The Digital Age has revolutionised how businesses connect with customers, giving rise to an entirely new discipline - digital marketing. Regardless of the industry, all businesses have embarked on a journey to establish an online presence and utilise digital channels to reach a wider audience. Yet, as similar as the overarching goal may seem, the approach to digital marketing varies significantly between different industries. This is particularly true for professional services firms.
So, what makes digital marketing for professional services distinct from other businesses, and what challenges does it present? This article will explore these questions, shedding light on why these firms should focus on highlighting the benefits and outcomes, rather than the services themselves.
Digital Marketing for Professional Services: The Unique Scenario
Professional services firms - from law and consulting to accounting and architecture - differ from other businesses in that they sell not tangible goods but intangible services. Therefore, their digital marketing strategies must be meticulously tailored to represent the 'invisible.'
The key difference lies in the nature of the product. Retail companies, for example, have physical items to market - shoes, cars, smartphones - that consumers can touch, see, and feel. On the other hand, professional services firms offer intangible expertise and knowledge. They are selling the invisible, which inherently presents unique challenges and requires a specialised approach to digital marketing.
The Challenge of Selling the Invisible
Selling the invisible - it sounds like an impossible task, right? But it is the reality for professional services firms. One of the greatest challenges these firms face is how to convey the value of their services in a way that potential clients can understand and appreciate. Since the services are not tangible, they cannot be evaluated before purchase, which can make clients hesitant.
On the digital platforms, this challenge intensifies as businesses have limited ways to engage with potential clients. How can you effectively demonstrate the worth of your professional service through a screen? This is a question that keeps many digital marketers in this field awake at night.
The Importance of Highlighting Benefits and Outcomes
Faced with the challenge of selling the invisible, professional services firms must pivot their digital marketing strategies to focus less on the services themselves and more on the benefits and outcomes. Instead of merely listing out services, they need to tell compelling stories about how these services can solve problems, improve situations, and create value.
This approach changes the narrative from selling a service to offering a solution. It shifts the emphasis from what you do to what the client can achieve with your help. By highlighting the benefits and outcomes, professional services firms can create a more compelling value proposition that resonates with potential clients.
Why This Approach Works
Highlighting benefits and outcomes serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it demystifies the services, making them more relatable and understandable to the clients. Secondly, it effectively communicates the value of the service, reinforcing why the client should consider purchasing it.
For instance, a law firm may offer a service like "litigation support". However, a potential client might not fully understand what this entails or why it is valuable. Now, consider if the firm instead focused on the outcome: "We help protect your business interests and ensure fair legal proceedings." This communicates the same service but in a way that immediately showcases its value.
Implementing the Benefit and Outcome Focused Strategy
So how can professional services firms implement a benefit and outcome-focused strategy in their digital marketing efforts? Here are a few tips:
Understand Your Clients: Start by understanding the pain points, needs, and goals of your clients. This will give you insights into the benefits and outcomes they value the most.
Reframe Your Services: Once you understand your clients, reframe your services in terms of benefits and outcomes. Each service should answer the question: "What will the client achieve by using this service?"
Create Value-Driven Content: Build your digital marketing content around these benefits and outcomes. Use client testimonials, case studies, and success stories to demonstrate the real-world value of your services.
Consistently Communicate Value: Keep the focus on value in all your digital marketing efforts. From social media posts and email newsletters to blog posts and website copy, consistently communicate the benefits and outcomes clients can expect.
In conclusion, digital marketing for professional services firms is a unique endeavor due to the intangible nature of what they sell. However, by focusing on benefits and outcomes rather than the services themselves, these firms can effectively communicate their value, overcome the challenges of selling the invisible, and build a strong connection with their potential clients.