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Marketing Mistakes Professional Service Providers Make
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Marketing Mistakes Professional Service Providers Make


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A presentation covering common mistakes professional service providers make when trying to market their services.

A presentation covering common mistakes professional service providers make when trying to market their services.

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  • My reputation precedes me We’ve been around for 30 years and never had to do anything to bring business in Especially a problem in firms where just added new partners and the senior rainmaker has always brought business in – business just showed up from their point of view What happens when that guy leaves? Do you want to hinge your reputation on one person? As a solo practitioner, you will run into this challenge if you try to add staff or bring in a partner. How will you get people to trust this new person? How do you get them to see you as a bigger firm so you can compete successfully with bigger firms? Marketing!
  • People say they don’t need it. What they mean is I can’t afford it. People judge things they can’t understand based on the things they can understand. Gross Dr. office waiting room. You’ve heard about this great contractor, landscaper, whatever. You go online to check them out and can’t find anything about them. Do you think they’re legitimate? Make your stuff look as good as you can – if you look like someone working out of their basement, people will think less of you. find a way to get a logo. Don’t have to hire a firm like us. Try college student, freelancer, online services Get real, nice business cards made – not the cheapest paper and please don’t print them yourself!!! Put up a website, even if it’s just 2 pages. Even if you are planning to be dismissive of marketing and plan to grow your business by networking, what do you plan to hand out at meetings? Can you describe your practice? What happens after the person you’ve just met leaves the event?
  • When you start your business, everyone you know will want to help you. At first, getting referrals will be easy. You won’t be picky because you need $$. You have student loans to pay! Eventually, those referrals dry up. Unless you’re really lucky, it’s probably not recurring work. Now you have to go get work. You’ve got a little experience under your belt, how do you let people know what you can do? Website, brochure, linkedin, blogging Start with this stuff right away so you will be ready when people do start to notice you.
  • You’re smart – that’s why you’re here. Tempting to do it all yourself because it’s free. Eventually, you will get too busy and something’s got to go You will start making mistakes Everyone’s brain works differently. I can do my accounting, but I hate it, so I have a bookkeeper. You are too close to your own business. You will think you’re being clear even when you’re not. Sometimes, the thing you don’t expect is what resonates with people. Drown them in details. Your client won’t really care how you do it, as long as you can give them the desired result.
  • Nobody understands my business like I do. Nobody gets it right. Because you’re unwilling to let someone else do it for you, you’ll get busy and marketing will suffer. Are you going to blow off clients to update your website, write press releases, blog? You can’t do it all and even if you work too much (which you will), you won’t get everything done. Leads to a peak and valley cycle. If you’re good at budgeting and can live with the roller coaster, you’re fine. If you’re thinking of adding staff or need to project your billings for another reason, having an inconsistent sales cycle just leads to trouble. Success builds upon itself. If you just focus on getting the job done, forget to celebrate publicly people don’t know what you don’t tell them! Find a way to let people know who you are working with, when you win a case People like working with successful businesses
  • This usually turns into marketing by imitation. If you catch yourself making decisions by saying, What would so and so do, you’re doing it It’s ok to look at your competition. You should know what they do. Don’t steal their ideas. It makes it harder for your prospects to tell you apart. We do everything big to small, we’re good at it all… Pick a niche If you’re not distinctive, nobody can figure out why they should choose you over someone else. This is especially a problem if your competition is more well known. If you’re not distinctive, you will get more of the kind of work you don’t want! Not on this slide, but the other way we see this done is to take a successful ad that works for one company and try to make it look for yours. Old Spice – Kia ads
  • Especially a challenge for attorneys – you have a certain way you are supposed to write. Creates strong legal documents, but is not necessarily compelling or interesting. Write backwards. This is the way newspapers are written. In marketing, it is better to be less formal. You can be professional without being stiff.
  • Relates to marketing by imitation. If you haven’t seen someone else do it, it’s too scary. Challenge with marketing is you can’t guarantee anything. People ask, can you guarantee you will get the media to cover me? The answer is no. But, if you’re paying someone your hard earned money to give you advice, listen to it. You will have clients who will do whatever they want despite your advice. Try to remember not to do that to the people you pay for your expertise. It looks so different from what we’ve done in the past. But, if you’ve tried explaining something over and over and nobody seems to really understand what you’re trying to say, maybe it’s time to let go a little. (look at you like a dog) What we see is clients handing us a pile of paper – folders, brochures, flyers, all saying essentially the same thing and then complaining that nobody understands any of it. But they just can get out of their habits. They are comfortable and can’t understand why everyone doesn’t think like they do. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what.
  • Advertising is communication designed to convert prospects into sales. Public Relations is communication designed to influence opinions about your company without necessarily making a sale. Having a PR mindset is becoming more and more important, especially with social media. Social media is true PR. of course, there is the traditional stuff, print, TV appearances, radio interviews – still important. Has credibility. Not easy to get. Marketing’s 2 buckets. You need to have a story – something new, a trend, or a relevant comment on something going on in the world. the fact that you exist (after your announcement press release) is not news! The fact that you offer quality legal services and have happy clients is not news! The newspaper’s job is to report news, not profile businesses just because they exist and everything is ok and normal Social media – you want to offer value it’s a great place to demonstrate knowledge and expertise show how well read you are connect people to resources that can help them helps people find you online, so when someone makes a referral, the prospect finds you when blogging, tweeting, facebooking, sending e-newsletters – offer advice! Do not put a call to action in every post or tweet. Gets annoying.
  • PR is not always easy to get Have to be willing to brag about yourself Need to work according to the reporter’s schedule Need to be ready to tell your story and understand how to tell it so it is a news story not an advertisement Need to be able to explain your story clearly. Many people worry about being misquoted. Remember, reporters don’t generally want to smear you or get you in trouble (unless you’re doing something wrong and they’re an investigative reporter). Most of the time, when a reporter gets something wrong, it’s simply because they didn’t understand what you were explaining. You may have to share the spotlight with your competitors.
  • Everyone wishes for a firm profile. Describing your company is not news. If the newspaper profiled every company in town, would you continue to read the paper? The job of the newspaper is to report NEWS. You need to say or do something newsworthy. Problem – yours or a clients/donor/community problem Solution Example – if it’s a problem you solved, they’ll want to interview someone you’ve helped, or know how many times you’ve solved it or have a corroborating source It’s ok to let them interview your competition, in fact, help them do it. You want to be seen as a resource and a help.
  • Can find templates on the internet and I included some information on formatting the release on your worksheet, page 8 Press releases are good for basic announcements where the whole story is contained in one document. How to send a press release – in the body of an email, header as subject line. Can attach, but don’t count on them to open it. If you’ve never written one before, there are a million templates online or visit the newsroom of a company you admire and look to see how they do it. Press releases generally follow a similar format, but there are lots of ways to do it.
  • Use when you have a specific idea or when you want to write the story yourself. Say why you are writing to them. Reference a column. Explain letter and then show how this leads into the rules in Milwaukee – stingl example
  • Use when you have a big story/breaking news Something hot, so they’ll listen If you have a relationship with the reporter Example of holiday pitch and channel 6 placement for project pink
  • Transcript

