Lessons from #MarketingUnited: Professional Services

After hearing about nonprofit engagement at Marketing United, the inaugural conference from our friends at Emma, I heard a discussion on another one of our favorite industries – professional services. When it comes to marketing, it seems all professional services face similar issues, and it was interesting to hear challenges and successes.

The professional services panel included:

  • Sam Dresser, School of Rock
  • Steve Shelton, Hotbox
  • Stephen Zralek, Bone McAllester Norton Law
  • Jon Zimmerman, Front Desk 

And here are a few main points and tips:

  1. Referrals are still the best way to attract clients. It’s about personal relationships.
  2. You are not going to see an ad that makes you spend a decent amount of time and money. Reviews and opinions help people believe the organization is legitimate.
  3. They have to hear about it numerous times.
  4. If the service is good, the word will spread.
  5. Use your website and digital marketing presence to establish credibility.
  6. Keep social media presence updated and consistent.
  7. Tell the story behind the brand. People want to know they are using a company they feel good about.
  8. Make sure to align deliverables and timelines on the front end. Meeting established expectations keep everyone happy.
  9. Retain clients and keep connection through in-person events.
  10. Watch how much you discount your pricing upfront - previous customers will start to question your value and would be upset.

My favorite piece of advice was from Steven Shelton on behalf of HotBox, but the panel was in agreement on this: Be confident in your service and don’t beg when someone wants to leave. People want to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. They think they can do better on service or price or maybe they are just tired of doing the same thing. This is normal. If people leave to go to a competitor, make it a point to talk to them after they leave. See what the competitor is doing well and learn how you can be better.

Often, the grass isn’t always greener, and the open communication and welcoming attitude just might bring the customer back.