Do you still think that the best way to find new clients for your services is to rely on referrals, references, and your website? To be blunt: things have changed. What happened?
Legal sanctions: It used to be that no professional could advertise. It was legally banned. Today, a few highly publicized court cases have ended that legal ban. Yes, you can decide not to advertise. But why would you handicap yourself that way now that the door is legally open?
Crowding: All professions take turns when it comes to having too much competition. If your profession happens to be overcrowded, that means you have to compete for potential customers.
Diminished reputations: People are more cynical than they used to be about all of the professions. What made them cynical? They’ve seen too many ads and read about too many malpractice suits, and as a result they are not as trusting as they used to be. They don’t assume that a diploma on the wall makes you something special; they don’t even necessarily think you necessarily have the expertise they need. You need to convince them about that. Marketing, believe it or not, is the right tool for the job because marketing can improve your professional reputation.
Marketing firms for professional services don’t have a reputation for adopting cutting-edge marketing techniques early. But today, cutting-edge marketing is exactly what every professional practitioner needs, no matter what the field of competition is. This applies to every professional, and their associations, including the following:
If you want to maintain and build your practice, you need to invest in extensive marketing. That’s why so many professional service firms have started expanding their marketing efforts for their clients. The result is advertising campaigns for professions that never even considered marketing themselves. An important constraint, of course, is the (still relevant) need to keep their marketing efforts ethical. Professional services rely absolutely and completely on reputation, and someone who ignores that fact for short-term gain, bending the rules or the truth of a particular situation, can end up gaining a bad reputation and facing serious legal problems.
Not only are there many ads fighting for attention on a variety of media platforms, professionals have also started opening office in previously unexpected places such as Walmart, the grocery store, and malls.
It doesn’t stop there. All professionals are relying increasingly on public relations tools such as newsletters and press releases. They are also using marketing research and strategic campaigns to guide their campaigns. Marketing can help them resolve the uncertainty of potential clients; it can help them persuade others about their professional competence and experience; and it can set them apart from the competition.