Are professional services marketers making the most of digital?

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A new report by Propero Partners explores the state of digital marketing in UK professional services. It examines the use of digital channels among law firms, accountants, consultancy and other professional services firms.

What does the survey tell us??

The findings summarise responses from 370 individuals. Accounting firms made up the largest participant group; 30% of responses came from accountancies, 19% from law firms and 17% from management consultancies. Financial services firms, IT consultants and other professional services firms were also represented.

67% of respondents were based in England, with 19% of those from London. The majority were director-level, with 47% representing firms established for 10 years or more.

The questions explored:

  • The methods the firms use to generate new business enquiries
  • Budgets
  • How dependent firms are on referrals
  • Whether they see digital marketing as a viable strategy for growth

More marketing channels = more incoming enquiries

The survey seems to show a correlation between the number of channels a firm uses and the number of enquiries they receive.

Those converting 5% or fewer of their new enquiries use an average of just 1.9 marketing methods.

On the other hand, the top performers, converting 45% or more of their new enquiries, use an average of 16% more channels than those at the bottom end.

Of the channels used, web contact forms were most prevalent, used by 66% of respondents. 64% use phone calls; 52% rely on events for lead generation and 45% web content downloads.

How do websites contribute to new business?

87% of respondents have a firm website. What’s perhaps most surprising about this finding is that 13% therefore don’t! This appears (unsurprisingly) to impact their ability to generate interactions, with 30% of those receiving no new business enquiries in an average month.

Will digital help professional services to advance?

84% of respondents believe that the sector needs to embrace proactive digital marketing to get ahead. 75% believe digital is highly effective or effective in their industry.

How to use digital to get your business ahead

The full survey report has more detail on the digital channels used, their effectiveness and respondents’ experiences of using them.

But the most important thing for professional services marketers is: how can you use digital to improve your own performance? What channels should you focus on – and how can you optimise them?

  • Website: clearly a key component of your digital strategy. Your website is your online shop window. It needs to represent your firm’s approach, values and style. Consistent branding is a must. You need to produce high-quality content if you want to be visible.

Google ranks your content based on a number of factors and you need to get it right if you want an online presence that delivers new business. Factors like whether your website is mobile-compatible are important – our tips on how to make your site mobile friendly can help.

Online content needs to be on point. The right content can dramatically improve conversion rates. And of course you need to meet regulatory requirements; writing compliance-ready content saves time in the review and approvals process.

  • Social media: social media referrals now play an essential role in the buying cycle. It’s not a channel you can afford to ignore. But there are some hurdles for regulated firms to overcome before you can reap the benefits of an effective social strategy.

Make sure you know how to create engaging content that is more shareable on social media and delivers clicks, shares and likes.

And keep it consistent and compliant – develop a social media style guide to ensure brand consistency. Familiarise yourself with the FCA’s social media policy: read our 10 tips for social media success in regulated firms for advice on a compliant approach to social.

One of social media’s challenges is its immediacy. In an environment where people expect instant responses, the demands of regulation can impede your ability to react. Automation tools can help to speed the Compliance approval process and get your messages to market faster: one of the reasons why regulated firms are increasingly adopting marketing automation tools.

These are just two of the digital channels open to you. By making the most of these, alongside email marketing, automated CRM, and other digital approaches, you can make a significant improvement to your conversion rates and marketing ROI.

Automated workflows facilitate your ability to capitalise on digital. They can enable seamless collaboration between Marketing, Compliance and the rest of your business. They improve online design, enabling seamless agency relationships via online briefing and real-time reviews. Automating your marketing project management can help you to produce digital content faster, with pain-free compliance approval.

You can read more about the benefits of automated workflows for Marketing teams in our guide, which is free, and available to download here.

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