Friday, February 21, 2020

Getting CPA, Professional Service Business, Financial Service Marketing and Strategy Right, the first Time


To you service businesses, CPAs, Professional Service Providers, Financial Service who have allocated their savings or other people's money to a venture with a plan---strategic plan, then this will definitely help. We live in a hyper-competitive world. Simply playing the commodity game and the “make-it-up-as-you-go” game are just recipes for future business challenges. This content would hopefully get you thinking better about your service business strategy.

As always this content is not possible without the support of BJ Mannyst (the conventional and unconventional marketing service provider) + Founders Under 40 Group with GreatestFounders.com.  And LinkedIn which has provided a great platform for B2B players.

This content is made possible by them so if you’re an early, growing, or well establish business looking for someone to take a look at your service business, please reach out via email.


So let’s begin.

Todays marketing is so complicated and overwhelming. You literally need an army to do great work and you allocating resources to a poorly designed service marketing strategy is like building the world's tallest building on paper..


KNOW YOURSELF & YOUR BUSINESS

Like everything in life, no one person can ever satisfy the many perfectly all the time. When you have no idea what, who, why, where, etc your business is doing or going then your strategies will be unfocused and unproductive. You might even waste a lot before you arrive at a plan for your service business.


BE TRUSTWORTHY 

You are never going to stay in business very long if people don't trust you or your firm or your staff. The thing about service is that it is a people business so all the strategy plans you throw at it doesn't mean it will succeed.


NEED TO KNOW YOUR TARGET

It’s hard to persuade anyone if you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. In your service business don't ever get comfortable thinking you know everything. The world keeps changing and clients needs and wants keep changing. You need to keep uncovering insights. Those insights can help you position yourself well in the marketplace.


NEED POSITIONING

If you are too similar to others then you just end up insignificant. Just think for a second, if one Doctor you engage ask about your day,family and also cured your sickness compared to another who doesn’t take interest in you however cured your ills. . .Who will you go back to? You need to differentiate and position in an impactful way.

[“Your positioning begins with a set of differentiators, which your research or marketing advisors can help you identify. A differentiator must pass three tests. It must be:
True — Clients can smell a made-up differentiator a mile away.
Provable — It must be supportable with evidence.
Relevant — Your clients must care about it. There’s no room for differentiators that offer no obvious value to clients.”]

THE RIGHT OFFER

Some clients or prospects will respond to some offers more positive and others will completely ignore it. The amount of change in the world means your business needs to keep reflecting, keep adapting, coming up with new offers. Plus what is important is clearly understand what challenges your clients face. What are the decision making processes? How do they gather information? What information can you put out to assist them in their decision making? What tech tools can you use to deliver the offering? What ways can you create exposure?


NEED BIG PICTURE? NEED WHY?

Yes you do. You can’t just go into business without a big why unless you don’t care.If you look at your service marketing and notice that it’s just not resonating with the market that's because your reason for operating your business is not a higher calling or bad value preposition. If you don't have a big WHY you will not last.  If you need help figuring out your big why then get yourself help. Just executing bits of this and that on social media, a bit of conference sponsorship, etc without a good plan is just wasteful.

WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS IS NOT STRATEGY

I know many of you started your Virtual CFO business, CPA business, Private Equity, VC, Angel or service business with out thoroughly assessing, questioning, etc. All you are just asking for business pain.

If your “marketing plan” is little more than a list of activities and your teams to do's,stop. Those overall strategy  and activities will never help with growth objectives.

You have tried a variety of marketing tactics and ideas drawn from internet research, books,conversation, or etc. 

BUILD FROM STRENGTH

To build any lasting and successful business, it must start from knowing your strength and weaknesses. What is it that you are good at? What is it that you don't want do? What segment can you serve well and still stay profitable?

CHANGING EXPECTATION. CHANGING WORLD

Everyone's desires, standards, and expectation keeps going up as they are being exposed to many industry leaders setting the bar higher. Potential clients are looking to solve their problems and are determine to find out who has specific expertise they need. They ask peers, friends, Google, attend trade shows, etc just to find that ideal vendor for their needs. So basically what I'm saying is to keep up with buyer behavior.


GIVE & DEMONSTRATE EXPERTISE

When it comes to service your knowledge and expertise is not the only thing they buy. They buy dependability, accuracy, partner, collaborator, friend, and so on. So continuous success requires increasing your visibility and your reach. That may include demos, free consultations,watch you in action, word-of-mouth. It is a gradual process to prominence.


DEVELOP THE RIGHT MARKETING MIX & INTEGRATION

There are more areas a service provider must concern themselves about in this digital age. Social Networks, Reviews, Content, SEO, MarTech, Analytics, Monitoring, and so one. It's really a lot of work to break through the noise so one major suggestion is to continue to market in traditional forms offline and new forms online. Watch and follow your prospects to learn how to best reach and serve them.

