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    • A n O r i gi n al St u dy f r om H I N G E RE SE ARC H INST IT UT EOnline Marketing for Professional Services FirmsHow Digital Marketing Delivers Faster Growth and Higher Profits www.hingemarketing.com
    • Online Marketing for Professional Services FirmsCopyright © 2011Published by Hinge Research Institute 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 120 Reston, Virginia 20191All rights reserved. Except as permitted under U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication maybe reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrievalsystem, without the prior written permission of the publisher.Design by Hinge. Visit our website at www.hingemarketing.com
    • AcknowledgementsWe would like to thank the 500 CEOs and executives who took the time toparticipate in this study. Their willingness to share their marketing and financialperformance metrics made this research far more valuable and relevant.We would also like to extend our appreciation to the twenty online marketingspecialists who offered their expertise and insights to this study. Theirexperience and knowledge add invaluable context to our research findings.Special thanks go out to the four firms we profile as case studies:Fortinet HPD Architecturewww.fortinet.com www.hpdarch.comKinaxis PrimePaywww.kinaxis.com www.primepay.comIn addition, we would like to thank the following organizations for helpingus recruit study participants:Society for Marketing Professional Services www.smps.orgAssociation for Accounting Marketing www.accountingmarketing.orgOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 3
    • Table of Contents Executive Summary 5 1 | Introduction 7 2 | Methodology 8 3 | Online Lead Generation 11 Case Study - Fortinet 14 4 | Online Recruiting 16 5 | Industry Groups 18 Case Study - PrimePay 22 6 | Budgeting and Resources 24 7 | Online Technique Usage and Effectiveness 28 Case Study - HPD Architecture 31 8 | High Growth, High Value Firms 33 Case Study - Kinaxis 39 9 | The Expert Panel 41 10 | The Experts Weigh In 44 11 | How to Apply What You Have Learned 47 12 | Conclusions 56 About Hinge 58Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 4
    • Executive SummaryThis study examines the current state and untapped potential of onlinemarketing in professional services firms. Two groups were studied:For the first time, results demonstrate that firms embracing onlinemarketing grow faster: those with no online leadsUsing online marketing also increases firm profitability:Online marketing is widespread and poised for growth:Online recruiting is also widespread:Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 5
    • Executive SummaryThere are notable differences across industry groups: and grew fast least likely to adopt online marketing and grew relatively slowly generation online recruitingLevel of use and effectiveness was assessed for 15 common online marketing tools: and Web Analytics untapped potentialOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 6
    • Introduction 1A revolution is underway in the professional services marketplace.In this study of 500 professional services firms, we have made someof online marketing produces higher growth and profits. time we have proof that the use of onlineTo achieve optimal results, you have to know which ones create leadsand which are less efficient. marketing producesThis study will help you make better choices — and introduce you toa more powerful way to grow your business. higher growth and profits.Happy marketing!The Hinge TeamOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 7
    • Methodology 2This study includes results from professional services firmsThis study includes results from two distinct sample groups:Hinge invited professional services firms from across the United Statesto complete an online survey that explored their use of online marketingtechniques, how well they believed these techniques helped their firmsachieve business development and recruiting goals, and their currentpractices and future plans. In addition, we asked each participant about A total of } 500 { 319 average employees professional services firms completed the survey. $53,929,835 annual revenueOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 8
    • 2 | MethodologyThe sample included five primary industry groups. 10.2%Fig. 1 9.8% 36.8% 11.4% 15.8% Technology Services 16.0% OtherIt included firms that engaged in varying levels of 17.7%Fig. 2 50.7% 31.7%Respondents tended to hold senior-level positions 5.0%within their firms.Fig. 3 29.6% 24.1% 14.1% 27.2% OtherOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 9
    • 2 | Methodologyfirms and undersampled small firms.Fig 4. Revenue Distribution Census Data Study Sample 82.6% 26.9% 23.6% 23.6% 17.0% 13.6% 7.1% 1.9% 1.4% 0.2% 1.9% 0.4% Less than and above Revenue RangeA panel of 20 top experts in online marketing provided insights into best practices.These individuals are introduced more fully in Chapter 9. Ann Handley Eric Enge Lon Safko Justin Cutroni Danny Dover Kris Jones Tim Ash Jennifer Abernethy Kristina Halvorson William AlbertOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 10
    • Online Lead Generation 3As we look around the professional services world, we believe that online firms generate of their new business leads online.no online leads at all.A significant number of firms, however, produce a high percentagegeneration can be an effective strategy in the modern professionalservices firm.Fig 5. 48.1% 22.9% 14.3% 6.7% 4.3% 3.8%Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 11
