A good number of Accounting, Law, HR, Architectural and Engineering Firms in Nigeria rely heavily on networking and referrals as the main source of getting new business. Most of these referrals come from previous or current clients, friends, and family members. All of these firms mentioned above are classified as Professional Services Firms and they have been known to follow this marketing route for ages.
Afterall, It is a generally accepted truth that all businesses wish to grow. And firms that offer professional services are no exception.
Here’s the problem…
While referrals and networking are both great and can bring in Clients for business growth, both of them can be time-consuming and restrictive as it confines the firm to a particular circle of influence.
Secondly, since there is no structure to this form of marketing, it is largely unpredictable and it cannot be used for planning as its success depends on other variables that are largely out of the control of these firms.
Nonetheless, Professional Services firms need to attract Clients as much as companies who sell products need customers to buy their products. For these firms to succeed and grow their clientele base, they need to have steady, planned and predictable ways of attracting clients and growing their firms.
While some fairly large Professional Services firms can afford Above-the-line marketing promotion (Television, Radio, Outdoor and Newspapers), some medium sized and small firms cannot afford ATL marketing, yet it is important for these firms to engage in some form of marketing activities in order to attract Clients.
Here’s the clue…
As much as Professional Services firms in Nigeria need to grow their clientele base like Producers need to sell products, promoting professional services requires a slightly different approach from the way products are sold.
While a product can sell on the basis of its own strength, services are sold based on the expertise of the service provider and because they are intangible, the expert behind the service usually stands as the face of the service. For this reason, Expert Branding is an important part of marketing professional services and it should be given adequate attention.
Secondly, a consumer can pick up a bottle of coke and read its content on the label without much ado or perhaps accept the advertising message which says it satisfies thirst but this is not the same for services. A professional services firm needs to embrace education as a major aspect of its marketing strategy as it needs to help people understand the challenges they may be facing and the possible solutions to it.
If you run an Accounting, Firm, Law Firm, HR Firm, Architectural and Engineering Firm in Nigeria, here are 5 dependable ways to promote your services and attract qualified Clients.
5 Dependable Ways to Promote and Attract Clients to Professional Services Firms in Nigeria
1. Develop an online office with a marketing compliant website
If I wanted to buy a coke, I will buy one off the shelf from an outlet which may not necessarily be a Coca Cola outlet. But of course, services can not be bought off the shelf in just any outlet. However, they can be bought or perhaps inquiries made, on your WEBSITE which is accessible anywhere, anytime.
Today, if you approach an organisation to sell your services to them, the first thing they do is to check your website to learn more about you. While your proposal may contain the relevant information for the business you are sourcing, your website helps them to understand you better and provides social proof that your firm is not a ghost.
Also, your website is a 24hours sales tool. It works while your firm is closed, on public holidays, weekends and it can reach a far wider target audience than your personal networking can ever do.
However, in order to get great results, your website has to be built with marketing in mind. To learn more about building a lead generating website, read this article.
2. Grow online visibility with search engine optimization
Today, the first port of call when sourcing for a product or service is the internet search engine which has now been coined as a popular phrase – “Google it”.
More people are turning to Google (and other search engines) for suggestions and education to help them make buying decisions. That is where SEO comes into the marketing scene.
Search Engine Optimization shortened to SEO is the simple act of optimizing your website so that search engines can find and index it. This is done by adding the appropriate keywords and phrases relevant to what your site is offering using the language that your target audience are familiar with. Looking to learn more about SEO and how to implement it, Click here.
3. Educate prospective clients with content marketing
People go online for 3 reasons;
1. To be educated
2. To be entertained
3. To engage
And today’s consumer would rather be educated than be sold to.
Content Marketing involves creating and sharing educational materials (Articles, Research Reports, Videos, White Papers, Infographics etc) about challenges that your target audience may have and your services or expertise seeks to solve. Although the content may not expressly promote your services, it does establish your expertise in the area and helps your prospect understand the problem.
For example, if you run an Accounting Firm targeted at Small Businesses, you can develop content around relevant topics like; How to calculate employee taxes in Nigeria, Payslip Template etc.
If your content marketing is consistent and well done, it can also help your online visibility, build your brand as an expert in the field and help boost your website ranking. Need suggestions on the type of content to develop for your brand? Read this article
4. Engage Prospective Clients with Social Media
Social Media is the new word of mouth and it is steadily growing into the most preferred customer service point. Aside from serving as an engagement tool to reach out to prospects, you can also use it to gauge the pulse of the market and hear what your prospects are saying.
In addition to this, it can also help to keep you at the top of consumers minds as they engage with you constantly.
Since there are several Social Media Platforms and it is almost impossible to keep up with all of them, it is best to evaluate your services, see the ones that are most relevant to your prospects and the services you offer and then stick with those ones. The key is to engage consistently and in line with your brand personality.
If done properly, Social Media can also help to boost your online visibility as content shared on Social Media are featured in search engine results.
5. Reach out to prospects using targeted email marketing
Email marketing has been proven by several pieces of research to be one of the greatest marketing tactics for Professional Services Marketing.
Reaching out to the prospective target audience through Email Marketing can be done in two ways:
a. The first way is to build a community of people who may be interested in your services and share educative content with them through email. This will help to educate your prospects, create awareness for you and position you as an expert in your field. Having created the relationship over time, you can now pitch your services to them or better, some may eventually call on you when they need your services.
b. Another way to do it is to send “Cold Call” emails directly to prospects who may be interested in your services. A cold call email is simply a business pitch sent to a prospect whom one has no relationship with. Cold call emails need to be used with great caution as it is usually an intrusion into people’s privacy and sometimes breeds contempt.
So what next… Looking to convince management?
If you are looking for reasons to convince your management to embrace the marketing strategies outlined above, here are 5 of them;
1. They are more targeted
2. They can be integrated with other marketing activities
3. They are affordable and measurable
4. They are scalable
5. They work non-stop – irrespective of time and date and are not bound by borders. Eg. Someone in Aba can see your website or read your content that he finds value in and then decide to do business with your firm.
While networking and referrals should not be totally thrown in the bin, they can be effectively integrated with the strategies outlined above to bring about a well rounded and more effective marketing strategy for attracting clients and growing Professional Services Firms in Nigeria.
Need help with marketing your professional services firm or simply have questions you would like us to answer, you can reach out to us by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: 08181295000