9 Essential B2B Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Professional Services Firm
B2B Marketing Strategy Meeting
When firms think of B2B marketing strategies for growth, they are usually aren't focused enough on who their buyer is and what they actually do. In my approach, the goal is to be compelling and persuasive enough that the audience responds and engages with your marketing and you can grow you firm wherever you want to steer that.
Marketing Research (My Favourite B2B Marketing Hack)
Research is the bedrock of any modern b2b marketing labour strategy. You'll understand how many customers you need, how many competitors you have and if it makes sense to play there.
If you don't have a clear focus on your TAM (total addressable market) you can't benchmark yourself, you'll let industry bodies benchmark yourself.
By conducting research, you’ll know your clients better, which puts you in a position to serve their expensive problems a lot better than your competitors.
You’ll know which aspects of your firm should be performing successfully and you'll develop a better understanding of which services you should offer.
Hinge Marketing states that firms that do marketing research grow 3-10x faster AND are up to 2x more profitable than peers that don’t pursue research.
Marketing Research Tips
- Don't be afraid to buy a list. D7 Leadfinder is a great resource paired with Mailshake to automate a lot of question asking in outreach.
- Map out effectiveness of research with impact/effort charts.
Your goal on Social Media is to provoke your audience into taking action with your lead magnets and get on your email list.
Show up everyday and be provocative, but don't 'be' there. These platforms are huge time sucks and designed to reward you for sticking around. Those rewards are not money.
Social Media Tips
- Use Buffer to schedule posts at the best times. I use the Burrito technique (so at times I'd eat a burrito I'll post to Twitter).
- Don't be on the platform you post.
- Find yourself scrolling? Log off, you have work to do.
Positioning Your Firm or "Niching Down" (Most Underrated B2B Marketing Hack)
All of your marketing activities should stem from how your firm is positioned. If you don't position your firm, you're doing yourself a major disservice.
You can't have a funnel without positioning.
You need to be referable (see below for more on referrals), and you can't do that without owning a word in the mind of those that refer you.
You have a few ways you can position your firm, horizontally (for the main type of service you provide), vertically (for the type of person you work with) or specialist (horizontal and vertical combined).
Your marketing labour you do around your positioning dictates the speed you take to fill your pipeline. It might not be obvious to you, but being positioned as specialist is in fact the fastest way to get more bookings.
The bookings you get will often come with higher prices, as you're seen as the 'go-to' expert in your field and a price premium is attached to that.
Positioning Your Firm Tips
- Be courageous
- Start with a small step
- This isn't a tattoo, feel free to change.
Paid Ads (Advertising for Lead Generation)
This is the fastest strategy in your toolkit.
In my opinion if you aren't doing any advertising, you aren't in business. It's a must.
If you shut off your ads during delivery, I have a word for that, it's called "stupidity".
You'll mainly go down the path of choosing either Facebook or Google. For b2b I generally like Google, because of the state of where someone is in the buying stage. Facebook tends to be for more b2c type marketing, but don't ignore it.
If you are creative and have a clear addressable market, you can make bank. It just requires more effort, and I know a lot of experts are already working their behinds off to get ahead.
Paid Ad Tips
- Don't send offers to cold traffic
- Use 'breaking news' in your ad graphics.
- Target liberally.
- Ride influencer audiences.
Referrals (Must-Have in B2B Marketing Arsenal)
I'm am fearless when asking for referrals. I hope that you become fearless too. If you take away just one thing here it would be that.
Most barely ask for referrals because they are too shy or think they'll get rejected. How hungry are you? Show a spine. Your clients want to do favours for you. You provide so much valuable expertise to their lives. Make an ask, your in business. Don't be shy.
Your best referrers should become evangelists. They should help you bring your second best customers up to your best customers.
- I use a spreadsheet, I check once a week and set up actions throughout my week.