    • 3 | Online Lead Generationkey question that may shape the future role of digital marketing for theprofessional services sector.Fig 6. 63.9% 60.7% 53.8% The group of firms growing at 33.3% Rate the highest rate 20.0% 15.0% is generating online.The data show that firms generating a high percentage of leads online areof leads online is four times greater than the median growth rate of firmsgenerating no online leads. The group of firms growing at the highest rate isonline marketing strategies may represent a “sweet spot” that createsoptimal results.as the most stable measure of central tendency.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 12
    • 3 | Online Lead Generation generate a higher percentage ofFig 7. leads online grow faster 32.5% 30.0% and are more 25.0% Current profitable. 20.0% 15.0% Revenue 14.0%The percentage of leads generated online directly correlates with profitability.WHY MORE PROFITABLE?not provide a definitive answer, but one explanation is that over the long term, online marketingthe leads continue to flow in without incurring high ongoing costs. Contrast this against traditionalmarketing techniques, which often come with sustained campaign expenses. Data supportingthis view have been published by Hubspot. They found that online leads generated from inboundas trade shows, direct marketing and telemarketing.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 13
    • How Fortinet Uses Social Media CONNECT WITH FORTINETunproductive about it. www.fortinet.com Twitter: @fortinet Facebook: fortinetunique ways to use popular social media tools to increase their brand Linkedin: Enterprise Networkvisibility in the marketplace. Here are a few of the areas in which they Securityconcentrate: YouTube: SecureNetworks Twitter increasingly important way the company provides customer support. Facebook for relationship building: answering questions, engaging with visitors and establishing trust submit humorous pictures for the opportunity to win free T-shirts.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 14
    • 3 | Online Lead Generation LinkedIn extensive jobs section and high credibility with the sorts of members can discuss network security issues. YouTube and services.and our engagement numbers are going up.” She offers three pieces of advicefor firms that want to invest in social media: 1. Involve the team — you spread responsibility across multiple departments, it is often more manageable. The more people you have involved, the more ground you can cover. 2. Keep it personal — friendly people encourages prospects to interact and build a relationship with your business. 3. Be transparent — Authenticity is key. Welcome the people in your company with personality.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 15
    • Online Recruiting 4To what extent are firms using their online presence to attract IS ONLINE RECRUITING A TREND?Recruiting is a key issue for many professional services firms. As the We do not havedata show, over half of the firms surveyed use their online presence, in historical data on thissome capacity, to recruit new employees. topic, but we expect more and more firms to use their websites for recruiting purposes. of their new hires online. As young adults continue to enter the work force — and as business search enginepurpose and have attracted no new employees through their websites use grows — onlineor other online tools. recruiting is likely to become increasinglyFig 8. Online Recruiting important to professional services firms. 44.9% 18.7% 11.0% 11.0% 8.6% 5.7%Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 16
    • 4 | Online Recruitingto be a consistent relationship between the percentage of online hires andgrowth rate or profitability.through their websites. At firms with the highest levels of online recruiting,growth tends to be a bit slower.Fig 9. 28.6% 25.0% 24.6% 18.5% 17.9% 16.6% RateThe relationship between online hires and firm profitability also seems to bequite inconsistent. While online recruiting may be a valuable tool, it does notseem to drive profitability to the same degree as online lead generation.Fig 10. 20.0% 20.0% 17.0% Current 15.0% 10.0% 11.0% RevenueOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 17
    • Industry Groups 5In this section, we look at industry differences from the perspective offinancial results, lead generation and recruiting.leaders in profitability.Fig 11. 45.0% 40.0% 36.4% 36.1% Rate 18.5% 0.7% Technology Other Consulting Services Communica- Want to learn more tions Download a Free Supplemental Report on Your IndustryOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 18
    • 5 | Industry GroupsTechnology Services are also fast growing and enjoy relatively high profitability.moderate levels of profitability.Fig 12. 25.0% 24.5% 20.0% Current 17.5% 12.0% 10.0% Revenue Technology Other Consulting Services Communica- tionsWithin each industry group there are varying percentages of governmentcontractors. In our sample, government contracting is not conducive to eitherhigh growth or high profitability.Fig 13. Fig 14. 42.9% Current Rate 20.0% Revenue 18.4% 12.0% 10.0% 17.1%Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 19
    • 5 | Industry GroupsThis finding contrasts with some of our previous research in which governmentattributed at least in part to recent widespread government budget reductions.the pack. Technology Services is in second place.Fig 15. 31.4% 20.2% Online 16.2% 15.9% 11.4% 8.3% Technology OtherCommunica- Services Consulting tionsFig 16. also generate the lowest level of online leads. 18.5% 14.5% Online 10.1%Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 20
