet prospects, or a need to coordinate travel days into our busy work schedule. It also allows us to connect with others in different time zones, and then take our children to soccer practice later in the afternoon. The new virtual world we live in allows professionals within any industry to maintain a personal and work life balance.

Virtual networking is here to stay simply because of the convenience factor. Here’s how to take advantage of this new way of doing business.

Virtual Networking Can Still Be Personal

Just like you would talk about weather or traffic when meeting a prospect in person, you still need to add these casual conversational pieces into your virtual discussions. In other words, don’t make it all about work. Ask about a painting or photo someone has behind them during the video conference call. Ask them questions about their weekend or their hobbies. Side conversations like this make networking fun, memorable and personable. It’s these types of conversations that allow you to form long-lasting, valuable relationships with potential leads that turn into loyal clients.

Add variety to how you connect with your prospects. With the year 2020 behind us, you’ve probably heard or experienced what we often call “Zoom fatigue”. It’s true that being on video or on a long call can be exhausting, especially when you’re trying to separate personal and work life. Ask your prospects if they prefer to meet on camera or over the phone today. Who knows, you may find prospects in your local area who would prefer to meet at a coffee shop.

Other ways to stop top-of-mind with prospects is to share resources. After knowing your prospects interests and appetite for your services, share podcasts, blogs, videos or other resources you’ve found to be helpful. Connecting like this via email allows you to be seen as a valuable resource, helping the potential client to understand certain topics or gain industry insight.

PODCAST: THE MAGIC OF VIRTUAL NETWORKING

Virtual Networking Adds Flexibility to your Work Schedule

We now have the opportunity to network with people far and wide, whenever it works best for our work or personal schedules. You may find that fitting virtual networking into your busy work schedule is easier than ever. Maybe for you, scheduling multiple video conference calls in one afternoon allows you to cross multiple necessary discussions off your business development to-do list quickly and efficiently.

It may seem difficult to initially connect with new prospects. Once you have their contact information, offer a brief 10 to 15-minute phone call. Brief phone calls remain less intimidating than video conferencing. This phone call can be used to get to know what the prospect’s needs are, what they are looking for and how you can help. From there, having a follow up discussion via video can be a more beneficial use of time and provide an opportunity to share informed insight to what specific services or information the prospect is looking for.

Connecting virtually also allows you have to have multiple resources at your fingertips. When meeting virtually with a potential client, you can have their website up on your computer screen while you ask questions about their operations. Maybe you even skim through their LinkedIn profile during your discussion to speak to specific work-experience or skills the prospect has.

GENERATE LEADS WITH GOOGLE ADS

Stick to the Basics

One of the keys to networking is your follow through. Even when connecting virtually, follow up via email or phone to check in with the lead. Ask how they are doing, if they have any questions for you and maybe even bring up a topic of conversation you had together during the call. This is another opportunity to connect with the prospect on a personal level, and form a loyal working relationship with them.

When connecting virtually, be attentive. Give the prospect your entire attention by being in a quiet room with limited distractions and good phone service or a strong internet connection. Silence phone or computer notifications, just as you would in an in-person business meeting.

We get it. Life happens, and sometimes you will need to reschedule virtual meetings. Even though virtual networking is convenient because we can do it from our couch, the airport or the local coffee shop, being appreciative of the prospect’s time is critically important. Don’t forget to communicate in advance if you must reschedule.

The advantages to virtual networking are limitless. It brings ease to your work day, adds flexibility to your business development strategy and expands who you can reach for future business opportunities. If you haven’t added this into your business development strategy, what are you waiting for?! Take advantage of these opportunities, yet keep the foundation of networking skills in place. With these tips in mind, your business development strategy will reap the benefits of virtual networking long into the future.  

