Whether you are a consultant or an accountant, every professional service provider shares one common goal: to generate leads. Of course, that isn’t as simple as it sounds; an increasing amount of competition coupled with ever-changing consumer wants and preferences means lead generation has become a daunting task for many firms – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 ways to refine your lead generation process to help you acquire the customers you need to reach your goals.
One surefire way to acquire more leads is through reviews. Buyers within the professional services market often need reassurance to rationalise their decisions, and there is no better group to provide this than your clients themselves (after all, they are the ones that have experienced your services first-hand). But just how effective are they? With 89% of B2B marketers claiming customer testimonials are the most effective lead generation tactic, it’s safe to say very.
Whilst having customer testimonials on your website is important, ensuring you have Google reviews is invaluable. They will appear if a customer chooses to do a local Google search for a professional services firm and allow clients to make judgements before having visited your site. These reviews are not only key for differentiating your firm from competitors, but will also encourage Google to recommend your firm too.
With 91% of B2B purchase decisions being influenced by word-of-mouth communications, referrals are undoubtedly a valuable lead source for professional services firms. Bringing better quality leads, higher conversion rates, shorter close times and lower acquisition costs, it’s safe to say that referrals are certainly worth an investment. But why exactly are they such an effective lead generation source? Trust: word-of-mouth marketing is highly effective on its own, but when coupled with pre-existing relationships, it’s almost unstoppable.
It’s all very well expecting leads to fall into your lap, but you need to ask yourself: what are you giving them in return? Encouraging that initial contact can be difficult, but one way to make it much simpler is to offer your audience something in return. Think of it as a value exchange: if you create something informative and helpful for your audience, them providing their email address to download your resource will feel like a very fair exchange.
Once you’ve obtained their email, you can then add them to your mailing list and nurture the relationship over time with the help of a powerful email marketing strategy (which you can learn more about here in our ultimate guide to email marketing). And with email marketing being named one of the most important B2B lead generation channels (with the highest ROI, too), creating resources to help you obtain more emails is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment of your time.
The most effective way to increase your organic leads is through mastering SEO (search engine optimisation). The great thing about SEO leads is that they are highly qualified. These are the people who are actively seeking one of your offerings, and 90% of the time, they will be ready to take action the moment they find what they are searching for – hence the 14.9% close rate (compared to just 1.7% for outbound leads)!
So, with high conversion rates and more than 60% of B2B marketers agreeing that SEO has helped them to more generate leads than any other marketing channel, now is the time to optimise your site for more (and better) opportunities – and how exactly can you do this? Well, a lot goes into creating an effective SEO strategy (you can learn more in our ultimate guide to SEO here), and it can take some time before you start to see results, but some of the fundamental areas that should be addressed include:
- Site speed
- Use of videos
- Internal and external links
Content is king; it always has been, and it always will be. It’s a means to not only engage and educate your customers but to differentiate your business and establish credibility for your brand. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that content marketing has been reported to generate up to three times more leads than more traditional outbound methods whilst costing, on average, 62% less – pretty impressive, right.
So, what sort of content should you be posting? There are endless possibilities, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Case studies: similarly to reviews, case studies are a great way to prove your value to prospective clients, demonstrating your expertise in a way that they can trust and relate to.
- Blog posts: consistently publishing high-quality articles to your site will not only help to boost your ranking for key search terms but will also enable you to attract and nurture new leads.
- Podcasts: if you are looking to establish credibility for your firm, podcasts are a great way to share your expertise and extend your reach. With 73% of listeners having taken direct action as a result of what they’ve heard in a podcast, there’s no doubt it is a sound investment for your professional services firm.
- Explainer videos: engaging, informative and highly shareable; videos are a great way to get your message both seen and heard. And with 84% agreeing that they are more likely to work with a brand after watching an explainer video, it’s time for your firm to cut to the chase and get recording.
- eBooks and ultimate guides: we’ve mentioned this earlier, but having a resource that is substantial enough to warrant users to hand over their email address in exchange for its download is invaluable. This long-tail content is also a great way to build credibility and trust for your professional services firm and will help to establish your business as a leader within the industry.
Whilst this list certainly has enough to get you heading in the right direction, it really is just the tip of the iceberg; to find out more, be sure to check out our marketing for professional services firms page or contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help accelerate your growth.