marketing for startup companies

Launching a Professional Services Business

Whether you’re an accountant, an IT specialist, an attorney, or any other specialist providing professional services, if you’re starting your own business, marketing is key.  Recent economic conditions have sent more and more talented professionals into the professional services sector, all trying to make a living selling their abilities.  Standing out and getting a jump on the competition isn’t easy.

To do so, you have to put yourself out there.  And the best way to do that is to mount a campaign, planned and faithfully executed over time.  One-off communications, such as e-mails or ads, aren’t the ticket.

Establishing Expertise

People—even in your own city—will be encountering you via Internet.  They’ll be searching for professionals who provide various services, who have certain certifications, etc.  Or, they’ll be searching for a topic to learn how to do it themselves.  If you establish expertise, you’ll give potential clients reason to choose you over the other names out there.

This is where blog posts, e-books and other articles come in.  If you are able to be quoted, re-posted, or recommended by well-known websites or other media, you’re a very important step ahead of the competition.  Further, establishing yourself as not only knowledgeable but also helpful will create a type of opt-in for your audience.  They’ll be drawn to you and sign yp for any newsletters or other communiques you may have.

Aim Your Messages Carefully

In addition to creating the kind of content above, you have to get it out there and you need it to be seen by the most relevant people.  If you can make some inroads in discussion fora and other online communities of the professions that make up your target audience, that’s great.  It may be hard to have avenues that don’t come across as spam, and it may be time-consuming, but it’s worth investigating.

Naturally, there are already networks in place where promoting one’s services is completely acceptable.  LinkedIn is one of the most prominent and most effective of these, its membership having grown 45% in 2012.  You may have an account, but it’s important to put it to use.  Just as you would with a Twitter n account, be sure to post URLs to your content on your LinkedIn account.  The network has its own venues for posting content, and these get advantages in google searches.

Probably the most important thing about professional networks is that they are populated by people showing an express interest in networking.

Quality Over Quantity

In terms of establishing expertise and presenting yourself as skilled, the sort of person a client would like to work with, the key is quality.  While single articles, sporadic blog posts, or video series that end at installment one aren’t the idea, you don’t want to put out a profusion of content.

Once you’ve produced just a few pieces of content that are polished and effective, you’re in the execution part of your campaign, a part that must be patiently cultivated.  Rather that posting far too many tweets and putting out hastily-written articles, the idea is to promote the few you’ve produced.  Making a calendar for putting out content, either manually or with automation software, is key.

Finding additional, strategic channels for existing content, perhaps slightly repurposed, is an effective part of any protracted campaign.  There’s nothing wrong with tweeting URLs to posts that are a few months old.  Being sure that the material you’ve created is much less time-consuming than creating more, which makes it an effective use of time.

What’s at the heart of marketing your professional services business is being sure to present yourself well at all turns.  This means to take the time to edit and tweak all content and be sure it’s presented professionally.  The good news is that this takes limiting funding and doesn’t have to be particularly time-consuming , at least at first.  You need not be in the business of volume—instead, it’s all about persistence.

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Posted in Startups.

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