COME UP WITH BUNDLES & COMPLIMENTARY SOLUTIONS

Add value to your current offering by considering bundling it to other services or products. So feel free to explore the possibilities. At the end of the day people want value for their time & money.Find a complimentary offering to sell to clients.

CREATE BRANDS FOR DIFFERENT TARGETS/PERSONAS

Sometimes if you're going after a different market you may want to consider creating a different offering, different price point, etc

ADOPT TECH, AI & FREELANCERS

It's just impossible to stay competitive if you're not adopting the right technology or the right resources. There's never been a time where you could scale your workforce with high skilled people without having to pay them salaries via hiring. There's the growing use of artificial intelligent tools to assist in business operations. So to all the professional service providers, service business operators I would advice you to get the extra skills you need to sell and market in a ever changing marketing. By hiring, outsourcing, partnership, etc.

ADVERTISE

Don't be afraid to pay for advertisements. Some businesses may not need a whole lot in advertisement however the reality is branding plays a major role in decision making. So keep been visible to prospects, customers, or partners in some way. Plus some ad platforms can make it easy to really target and / or link people to resources.

Here are some examples of offline marketing techniques:
  • Networking
  • Speaking
  • Meetings
  • Print Publications
  • Direct Mail
  • Cold Calls
  • Print Advertising
  • Associations/Trade Shows
And here are a few online technique examples:
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Collateral
  • Webinar
  • Website
  • Phone/Video
  • Blogs/Online Publications
  • Email
  • Search
  • Online Advertising
  • Groups/Online Conferences


ACKNOWLEDGE THE RESOURCES

You are going to need resources. Either you pay for it or someone does it for no money or maybe barters. Sales & Marketing are never a do once and walk-away. It is a constant demand of time, money, and effort.Therefore make sure you have a sustainable resource to help you continue.

TRACK & MONITOR

Did your last blog post generate response? Did the video receive engagement? Is your SEO strategy drumming up traffic? Is the landing pages generating leads? See digital tools allows for many things to get measured. So my tip to service providers is get better at understanding the digital marketing environment, surround yourself with the right talent, and find yourself many experts on the many aspects of marketing so you can keep up.
.
We recommend that you learn about metrics like the below.

["Visibility metrics — These will help you gauge how visible you are to your target audience. Common visibility metrics include total website traffic (web traffic rises with increased visibility), social media traffic and attendance at events."]

["Expertise metrics — These tell you if your audience is exposed to your thought leadership content (i.e., are you successfully demonstrating your expertise?). Common expertise metrics include blog views, downloads of your premium content, guest posts, webinar attendees and attendance at speaking events."]

["Leads — These can include raw (not yet qualified) leads or inquiries, “sales-ready” opportunities and actual proposals submitted. Your firm may describe these stages differently. It does not matter how you define your lead stages as long as you are consistent and capture the full new-business cycle."]

["Wins and losses — This data can help you understand how proposals turn into new clients (you might call this your “closing percentage”). Be sure to track this metric separately for new and existing clients. Existing client proposals should have a much higher closing rate."]

Also remember the strategic marketing program planning, or plan might not be the problem sometimes it's the execution.

Have you allowed for enough time to assess whether it's working or if it's a flop? Sometimes it takes more than four followup touches before you get to close. Sometimes you need multiple touch points to lead prospects to clients.

Are your approaches based on quality, good relevancy, good timing, good frequency, good production, good execution?



MAKING ADJUSTMENT

One thing I would say is that the outcome of sales and marketing is in everyone's hands. You staff, secretary, tech guy, data scientist, marketer, sales people, business developer, etc are all responsible. There will be times the team will get it wrong so you may need to adjust.

["Build on areas of strength. What tactics are working as planned? Which are most effective and efficient? If you have a technique that is producing the desired results, you will undoubtedly want to do more of it. You may also consider using related techniques to build on your success and make implementation more effective and efficient."]


["Rebuild or replace areas of critical weakness. Where has implementation faltered? Some of these will be important for success. For example, you will need to communicate on a regular basis with prospects who are in the nurture phase of the marketing funnel — so making email work may be central to this effort. We call these critical weaknesses, and they need to be improved. You have two choices. First, you can repair areas of critical weakness. This might involve replacing or retraining staff. Second, you can replace that function with an outsourced solution."]


["Drop areas of non-critical weakness. Finally, you have areas of weakness that are not critical to the overall success of the program. Given that you can work around them, the most prudent course of action may be to replace these technique with others that are better aligned with your strengths — or simply drop them altogether."]


Take Away

As a service provider, either big or small. you are the service. Your people are the service which means what goes in is usually what comes out. If your CPA, Professional Service Business, Financial Service is able to get their  marketing and strategies right the first time. . .the better it will be for your business. Also imagine once you have a better reputation and talent the better you can attract more better and profitable clients.

Please, feel free to engage myself about your service business challenges or this content. Via form below or on BJ M





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