When the economy took a turn for the worse as COVID-19 devastated consumer spending trends, many professional services businesses frantically grasped at whatever was in their reach to stay afloat. For many, that meant sinking funds into Facebook advertisements while shying away from organic integrated marketing solutions.
However, for many professional services firms, those advertisements turned out to be less like life rafts and more like anchors. In today’s shifting economy, leaning on direct-response marketing such as Facebook advertising is often insufficient. To adapt to the nuances of our current situation, consider implementing a comprehensive strategy to drive meaningful, lasting results.
An integrated marketing approach weaving together content development, digital strategy, public relations and lead generation can help you repair a disrupted lead flow, building new pipelines for lasting growth.
Direct response marketing is a bad investment for professional services brands
Direct response marketing is geared more towards businesses and brands where consumers can take an actionable step after coming across your content. More than likely, these actions are buying a product or subscribing to a newsletter. As a professional service brand, your prospects are not likely the type to make impulse buys, therefore your goal is win their trust and awareness through a constant flow of compelling, actionable communication.
Attracting new business may be your goal for the upcoming months, but cheap advertising can project opportunism, which is a bad look during a time of peak economic hardship and a worldwide pandemic. According to a study recently published by Edelman, 71% of surveyed consumers said they would forever turn away from any organization that appeared to prioritize profit over the well-being of others during a pandemic.
The difference is that people crave relationships and communication, and they despise being treated as strangers whose worth is determined by their contributions to a revenue stream. Significant concrete evidence shows that direct marketing campaigns fail to provide professional service firms with the results they’re seeking.
Not only do direct marketing schemes like these leave a bad taste in the mouths of consumers who might see them as prioritizing wealth over wellness, they don’t work. People trust those that they know over strangers. Through a combination of public relations and marketing, you can create relationships that make people feel valued, bolstering your lead generation practices.
Integrated marketing is a better long-term solution
As mentioned earlier, your goal is to provide a constant flow of communication and content that provides meaningful and useful information for clients or potential clients. Through this communication flow, potential clients will develop trust in your firm and look to you when they need assistance.
In the words of John Jantsch, acclaimed author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Useful Small Business Marketing Guide, “Trust is the currency of referrals and few things build trust more than credibility. Your organization’s growth depends on it.” The best way to build this credibility is through integrated marketing solutions.
You can generate third-party credibility by bringing a personal touch to your marketing campaigns, particularly through public relations techniques. Potential clients want more than just proof that you can do your job well; they want to know that you’ll deliver on your promises. By developing a reputation for delivering on your promises, you can create a proven reputation for being dependable and honest – two essential qualities people look for in a professional services firm.
Leveraging earned media and other aspects of public relations lets you amplify the potency of existing marketing efforts, bolstering those already in effect, so you don’t have to launch new campaigns as often. Besides helping develop your reputation as a trustworthy and dependable business partner, integrated marketing solutions have been shown as far more effective than direct marketing practices. Also, integrated marketing campaigns don’t tend to have adverse perceptual risks commonly associated with direct marketing.
Mackenzi Hockensmith is a public relations and content development intern at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit flackable.com. Follow Mackenzi on Twitter @mhockensmith3.