    • 5 | Industry GroupsOnline RecruitingWhen we turn to online recruiting the pattern changes. In this arena, Technologypercentage of hires online.Fig 17. Online Recruiting by Industry 27.7% 24.4% 22.2% 20.4% Recruited 14.1% Online 9.9%Technology Other Services Communica- Consulting tionsboth mixed and pure private-sector-focused firms trailing by a wide margin.Fig 18. 30.1% 17.6% 14.3% Want to learn more Download a Free Supplemental Report on Your IndustryOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 21
    • PrimePay’s 10 Tips to Breakinto Online Marketingservices, is doing things right on their website and in their social CONNECT WITHmedia strategy. To find out what lessons they have learned, we spoke PRIMEPAY www.primepay.comServices. She offered these ten tips: Twitter: @PrimePayPayroll Linkedin: primepay 1. Take Your Website from IT and Give It to Marketing – YouTube: PrimePayPayroll gave the car keys to the marketing team and let them use the content management tools make it easy. 2. Zero In on High Impact Activities – possibly cover every aspect of online marketing. Instead, they business. 3. Determine Your Conversion Actions – contact form and download educational content, such as their Employee Handbook. Having trackable goals is an important step to building a lead generating website. 4. Eliminate Friction – problem: it made it difficult for people to contact the company. On the new site, simplified web forms and clear calls to action have led to an influx of leads.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 22
    • 5 | Industry Groups 5. Meet Your New Best Friend: The CRM – The team benefits greatly from This type of software allows you to easily create new web forms and offers, track leads by source and segment your list of prospects. This tool 6. Pluck Low-Hanging Fruit – When it comes to ranking in search engines, saturated. Rather than target high volume, highly competitive phrases, they target many more-attainable keyword phrases. The traffic they receive from these highly targeted “long-tail” keywords adds up. 7. Declare Yourself the Authority, Then Back It Up – In the world of themselves a thought leader, but they support that claim by stepping up their effort to publish educational content for business owners, payroll professionals, accountants and brokers. This long-term strategy has led to a brand that prospects can trust. 8. Blog on Topics that Lead to Leads – When producing educational are careful to write posts that speak the language of their target readers. 9. Give and Thou Shalt Receive – shares interesting stories on her social media networks. This activity helps 10. Stick. It. Out. – times and now they are reaping the rewards of perseverance.If you take away only one point from this story, it should be this: online successis within reach. Whether your focus is social media for payroll, HR, or any othermarketing team with a good strategy.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 23
    • Budgeting and Resources 6As new marketing trends continue to emerge, a key decision facing 66%professional services firms is whether to increase spending in a givenarea and by how much.Spending Trends of firms plan to increase onlineonline marketing spending or whether they anticipated no change. One marketingthird predicted no change while the other two thirds planned to increase spending within the nextplanning to increase anticipate a much larger magnitude of change. 12 months.Fig 19. 30% Average decrease 0.6% will decrease spending 33.8% anticipate no change 56% Average 65.6% increase will increase spendingplan to increase online marketing spending within the next 12 months.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 24
    • 6 | Budgeting and ResourcesOutsourcing vs. Keeping It In-HouseFig 20. 68.9% 12.7% 4.7% 6.2% 2.4% 5.0%The majority of firms do not currently outsource any part of their onlineof their efforts.Often, tasks such niche blog writing and social media engagement need at leastsome in-house participation. Other activities, such as keyword research and webdesign, can be outsourced completely.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 25
    • 6 | Budgeting and ResourcesWebsite Redesign and Updateswithin the past 12 months. On the other hand, almost one in five has notdone so in more than three years.Fig 21. Latest website redesign 46.3% 21.9% 19.0% 12.9% Within the past Within the past Within the past 12 months two years three years years ago professionalAnecdotally, many professional services firms are transitioning their websites servicesfrom passive online brochures to more dynamic, interactive marketing tools. firms haveA growing demand for lead-generating websites may explain why a largepercentage of firms have undergone redesigns in the past year. redesigned their websitesThis new type of website, built for publishing a stream of fresh content thatcan be promoted in social media, requires frequent content updates. As our within the past 12 months.Only a quarter of firms update their site once a year or less.Fig 22. 34.3% 31.1% 24.6% 10.0% Daily Weekly Once a year or lessOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 26
