The challenge for most practitioners is having the time to develop speeches, lesson plans for small business coaching, creating press releases, writing articles and newsletters, and producing books for publishing, along with having a system for updating these materials on a regular basis and keeping them current. So, the secret to marketing professional services is to have a clear goal in mind and focus all your efforts on achieving that goal. By deciding exactly what you want to achieve, you can pick and choose the best methods and audiences to build your practice in leaps and bounds.
That only sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Yet you’d be surprised how often reasonable, intelligent financial consultants and accountants plunge headfirst into trying to market themselves and their business without a clear, attainable goal. Without an overall goal, your practice building tactics (and that’s exactly what all those speeches, small business coaching and articles are, aren’t they?) are likely to be too scattered and disorganized to have a big overall effect. Here are some simple steps to help you focus your practice building and choose tactics that work for marketing professional services.
- Define your goals.
Without goals, you have no way to target your marketing tactics, or evaluate their success. Consider the work you most enjoy, the parts of your field at which you excel, the kinds of customers with whom you prefer to work. In five years, would you rather be the top small business accounting firm in your area, or the go-to person for new business startups? The answers to questions like those will help you create a comprehensive practice building plan targeted toward reaching that goal.
Write down your goal at the top of a sheet of paper. That’s the start of your practice building plan.
- Break your goals down into objectives.
Now that you know where you want to go, you can set up a timeline to get there. Keep in mind that objectives are not tasks – those come a little later in your planning.
Your objectives may read: We will increase start-up consulting services by 10 percent in the next six months, or
We will gain 5 new clients through referrals in the next 12 months.
- Define your tactics for marketing professional services.
Now it’s time to talk strategy. What has to be done to increase your consulting work to start-up clients? Will you use direct-mail marketing? Face to face meetings? Volunteer your time at the Small Business Administration? Each strategy should have a clear benefit in moving you toward one or more of your objectives.
- Establish tasks within your marketing tactics.
Here’s where you get to the real nitty gritty work of marketing professional services – deciding what to do and who should do it. For instance, you’ve decided that one of your marketing tactics is to establish a professional presence in your community. Specific tasks related to that practice building strategy might be to write and send out one press release about your practice each month, to attend at least two Chamber of Commerce events each month and to teach one continuing education course in your expertise every other semester.
- Delegate tasks!
You have your expertise – others have theirs. Conserve your time to put into your practice rather than practice building by making use of the expertise of others. Engage a professional writer to compose your press releases. Subscribe to a clipping service to forward only those news tidbits that are important to your business rather than reading through a dozen professional publications.
The secret to effectively marketing professional services is to have a plan with an overall goal and consistent marketing tactics. Combine a plan with your own practice building tactics and watch your business take off.
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