- I have the following columns: name, email, last contacted, duration between asks, notes
- This is it. It's insanely simple but it works. To start your list, please just scour your Facebook friends and if they're in your target market (or closely affiliated), add them.
- Get your second best customers up to your best customers level.
A High-Performance Lead Generation Website
In today’s professional services arena, your firm’s website is one of your most crucial assets. it is much more than a brochure, it's a living breathing entity.
Your website is a critical tool for building visibility. Prospects would mostly come through peer-level referral, ads, and sometimes search online to find service providers, and they need to be able to find your firm. Over 70% of your leads will look at your website, so it's either first or second on the rungs of making a decision.
A second component of your website you need to consider is design. Web and graphic design can influence your audience’s perceptions, aid recall, and swiftly and intuitively differentiate a business. Most firms don't see the need for design, which leaves credibility (the main objective of your website) open for the prospect to determine.
And as it's closely tied to your email automation, we can show robust educational content and carefully targeted offers can drive leads to closer and closer engagements, eventually bringing qualified leads straight to you. This process of nurturing leads through content is illustrated below.
Finally, you must allow your website to adapt to suit a user’s device, responsive design has become table-stakes, as most people use mobile devices to do business.
- Use WordPress (it's popular for a reason)
- Focus on credibility
- Have clear objectives for each page
- Build a catalogue of expert content
- Put some behind a gated entry
- If it's not getting leads, it's down
Want help with your website? Go here.
Marketing Automation or Email Automation
I always say automate around the sale first and work your way out. Otherwise, you add a lot of technology overhead to your firm that you probably don't need.
I use Ryan Levesque's Ask Method. It's a way to survey your best customers to get the best replies from your customers to add a lot of value to your business.
That value of 'The Ask Method' comes in a many forms, but it's mainly the data. Surveying customers at different stages of their journey makes you understand the need your services provide. This let's you curate your language to better persuade that customer on the frontend by using their own language back to them.
Email marketing is huge in b2c and in b2b it's just getting started. One feature I'd start with is adding a content catalogue queued up for my customer to learn everything they need to know about your service, so you can focus on your expertise.
Email Automation Tips
- Build a welcome pack
- Survey regularly, and track answers in a spreadsheet
- Lead score based on website usage
- Use lead magnets to get people on the list.
- Just having 'Newsletter' field doesn't cut it.
Packaging Offerings - Path to Productised Services
To scale your firm for growth, you have 2 ways: Sell more units by productised services OR customise solutions for better paying customers.
In the positioning section above we discussed price premiums around specialisation. You will be required to specialise to get the most out of either of the 2 ways. But lets talk about productised services.
Productised services gives us advantages around speed. Dan Mall, author of Pricing Design says his time to sale is 6 months. If you are like me, you aren't that patient.
A productised service usually has a scope, a timeline and in most cases a price. If you can map an expensive problem that can result in writing out steps to get there and someone pays. You have yourself a productised offering.
Productised Services Tips
- Build a sales page that persuades the customer to buy or call.
- Have a buy now or discussion form link.
- Make the services 8-9 steps (and show it)
- High ticket service should have custom price point but an unchanged service.
Search Engine Optimisation
I add this one here because it's rarely that SEO leads are ever that great, but when they are, oh so worth it. But beware, the majority, they are there for cheap information, because they're often cheap.
Companies with sole marketing focus on SEO often have no soul and little price premium.
To start I use 'getting right with Google'. This might be making sure your website is SEO ready, I'll assume you use WordPress and you have Yoast SEO installed. Then, go and do some keyword planning in Google Ads to see what people are searching.
Beyond that view, research what your established competitors rank for and if they have a 4,000 word article, make a 12,000 word article on the same topic to blow them out of the water. I call that pillar content. Have a few items of pillar content that don't sit under the same post type as your blog, and keep on with the provocative content.
- Build a strategy first
- Do a lot of research and focus on competitors content, then beat them up.
- Don't mix provocative posts with SEO posts
- Write like a normal human. Don't stuff with keywords.