    • 1. Common Marketing Mistakes Professional Service Providers Make 
    • 2. Who is this lady?
      • Promise marketer
      • 15+ yr. professional
      • What is Clear Verve?
      • Promise marketing firm
      • Outsourced marketing dept.
    • 3. Common Mistakes
      • Dismiss Marketing
      • Inconsistency
      • Non-distinctive
      • Too formal
      • Afraid to try new things
      • Being overly aggressive in PR situations
    • 4. Dismiss Marketing
      • Marketing doesn’t matter!
    • 5. I don’t need a logo! People judge things they can’t understand based upon things they can understand.
    • 6. Startup’s false sense of security At first, everyone you know helps you, but then what?
    • 7. I can do it myself!
    • 8. Inconsistency You will get too busy to both market and do your client work. Something will have to give.
    • 9. Non-distinctive What would [insert competitor name here] do?
    • 10. Too formal It is important for your prospect to WANT to keep reading or listening
    • 11. Afraid to try something new Nobody else has done it No guarantees it will work It makes me uncomfortable
    • 12. Turning PR into Advertising
      • What is PR?
        • Ongoing activities to shape company image with the public and help public understand the company and its services.
        • Unpaid media exposure
    • 13. PR Advantages
      • Free
      • Comes with the credibility of the publication
      • Positions you as an expert
    • 14. PR Disadvantages
      • You can’t control what is said
      • You have to work at it
      • You have to be available on their terms, when they need you
      • You have to be more interesting than other events
    • 15. What makes a great story
      • Problem
      • Solution
      • Example
      • Trend
      • Your competition
    • 16. How to get coverage
      • Press Release
      • Pitch Letters
      • Phone pitch
    • 17. Anatomy of a Pitch letter
      • Addressed specifically to right person
      • Gets to the point quickly
      • Explains why you think story is good for them
      • Explains enough of the story to be interesting, but not enough to write it
      • Short & sweet
    • 18. Pitching by phone
      • Know when the reporter is on deadline
      • Write your pitch down
      • Be sure to call the right person
      • Ask “Do you have a minute”
      • Be ready with alternative
    • 19. Questions?
    • 20. Contact Information
      • Clear Verve Marketing, LLC
      • 13309 Watertown Plank Road
      • Elm Grove, WI 53122
      • 262-796-9001