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3 Marketing Mistakes Engineering Firms Make

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

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

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

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

Mistake #2: Inconsistent Marketing

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

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

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

Read: Competitive research for differentiation

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

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

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

Mistake #3: Not Tracking Project Results Along the Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IF YOU NEED SOME RESEARCH DONE, WE SHINE IN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. SEE OUR SERVICES.


 

A campfire with roasting marshmellows.

Accounting Marketing Campfire: Content Marketing Trends

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

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

Use content marketing scheduling tools.

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

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

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

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

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

Make content creation competitive or required.

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

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

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

Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose.

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

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

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

Hire a business ghostwriter.

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

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

READ: How to develop a content marketing strategy

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

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

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

You may also like our blog post about virtual networking.


 

Person typing a message into Slack application on laptop.

Keep Conversation Flowing When Working Remotely

When the entire team was in the office, short conversations in the breakroom or by the printer were common and helped you get to know your coworkers. Maybe you’ve heard these quick chats called “water cooler moments.” Water cooler moments are a great opportunity to simply hang out with one another and get to know coworkers on a personal level. You may have had many water cooler moments with clients as well when you met up for lunch or happy hour to discuss upcoming projects.

Now that many offices are working remotely or have implemented a flexible work-from-home model, these personal and impromptu moments to connect are far and few between. Here are a few ways to make water cooler moments with coworkers or clients possible when working remotely.

Incorporate Casual Conversation into Your Routine Meetings

Add time for water cooler moments into your regularly scheduled meetings. You can even add structure to these casual conversations by planning a specific question to ask in advance, or noting to catch up on the client’s recent vacation that they took. Taking the time to ask these light-hearted, personal questions allows you to build meaningful relationships with coworkers and clients. It allows you to understand their thought processes and patterns, which can make work more fun for everyone.

During these water cooler moments, take note of any personal status updates a coworker or client shares with you. Building strong relationships is possible even when working remotely! Remembering that a coworker was going to a specific state for vacation allows you to follow up and ask specific questions about their time off. Or maybe you notice that your client’s office has a different décor. Make personal connections whenever you get the chance to maintain a positive work environment, even when you’re at home.

PODCAST: Quick tips to nurture client relationships

Utilize Technology

There are many tools to make water cooler moments even more impromptu than during a meeting. Utilizing tools like Slack and chat features tied to your email or video conference software are easy ways to quickly say hello to a friend at the company. These features can also be used for quick work updates, so whenever you have to share a status update on a project, make sure to ask about the coworker’s kickball league or favorite sports team. These conversations don’t have to be long, but are meaningful and help build team comradery.

There are many different types of professional online messaging tools your firm or association can use to stay connected. If you don’t know of a tool that your organization uses, reach out to the HR or IT department. Maybe there is one that you need to get connected to, or they would be able to set one up for the entire team to take advantage of.

VIDEO: A positive work culture attracts great candidates. Learn more!

Get Face-to-Face

The best part of in-office water cooler moments is that you had the opportunity to connect with coworkers that you didn’t work with directly, or you could schedule regular hangouts with a client. When we work from home, that opportunity to connect with different teams or departments is often missed. If you’re like us at Ingenuity, you love forming relationships with people. Don’t be afraid to admit that casual conversations in the middle of the work day is something that can turn your day around! If this is you too, invite a coworker or client to have a quick 15-minute phone or video call with you over coffee.

These conversations aren’t impromptu, but can certainly be something to look forward to. Just because so many of us are working from home doesn’t mean that we don’t have to see one another. Reach out and send the invitation to connect. You may be surprised at how many of the people you enjoyed talking with near the printer in the office will want to chat remotely.

Keep the Conversation Light

Quick chats in the breakroom were fun because they were refreshing. The topic of work didn’t come up often. It was a little bit of a break that allowed you to go back to your task at hand with a new perspective and cleared mind. Light conversations also helped you form long-lasting relationships with clients.

Keep the same strategy in place when you decide to send someone an online message, invite them to a one-on-one video call or when incorporating water cooler moments into your meetings. Allow this time to be a little break from the reality of your work day.

