We are and aren’t the same
There are many marketing aspects of local business that translate nicely to smaller suburban professionals (lawyers, accountants and all superannuation, insurance and finance professionals). Some don’t match up as well. To the extent that there is a disjuncture, it is largely due to the ethical and regulatory structures and rules that underpin (at least in Australia) the provision of professional services. It throws up some tricky dilemmas.
Nevertheless there are plenty of worthwhile intersections as well, and the worst reason a local professional chooses to ignore them is because of a misplaced sense of elitism or a mistaken belief that they are “not in business”. Professionals have been very slow off the mark to take advantage of social media, and content marketing in particular, so they can learn a lot from the experiences of fellow enterprises that have already embarked on this path. Remember, this is not about the Coca-Colas of the world – this is about local marketing for local needs.
It’s out of our budget
No it’s not, as long as you are prepared to allocate time instead of money. A very cursory grasp of what’s happening down at Google will tell you that all those budget heavy website services – search engine optimisation, very fancy web design and the like – are not where local marketing delivers the best use of a scarce marketing budget. For one thing, getting to the first page of Google may not be your best strategy in terms of money spent on marketing. For suburban firms, your website may be primarily a source of communication with clients and the best online source of the word of mouth that has always been the friend of suburban professional firms.
More important, local professional firms should strategically leverage their resources where they have the major competitive advantage over the bigger players, especially downtown firms. What is that advantage? The word of mouth that is generated by the way you deal with clients. Your website should be an extension of that. And how do you deliver on that opportunity? Through the provision of vital, informative and well-written content. That’s content that you write to be put on your website that best showcases the unique service opportunity presented by your firm.
Content is the whole of your firm
It’s not just about the written words, it’s also a function of leveraging the firm as an holistic enterprise that contributes to the word of mouth that can be generated by well fashioned online content. Many professional firms define what they do in terms of their services rather than the benefit that clients derives from that service. So what benefits do you offer to small business in your area? What can they expect from a competent local professional whose services and locality intersects with their needs – easy access, friendly service or whatever. Ask yourself, “in what ways can we add and extend value to our clients and prospective clients that leverages the smaller size and location of our firm?
This is precisely where you are able find competitive strategies to tackle the marketing budgets of the bigger players, and this can be most readily achieved through the provision of well-constructed online content which you can write yourself. That’s time and some learning – not money.
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