Professional Services Marketing: How to Profit from 3PR
Independent research with over 700 professional services firms proves that the #1 source of business is “Making warm calls to existing clients” – no surprise there.
But the #1 source for generating NEW clients is “Speaking at conferences, seminars and trade shows.” (Wellesley Hills Group, Trends in Professional Services Lead Generation Report)
So if you want to win NEW business from NEW clients, speaking is your most direct path to that goal.
Yet if yours is like the majority of firms, you haven’t yet cracked the code on how to put all the pieces together to make speaking pay off for YOUR partners, YOUR executives and YOUR team to consistently attract YOUR best prospects and clients.
By the time you're done reading this post, you will understand how to unleash the power of 3PR in your firm's business development efforts, including the #1 strategy - speaking.
Question: As a professional services firm principal, managing director, CEO, partner, or practice leader... Is this you?
- "We often get beat up on price because we have no credibility with prospects who've never heard of us before"
- "I'm constantly asked for new marketing tools, brochures and presentations but nothing seems to help"
- "How do I know which marketing strategies and tools will help us close more sales?"
- "There has to be a more systematic way we can market our services"
- "There are so many new ways to reach buyers these days; should we be using social media, blogs, podcasts, video? And do any of those even work in our industry?"
If any of the above statements sound familiar then it makes sense for you to explore the power of 3PR -- Personalized Professional Public Relations.
3PR is a combination of strategies, tactics and tools designed to help you and your professional services firm accomplish one or more of these seven key business objectives:
- New Lead Generation
- Building Credibility and Brand Preference
- Connecting with Media & Industry Analysts
- Opportunities to Engage Your Top Talent
- Management Development
- Thought-Leading Content Creation
- Contribution to Your Professional Community
Let's unpack specifically what we mean by 3PR - Personalized Professional Public Relations:
- Personalized: Your firm is made up of individuals. Each member of your team has specific strengths, capabilities, preferences and personalities that can be leveraged in marketing, positioning, and amplifying the messages your firm wants to impress on your prospects, your clients and your influencers in your target markets.
- Professional: 3PR has one goal - professional exposure for your firm's expertise, products, services, and value proposition. Many professional services firm partners and practice leaders shy away from the spotlight of 3PR saying, "It's not about me." While this is true, it certainly IS about YOU providing value, expertise and guidance to help your target market succeed.
- Public: Your team may be top-notch with proven expertise that generates amazing results for your clients. However, if you don't make your expertise public, you will suffer what many small and midsized firm principals describe in frustration as "Best Kept Secret Syndrome." 3PR puts your expertise in front of prospects -- exactly where it belongs if you want to generate new business more easily and more often.
- Relations: Stop thinking in terms of "closing the sale" and focus rather on building relationships with your audiences, readers, followers and fans. The content that you share in a typical 3PR campaign is useful, valuable, actionable, specific and insightful. Do this consistently and you'll build trust, likeability and a reputation for excellence. So when a need arises, you and your firm will be on speed dial and your prospects will consider it a serious mistake to hire anyone else.
The three pillars of a typical 3PR campaign:
- Speaking: Targeting profit-rich speaking engagements in front of audiences composed of high-probability prospects. Then developing a "marketing magnet" presentation that will engage, attract and convert prospects to take the next step in your new client acquisition process.
- Writing: Articles, white papers, special reports, blogs, tip sheets - anything that your prospects will find valuable and relevant. You and your firm need to become known for creating and sharing a consistent stream of high-quality information that solves your prospect's problems. Yes, even before they hire you! (Note: Traditional PR - placing articles in hardcopy and digital venues that your prospects read and respect - although possibly important for your firm - is generally icing on the cake since the web has made ALL of us into publishers.)
- Social media: Social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn now generate up to 40% of website traffic for successful professional services firms. If you and your firm are not taking advantage of these social media platforms to offer value and invite engagement with your target market, you are missing a significant opportunity to generate new leads and stimulate meaningful prospect conversations.
The overall impact of a 3PR campaign can be boiled down to one word: Expertizing.
Expertizing is the cumulative effect of your speaking, writing and social media efforts. Taken to the extreme, it might even result in your writing a non-fiction business book to position you and your firm as thought-leaders.
It includes the ability of SEVERAL of your firm's principals and executives to clearly and confidently deliver a kickass presentation at trade shows, conferences and industry events.
And it includes positioning your firm's key leaders as experts via your website, videos, media kits, social media presence, articles in trade publications, regular blogging and perhaps even establishing an internal speaker's bureau function to more efficiently pursue, track and land speaking engagements for your key executives in front of audiences that matter.
So the question is... How successful are you at these 3PR strategies to drive your firm's credibility, visibility and revenue?
And do you do it "once in a while" with mixed results or "in between projects" when you have some staff utilization cycles to fill?
If your firm is already consistently doing a great job - welcome to the 1% club. If not, we should talk. Call me at (610) 716-5984 or drop me an email (email@example.com) and let's have a conversation about how you can LEVERAGE the power of 3PR to generate MORE Leads, BETTER Prospects and BIGGER Revenues for your professional services firm.
p.s. If you prefer to check out how you're doing right now - take our FREE "Thought Leadership Platform" Assessment by clicking on the button below: