It’s no surprise that marketing is moving from an outbound focus (trade shows, in-person seminars and direct mail campaigns) to a more inbound focused approach (e-newsletters, email blasts, webinars and social media). According to Hubspot (a software company assisting businesses with increasing web traffic and converting them to leads and customers), companies used to focus 90% of their marketing on outbound initiatives; however, today, the numbers are staggeringly different.

After spending nearly 12 years inside a professional service firm, I know they are always looking for ways to decrease expenses while increasing revenue. So, listen up! Now is the time, if you haven’t done it already, to start utilizing the online marketing “freebies” that are available. Here are some examples how professional service firms can utilize the free resources provided via the internet:

Understand and identify which free resources would benefit your firm

  • Facebook According to Digital Buzz, “With over 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth, with over 250 million of them (over 50%) who log in every day.” Facebook is the #1 social media site today, have you figured out how to use it for your business? Even small law firms can be on Facebook and accumulate likes, check out this one – they have 10,353 likes!
  • Twitter – If you wish to or can successfully share your news in 140 characters or less the #2 largest social media site, Twitter, is for you. Check out Freed Maxick CPAs great twitter page, see it here!
  • Pinterest – According to an article in Forbes in February 2012, Pinterest has more than 10 million monthly unique visitors. Quite the audience if you have something more visual to showcase. If you perform a quick search on Pinterest, the 3rd largest social media site, for accounting firm and see what comes up, can this site work for your firm?
  • LinkedIn – The largest social networking site for professionals. With over 175 Million members currently, it is THE place to go for recruiting, hiring research, referral networking and building an online community.  Your entire leadership team should be there, with completed profiles and strategies on building their networks. Additionally, don’t forget to build your new company profile page, here’s how.
  • YouTube – As the 2nd largest website for “search”  (2nd to Google), YouTube is most popular as the first-stop-shop for the under 30 age range. When looking for information about a particular topic, most under 30-somethings hit YouTube first… while those of us over 30 are still surfing Google and reading our news versus watching videos. Professional service firms have been very successful on YouTube, check out what WithumSmith + Brown did for recruiting / building brand awareness (and check out the comments – one of the recent ones is about a student who will graduate and wants an interview)!

Wonder how you can do it? Getting started is the hardest part, but here are some ideas, so you can start now!

Dedicate one member of your marketing team to plan and implement a content development program

Odds are the marketing leader at your firm is currently meeting with the thought leaders regularly, so why not ensure the education and information is getting transferred to your clients, potential clients and referrals? Once your content has been identified, build a plan of action around when you’ll be posting, on what subject, by whom and any other deadline driven criteria.

A dedicated, driven marketing professional will be able to successfully develop (and manage) a plan, utilize and foster the knowledge sharing and implement the firm’s content marketing strategies, which will:

  • Build focused (niched) brand awareness and thought leadership,
  • Educate and nurture clients, prospects and referrals,
  • Enhance your current SEO efforts,
  • Attract search engines, and
  • Build a trusted and respected online personality for your firm and your leadership.

Encourage your professionals to share firm news via social media

Professionals are spending time on social media, so why not encourage them to share your company news, employee news and client news. After all, more free brand awareness will only help keep your firm in the forefront of your current clients, potential clients and referral sources. Many firms are putting social media plans in place that will discourage the use of social media websites, I encourage you to loosen the reigns and let your professionals spread the good word about you.

Whether you are just beginning to explore what free online services are available for professional service firms or if you are ready to jump in feet first, remember planning is everything. Whatever your objectives and goals, remember what gets planned, gets done, so take time to plan out your initiatives and secure the right resources for a successful implementation and you will begin building online relationships that will foster revenue growth for years to come.

If you have questions regarding how you can do this at your firm, contact us now to schedule a one-hour consultation to discuss how.