    • 6 | Budgeting and Resources WHY ARE FORMS USEFUL? 1. Ease of Use – Visitors can easily submit a messagetheir primary contact method. without leaving the web browser.Fig 23. 2. Tracking – 43.9% submission as goals in analytics, you can track where leads come from. 28.6% 24.1% Visitors 3. CRM Integration – populate your marketing 3.4% Email directly Online Other have to enter them contact form manually.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 27
    • Online Technique Usage 7and Effectivenessmarketing techniques.We evaluated the degree to which firms used each technique and howeffective they were in achieving their firm goals.Technique UsageSurvey participants were asked to rate 15 online marketing techniquesindicates that the firm does not use the technique and a 10 indicatesthat the firm relies heavily on the technique.Respondents reported that white papers,ebooks and articles, SEO and companynewsletters were the most effectivetechniques.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 28
    • 7 | Online Technique Usage and EffectivenessThe chart below groups responses so that you can see the percentage of firmsFig 24. Technique Usage Rating Not Used Level of UseLinkedInEmail MarketingSearch Engine OptimizationWeb AnalyticsWhite Papers, eBooksCompany NewsletterBloggingTwitterFacebookUsability TestingWebinarsOnline VideoYouTubePay Per ClickBanner Ads 0 1-6 7-8 9-10LinkedIn and email marketing are the most widely used online techniques, withThis chart also illustrates differences in the intensity of use. Email marketingOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 29
    • 7 | Online Technique Usage and EffectivenessTechnique Effectivenessindicates that a firm finds the technique ineffective. A ten indicates that a firmfinds the technique highly effective.Fig 25. Technique Effectiveness Rating Not Effective Level of EffectivenessWhite Papers, eBooksBloggingSearch Engine OptimizationEmail MarketingCompany NewsletterLinkedInWebinarsWeb AnalyticsUsability TestingOnline VideoTwitterFacebookYouTubePay Per ClickBanner Ads 0 1-6 7-8 9-10Respondents reported that white papers, ebooks and articles, SEO and bloggingand banner ads were rated the least effective.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 30
    • Social Media Pays off atHPD Architectureservices marketing, look no further than this three-person architecture CONNECT WITH HPD ARCHITECTUREespecially social media — into a well-oiled lead generation machine. www.hpdarch.com Twitter: @hpdarchitecture Facebook: hpdArchitecture Linkedin: HPD Architecture LLCand began exploring the possibilities. Today, the firm uses blogging, Podcasts: The Architecturepodcasts, and social media tools to drive a steady stream of high-quality Happy Hourleads to its website — leads that frequently turn into loyal clients. Blog: Dallas Architecteconomy was tanking and they were eager to find a new marketingchannel. So they turned to social media to increase their marketlong before they were convinced that social media was a valuableinvestment.Position Yourself to Be Noticedpeople would care about them. In a series of working sessions,the team discovered who they were and how they would positionthemselves in the marketplace. In their case, they wanted to be knownas an architecture and design resource — a reputation they have beenbuilding ever since. Today, people in their industry seek them out andtake their advice seriously.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 31
    • 7 | Online Technique Usage and EffectivenessWhy Use One Weapon When You Have Many?audience — but they still do traditional marketing, including face-to-facenetworking. The team dedicates, on average, one hour per day to social mediaactivity. Here are four of their primary tools: Twitter — The team began by interacting with local individuals in their Facebook — information. Podcasts — Each month they record an episode of The Architecture Happy Hour, in which two principals offer tips and discuss a wide range of issues in architecture. They publish each episode on iTunes. Blog — and spotlight innovative practices.As a result of their online marketing focus, the firm has been interviewed by avariety of publications and has received numerous requests to speak at industryare finding us online.”Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 32
    • High Growth, 8High Value FirmsWhat they do differently.In our previous research, we identified a group of firms that grow muchfaster and are more profitable than their peers. We documented ourfindings in the book Spiraling Up: How to Create a High Growth, HighValue Professional Services Firm. (http://spiralingupbook.com)Our earlier research suggested that high growth, high value firmswould be more likely to use online marketing strategies. And in fact, thecurrent data demonstrate that as a group these firms do generate moreleads and recruits than their average growth peers.decided to look most closely at those high growth, high value firmsthey were doing differently than their average growth counterpartsand which strategies were delivering the best real-world results. Free e-bookOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 33
    • 8 | High Growth, High Value FirmsWe first examined the relative focus firms placed on popular digital marketingtechniques.Fig 26. Blogging Search Engine Optimization LinkedIn Twitter Email Marketing Web Analytics Facebook White Papers, eBooks Useability Testing Company Newsletter YouTube Online Video Pay Per Click Webinars Banner Ads 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8When compared to their average growth peer group, the high growth firms aremore focused on virtually every online technique, often by a wide margin. Theonly exceptions are company newsletters, which average firms focus on moreby a small margin, and webinars, which high growth firms slightly favor.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 34