By taking a break, you gain momentum on your project when you get back to your desk. Your clients also benefit from the break, and the entire office benefits by you having built stronger coworker relationships. Relationships that you form through these impromptu conversations will allow you to work better with coworkers and clients. Not only will you work better with one another, but work will be more fun, more conversational and the finished project results will be collaborative and successful. Implement more water cooler moments into your work-from-home routine and reap the benefits!

Virtual networking is here to stay! Learn more tips about how virtual tools can boost your firm or associations business development strategy.


 

Cat sniffing catnip

3 Things to Make Your Association Like Cat Nip to Members

 

What if your association offerings were like cat nip to members and potential members? They rush to it. They actively engage in it. It makes them happy.

This is exactly the experience you want members to have, especially with the changing demographics of professionals. They consume information and socialize differently than they did within associations 20 years ago. If we know anything about digital marketing ideas, we know that you can adapt your outreach to become catnip to your members. Try these three things.

Help Them Browse and Shop

Your buyers are comfortable shopping online, and they do it with services just as much as with products. A GE Capital Bank “major purchase shopper study” found that 81% of buyers go online before talking to someone. They also spend an average of 79 days gathering information.

Your online presence should allow your members and potential members the ease of shopping your site, gathering information and resources and confirming the value of membership. Don’t have all your good stuff locked behind a “members only” wall. Your potential members need opportunities to browse and consider contacting you.

Some of the top resources we’re seeing on association sites include industry studies and survey reports, videos by current members and infographics that show the results and benefits of membership. Reinforce how your association is a critical avenue to their success.

See an example of a valuable industry report.

Provide News and Listen for Trends

Marketing for associations is all about being a resource. You want to be the go-to source of valuable information. You do this by providing up-to-date news, but also by listening for emerging challenges or trends.

Your social channels are invaluable for providing this service. Don’t just promote the results of your educational events or conferences. Photos and videos are great to showcase your member culture, but also post legislative news, industry breakthroughs and studies relevant to your audience.

In addition, listen to your members for issues they are concerned about. Follow their posts and identify opportunities to create events, resources or articles and videos that address those needs.

Offer Multiple Points of Interaction

As your members go about their day, they consume information in different ways. They may use their digital notebook to read the news in the morning from various digests. Then they check their social networks. Later, they may listen to a podcast while exercising or driving. Your association marketing must consider how your members consume information at different points in their day. Provide your information in those multiple formats.

If you record your webinars, for example, turn that valuable information into a podcast series. It’s easier for members and potential members to consume while they’re on the go. The technology is available to easily transform an MP4 file into audio only.

In addition, you will find that some members prefer attending virtual events even as in-person events ramp up. Keep that hybrid option available, and think about how to make the virtual experience special and impactful.

Meet your members and potential members at the crossroads of their needs and lifestyle, and you will keep them coming back for more!

For more cat nip ideas and marketing for associations, contact us at Ingenuity.

SEE HOW THIS GLOBAL ASSOCIATION IS MAINTAINING ITS COMPETITIVE POSITION AND MEMBER INTEREST.


 

Waterfall with rainbow

Add Client Check-Ins to AEC Project Debriefs

We all agree that project debriefs are helpful if you can get clear takeaways about areas to improve in your management processes, cost estimates or client communications. But everything we’ve read about project debriefs is essentially internal and focused on your team.

What about the client’s perspective?

AEC firms tell us that they get the majority of their new work through repeat clients or referrals from clients. So it begs the question, why aren’t project managers checking in with clients immediately post-project, six months after a project and so on?

Some experienced project managers and firms with a sales team are great at this, but it should be a common practice across your PM team if you are building a culture that delivers consistently stellar client experiences. PMs who check in with clients strengthen the relationship, and they will also hear about future work on the horizon sooner.

It’s a team effort. PMs and business developers have different, but complementary interests in the relationship. Business developers are interested in keeping clients happy and attracting new work. PMs are interested in improving processes, efficiency and project outcomes. It all translates to new work and more enjoyable projects for everyone.

Winning AEC Business While Retaining Great PMs

Here are some thoughts to integrate client check-ins with your post-project debriefing. They are a key part of competitive research and winning future business.

