As the leading direct mail automation platform, we spend a lot of time studying professional services marketing. So, let’s dive right in and explore how to market professional services this year.
Professional services and consulting firms in fields such as accounting, financial services, management consulting, and legal services are always looking for more high-paying clients. These organizations may lack full-time marketing resources, or they believe marketing is too time-consuming or is somehow unbecoming. Consistently marketing their businesses is a task that is often neglected.
The key to attracting high-paying customers is to identify potential clients likely to be experiencing problems causing them pain. Once you’ve done that, getting the attention of your target audience and convincing them to engage your firm to implement solutions is your marketing challenge.
If you’re a professional services company, direct mail can be an excellent way to prospect for new professional service clients while avoiding spam filters and ad blockers that hamper marketing efforts in digital channels.
What We’ll Cover
Why Direct Mail Marketing?
Direct mail campaigns are one of the oldest and most effective ways to engage your audience in a conversation about your product or service. Mail is an excellent way to support brand awareness, build credibility, enhance trust, and increase sales. It allows a company to connect with its customers on a more personal level than other forms of communication.
Direct mail is not only for marketing; it can increase buyer confidence, ask for referrals, or recognize customer loyalty. Professional services firms use direct mail as an effective tool for retention, referral, and branding.
A recent study by the American Institute of CPAs found that direct mail is one of the most common forms of lead generation for accountants. The same strategies apply to lawyers, financial advisors, event planners, and similar professional services businesses.
Advantages of Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing is a powerful tool in today’s highly competitive market. It works because you direct it to a specific audience. Conversely, wasteful mass-market advertising casts a wide net to capture the few qualified leads worthy of pursuit.
You can aim direct mail to individuals who fit a specific demographic profile that matches the characteristics of a professional service company’s ideal clients. Much of this consumer information is available from free and paid data sources.
By focusing on your specific audience instead of wasting resources on untargeted advertising, your conversion rates improve significantly. You can target individuals most likely to be interested in the services you offer. The data about these prospects match the profiles of clients you already serve. This means more conversions per mailing!
Direct mail marketing continues to play a vital role today in modern business practices and in helping companies reach their target audiences. Professional services businesses can use this technique when they send:
- Discount announcements
- New location openings
- Periodic newsletters or announcements about upcoming events
Who Is the Target of Direct Mail Lead Generation?
One critical factor contributing to the success of any direct mail effort is directing your message to your best prospects while minimizing the waste caused by mailing to the wrong targets.
The really great thing about direct mail is the amount of available consumer data you can use to zero in on the people who best fit the profile of your ideal client. Databases use postal addresses to connect data points from multiple sources, resulting in a wide range of criteria marketers can use to build their direct mail lists. This data allows you to filter your data by information such as age, gender, income, and home ownership. For businesses, you can target based on estimated revenue, a number of employees, SIC codes, and more.
Once you’ve identified your targets and understand their desires and pain points, a simple, personalized direct mail piece will get their attention better than any similar message delivered electronically.
Why Aren’t More Professionals Using It?
Professional services firms believe their clients are looking for trusted advisors, but what clients are really seeking is a solution to a problem. Once you solve the problem, then you become a trusted advisor.
One result of this misconception about buyer motivation is misdirected advertising. The professional services firm attempts to woo clients with statements of trustworthiness and experience. They may have tried direct mail in the past using this approach.
Disappointing results can cause marketers to blame the channel or execution when the message or the list was the real culprit. A mailing campaign that generates few new clients can cause professional services companies to abandon mail in favor of cheaper communication channels.
Well-designed and targeted direct mail is an effective means of reaching people who need your services. It can get you in front of a substantial segment of your consumer base and is an exceptionally effective way to get your message out.
Most professional services companies are not using direct mail as frequently as they should.
They believe it’s too expensive, too difficult, and too time-consuming. Unfortunately, when companies do not use direct mail as often as they should, it leaves the door wide open for potential clients to decide on a different service provider who has attracted their attention through their own marketing campaigns.
Postal mail may seem outdated when compared to new, exciting digital alternatives, but the older approach contributes to direct mail’s superior conversion rate. Mail avoids the digital clutter that most consumers are forced to endure by blocking or ignoring the messages. People pay attention to the items they retrieve from their postal mailboxes, especially if the marketer has done a good job at presenting attractive, relevant offers to the right audience.
Technology has changed the way professional services companies use direct mail. With the right direct mail platform, like Postalytics, months-long planning and coordinating is no longer necessary. Small firms need not be burdened with the minimum mailing job sizes demanded by traditional print/mail service providers running offset presses.
Today, professional services firms can design and execute an effective direct mail campaign as easily as sending emails—even if they have a small administrative staff and no marketing department.
An Ideal Introduction to Your Prospects
Your goal with direct mail, as with any marketing campaign, is to make the right impression on your prospects and get them to take action that leads them down the path of becoming a client.
The ideal introduction is a basic direct mail piece that frames your services in a way that makes it easy for a prospect or client to relate. Show them you can solve their problem. Draw upon the power of simple graphic design, intelligent use of personalized data, and a clear call to action. Use postcards or letters to make potential clients aware of the benefits of working with your firm.
This article from Forbes suggests professional services firms should use small seminars as an excellent source of leads, but how do you get your ideal prospects to register? Emails get buried in overloaded inboxes, phone calls from unfamiliar numbers go unanswered, texts are ignored, and other digital channels are unfocused. Postal mail is the one communication method that allows you to publicize your informational seminars to the right people, offer valuable pre-seminar content, and get people to register for your event.
Direct mail is a personal communication sent directly to a target audience. This makes postal mail an ideal gateway to enriched client engagement activities found online. Use strategies like QR codes and personal URLs in direct mail to expose potential clients to videos, guides, checklists, or other information about your firm that you can deliver over the internet.
Direct mail is a marketing tool with which to sell your services. It not only provides you with the means to reach your target audience, but it also allows you to deliver a message that is much more personal and useful. The messages you create for direct mail can be as simple as a reminder about an upcoming event or answers to frequently asked questions.
The key goal of direct marketing is to get your message across in a way that will resonate with your target audience. It’s important to remember that though direct mail might seem like a relatively low-tech form of marketing, the technology behind it allows you to communicate just as effectively (and often more effectively) than you can through digital-only channels. All you need is an idea, some creativity, a modern direct mail platform, and a little bit of time.