Top Ten Strategies for Increasing Marketing ROI
So many leads, so little time.
Your marketing strategy is generating so many qualified prospects and you can’t keep pace. It is an enviable position.
Doesn’t sound like you? Well, perhaps you’re the eternal skeptic, thinking marketing professional services and generating leads online only happens through Herculean efforts. The truth is that improving your marketing ROI and generating more online leads is within reach—and it doesn’t take a super firm to pull it off.
In our Online Marketing for Professional Services book, Hinge took an in-depth look at what professional services firms, including those marketing technology services, are doing to ensure a steady flow of leads. From our research, we uncovered 10 key strategies that really work and can be implemented—no matter the size of your firm.
1 – Make your website a collaboration between IT and marketing
With today’s easy-to-use content management software (CMS), your firm doesn’t need to rely on a developer to update your website. Give the car keys to the marketing team and let them use the website as a living, breathing communication tool.
In our research, we found that 75% of high-growth firms are updating their websites at least weekly. In contrast, only 55% of technology services firms are updating with the same frequency. This presents a big opportunity for technology firms. Put marketing in charge of day-to-day website changes and rely on your IT department for more substantial redesigns and overhauls.
2 – Zero in on high impact activities
Most marketing teams cannot cover every aspect of marketing their services. Instead, they focus on the marketing techniques that will have the highest impact. This is where analytics come into play. The marketing tools and techniques that will be most effective for your firm will depend on a number of factors, like your audiences and available resources. Carefully tracking your marketing ROI and the results of specific campaigns will help identify what’s working, what’s not, and what could be improved.
If you find that developing your firm’s professionals into Visible Experts℠ is generating leads and new business, continue to build their marketplace visibility. If writing blog posts on relevant topics and issues are having an impact on your business, continue to invest in your blog. If you’re getting a lot of traction from your discussions in LinkedIn groups, continue to set aside time to post meaningful comments. You don’t have to go for it all — and certainly not all at once.
3 – Identify your website offers
Your website should have a variety of calls to action (CTAs) to encourage visitors to further engage with your firm. These CTAs should be closely tracked and monitored. For example, you might consider having offers geared toward attracting prospects, such as content downloads or registration for an upcoming webinar, and offers for late-stage prospects, like a “Contact Us” or “Request a Proposal” form.
Tracking the performance of your offers is an important step to improving your marketing ROI—and it is the only way you will know where you should invest more time and money.
4 – Eliminate Friction
Many professional services websites have a major problem: They don’t provide a positive user experience. Remember that more than 87% of technology services buyers are checking out your website before making a purchasing decision.
When these prospects get to your website, can they find the information they’re looking for? Are you clearly communicating your firm’s services and expertise?
Navigation should be straightforward and intuitive. Visitors should easily be able to contact your firm. There should be simplified web forms and clear calls-to-action. Your website can be your firm’s greatest business development asset.
5 – Meet your new best friend: The CRM
Firms greatly benefit from using some sort of customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This type of software allows you to easily create new web forms and offers, track leads by source, and segment your list of prospects for more effective lead nurturing and business development.
There are a number of CRM software options out there. Do your research upfront and have a clear idea of exactly what functionality your firm needs. In short, a good CRM software can dramatically increase the efficiency of marketing technology services.
6 – Pick low hanging fruit
When it comes to building visibility in search engines and ranking highly, finding the right keywords is essential. What issues are your audiences facing and trying to solve? What keywords might they use to find technology services like those that your firm offers?
Consider finding keyword opportunities (through tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool) that haven’t yet been saturated. Rather than target high-volume, highly competitive phrases, target many more-attainable keyword phrases. The traffic you’ll generate from these highly targeted “long-tail” keywords will add up and contribute to your overall marketing ROI.
7 – Declare yourself the authority, then back it up
In the world of marketing professional services, trust is everything. Don’t stop at declaring yourself a thought leader. Take the next step and support the claim by publishing educational content for your buyers. Show that you understand their challenges and that your firm has the expertise to help overcome them. This long-term strategy leads to a brand that prospects can trust.
8 – Blog on topics that generate leads
When producing educational content, it’s useful to have a specific target audience in mind and to write about topics that are important to that audience. Where can you find inspiration for topic ideas?
- Through industry news
- Through what’s trending on social media
- Through your business development or sales team
- Through conducting primary research
Frame your blog posts around the issues that matter to your audience and topics that are of interest to them. And remember to keep your posts educational, not self-promotional. Speak the language of your target readers and you’ll build visibility and attract your audience.
9 – Give and thou shalt receive
Get into the practice of sharing interesting stories (your firm’s own content and other firms’ content) on your social media networks. This activity positions your firm as a trusted industry resource and creates goodwill.
10 – Stick. It. Out.
You can’t climb this mountain overnight. It’s tough in the beginning, especially when you don’t have many subscribers and you start to think…Is this worth it? But if you stick it out, you’ll reap the rewards of perseverance. At Hinge, we’ve lived it ourselves, and we have seen it work time and time again for firms across the technology services space. If you take away only one point from this story, it should be this: increasing your technology services marketing ROI online is completely do-able. And remember, you don’t need an army to prosper—just a smart marketing team with a good strategy.
Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…
I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement.
In short -- and I think I’m pretty typical – I was looking for financial advice, as it relates to my life.
Here’s the disconnect, what most advisors do is simply manage their clients’ assets. They determine what to buy, and what to sell, they think about risk management, about growing their practice by finding new clients and about getting paid.
Historically that has been the business model. But as more women take control over financial assets, they, like me, will be looking for a different experience. And unless the financial community is willing to change ….. advisors, as they are today will be extinct in five years.
Advisors who want to survive will have to do a lot more than just manage money – they will have to provide genuine “advice”. That means doing what’s right for the client, not pushing product and pretending it’s advice.
Women especially, but all investors generally, are becoming more and more cynical. They says, “If I want advice about reducing my debt, that’s what I want and not ‘here’s more debt’ because that’s what my advisor gets paid for! And if saving taxes is what I want then saving taxes should take precedent over selling me a product.”
You may be thinking that spending your time providing advice isn’t lucrative but the reality is that in the long run – it pays off in spades. The advisors who take the time to build real relationships with clients, who provide advice as it relates to their clients’ lives, even when there is no immediate financial benefit to themselves, those who don’t simply push product – are the ones who over time have the most successful practices.
Generally women understand and value service, but they will say, “If I’m paying, I want to know what I’m paying for: Is it for returns? Is it for advice? Is it for administration? I want to know. Then I can make up my mind what’s worth it and what isn’t.”
Investing is becoming a commoditized business and technology is replacing research that no one else can find. Today the average advisor is hard pressed to consistently beat the markets, and with women emerging as the client of the future, unless they start providing real advice, their jobs will likely be extinct in five years.
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