Thinking about hosting more virtual events to support virtual networking? Check out our blog post, How to Leverage Virtual Events in 2021


 

Establish Your Firm’s Online Presence

Like many other A/E/C firms, you may feel like your marketing strategy needs a refresh. Maybe you notice that your firm’s marketing strategy continues to support clients you’ve worked with in the past, but the firm struggles marketing to prospective leads. The internet has changed drastically over the past few years. Firms can no longer get by with passively engaging with clients. Today, regular online interactions are vital to any business’ success. In this article we will highlight ways your firm can actively engage with current clients and generate new leads.

Spoiler Alert! To get new business you will have to brag about yourself. Here’s how to do that tactfully to attract quality leads and support business development.

Conduct Market Research

Market research is a key part of developing your marketing strategy. It’s about collecting information that provides insight into how your clients think, their buying patterns and specifics that may influence their way of doing business, like their location or job title. This research also allows you to identify and monitor market trends, and to keep a pulse on what your competition is doing.

It’s always a good idea to conduct market research once you are expanding into a new location, when you are providing new services or if you just feel like your marketing strategy is stagnant. This research will help your firm identify how you can stand out amongst your competitors and market for future work.

Build Your Firm’s Online Reputation

Has your engineering firm established a consistent online presence? Here are a few ways your firm can showcase itself as a thought leader by providing firm updates, informing your followers on industry news and providing project updates.

Utilize the Power of Social Media. Social media is a great tool to provide quick updates, and also is a very powerful way to attract and retain employees. Make it a priority to maintain these channels by posting updates at least twice a week. This type of engagement will establish a strong social media presence and help your firm create a targeted following. Social media platforms your engineering firm should consider using include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Yelp
  • Glassdoor


Showcase Your Work Through Email Campaigns.
An e-newsletter is a convenient way to showcase current, future and past projects. Highlighting your work experience and innovative engineering designs may persuade potential leads to become a loyal client. This form of communication also serves as a way to keep your engineering firm top-of-mind. Your firm’s name and reputation are on display whenever you send a newsletter, and people will remember the work you’ve done after reading it.

READ: IMPROVE YOUR DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS WITH THESE THREE TIPS.

Maintain Your Website. Is your site easy to navigate? Does the site highlight previous work to showcase your firm’s expertise? Is your site showing up in a potential client’s online search? These questions are things to monitor and routinely ask yourself when evaluating the effectiveness of your site. An updated, easy to navigate and informative website increases your reputation and will encourage potential leads to work with your firm in the future.

VIDEO: PRIME YOUR WEBSITE FOR EFFECTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING

Online Advertisements. Google Ads or social media advertising is becoming a powerful way to reach potential leads. The online advertising tools allow you to group or segment potential clients based on certain characteristics, such as; location, job title and what services they are searching for online related to your engineering firm. Provide a resource for users who click on your ads. This take-away allows the potential lead to learn more about your firm and your thought-leadership within the industry.

READ: LEARN HOW GOOGLE ADS HAVE BECOME A POWERFUL TOOL FOR LEAD GENERATION.

Ask Clients to Write A Review. Reach out to a few of your loyal clients, asking if they wouldn’t mind writing a social media or Google review for your firm. These reviews are public, so anyone who searches for your firm can find them. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and these personal accolades to your services will go a long way when persuading others to work with you in the future.

Showcase Your Firm’s Expertise

It’s time to take advantage of the marketing tools available to expand your engineering firm’s online presence. You may find that showcasing the work you’ve done, the awards your firm receives and publicly recognizing employees will not only drive business development. It may lead your firm to retain key employees, strengthen current client relationships and improve your firm’s presence within the community. Start implementing these marketing elements into your firm’s strategy to reap the benefits.

Learn more about how Ingenuity can support your firm when conducting marketing research to identify fresh ideas to position your firm as a thought leader within the industry.


How to boost your satisfaction rating

Gather Experience Data Through Effective Interviews

How to boost your satisfaction rating

Ask enough people about their expectations, and you can identify some universal themes about why they choose you. However, surveys can only do so much.

Your experience strategy should include interviews. You can ask deeper questions based on each person’s individual preferences and concerns. Here are some interviewing techniques that can help you get beyond general satisfaction ratings.  