    • 8 | High Growth, High Value FirmsWhen we examined perceived effectiveness of same online techniques, highgrowth firms displayed an advantage in every category. In the cases of SEO,was substantial.Fig 27. Search Engine Optimization Blogging Web Analytics Email Marketing White Papers, eBooks LinkedIn Company Newsletter Usability Testing Twitter Facebook Pay Per Click Online Video Webinars YouTube Banner Ads 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Effectiveness RatingOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 35
    • 8 | High Growth, High Value FirmsHigh growth firms update their websites more frequently.Fig 28. Daily Weekly Monthly Once a year or less 0 20 40 60 80 100They also use online contact forms to a much greater extent.Fig 29. Online contact form Email directly Phone call Other 0 20 40 60 80 100In addition, high growth firms were twice as likely to have redesigned theirwebsite within the past twelve months.Fig 30. Last Website Redesign Within the past 12 months Within the past two years Within the past three years More than three years ago 0 20 40 60 80 100Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 36
    • 8 | High Growth, High Value FirmsWhile high growth firms are only a few percentage points more likely thanaverage firms to increase their marketing budget, they are more likely toincrease their budget at a much greater rate. high growth firms were significantlyFig 31. more oriented toward online High Growth marketing activity. 31.6% anticipate no change 60% Average increase 68.4% will increase spending Average Growth 37.3% anticipate no change 42% Average increase 62.7% will increase spendingOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 37
    • 8 | High Growth, High Value Firms High growth firms aremore online leads and twice as many new hires than average growth firms. generating fiveFig 32. Online Leads and Hires times more New Business Leads New Hires online leads and twice as 62.5% many new hires 47.5% than average 22.2% 12.3% growth firms.is extremely attractive.Fig 33. Median 2-Year Growth Rate Median Current Profitability 100.0% 27.5% 6.6% 12.5%growth group shows a very substantial advantage in both growth rate andfirm profitability.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 38
    • Kinaxis – Online MarketingDone Rightsupply chain management software company, was tasked with figuring CONNECT WITH KINAXIS www.kinaxis.comshe finds herself leading one of the most successful online marketing Twitter: @kinaxis Blog: The 21st Century Supply Chainformula for success.The firm began by focusing on a few foundational techniques. Aftermastering those techniques, Kinaxis gradually expanded its repertoire.One of these techniques — SEO — was a major focus at Kinaxis sincethe genesis of its online marketing efforts. “We found religion in SEO,”campaign.”The Kinaxis team takes the time to research valuable keywordopportunities. They then implement these keyword phrases into theironline marketing, building greater search engine authority over time.Create a Community by Creating ContentKinaxis has also put tremendous emphasis on content creation. Theyattracts high quality inbound links and increases the number of webpages indexed in search engines.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 39
    • 8 | High Growth, High Value Firms“We blogged for about a year,” said Kirsten, “but nobody was listening at first.develop, the more opportunities you will have.”Once You’re in the Groove, Start to Get Socialaudience were using social platforms. If SEO and blogging were their onlinemarketing foundation, social media interaction and promotion elevated thefirm into the public eye.Today, the firm is taking things to a new level. Their Supply Chain ExpertCommunity is an online collection of videos, forums, and documents related tosupply chain management, and they somehow find a way to make these topics fun.Bringing It All TogetherKirsten and her team have online marketing down to a science. Integrating allgoes something like this:Kinaxis dedicates five people to online marketing, including two full-time contentcreators, one full-time events manager, a social media manager, and Kristen.Eighteen other staff members also contribute content, including top executives.engine traffic, this investment of time and people makes a great deal of sense.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 40
    • The Expert Panel 9To reflect best practices, we interviewed top experts in various onlinemarketing disciplines.We asked the experts a set of questions that corresponded to ourprofessional services survey.In addition, we asked about their specific area of expertise and howit might be best applied to professional services firms.The following experts participated in this research:Ann Handley Brad Geddes Bryan EisenbergChief Content Officer at Founder of Certified Managing Partner at EisenbergMarketing Profs Knowledge Holdings, LLCAuthor of Content Rules Author of Advanced Google Author of Waiting for Your Cat Adwords to Bark? Twitter: @bgtheoryOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 41
