There are five really great reasons why architects, Lawyers, CPA’s, financial planners, consultants, and other professional services providers should be responsible for their own marketing. You are intelligent beings, after all. The list below makes all the sense in the world, right. Let’s see if you feel this way.

  • I learned to write reports and essays in school. How hard could blogging, article writing, email campaigns and web content be?
  • Search Engine Optimization is just a fancy word for “getting found” on the search engines. I can buy an ad and be at the top of the page.
  • I don’t need analysis; I know how much my leads cost and where they come from.
  • I send my sales people to trade shows all year long, and spending that much is a huge impact on my budget. We check on our competitors there, so why spend even more hiring an inbound marketing agency to tell me what I already know.
  • The younger people on staff already know how to surf the Internet. I can rely on them to do this stuff.

There is a challenge for all businesses today. Whether you operate in the Business-to-Customer arena (B2C) or the Business-to-Business sector (B2B), the ability to “stand out in the crowd” is more and more difficult, regardless of which sector you might play in. And the old mentalities simply will not get your brand the attention it will need to thrive. Heck, even just to survive!

I’m not sure how you feel about the above statements, but if you are still reading, I think there are things to discuss. Let’s address them in order.

Article, blogs, email campaigns and more

Marketing today is a lot different than it was even just a few years ago. Traditional marketing methods are not performing at the same level they were in the first decade of this millennium, and even more so than the 1990’s. Inbound marketing is about content; engaging, relevant, compelling content. Writing to the personas of your target customer is a bit of an art, and is much different from report or essay writing. Now that consumers are utilizing the Internet to perform their research, content is extremely important. The distribution of original and curated content in multiple forms is now part-and-parcel of the marketing strategy. Consumers are making up their minds what they want and from whom before you even hear from them.

An effective blogging campaign (where the majority of new leads now emanate) requires a dedicated effort of blogging five times per week. Add to that commitment the creation of content such as video, audio, webinars, white papers and eBooks can be a full time effort.

Search Engine Optimization

While it is true that a PPC campaign may place you in the top tier of the ads on Google, Yahoo and Bing, there are hundreds of search engines. PPC, or pay per click can be an important aspect of an overall inbound marketing campaign, but it can be very expensive, and results may not yield much in the way of qualified leads. Remember also, that each time someone accidently clicks on your ad, you are paying anywhere from $.50 to $4.00. A PPC campaign is merely one of the tools that can be implemented to drive traffic. Doesn’t organic traffic make more sense? Look at this chart from Marketing Sherpa, which identifies the business-to-business answers to the survey conducted at year-end 2011. There is more to inbound marketing than SEO and PPC.

2011 Most Effective SEO tactics

 

As the above chart indicates, there is a lot more to SEO than getting on the first page. The full complement of marketing sub-categories all interact cohesively to create the visibility and reach for firms today. More B2C and B2B sales occur through online activity, flipping the sales and marketing process from push to pull.

Analytics Tell a Big Story

I am sure you will agree with me that knowledge is power; it forever will be. Knowing about your competitors’ online positioning and effectiveness, as well as off line activity can identify weaknesses or strengths to be exploited.

Statistics represent the story of what is or is not occurring, if you know how to read them. Some statistics reveal consumer behaviors, while others display the effectiveness of your actions and offerings. Through comparisons of competitive data as well as internal information can aid sales and marketing personnel, thereby arming them with the right weapons to generate revenues. Big data can reveal big opportunities, to refine or to conquer.

According to Hubspot®, the cost per lead through inbound marketing has been proven less expensive than outbound (traditional) marketing by 62%.

Analytics Tell a Big Story in Marketing.

Hubspot-Average-cost-per-lead var2

 

Off Line Marketing – Trade Shows, Direct Mail, Display Ads, etc.

It’s a fact that trade show traffic is down across all industries. The cost to build out a booth, travel and per diem expenses for sales personnel and printed materials continue to rise, with fewer “qualified” leads from all the expense. Additionally, the burden the office feels resulting from fewer personnel at the office is weighty. Display ads are expensive, and tells you nothing from where your leads came. You have no clear idea where to place your marketing dollars for their best ROI. It is all about risk and return after all. Having a targeted campaign beats the shotgun approach every time.

Direct mail campaigns are at their worst efficacy in the history of marketing. The high cost of postage, print production and stuffing envelopes is tedious and produce a low yield. While television advertising is still a valid source of qualified leads for B2C business, it remains one of the most expensive forms of marketing, even with local cable as the vehicle.

Full Time Staff Already Have Full Time Jobs

Most firms have felt the pinch of the economic storm we are facing today. Staff is working at near capacity or more. The expectation of them taking on the social media, blogging, email campaigning, and article writing, offer creation and developing landing pages and understanding analytics is unfair and unrealistic.

Your job is to get the best from your resources, not wear them down and create dissention through unrealistic expectations and overwork. Besides, these tasks take dedicated focused effort, not some half-hearted attempts at keeping up.

Still Considering Doing it Yourself?

If more qualified leads is your objective, can you honestly believe you can perform the marketing task independently? Can you look your staff in the eye and ask them to take on even more responsibility? Do you plan to maintain the status quo with your current marketing efforts, despite the predictable poor outcome?

An inbound marketing agency can perform all, or some of these time consuming tasks with specialists in their field. From in depth analysis to email marketing campaign design and implementation, the right agency has the experts to help your business evolve.

It might be a good idea to consider looking into an inbound marketing agency. Nearly all of them offer a no cost consultation, and an intensive review of your goals, current efforts, the competition and other facts to determine your needs. The evaluation can be performed on the phone, to minimize the impact of face-to-face meetings.

Zen Marketing is fully qualified to assist in the conversion of your business from the traditional model to inbound marketing. Combining state of the art marketing strategies and traditional tactics can produce the kind of results you are seeking. It may serve you well to contact us today.