Smart professional service firms today focus on demonstrating their value to prospects.
Having a prospect who is interested enough to hear what you have to offer has always been a necessary step on the path to getting a client, and it obviously remains so today. However, who the prospect decides to continue their buying journey with is largely driven by how well the professional services firm demonstrates value before asking the prospect to commit to becoming a client of the firm.
It is this process of course which is often referred to as “engagement marketing”, and the engagement part consists of 3 core elements:
- Having content or collateral which educates or empowers the prospect
- Having a delivery method, or a way of getting the material to them, in a personalised form which is efficient for the practice
- Creating confidence for the prospect that the buyers journey will be conducted at their speed
We need to understand that the buyers journey is a process for them of:
- becoming aware of the issues or areas where they might need help
- making a personal decision to commit to a change of some sort
- self-assessing their needs and requirements
- consider options and choices
- selecting an adviser who is deemed most likely to be a good fit for them on the basis of the key decisions they have made already (in previous bullet points)
- engaging with an adviser and implementing plans or changes
Knowing that this is the case for the majority of today’s smart consumers it becomes easy to see that they are actually a long way down the path of deciding who to work with before we have probably even met them, or spent any serious time getting to know each other. It follows that if the consumer is getting this far along the buying journey without any serious interaction with an adviser in person, then the adviser who wants that prospect as a client must have the right material out there in the market for the prospect to find as they begin their buying journey.
To make engagement marketing effective we need to consider a range of content or collateral, so that the prospect stays engaged with us as they move further along the buying path. We need to be creating or sourcing, and then delivering, content which helps them:
- understand what the issues are which they may be facing
- learn how using strategies, products or plans can change their world, and in what ways
- shape their thinking about the merits of various strategies or options
- identify the value that our firm brings to the issue and options for this type of prospect
- self-educate and conduct basic planning with self-assessment tools, calculators, checklists or information
- understand where generic information and self-assessment options have limitations
- know that we are constantly available to help at any point in the process – but without being pushy or intrusive
If we put together such a process and deliver it the target audience, and then continue to draw attention to the fact that we are providing the resources they need, the prospects will be more likely to engage with us via our content. Providing the content continues to be helpful and a high quality, and consists of material that matches their buying journey, the odds are very good that the consumer will build confidence in our style, expertise and value. That will lead to increased conversions of prospects to clients for the firm which does this well.
Demonstrate value in advance through content and engagement marketing, and there will be more prospects choosing you.
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