Professional Services are not immune to economic downturns and must consider their post-COVID-19 marketing response today in order to resume a path to success. Inbound marketing is a proven marketing method that is ideal for every professional services business. We’ve previously written about How Lack of Marketing Plan Blows the Budget. Let’s continue that trend by helping your professional services business develop a post-COVID 19 inbound marketing plan.
The COVID-19 Crisis and Inbound Marketing
A new and unexpected crisis is not new for us marketers or professional services businesses. Dips in the market, severe weather, and even attacks can disrupt the best laid out plans. We have a history of helping our clients weather the storm and help them come up with what to do when the clouds clear. More importantly, we help them develop a plan before the clouds clear. However, the lack of certainty on such a large scale during the COVID-19 pandemic is something new for all of us, no matter how long we’ve been in the business.
Every response guideline for each previous crisis is no longer valid, leaving the leanest and agile of all professional business service providers with questions on how to survive this pandemic intact.
Amid this pandemic, here are a few inbound marketing strategies to help your business not only survive, but thrive and give you some much-needed hope.
1. Your Customers Want It
With fewer clients of their own to serve, your clients are searching more than ever to learn how to grow their business. Your blogs, content marketing, SEO, events, social media, etc. can create brand awareness and attract new clients who are searching for the topics you are an expert. Along with that, your current clients have more time to see who you are, what you do, peruse your website, and read your newsletter. Make sure it is all working as it should and updated regularly. Nothing turns off a client more than seeing your most current blog is from 2016.
2. Content is More Important Than Ever
The one important distinction between content and traditional marketing is that content marketing is not, and should not be, outwardly promotional. It is most successful when you use it to inform, educate, and inspire prospects and current clients. It can also have a massive impact in these times of crisis. And if people distrusted sales guys before the pandemic, they are considered legion now.
With the lack of traditional in-person sales and event marketing, content is an extremely valuable lead generation tool and pipeline to new business. In addition to creating and sharing articles, we highly recommend your professional services business consider conducting webinars. Many of the expert webinars are selling out, leading to the need for additional shows, and further leading to an increase in business activity. Be sure to take advantage of your webinar by utilizing a topic that attracts high levels of interest. Record these webinars; they are terrific when posted to your website after the initial wave of interest subsides.
All across the globe, trade shows, conferences, and the like are being canceled left and right. The ones that don’t get postponed indefinitely may not be back at all. All who were going to attend now have a void of learning the information you had to offer. You can make up for it! Set up your own “virtual booth” of sorts by having all your relevant content front and center, such as online pamphlets, brochures, etc. Ok, perhaps people would have had to pay for it during the event. So, create a bundle, a series of webinars that also include the print materials as downloadable documents at a value price for the entire package.
And don’t think about traditionally selling your vital lessons, but don’t let them go to waste. Find the best way to get it out there, using all of the print and digital methods available to you today.
A great example of delivering important content during the COVID-19 crisis is Forbes’ decision to make their annual conference free, online, and all about how businesses can survive in crucial times. See it for yourself by signing up here: forbes8.forbes.com/esummit
Be sure to take advantage of your webinar by utilizing a topic that attracts high levels of interest.
3. Be Available
No doubt, your clients are just as worried as you are. They may think that going into hibernation is their best move. However, it is your job to remind them that the storm will pass. Businesses – including their competition – who are ready to hit the ground when the pandemic crisis is gone will better succeed in the future. Remember the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats”? Who wants to wait; get ready now, and enjoy the benefits early.
Your clients are looking for answers to their questions. They are both desperate and hungry, and they have never been more focused and receptive to your advice. Fill this gap with your presence on social media, newsletters, email campaigns, and the like. Stay connected even if they aren’t reaching out to you. Focus on how you can solve their problems, rather than how you can sell another service or grow your base, which may happen incidentally.
4. Give to the Community
Another great way to stay on your client’s minds is to serve their community. Your local media is probably in desperate need of positive stories to highlight. A few ways your business can be visible is to host a free meal, deliver groceries, help seniors get prescriptions, and a ton of other tasks that don’t cost your team a dime. However, those of you with dimes to spare should consider giving them out to the community. You may also get publicity by offering your services at a discounted or complimentary rates for a worthy charity.
Don’t Overlook the Benefits to Search
Like many other small business owners, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the level of effort (and budget) being applied to your marketing. All of the contributions to driving great organic search results have taken a hit, as there are competitors with a stronger digital presence that may have leapfrogged your business.
Eventually, a vaccine for COVID-19 will be created, perhaps by the end of this year. This is all the more reason why designing and implementing a content marketing campaign right now is crucial. When executed properly, it can improve your business’s ability to be found online. It will also serve to bolster website traffic, and as stated above, create more conversion opportunities and establish thought leadership.
Amid the Coronavirus crisis, your professional services business can stand out with the right Post-COVID-19 inbound marketing plan. Contact our team to find out how we can help your professional services business develop a post-COVID 19 marketing plan.