I was speaking on a CPE webinar the other day, and I had a small revelation.
You see, I don’t know if you have noticed this (like I have), but there has been an explosion of new advertisers in the marketplace who are pushing people to build marketing funnels — touting their cut-and-paste simplicity, and how you don’t have to do the “marketer stuff” anymore.
And, sadly, these gurus are often leaving CPAs and tax firms with dashed hopes and busted wallets. Before I get to WHY these aren’t a solid enough foundation for lasting marketing growth, here’s what I realized:
The “gurus” recommend these things because they don’t have to do any work to implement them. They can clone out these suckers at the push of a button, give them to their unsuspecting clients and then move on to the next sale.
It’s not sexy to tell people that real marketing requires real work.
It’s much more fun to sell people on big hopes, and easy buttons, and hype, hype, hype.
(By the way, if you want to have a 1-on-1 conversation and analysis of YOUR online marketing, and how to actually implement what I’m about to share, go right here. No hype allowed.)
But effectively marketing a professional services firm (especially to a sophisticated clientele … but ALSO to lower end firms) requires more than a cut-and-pasted funnel.
1) A true content hub to feed the search engines, i.e. a custom-built WordPress website. This means that you have to be posting fresh, updated and keyword-focused content to your website on a regular (weekly+) basis. The ever-increasing sophistication of the search algorithms sniffs out the templated stuff more and more.
But the VAST majority of sophisticated researchers, looking for trustworthy financial pros online, will ignore the ads and click on the organic listings.
That’s because they understand that for advertisers to get ROI, they have to make sales — so clicking on an ad is an invitation to “be sold”. Clicking on organic results feels more like the meritorious option.
(There is ALWAYS a place for advertising — more about that in the future — but only when you have the content hub in place.)
You also need …
2) A well-optimized GoogleMyBusiness and local listings strategy. Website providers hate to say it, but it’s true: your GMB listing is as least as important, and perhaps MORE important than your website, from a conversion standpoint.
And I’m not the only one who says this.
GMB drives a TON of action for a small business … but one of their primary ranking protocols happens to be that content hub, referenced above.
You can’t “game” that system, no matter what the gurus say.
3) A social media strategy that goes beyond “pitch, pitch, pitch.” Again, you can go after the lowest hanging fruit on there and be that carnival barker on Facebook and LinkedIn … but that only works for a certain personality, and for only a limited amount of time.
4) A sophisticated email marketing system on the back end. “Buyers” of financial services like tax preparation, tax planning, accounting and more don’t usually make their decisions at the push of a button, or from a hard-pitch sales deck. There is a leadtime required, especially for SMB clients, and a value-first email marketing approach is now ESSENTIAL.
Or, sure … go ahead and pitch, pitch, pitch, and see what happens. You’ll make some initial sales, but you won’t be happy about the long-term relationships you have with the kinds of clients who respond to these emotional appeals.
5) An advertising system that integrates with an organic approach. When you put ALL of your growth “eggs” in the advertising basket … what happens when you stop paying that $3-$5K per month to the Google and Facebook gods?
(Nothing. That’s what happens.)
I could go on. There is blogging, syndicated content distribution, appointment marketing, website security hosting, ongoing UXO improvements, and more.
All of these require WORK. Because the algorithms can tell when you’re gaming the system … and so can a rapidly-increasing number of our prospects and clients.
Don’t take the shortcuts. Do the real work.
And we’re here to help.
Serve the world unselfishly, and profit…