Publishing and promoting great content has become table stakes for professional services companies and it is expected by their target market. Competing companies have to constantly produce and promote thought leadership in order to differentiate themselves.
In order to inform, educate and influence their target clients, progressive marketing departments at professional services companies create content which is published on their website and blog and apps and promoted using the likes of search engine optimisation, search and display marketing, email and social media, advertorials and published by the media.
Whilst content is essential, it does not always serve to develop relationships and foster an emotional connection. Developing and promoting content is a costly exercise, so professional service organisations must ensure they are getting a good return on their digital marketing investment.
Here are five things professional services companies should consider to “humanise” digital engagement with their target clients.
1. Performance measurement
Whilst branding, communications and public relations is essential in any professional services organisation’s marketing department, emphasis is not always placed on generating leads for client-facing sales staff.
This is primarily because marketing departments are not measured on lead generation and sales revenue. By introducing “business development” performance management, marketing departments will need to make the necessary changes to ensure they are developing leads for the relevant service lines in their business.
2. Use more video
Video content is preferred and consumed more readily than any other content. There is no better way to humanise online thought leadership than video. Video is easy to produce, publish and share.
Your clients will far rather watch a three minute video clip than read the written equivalent. Video looks good on all devices and platforms and if you are selling your people and their expertise, a video will build way more credibility with a prospective client.
This medium connects with prospects from a visual and audio perspective and serves to produce a more personal connection with your target market.
3. Personalised email
A great way to create a more personal touch and humanise your email communication is by sharing personalised emails with your subscribers. A salutation such as “Dear Eric” will create a more personal connection between the sender and the recipient than a newsletter.
It is proven statistically that personalised email sent from a known person builds trust. Email subscribers will reply to a known sender and the senders name will become familiar to them over time.
This a great way to build credibility and trust, stay top-of-mind and establish the sender as a “go-to-person” when the prospect needs advice or assistance, wants to meet or requires a proposal.
4. Employee advocacy
Progressive professional services organisations are implementing employee advocacy platforms as an extension to their marketing communication channels. An employee advocacy platform is a good way to democratise your corporate social media and email communication channels to staff members.
Many client-facing staff members would like to share content with their social media connections and email contacts however many are nervous about what to say or they are unfamiliar with some of the platforms.
An employee advocacy platform presents staff members with categorised thought leadership which they can easily share with their social media followers and connections and email contacts. The employee advocacy platform will pre-populate the social media posts and email content for the employee, so it is a simple case of clicking and sharing.
5. Social selling
Social selling is the next logical step for companies using employee advocacy platforms. Staff members are trained on how to use social media effectively to monitor who is displaying interest in the content they are sharing (i.e. likes, shares, comments) and how to engage and interact with relevant social media followers and connections to build relationships, establish credibility and trust in order to initiate offline engagement.
A great way to humanise your online digital marketing is to introduce performance metrics to encourage marketing departments to develop leads for client-facing staff members, video to present more of a human touch, personalised email from a known sender, employee advocacy to democratise corporate social media and email communication to staff members and social selling to empower staff members to use social media more effectively to sell.
Do you have anything to add? I would love to hear from you. I welcome any comments and please do share this article.