  1. Ask a question and be quiet.

Wait patiently for the person to elaborate. Silence will feel uncomfortable, but don’t rush to fill it. Give the other person time to think, and their answers will be more detailed. If they become quiet, ask if there is anything else that comes to mind. And be quiet again!

  1. Ask for examples.

You may have some prepared questions experiences, the level of quality you deliver or how people feel about your team. The best interview transcripts also include real examples of how great service showed up.

If someone says that the programs or services you deliver are “high quality” or “informative,” ask them for an example. Specific examples will help you identify actual results while defining what “quality” and “informative” actually mean.

  1. Repeat what you heard.

Show that you are listening. Paraphrase what you heard the person say, and you will get them to reinforce or clarify with additional details. “What I’m hearing is…is that right?”

  1. Make it a conversation.

People can get nervous and short with their answers if you keep asking questions and don’t participate in the conversation. You are creating an experience during the interview, and it’s a great technique to share a story of your own that relates to what the person just said.

A conversation puts your clients at ease, making it more likely that they will open up and be honest about their experiences. When they are honest, tell them how much you appreciate it — whether the feedback is good or bad. It is all constructive feedback to help you improve your service delivery.

  1. Tell them what’s next.

Make sure to tell people what you will do with their responses. They want to know that they are helping you and that their input will result in something good.

If you are collecting testimonials as part of the interview, let them know that you will follow up soon to have them review some comments. Tell them that their feedback will be analyzed for improving service delivery. Let them participate in the future success of your team.

As a final tip, interviews can seem like an intrusion, but an email script can help you invite people to participate at a time that is convenient to them. Let them know how long the interview will be, and offer to send questions ahead of time. All of this will support more scheduled interviews and good data to support your experience strategy or service standards.

Even a half-dozen interviews with your best clients or members are worth the time.

Interviews support strong brand positioning in your market. Read about 4 ways to enhance client service, based on years of client research by our team.

 

Illustration of rocket ship shooting up into the sky.

How to Set Your Association Apart from the Competition

Illustration of rocket ship shooting up into the sky.

2020 has brought a new way of thinking, and has presented many challenges, for associations in any industry. The way associations connect with members, provide networking opportunities and encourage professional development now looks very different. Associations are being forced to move all of their services online, and while we all hope to get back to regular in-person events in the future, virtual connection will likely remain a vital way to connect with members far and wide.

Connecting with members and encouraging meaningful conversation is more important than ever before, but all associations are asking the same question: How can we encourage members to engage in the virtual world?

What Are Your Members Interested In?

It’s likely that you have data on where your members are from, the company they work for, their job title, what events they have attended or what topics they care most about. During a period of change and uncertainty, it’s important to reconnect. Survey your members to learn what topics are most important to them. You can also learn more about the times of day they are most likely to engage with your association and how they prefer to hear from you. Take these results and build a new marketing strategy around them to increase engagement with your current members, and to increase future member enrollment.

Not only do associations need to learn more about their members, but it’s crucial to stay on top of industry trends. What do your members need help preparing for within their industry? Based on the answers you receive; your association can take advantage of any gaps by offering support and guidance regarding these new trends.

Survey tip: When collecting information from your members, ask if you can interview them to hear more specifics about their experience. Share these interviews far and wide to promote events, encourage member registration or use them to create fun social media posts. Someone’s personal experience with your association may spark new engagement. Conducting interviews also allows you to gather more in-depth knowledge into how members feel about your association. This is your chance to ask what you are doing well and what can be improved.

READ: LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR SURVEYS VALUABLE AND EFFICIENT

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

It’s challenging enough to motive members to attend another virtual event, but even harder when competitors are also sending out marketing materials promoting similar events. A competitive analysis provides insight how your association can set itself apart. Once you have reviewed the competition, you can start to identify gaps in your marketing strategy. 

It could be as simple as this. After conducting competitive research, you’ve discovered that your competitors are offering many networking events in the late afternoon throughout the week. Your association has been wanting to host a networking event, but now you have information to set your event apart. Your association decides to host coffee networking opportunities so that members available early in the day will be able to attend. You may be surprised how simple adjustments, or differentiators, can draw people to your association. 

