The Ideal Marketing Plan for Professional Services

Are you sitting comfortably with a steady supply of leads from word of mouth and referrals? That’s great news. However it may not be enough to feed the growth curve you desire. If you want a predictable and steady supply of leads that isn’t wholly reliant on people, then you need to take some marketing ACTION!

OK, I know the acronym’s a bit cheesy, but who cares if it helps you to step change your business! Here’s what it meansÂ…

A = actionable offers, C = channel diversity, T = trusted advisor, I = indicator improvement, O = outcome orientation, N = needs led.

Now putting this into 100 words about what a good marketing plan would deliver:

You magnetically attract prospects because your language is more about them and their problems (N) than you and your services. They’re more comfortable to make an enquiry because they’re entranced by your examples of value delivered (O) and the route to action you offer them (A). Because you take the trouble to stay in touch and share knowledge, you earn their trust (T) and when they’re ready, they ask for your help. This happens a lot because your marketing net is spread widely (C) and things get better all the time because you can measure (I) all your marketing spend.

Inspire them to decide and give away some value with Actionable Offers…

If you lead everyone to a place where there’s no call to action, they’re unlikely to respond if the only option open to them is the prospect of a meeting to get a full blown sales pitch! Build direct response into your marketing funnel with compelling offers they will struggle to say “no” to. That way you can see the effect of all your marketing investment.

Get them flocking in your direction through Channel Diversity…

If you’re dependent upon a single method of lead generation, the more vulnerable and constrained your lead supply becomes. In most consulting firms that usually means a reliance on word of mouth or rainmakers. Open up a range of integrated online and offline campaigns that you can test, measure and improve over time.

Cultivate relationships by becoming their Trusted Advisor…

Consulting is a relationship business. Therefore if you have no way of building relationships, then all those people who have come your way, online and offline, may well go cold and never pass your way again. To become a trusted advisor and first port of call when they’re ready to buy, produce thought leadership information and have a mechanism to deliver it and maintain follow-up communications.

Elevate results through key performance Indicator Improvement…

If you’re running multiple marketing campaigns across a number of online and offline channels and can’t measure results then your plan will be unsustainable. For each campaign you want to know how much it costs to acquire contacts, enquiries, meetings and clients. Therefore you need a method of measurement and a process of continuous improvement, so that you drive your cost of acquisition down and your lead supply up.

Ignite their imagination with examples and your Outcome Orientation…

How often do you see consulting company copy that bores your pants off? To make your marketing persuasive you need to talk about the outcomes of your services, this means talking in the language of values and benefits delivered. The potency of your marketing will be turbo-charged if these things can be expressed by your clients in the form of testimonials and case studies.

Grab their attention by talking more about them than you, be Needs Led…

The opposite of needs led is to be product led. This means leading with information about your product or service rather than the problems they solve. When you do this you have poor message to market alignment and there’s an emotional chasm between you and your prospects. Your company will be more magnetic to prospects if you bridge the chasm by empathising with the problems or needs before describing your service.

Even though we think this is a model for marketing success, we are a bit embarrassed by using a cheesy acronym to build a picture. However to conclude with a continuation of the tongue in cheek theme:

You can either take ACTION with your marketing plan, or you can do what many people in consulting do and follow the DULL approach to marketingÂ…

D = Dormant, U = Underperforming, L = Limited, L = Lack lustre.

The choice is yours!