    • 9 | The Expert PanelDanny Dover David Meerman Scott Eric EngeSenior SEO Manager at AT&T Marketing Strategist and President at Stone TempleInteractive Consultant ConsultingAuthor of Search Engine Author of The New Rules of Co-Author of The Art of SEOOptimization Secrets Marketing and PR Twitter: @stonetempleTwitter: @DannyDover Twitter: @dmscottGinny Redish James Beswick Jason BurbyFounder of Redish & Founder of One Uproar Chief Analytics andAssociates Inc. Author of Ranking Number One Optimization Officer at ZAAZAuthor of Letting Go of Words — Twitter: @oneuproar Author of Actionable WebWriting Web Content that Works AnalyticsJennifer Abernethy Jim Boykin Joe PulizziAmerica’s Social Business Founder & CEO of Internet Founder of the ContentStylist, The Sales Lounge Marketing Ninjas (formerly We Marketing InstituteAuthor of The Complete Build Pages) Co-Author of Get Content GetIdiot’s Guide to Social Media www.internetmarketing Customers and ManagingMarketing Content MarketingTwitter: @SalesLounge Twitter: @jimboykin Twitter: @juntajoeOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 42
    • 9 | The Expert PanelJustin Cutroni Kristopher B. Jones Kristina HalvorsonDirector of Intelligence at Founder / CEO, KBJ Capital Founder of Brain TrafficCardinal Path Author of Search Engine Author of Content Strategy forAuthor of Google Analytics Optimization the WebTwitter: @justincutroni Twitter: @krisjonescom Twitter: @halvorsonLon Safko Mari Smith Michael FleischnerSocial Media Strategist Social Media Consultant Founder, MarketingScoop.comAuthor of The Social Media Author of The New Relationship Author of SEO Made SimpleBible Marketing Twitter: @mfleischnerTwitter: @longsafkoTim Ash William AlbertCEO of SiteTuners & Director of the Design andFounder of Conversion Usability Center at BentleyConference UniversityAuthor of Landing Page Author of Measuring the UserOptimization ExperienceTwitter: @tim_ashOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 43
    • The Experts Weigh In 10To round out our analysis of online marketing for professional services,techniques that had been evaluated by the 500 firms in our survey. Wealso asked a series of questions around how to use the techniques aspart of a professional services online marketing strategy.Effectiveness Ratingstop effectiveness ratings with some key content marketing tools such asblogging, white papers and ebooks.Fig 34. Experts, Effectiveness Ratings Search Engine Optimization Web Analytics Blogging Usability Testing White Papers, eBooks Email Marketing LinkedIn Twitter Webinars Company Newsletter Pay Per Click Online Video YouTube Facebook Banner Ads 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Effectiveness RatingOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 44
    • 10 | The Experts Weigh InThe accompanying chart compares the average effectiveness ratings of theFig 35. Experts Search Engine Optimization Web Analytics Blogging Usability Testing White Papers, eBooks Email Marketing LinkedIn Twitter Webinars Company Newsletter Pay Per Click Online Video YouTube Facebook Banner Ads 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Effectiveness Ratingthan the professional services firms. The high growth firms closely tracked withthe experts, but at a somewhat lower level of rated effectiveness.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 45
    • 10 | The Experts Weigh Infavorably by the high growth firms. In every category, the average firmsexperienced less effectiveness.After reviewing the relative ratings of the three groups and comments fromour panel of experts, we noted some common patterns. A number of the mosteffective techniques are not widely used by average professional servicesfirms. These techniques include some real gems: SEO, web analytics, bloggingand usability testing.We noticed a similar pattern, at a somewhat lower effectiveness level, withmaster these tools, they are likely to experience more success.value that even most high growth firms have not fully harnessed. In the case of webinars and experts are seeing value that even most high growth firms have not fully harnessed.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 46
    • How to Apply What You 11Have LearnedAs you consider taking the plunge into online marketing, you may feeloverwhelmed by the multitude of techniques that are available. Eachprofessional services firm has unique goals, markets and strategies. Asa result, there is no single formula for all firms.After consulting with our experts and observing what is working for highonline marketing efforts.six different groups that reflect the rough priority and sequencing inwhich a typical professional services firm might employ them in theironline marketing strategy.These two techniques are fundamental to any successful onlinemarketing program. Everything else builds on these platforms.Search Engine Optimization (SEO)What is this?search engines and allows prospective clients to find you for a wide rangeof relevant search terms. The process involves creating or editingOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 47
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have Learnedsearch engine authority by getting other websites to link to yours.Why do I need it?and evaluate professional services. When you rank for relevant terms in yourindustry, you can attract interested, qualified visitors — people who otherwisemay never find you — to your website.When should I do it? – SEO is an ongoing process but you should start workingon it as soon as possible. Expect 3 months before you see significant results.Web AnalyticsWhat is this? – Web analytics allow you to track visitor activity on your website,including visits, downloads, form fills and traffic sources.Why do I need it? – Analytics provide the insights you need to make actionabledecisions. When you understand how visitors are interacting with yourperformance.When should I do it? SEO is a proven way to increase leads and driveThe techniques below help you build a library of content so that you can attract new business.and convert potential clients. This content becomes the core of your onlinemarketing program.BloggingWhat is this?Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 48
