Before you hire a professional services firm, do you do any research of them online? Statistics from a Hinge Marketing study show that the majority of people are logging in after meeting people in person, and finding out more about the company through various resources online. The following is a chart that breaks down how people are researching professional service providers before they hire them:
We don’t think that this is limited to service providers. Whatever type of business you have, people are looking you up. They’re leaving that meeting or networking event with you and searching your site, social media, blog, and reviews pages.
WHY YOU NEED AN ONLINE STRATEGY
If people are going to be researching you and landing on different properties that represent you, what you’re posting online should be consistent with what you would like someone to be learning about you. If, for example, in person you’re telling them you’re an accounting firm that you’re really responsive and that you process thousands of transactions a month, they should see those things indicated on your website. If your website doesn’t match up with what you’ve said, it lessens your credibility. If you have a Facebook post where someone asks a question and there was seven days before your response, that’s also inconsistent with what you’ve said online.
Think about what your value statement is and the way you’d like your key messages to impact the client. Make sure that those messages are represented on all of your digital marketing channels. If you don’t, the risk is that they’re going to come and they’re going to view you as disingenuous because of what you’ve told them and what you represented over email, on the phone, and in-person doesn’t match what you’re telling them online.
THINK THIS DOESN’T APPLY TO YOU?
It’s hard for people to relate to, but when you see the statistics, you have to realize that not doing anything can’t be an option anymore. If your channels don’t look current, that’s exactly how people will view you. You can take control and fix it or you can run that risk. Are you willing to lose customers and profit? Is it worth the risk?
If you decide you want to address it and take charge, great! Think of this as an opportunity to put out what you want people to learn about you.
It starts with your brand. You’ve got to back up and think about what it is about your company, service, product, or team that enables you to make an impact in your market. Is it your ability to guide clients, is it the partnerships we have, customer service? What is it, and how does it differ from what your competitors are doing? What is your brand personality? Is it unique? Do you have that developed?
Many people just want to jump right in and fix their website. What they don’t realize is that the look and feel of their website, headlines, messaging, emphasis, will be affected by their brand personality.
Next, determine the content design, look and functionality. Look back to step one and create a website that reflects your unique voice, brand personality, position in the market, and ability to make an impact with your clients. Then, spread your messaging across other platforms.
It’s important to start with a good home base. People often come to us with intentions of just getting a new website, or having a social media strategy implemented. But consistent messaging across all of your digital properties is essential for making that sale.