  1. Encourage your PMs to invite or join clients for lunch. Post-project, you should have fun, celebratory lunches or post-project conversations. Why? It will strengthen the client relationship by letting the PM show their human and personal side. People who have a nice time together are more likely to want to work together in the future.
  2. Prep your PMs for great post-project questions. As part of your debrief process, create some questions that the PM can use to collect important feedback and also ask for referrals. You already know if the project came in on time and on budget, so why ask clients that?

Ask them about what they appreciated most during the project and what might have displeased them. Ask if you’re on the same page about the value you delivered or if they have other ideas. And finally, ask how likely they are to refer you to other clients, and when there might be new work coming your way.

READ: Read this post for additional interviewing techniques

  1. Train your PMs to share client feedback with marketing and business development. If your marketing team doesn’t know about how your firm saved a client thousands of dollars through a new choice of materials or an alternative design approach, they can’t share a success story to attract new business.

Plus, PMs can feel proud talking about their “wins” on a short video or sharing a client compliment in a case study. Even if you have an NDA, smart marketing people know how to discreetly share that competitive feedback and communicate your firm’s value to clients and prospects. Client feedback and stories are the most memorable ways to do that. And who is closer to the project’s value and deliverables than the PM?

Why is client feedback so important for AEC repeat business? You can’t assume that clients will choose your firm every time. These industries are too competitive.

Instead, proactively ask for the feedback through your debriefing process. Discuss the project internally, and then take that information on the road to discuss with your clients. They will appreciate that you spent time talking about their project, and you will appreciate having time with them that isn’t solely focused on a proposal, a problem or a deadline.

We highly recommend a post-project celebration, too. Cheers!

SEE INGENUITY’S AEC MARKETING SERVICES

THIS FIRM TRANSFORMED GREAT PROJECT RESULTS INTO PR FOR THEIR AEC FIRM


 

Someone laying bricks

AEC Marketing Basics

There’s no question that your AEC firm is busy! The marketing department may be creating proposals left and right to take advantage of all the new business opportunities. When new business can be quickly earned through proposals, the firm’s marketing basics can be left out to dry. While proposals certainly position your firm to win new business in the present, these marketing basics will continue to position your firm for success long into the future.

Be Present Online

According to Intergrowth, 80% of major purchases start with online research. As people go online to learn about the AEC industry and your services, it’s critical that your firm can be found through an internet search. Here are some ways to make sure your firm shows up as a search result and that your brand is accurately represented online.

    • Add content to your website. When was the last time you updated information on your site? Add information about completed projects, industry trends and anything else that sets your firm apart from the competition. Write a blog about the new drone technology your firm has invested in or highlight a presentation that an employee gave at a recent conference. By creating valuable, educational content, you educate your potential clients and become a trusted thought leader within your industry.

Here are a few content ideas to incorporate into your marketing strategy:

    1. Blog posts
    2. eBooks, worksheets and templates
    3. Project photos and videos

SEO Tip: Adding information to your website helps your firm stand out on search engines like Google. Search engines are more likely to highlight websites that are maintained and updated regularly.

    • Regularly post to social media. Social media is an extension of your website. Use these platforms to engage with partners, clients and to showcase your work. Social media can also be a great tool to retain and attract talent to your firm by highlighting firm news and culture events.

SEO Tip: An active social media account that links to your website also improves your chances of being a top search result on Google or any other search engine. We recommending posting to social media at least 1-2 times a week.

DOWNLOAD: Check out these easy tips to improve your website’s SEO

Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be one of the most powerful ways to reach warm leads and convert them into clients. By emailing your contact list consistently, your firm stays top of mind. Find an e-newsletter schedule that works best for you and stick to it. We recommend sending an email at least once a month to communicate with your contact list.

Topics to include within your future newsletters:

    • Award Recognition – Highlight recent awards your firm has received, or projects you’ve completed. This showcases your firm’s experience and instills trust in your brand.
    • Webinar Invitations – Whether you’re hosting a webinar or one of the firm’s employees is participating as a speaker in one, promote it via email. This positions your firm as a thought leader within the industry. Webinars are a great lead generation tool!
    • Content Updates – Highlight the new content you’ve added to the website. New blogs, video or resources are always popular to share and will drive traffic back to your website to learn more about the firm.