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedWhy do I need it?expertise and you earn the trust of web visitors. Each blog post can also beindexed by search engines, driving valuable, interested traffic to your website.In addition, well-written content attracts links, which is a significant part of SEO.When should I do it? – Start blogging as soon as you can afford the resourcespour in after a single month. This is a long-term initiative. It can take 6 months to Content is thea year before you see results. core of yourWhite Papers, eBooks, Articles online marketingWhat are these? – These are educational content pieces that you can offer program.are similar to blog content, but they are more substantial. Some firms requirevisitors to register before downloading substantive content, while others makethese pieces freely available.Why do I need them? – Thought leadership pieces are a great way to cultivatetrust and increase the visibility of your brand. In addition, they provide anopportunity to collect email addresses and build a list that can be used laterfor email marketing. These pieces, together with your blog, can form the basisof a library of practical, informative writings that can build your reputation andattract a continual stream of new visitors.When should I do them? – Once your blog has been up and running for threeto six months, start planning a longer content piece, such as a white paper oryour target audience. Some firms produce pieces like this once or more perdepend on your goals and the resources at your disposal.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 49
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedOnline VideoWhat is this? – This is the process of producing and publishing videos on yourstudies, company overviews and services descriptions.Why do I need it? – Video consumption is on the rise and web visitors wantcontent that is easily digestible and engaging. When you tell your story throughimpart. Well-produced videos establish trust and lead to higher lead conversionrates. They are also helpful in SEO efforts.When should I do it? – When you have a complex story to tell or when you wantto increase credibility, video is an ideal medium. It is also an excellent choicewhen you want to communicate your brand personality when a face-to-facemeeting is impractical.Use this group of tools to communicate with potential clients so that you cannurture, qualify and convert them.Email MarketingWhat is this? – Cultivate a targeted list of contacts and periodically email themwith educational content and relevant offers.Why do I need it? – Email is a proven channel for reaching prospects andminds, encourage them to subscribe or opt-in to useful content such as industryintelligence, research findings or relevant case studies. Email marketing is notthe same as spam email, which is a numbers game based on blasting untargetedbusiness offers.When should I do it? – Like blogging, you should begin email marketing whenyou have the resources to write valuable content. Some firms have success witha monthly email while others with more resources find success with up to two orthree emails per week.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 50
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedCompany e-newsletterWhat is this?sent to opt-in lists, so the content can be highly targeted.Why do I need it? – Including a newsletter subscription form on your websitecan be a highly effective way to build your email list. Assuming the content yousend is educational and valuable to subscribers, it is a proven way to nurtureprospects.When should I do it?the resources to write valuable content. Typical frequency is once or twice permonth, though some are sent weekly.WebinarsWhat is this? – Webinars are educational online presentations given to a groupopportunity to ask questions.Why do I need it? – Webinars, like live seminars, are big credibility builders. Asan online teacher, you can easily build trust and nurture prospects. If executedproperly, webinars often lead directly to new business leads.When should I do it?email list. Try promoting and running one webinar and evaluate whether it is rightfor your firm. Webinars are typically run every couple of months, although somefirms run them monthly or even weekly.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 51
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedThese techniques — also known as social media — help you interact with peopleonline to get your message out and drive interest in your firm.LinkedInWhat is this?create profiles and can interact with others within specific business groups.Why do I need it? – LinkedIn can be used for many purposes, includingrelationships with group members in your industry, you create a channel forWhen should I do it? – Once you are consistently creating blog content, youwill need a place to share it. Join a few industry groups and begin chiminginto discussions. When appropriate, share links to your content pieces. Expectto spend 30 minutes to one hour a day on LinkedIn if you are looking for asubstantial presence.TwitterWhat is this? – Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows members towrite messages of up to 140 characters in length. It is often used for spreadingindustry news and spotting trends.Why do I need it? – Twitter is an excellent platform for building relationships,sharing industry news and promoting your content. Once you have developedWhen should I do it? – Once you are consistently creating blog content, youunless you can devote 30 minutes to one hour per day using it.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 52
