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Digital marketing: what can professional services firms learn from consumer brands?

There’s no denying it: professional services are lagging behind the big brands when it comes to digital marketing. This is understandable – the likes of Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola have incredibly huge budgets and their mission is to sell, sell, sell their product to their consumers.

However, law firms and accountants can look to these organisations and replicate their tactics in order to develop a better digital footprint, whether that’s improving their websites, social media channels, paid advertising or the many other facets that this discipline involves.

Here are some lessons to take note of:

Don’t hide your light

People aren’t just going to stumble across you – you need to be out there, telling them about your name, showcasing your values, and putting out useful, informative content to position yourself as an expert in the field. It’s a very crowded market and you need to get your USP across effectively to distinguish your excellent brand from the masses. How? Engage with customers, build a rapport, and establish trust. If your people are featured in the press or take part in charitable activities, make sure you celebrate their successes by telling your audience about this via your website and social channels.

Use the most effective tool: video

Video is now the most shared type of content online, far overtaking text and images combined. In 2021, it’s predicted that the average person will spend 100 minutes a day watching online videos. Not only do videos keep users more engaged, but they also play an important role in their decision-making process. A survey conducted by Wyzowl shows that nearly eight out of every 10 users have purchased a piece of software or app after having watched the brand’s video. Ensure video plays a central role in your digital strategy – short explainer videos on aspects of your industry are useful for clients, while providing a round-up of new laws or regulations will take you a long way with peers.

Newsjacking

Monitor the news closely and comment on events – try to find the angle that is unique to your industry, or think about how your clients will react to this and what they’d want to know. Writing a blog or putting out a short video with your key takeaways from the breaking news of the day will not only establish you as useful to your clients and potential clients, but also demonstrate that you have unparalleled knowledge in the field.

Listen and respond

The big brands will have teams of people to answer all the incoming messages to their social media platforms, whether these are comments on posts, mentions or DMs. While most professional services firms can’t stretch to this, it’s important to monitor your online presence for mention of your firm name and social media handles, and deal with all incoming message to your social pages promptly. And be aware that not all of these messages will be nice – the purpose of social media customer service is often to field complaints, so expect that you’re going to get some angry and possibly even aggressive or abusive messages. Be calm, polite, informative, and try to find a solution. For unpleasantness, take it offline as soon as possible – move it to a direct conversation over email or offer a call – so your angry customer doesn’t become what your brand is known for.

Innovate and replicate

The big brands aren’t afraid to try new things – as Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg used to say, “move fast and break things.” So you’ll see Calvin Klein, BMW and Crocs using TikTok, the video sharing platform much in the news recently, to effectively engage with their audience. How many law firms or accountants have tried this? There may be a huge untapped audience out there, just waiting to hear from you. Look to the bigger players in your industry as well, as many will have the resources to try new tech and utilise emerging platforms – learn from their mistakes and replicate what works well.

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