VIDEO: 5 Email Marketing Tips for Lead Generation

Tell Your Story

Your firm exists to help clients reach their goals. Case studies are a powerful tool to help others understand the work you do and highlights successes. Rather than tell prospective clients how you can help them reach their goals, show them. Tell the story from start to finish, but highlight the client as the focal point. Your case studies should answer the following questions:

    • Who is the client and what do they do?
    • What were the client’s goals?
    • What were their needs?
    • How did you satisfy those needs and help meet the client’s goals?

But don’t stop there! Follow up with this client to ask them how your firm’s work benefited them. What solutions do they feel like your firm provided? 

Testimonials

This leads us to our last point. When discussing previous work with clients, collect a testimonial about your relationship. Share these testimonials far and wide. Share on your website, via social media, in newsletters and in case studies. Testimonials connect with future clients in a meaningful, personal way. Others can relate to a testimonial and will work with your firm to have a similar experience. 

Your AEC firm is busy, but don’t push these marketing essentials to the side any longer. They continue to be the foundation of your firm’s success and support future growth opportunities. Proposals are the sprinkle on top. Position your firm for longevity by investing time and energy into the marketing basics that will continuously position your firm as a leader and innovator within your industry. 

Looking for more guidance on marketing basics? Contact us at Ingenuity.

DOWNLOAD: THIS AEC DEBRIEF CHECKLIST HELPS BUILD LONG-LASTING RELATIONSHIPS. HERE’S HOW.


 

Illustration of computer monitor with Google Ads logo on the screen

Best Practices for Digital Ad Campaigns

If you’re reading this, you may have made the decision to maximize your online presence by investing in Google Ads. Or, maybe you have been using Google Ads for some time but want to change them up to improve their overall performance. Let’s talk through best practices to create engaging, persuasive and reputable online advertisements.

READ: How Google Ads Can Support Business Development

The Importance of Versatile Ads

When investing in Google Ads, you want these ads to be placed in front of people that are interested in information related to your firm or association’s services. Your goal is to attract people to your website that need our help.

When creating a Google Ad, you have the ability to create multiple headlines and descriptions. Google is an intuitive machine that will then interchange your headline and description based on what someone is searching for online. The keywords that you implement into the ad content should attract people who are actually searching for information related to your services. If you have been using the same ad copy for a while, it might be time to change the headlines and descriptions to better reach your target audience through refreshed keywords and phrases.

READ: 3 SEO Boosters and How to Implement Them

Create an Engaging Landing Page

Think of the landing page associated with your online ad as the face of your organization. How do you want new website visitors to view your brand or services when they visit your website for the first time?

Tips to make your landing page engaging and effective:

  1. Deliver on the ads promise. Does the landing page provide information a viewer would expect to find based on the content of the ad? Make this information front and center so it can’t be missed.
  2. Create engaging content. Instead of the usual, printed copy on a page, turn your message into a video to better explain your services or upcoming event. Create a downloadable resource to share, or display a case study. These engaging content ideas better position your firm or association as a thought leader by displaying your expertise, and by making your message memorable.
  3. Make it easy to reach out. Create a contact form for website visitors to fill out if they want to get in touch. Visitors that click through your ad and land on the website are potential leads. Collect contact information to follow up with them and add them to your newsletter. This follow-through helps you stay top-of-mind when they are ready to become a client.


Ask yourselves these three questions when designing an ad landing page:

Google prefers to showcase ads with landing pages and that have these three factors: relevance and original content, transparency and navigability.

  1. How will a visitor navigate the page? Design your landing pages with your target audience in mind. Encourage engagement and navigation to other areas of the website.
  2. Are you providing clear information? Be direct and upfront with the information and services you want to highlight on each landing page.
  3. Is your landing page relevant to the ad? Use similar keywords and phrases on the landing page as you do in the ad. Assure visitors that your information is what they were looking for.

The Impact on Quality Score

The relevance of an ad and an engaging landing page do make an impact on your ad’s overall performance. These elements are critical to making your Google Ads a success because these elements impact the ad’s quality score. Quality score is Google’s rating system to show you how user friendly your ads, landing pages and keywords are. This rating is represented on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, or best performing. If your ads have a lower quality score, they are less likely to be placed in front of people searching for services related to what you have to offer.

You can improve an ad’s quality score by creating specific landing pages for each ad you have. Meaning, don’t link to the same landing page for multiple ads. Quality score can also be improved by using relevant keywords. Just like we mentioned before, make sure your ads are relevant to the landing page you’re directing them to.

We hope you now have a grasp on how to make your ads relevant, how to make the landing page engaging and how these elements impact your ad’s overall performance. With these tips in mind, your ads and web content will encourage new visitors to engage with your firm or association, supporting your business development strategy.

Curios to learn more SEO tips? Check out our SEO Checklist, a tool designed to help you improve conversion.


 

Desk with Laptop showing video conference

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


 

Client Satisfaction Blog

Borrow these 3 client experience hacks from DIY tax platforms

Client Satisfaction Blog

Right now, DIY tax platforms are designed for individuals with simple returns, and they don’t necessarily compete with CPA firms. However, their proactive communications throughout tax season are quite elegant and worth a closer look.

Leveraging their technology, these platforms communicate with customers and potential customers prior to tax season, during the tax preparation process and after. Since there is no personal relationship with a CPA, they enhance the client experience with regular, strategic email check-ins and feedback requests.

You may be very proactive throughout the year with your clients in an advisory capacity. When deadlines push and laws change rapidly, though, your firm could leverage marketing technology to stay in touch and productive.

Corporate clients are still run by individuals who are busy and don’t have time to check on the status of tax filings and payments or audits. Even so, they want to know that their CPA is on the job despite regulatory delays or deadline extensions. Take a cue from DIY tax services in these three ways to enhance your clients’ experience. They are simple and will be appreciated.

Hack #1 – Reminders to Connect

Once people have an account with a DIY service, the platform begins a series of emails with friendly reminders to get in touch. It’s their version of a tax planner, but they send it more than once to remind busy customers to get started.

Whether you are communicating with CFOs, administrators or owners, a series of pre-planning or reminder emails strengthens the client experience because it does not require the client to search through paperwork OR emails to find your firm’s instructions or request. When that reminder email shows up, your clients will appreciate the simplicity of following through.

These emails can be personalized and scheduled through your integrated CRM and marketing tools. In this DIY tax platform example, the email is reminding the client of a scheduled appointment. Busy people appreciate reminders.

Appointment Reminder Example

Hack #2 – Automated Updates

With unprecedented tax changes over the past few years, CPAs have experienced an endless tax season. So have your clients.

Amidst these changing tax laws, regulations and filing deadlines, the DIY platforms do a smart thing. They send regular updates to let customers know about the status of their returns.

Automated Email Updates

In your automated email updates, you can give a status update, but also proactively let the client know what it means and what’s next for them.

These updates calm client concerns or frustrations. You will potentially avoid multiple calls or emails from clients, which disrupts your team’s productivity. Use your technology to set up these emails in advance. They can be as simple as:

“Good news! Your tax preparation is underway. I will let you know when I have more details on your filing date. Thank you for choosing us.”

OR

“Thanks for your patience. We are waiting on information from the IRS regarding some aspects of your return, and we will update you on filing status by March 17…”

READ: Keys to Fostering Brand Loyalty for Your Firm

Hack #3 – Measure Client Satisfaction

DIY tax platforms always offer a survey or ask customers to review their service to help them improve it. The surveys are less than three minutes, but they target certain aspects of the tax filing process. They help the company identify service, technology or outcomes that people highly value or highly dislike.

Quality Customer Support

Through your CPA firm marketing, you can offer a series of multiple choice and open-ended questions in a short survey following your key tax or audit engagements. They can be automated like the DIY tax platforms to feed your firm information about the client experience.

Surveys should be analyzed for action steps that support future communications. They can also help you identify new services to offer.

Using these three client experience hacks from DIY tax platforms can optimize the great advisory relationships you have built with loyal clients. They will also help new clients feel like they made the right choice with your firm. If you need assistance with client experience communications or setting up your automated digital marketing surveys, contact us at Ingenuity.

View Ingenuity’s research and survey services.

Woman talking into megaphone

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.