Professional services firms are relatively lazy to adopt online lead generation techniques. They’re lead generation is often clumsy and not directed at the sole purpose of the firm. To get a customer.
Many professionals still hold the belief that the only way to generate new clients with lead generation is through referrals and networking. These are great, and I vouch for those but let’s deep dive into what else you could be doing.
Online Lead Generation Techniques for Professional Services that Work
Like traditional lead generation, the new model is founded on demonstrating expertise and building trusting relationships — but these goals are accomplished online. While online marketing will continue to evolve, here are proven lead generation techniques that are working for professional services firms today.
1) Paid Advertising
Another proven way to get on your prospects’ radar is to buy your way into the feed of where your customer currently is. This technique gives you greater control of who you target and where someone is at in the buying experience. As the name implies you only pay when someone clicks on your link. Many times, Paid ads (or pay-per click aka PPC) leads are of higher quality because the potential client is often searching for a specific solution. In addition, paid ads are also completely trackable for your funnel.
2) Online Networking
I could have called this technique “social media”, but I wanted to make a point, that these aren’t “business media. These can be huge time sucks. You don’t want to spend time on these in business hours. I’d use an intermediary tool to post and to do the listening you’re interested in, because you can get ready to buy leads in your inbox with a simple direct message.
Build a unique angle, post multiple times a day on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Focus on one. And go all in. Find the one that works.
If your newsletter offers high-quality, educational content, you can generate a significant number of new leads when people sign up. And your newsletter is a great way to nurture the existing leads on your list. Many firms also use newsletters to announce new services and make specific offers.
To build your subscriber list, offer a free email course, checklist or educational piece to get people onto your list. The days have gone where someone will simply sign up. Going further make sure you quiz your list regularly. The ability to segment customers gives you CRM like ability to go and contact someone who might need help urgently and they might just want to be reached out to.
At time of writing podcasts are back in a big way. The best thing about a podcast is that it shows multi-dimensions to your firm. If you want people to really get to know you, the spoken word on your area of expertise is probably the most effective if you want to hit on emotion and behaviour.
5) Lead Generating Website
Most firms use their website as a boring calling card to be found online. They be safe in the words they use, don’t intend to be differentiated in any real or meaningful way and feel like an ill-fitting suit.
Use it as a credibility statement, keep it trustworthy, but might shock you a little, but be a little weird.
I say this because choosing an expert, you might be compared against another easily and you’ll be chosen on price. If you’re wearing a name tag, or a cape, you might just be the final thought someone bases their decision on.
I’ve found Lead Generating Websites should have a definitive flow. This is a common practice called User Experience Design. We want prospects to do something specific and you can’t without speaking to an expert in that field.
To be honest, blogs don’t generate a lot of direct leads if you’re doing it in the boring SEO way that this post is intended. But blogging to be provocative or build a unique point of view is quite intriguing. It does the opposite of what the website is there to do. If a prospect has been in your ecosystem for a few months and you’ve posted 22 short and sharp hit pieces. I’m sure that gets on the radar far more effectively than 4 long winded SEO articles.
7) Expert Research Reports
A proven online lead generating strategy is to offer executive summaries or full research reports on the industries you serve. You benefit in two ways. First, these documents are an excellent lead generator. Second, they boost your credibility and strengthen you online brand. Be sure your research topics are of exceptional interest to your target client group. In addition, these research studies can be an excellent vehicle for partnering with a trade association or a noncompeting firm to reduce your marketing cost and increase your credibility.
8) Online Marketing Videos
Video is everywhere today, and for good reason. It is an ideal marketing medium for professional services firms.
Nothing builds credibility like a flagship client explaining how your firm solved their problem. It’s almost like automating the referral process. Video can be used to present your firm, explain complex services or introduce your team. In each of these roles, video can play an important lead generating and lead nurturing function.
One of the most common online lead generating techniques, ebooks can establish credibility and generate qualified leads. You can offer the ebook on your website (either available free or behind a sign up screen), or you can distribute it through third-party services. Ebooks also make great paid ad offers. If your ebook goes into great depth on a subject, it can generate a great deal of buzz and establish your reputation.
10) Search Engine Optimisation
Many potential clients want to learn how to solve the challenges they face. One of the firsts steps is to Google their question, problem or issue. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) gives you the tools to match qualified clients with your online content. The reason I place so little emphasis on SEO is that it’s rare for one of these searches to become a really valuable client.
Early in the process I tell clients to ‘Get right with Google’. So that means having your WordPress website setup with Yoast SEO, make sure you’re set up for Google Business and your local strategy is pretty safe.
Rounding Up; Choose What Work For You
These online lead generation techniques alone could become the cornerstone of a robust marketing plan, but to do all of them is a lot of work. I do most of them except SEO, it’s a waste of time for me. I’d rather be active in the marketplace.
Add in networking and intense referral program, and you have a formidable strategy for building preference in the marketplace. Online lead generation and referrals make a powerful combination.