READ: TYPES OF RESEARCH AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Freshen Up Your Brand

Even though we are all working remotely and adapting to receiving most (if not all) of our information digitally, people want to connect! Current and future members are craving opportunity to discuss pain points or solutions within their industry. Even though the future may seem bleak, now is the time to freshen your association’s image to stand out and reconnect.

A new brand image can speak to a new audience in the future. Modernize your image and marketing strategy to appeal to the next generation in the work force and to continue connect with those that have been with your association for a while. 

An example: Wood Component Manufacturers Association (WCMA) felt like their logo was outdated and didn’t connect with their younger members. They decided to refresh their image to set their association apart. This resulted in a modern aesthetic for their logo and brand perception. 

Finding new ways to connect with your members is more important than ever. As your members adapt to new work styles and trends, your association must do the same. Think through how surveying members, researching your competition and a brand refresh can boost your member engagement to new heights. 

Looking for assistance to help set your association apart from the competition? Learn more about Ingenuity’s association marketing experience.


 

Video header for Christine Nelson's "4 Ways to Maximize Your International's; AEC Marketing" video.

4 Ways to Maximize Your Internal AEC Marketing

Are you feeling limited by how you can differentiate your firm from its competitors? In this video, our Lead Communications Consultant shares four ways to maximize marketing efforts to help your AEC firm stand out. Check out this video or the blog post below to learn more about the importance of research and analysis, how to maximize marketing in proposals and how marketing can support your firm’s reputation.

Architectural, engineering and construction firms have a unique environment for business development, with limitations on how they can approach differentiation. 

Despite these limitations, we’ve found that marketing can be maximized in several ways to help you stand out from competitors.

To really maximize your marketing, here are four ways to make sure you’re getting the most from your efforts.

1. Outsourced Research and Analysis

Sometimes you’re too close to the business to see threats or opportunities. Through branding research, competitive research, market research or search engine optimization research, you can identify strengths to leverage in your marketing and business development.

For example, a recent content audit we conducted identified several ways for a regional engineering firm to leverage the great content they’ve already created and align it with business goals. 

2. Maximize Your AEC Marketing in Your Proposals

Much of your advantage is how you present information. Identify and incorporate competitive messaging, but also communicate with charts and strong visual images to reduce your word count.

Developing better templates can also streamline the process and avoid repetitive copy. 

My third and fourth tips are somewhat tied together because they are about your reputation. This includes traditional and online reputation building.

Your content, social posts, public relations and your visual brand all work together to put your best foot forward – especially with so much of your firm being viewed online these days.

You want to ensure a great first impression. Besides great content, your SEO keywords help new leads find you quickly online.

3. Keep Doing PR Through Industry Publications and Apply for Awards

Those activities attract interest in your team’s knowledge, and they keep your firm’s name in front of people in between projects.

4. Do Research on the Best Search Keywords for Your Firm

Use those keywords as inspiration for fresh articles and social posts. Create buzz around the services you want to be known for.

When looking ahead at your big vision to attract future business, do your research, enhance your proposal process and stay visible through PR and optimized search strategies. That’s it!

I’m happy to answer your questions here at Ingenuity. 


Your firm may have the opportunity to supercharge its marketing efforts through partnership or referrals. Learn more about this marketing strategy!

 

Office background with smart phone in orange color.

How referral sources influence your branding process

 

What is one of your favorite brands, and how did you get hooked on the product or service? It’s likely that word-of-mouth was your referral. Think about it! We talk about products and brands with our coworkers, family and friends all the time. Our loyalty to certain brands or products supports business development.

Here’s an example of brand loyalty and how referrals impact the branding process.

You and your family have always purchased Chevrolet vehicles. You decide to look for a fresh perspective and seek advice from a coworker for your next vehicle purchase. Based on their advice and feedback, you purchase a new Ford SUV.

