Here are a couple of reality checks for owners and managers of professional services firms operating in today’s hyper-connected marketplace.
One, prospective clients are increasingly checking out you and your people online before committing to doing business with you (indeed, before they even put a call in to your office!).
If social media (indeed, the web generally) has done one thing, it has turned us into expert ‘hunters and gatherers’ of information. We’re out there doing our homework, checking you out online, asking questions of our social networks and forming our opinions as to whether or not we should put you on our ‘to-contact’ shortlist.
QUESTION: If we visited your website and social channels, what would we find? Would it add value to our decision-making process, or give us confidence your firm knew what it was talking about?
Secondly, the explosion of digital channels in recent years has brought with it a heck of a lot of noise. Your existing and potential clients are bombarded professionally and personally from every angle, not just from brands but also friends, family and their extended networks across multiple social channels.
Needless to say, many of the traditional communication methods (usually used to broadcast one-way promotional messages, I might add) are increasingly being filtered out by the intended target, rendering them way less effective than, say, five years ago.
QUESTION: Is your firm cutting through the noise with its communications and resonating with potential clients?
All this suggests that professional services firms need to fundamentally reconsider the way they communicate with the marketplace. And by reconsider, I mean think seriously undertaking a thought leadership-based content marketing program as a way to increase visibility, grow influence and build brand authority.