Whip your professional services’ marketing into shape

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Take time to reflect and improve

As a freelancer or business owner delivering professional services, you know time is money. To ensure your business – whether accounting, tax advice, legal consulting, financial planning or creative services – keeps growing, it’s important to spend some time on marketing.

We’ve made it simple for you with this checklist.

Two-step marketing checklist for professional services

You spend most of your time helping make others’ businesses run. Now it’s time to put your own house in order. Here are two key things to consider:

  1. Audit your website.
  2. Look back at your marketing efforts.

1. Audit your website

An up-to-date website will not only help you capture new business, but it will also help you engage with your existing customers and keep them updated with relevant news and views. Here are some things to check.

The basics

Look at your website as if you had never seen it before and knew nothing about your business. Check these things:

  • Is your navigation clear and intuitive?
  • Is there a Contact Us link on every page of your website?
  • If Contact Us triggers an automatic e-mail, review the e-mail content.
  • Are your social media buttons in the same place on every page?
  • Is all site content up to date? Delete, revise or refresh if necessary.

It’s imperative you make sure your website works well on smartphones and mobile devices.

People aren’t only finding restaurants on their phones. They’re looking for tax advice, insurance and legal services. If your website won’t work on their smartphone or mobile device, they’ll move on to one that does. To check that your site works, use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool.

Either way, you have a couple options:

  • Hire a web developer to change your existing website’s code or build a new responsive website. This means the way its pages display will adjust, or “respond,” to the user’s screen size. Responsive websites use the same URL and code no matter what device the viewer is using.
  • Fix it yourself. If you’ve got the tech chops, take the time to make your existing site mobile-responsive by installing a WordPress mobile plugin or changing to a responsive WordPress theme.

If you need to build a responsive site from scratch and aren’t quite up to the tech challenge, consider a mobile-first website builder like GoDaddy Website Builder. You can have a mobile-friendly site up and running in under an hour.

Once you’ve got all that in order, there are a few more things you’ll want to check off your website to-do list:

  • Make sure it talks to search engines. Search engines like Google are your best friend, since future clients will use them to find you. Learn how to make them pay special attention to your site. It’s well worth the time and effort.
  • Conduct a website performance test. Most performance tests measure two things: resource loading and page speed. Together they constitute a huge pain point for clients in every industry. You won’t know it’s a problem if you don’t look. Use one of the free test tools here to test your site’s performance.
  • Do a security check. With Google’s transition to more secure websites, an SSL certificate is imperative to ensure your site displays a green lock in Google Chrome. Beyond that, you’ll also want malware protection and possibly backup services (if they’re not already included in your hosting plan).
  • Consider starting a blog. If you have the time and resources, blogging can give you a visibility boost. It is a proven way to generate new leads for your business. By publishing helpful articles on topics of interest to prospective clients, you can reel in people who otherwise wouldn’t know about you. Linking back to your website in each post brings them in through the digital door.
  • Look into Google Analytics. If you are confident in understanding data and want to learn more about your website performance, you should be using this tool. Start now to find out what people are doing on your website. This can lead to small site adjustments that will make huge differences to your business.

2. Evaluate your marketing efforts

There’s often a lot of enthusiasm when it comes to trying new marketing tactics. With all the other hats you wear, it’s easy to forget to look back at what worked, what should be shelved, and what should be kept and improved.

Clean up your e-mail list

This will endear you to the universe of weary e-mail users. It will keep you off e-mail blacklists because people won’t report you to their ISP as a spammer.

If you don’t have an e-mail list, it’s time to put your website to work. Consider using a tool like GoDaddy Email Marketing to create effective subscriber e-mails.

Don’t forget to track your e-mail analytics. Open and click-through rates can tell you what content readers really loved (and what they didn’t). Use this insight to plan more of what worked.

Get social

Social media is effective in growing a business and here’s why: unlike other forms of marketing, it’s a two-way conversation. You can interact with and learn from clients. They’ll tell you what they love about what you do and what you could do to serve them better.

For those who have active business profiles:

  • Freshen up your imagery if it’s getting stale.
  • Use Facebook’s built-in analytics tool to see what kinds of posts are getting the most attention so you can do more of them.

If you haven’t been using social media to promote your business, it’s time to dive in (or delegate this someone else). At the very least, create a Facebook Business Page.

Review your local listings

Local business listings are often the first search results to appear when someone Googles a term like “car insurance”, “IT troubleshooting” or “tax return prep”. Make sure your address, phone and business hours are up to date in all these listings:

Don’t have time to manage all your local listings? Look into a tool like GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings to manage all your online listings from one convenient dashboard.

Evaluate professional conferences and groups

Start checking out dates, renewing memberships and making reservations. Apply for one or two speaking opportunities to build your professional reputation.

Start at the top, work your way down

Even if you’re busy billing out your hours, it’s important to make time to seek new clients and consolidate your relationships with existing ones. A little bit of effort can go a long way in marketing your small professional services company.

This article has been adapted from an original piece by Cate Barker.

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