You end up loving the new amenities and low-maintenance fees the Ford SUV provides. Your brand loyalty has changed! You plan to inform your family members of how much you’re enjoying your Ford vehicle, knowing their brand loyalty could switch just like yours did.

This is exactly what Ford wanted to happen! Building reliable vehicles that people want to talk about and share is all part of their branding process. This can be part of your brand loyalty process, too!

How can you build referral sources that ultimately support your business development strategy?

Engage with your current clients

One of the most efficient ways to attract future clients is to utilize your current client base, allowing them to tap into their networks for you. It’s likely that their business connections are also your target audience or potential referral base.

One way to encourage engaged conversation with your current clients is to offer a survey or assessment. Surveys provide an opportunity for you to better understand your clients, but also help your clients give you referral information directly.

READ: CREATE A SURVEY TO RECEIVE REFERRAL INFORMATION.

Make sure to follow up after you have received survey responses. This tells your clients that you appreciate the feedback. During this follow-up step, they may be more likely to make an email or personal introduction.

Tips to connect with referrals

Always collect your referral’s email address to easily follow up and connect. Frequent follow-ups allow you and your business to stay top of mind with your referral sources without taking up too much of their or your time.

Keep the emails focused on what’s new with your firm or association, what services or events you’re offering and the ways you can assist them with their own clients. Your goal is to show your clients that you care and by doing so you will build brand loyalty through these emails and keep your firm top of mind.

What happens next?

You received referral contact information, engaged with those referrals, and now they have started working with you. Hooray! You have reached your goal. Or have you?

The process isn’t complete just yet. Give the referral source a quick phone call or write a personal note, thanking them for their referral. Better yet, depending on the size of the prospect they referred you, you may want to send them a gift such as a gift card, a bottle of wine or something they would enjoy. This is a great way to increase brand loyalty even further and start the referral process all over again.

Ultimately, if you can refer business back to your referral sources, that’s a slam-dunk branding gift that they will remember the next time their clients have a need!

Over time, you will see the trickle effect of your referral program! Your new clients will begin to share their own referrals, which can further establish your brand positioning.

Want to learn more about adding partnerships and referral sources into your brand positioning strategy? Read this blog post for tips.


Make Your Marketing Strategy Personal

Positivity may be the secret ingredient to jumpstart your creative marketing strategy. How can your firm or association brighten the day for others? In this video Communications Consultant Christine Nelson talks through a few creative marketing ideas that can refresh your personal connection with clients or members.

Borrow these ideas to inspire your conversations and marketing strategy, and make marketing personal!


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

Are you tired of reading? No really. Every day you get tons of emails and reminders and texts that want your attention. Maybe you’ve started to delete everything.

Well, that’s probably what your clients and potential clients are doing or want to do, too. With this in mind, take the opportunity to get more creative with your marketing. It can start with a dose of positivity!

Think about it. How can your firm or association brighten the day for others?

Here are a few ideas to make your marketing more creative, but also more human focused:

Send a handwritten note to say how much you value a client’s business or a member’s contributions.

You can also change up your regular newsletters or correspondence by including tips for making life easier. A simple work hack or life balance tip is always appreciated.

How about picking up the phone? If you’ve done too many videoconferences in a row, change it up and suggest a short phone call to focus on active listening. 

How about creating a video that demonstrates how several of your team members are volunteering for a great cause. Share it on social for more engagement with your followers. You could also create a challenge or contest that everyone can participate in!

Looking ahead, are there new, ancillary services you can offer that support personal connection with clients or members? How about, in addition to quarterly check-ins, a quarterly business vision mapping or marketing component to help them focus on new possibilities?

Your own team or a facilitator can support these forward-focused conversations.   Help people imagine a bigger, satisfying future while you work with them on solutions for today’s challenges.

Now I’m sure you can find many ways to bring hope and inspiration to your clients and members. But if you need more ideas, connect with me at Ingenuity!


 

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.

Sign up for Ingenuity’s monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date on marketing trends.


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.