Digital marketing is transforming the way we think about marketing and it’s giving businesses a new way to generate more leads.
Digital technology is changing the way we interact with businesses, especially for the professional services industry. In order for professional services to remain relevant in this digital age, they have to adapt their traditional strategies, learn how to use different digital channels and create a digital marketing strategy to generate more leads online.
In this blog post we’re going to suggest ways to increase online lead generation using tried and tested digital marketing strategies and different social media channels, specifically for the professional service market.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is, to put it simply, a plan to leverage digital technology including search engine optimisation, emails, webinars, video, social media and online advertising to grow your business and start generating leads online. A digital marketing strategy is often part of a bigger marketing plan that also consists of traditional offline approaches to lead generation and brand awareness. Having an overall strategy in place that includes digital marketing is the best way to boost your brand awareness and help you generate more leads.
Why do I need a digital marketing strategy?
At this point you might be thinking “I get most of my leads through word of mouth and recommendations, why do I need to have a digital marketing strategy?”. Here are three key reasons why we believe your business needs one:
1. It’s great for brand awareness
The more digital channels you use, the more it will help you get your name out there. The internet is global so you can target locally as well as nationally or worldwide, depending on your services.
2. Potential clients find you
People spend the most of their time online, the internet offers new ways of buying products and services without the need of walking into a physical shop. The same thing applies to services, people spend their time researching online about services they need, if your business is promoted online, more customers can find you.
3. It helps build loyalty and trust
Your customers need to believe that you know what you’re talking about, you’re staying relevant and up to date with the latest trends and news in your industry. If you’re on Twitter and a potential client visits your page and sees that the last post was two years ago, they’ll probably think you’ve gone out of business and go to the competitor. You don’t want to lose out on business to a competitor, purely because they have a bigger online presence than you. Get online, and offer your clients new ways of contacting and interacting with you on social media. Ask for client reviews on different websites such as Google My Business listing, Trust-pilot or any other service that is relevant to your business. Once you have reviews, share them on social media and include them on your website.
What does a good digital marketing strategy look like?
In order for your strategy to be successful, you need to put the following techniques in place:
Optimise your website
The first and most important thing you need to do is make sure your website is optimised for lead generation. Information about your business and services should be readily available and easy to understand. Your website user journey and navigation should be simple, and every page should have a call to action. Make it easy for users to make enquiries, download useful information, look at case studies. Including calls to action will reduce the bounce rate on your website and encourage users to take valuable action on your website. Implement contact forms, live chat, and make sure your phone number and email address are visible across the site so if a potential customer wants to get in touch with you, they can.
Search engine optimisation
SEO is a term used to describe a variety of techniques used to help your website rank for specific search terms on different search engines. If done properly, your website will be visible to your target audience – your potential clients. This is especially important in a service-related industry like professional services, people want to know exactly what you do and how you can help them. It’s important to remember that SEO is not a one-time thing, it’s a continued effort that gets you exposure and high-quality leads for your business. An optimised lead generating website also means an SEO optimised website.
Social media presence
Social media started out as a platform to share information, ideas and get in touch with people. Over time it has evolved, now people use social media to find products and services they need and to get people’s opinions and experiences interacting with businesses or to get recommendations. When it comes to picking a social media platform for your business, think about your target audience and where they are likely to be. If you’re an accountancy firm that helps businesses with tax returns, you’ll be targeting smaller businesses, therefore LinkedIn would be the right platform for you. It’s important to have a presence on that platform, make sure your posting regularly and interact with your social community.
Generate leads through social media advertising
It’s important to include social media in your digital marketing strategy, particularly for lead generation. Potential clients spend a lot of time using social media, scrolling through a vast amounts of content from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Earlier we said that you should have a presence on social media, and use it to tell your story and connect with your customers. Don’t use it with the intention to just sell your services or product, that never works. You need to build relationships with your audience and offer them value with your content, to help build trust. Once they get to know you, you can start using advertising to convert them into leads.
You can also leverage blog posts and articles you’ve written on your website to boost your SEO efforts as mentioned in a previous blog post 10 steps to a successful SEO strategy – Digital Glue – SEO Strategy Blog.
There a plenty of paid advertising options out there, but we’re going to focus on the five main social advertising platforms:
Google Ads is probably the most well known and popular online advertising platform out there, that being said, it’s also one of the most expensive, depending on your industry and the competition. Professional services is a very competitive industry, think about how people search for your services, they’ll probably want something local to them and specific such as “law firms in Birmingham”. If it’s a popular search term with a high click-through rate, you’ll end up paying more for competitive terms, so keep that in mind when bidding for words and phrases.
You can use Google Search Network to present users with search ads and Google Display Network to present users with cost effective re-marketing display ads. The benefit of using Google Ads is that you can drive relevant and targeted traffic to your website through your ads and convert that traffic to useful leads to grow your business.
When it comes to professional services and building a professional network, LinkedIn is a key player – offering a rich source of influential and professional connections. As well as growing your network organically, LinkedIn also offers paid advertising to generate leads or help connect you with the right people.
You can create lead generation ads using lead generation forms where users submit their information in exchange for something you are offering, for example, downloading a White Paper, or registering for an event. LinkedIn has also two other ads objectives with the purpose of driving people to a landing page, like your website, with the option of driving users who are most likely to take action on it.
Facebook is still the biggest social media platform out there, it also offers plenty of lead generation tools with advertising. Facebook lead ads are designed to capture user data such as email addresses, phone numbers etc. Facebook lead ads don’t actually drive the user to a specific landing page, all the activity happens on Facebook within two clicks, making it very easy for the user to submit their information if they are interested in your products or services. You can also set your conversion objective on website clicks if you want to drive traffic to your site. The conversions objective uses Facebook’s AI to drive users to your website that are more likely to take a valuable action, such as submitting a form or registering for an event.
Instagram has the same advertising capabilities as Facebook. Create your ads for Instagram using Facebook’s Ad Manager, this allows you to run the same ad with the same objectives as Facebook. Just keep in mind that Instagram is better for brand awareness as call to actions can be limited.
Twitter advertising isn’t as targeted as the other platforms, instead Twitter offers website traffic ads that drives traffic to your website without guaranteeing more leads. Along with Instagram, Twitter is mostly used for brand awareness.
Businesses that work in the professional services industry need to focus on developing a marketing strategy that combines traditional and digital marketing in order to start generating more leads online.
If you want to build a successful digital marketing strategy, start with your website and get on social media. If you’re not sure about investing in paid social advertising, you can start with organic growth. Update your website, optimise your copy to include key search terms, and post regularly on social media.
Social advertising works well for established companies that post regularly on social media, once you’ve got some organic growth, consider using social advertising to start converting traffic into leads.