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedFacebookWhat is this?allows individuals and companies to maintain profiles and share information.Why do I need it?interactive and updated frequently with valuable content, it can be a huge trafficgenerator for your website.When should I do it?once you have a solid foundation of content and the resources to activelyengage on a daily basis. If you spend 30 minutes to an hour per day, you shouldbegin to see spikes in engagement and traffic.YouTubeWhat is this?can subscribe to video channels, rate videos and track viewing activity.Why do I need it?that can lead to brand visibility. Use it to promote training videos, case storiesand viral campaigns. If your firm is producing video, uploading those videos andWhen should I do it?channel and upload all your videos to one location. In the professional servicesOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 53
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedThese sophisticated tools allow you to tune your website and landing pages formaximum performance.Usability and A/B TestingWhat are these?and site performance. Usability tests track how individual users interact with andto determine which version performs better.Why do I need them?running tests on your site you will be able to demonstrate empirically what isworking and develop actionable steps for improvement.When should I do them?Insights from these tests will inform decisions for the new design. It is goodlanding pages and conversion pathways to your goals.on a paid basis.Pay Per Click (PPC)What is this?is clicked.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 54
    • 11 | How to Apply What You Have LearnedWhy do I need it?The traffic has the potential to be very targeted and high quality because theadvertiseris in control of keyword selection.When should I do it?Banner AdsWhat is this?advertisement is displayed as a graphical banner on another website.Why do I need it?visibility is a priority. Having your brand name displayed on a high traffic websitewill increase visibility quickly.When should I do it? – If you want to increase visibility for a certain audience,carefully targeted, easy-to-communicate offers.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 55
    • Conclusions 12The Results Are Inthat was a difficult claim to make with confidence. There simply was of leads onlinenot enough hard evidence to overcome widespread skepticism of newtechnologies and business development techniques.The data in this report changes all of that. It offers professional servicesstakeholders a new perspective on marketing their firms, and it canprovide valuable guidance as firms plan how to spend their marketingbudgets.The Train is Leaving the StationEach year, more firms are discovering the efficiencies and power ofonline marketing. And each year, more service buyers turn to the Internetto build a list of relevant firms.If you have been reluctant to invest in your website, social media andother online tools, now is the time to take a hard look at your marketingspending in the next 12 months.Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 56
    • 12 | Conclusionswant to learn more about marketing your professional services firm, check out some ofthe free resources below:Industry Online Marketing ReportsThese reports provide additional online marketing data specific to major industries inSpiraling Up: How to Create a High Growth, High Value Professional Services Firmyou can, too. Available for free download:The Online Lead Generation Guide for Professional Services FirmsIn this guide, you will learn how to make the most of your online marketing tools andaccess a whole new world of qualified leads. Available for free download:Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 57
    • About HingeHinge is a national branding and marketing firm for professional services firms,more information on Hinge, visit www.hingemarketing.com.To keep atop the latest branding and marketing strategies for your professionalservice firm, follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog.www.hingemarketing.comOnline Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 58
    • About Hinge Research InstituteAt Hinge, research is more than skin deep. It helps define who we are, how wehelp our clients and guides how we grow our firm. We also believe in sharingour knowledge, not only with our clients but also with the broader professionalservices community. This commitment has led to the establishment of HingeResearch Institute. The Institute is committed to conducting innovative researchon professional services firms and their respective clients.We are also committed to sharing that knowledge through original research studies,at www.hingeresearch.com to find additional white papers, videos andresearch reports.Study Directorlwf@hingemarketing.com703.391.8870Online Marketing for Professional Services Firms How Professional Services Firms Can Achieve High Growth and Profits with Online Marketing 59
    • T H E E NDHinge Research Institute www.hingeresearch.com