Leepson’s Rules of Marketing Professional Services

Who said Old School marketing strategies aren’t effective in promoting professional services? Who said New School marketing strategies should replace Old School marketing strategies? I sure didn’t say that and I’m definitely not a marketing Luddite. The Urban Dictionary defines a Luddite as “one who fears technology (or new technology, as they seem pleased with how things currently are…why can’t everything just be the same?)”.

The book industry is a good example of Old/New School assumptions. Many industry observers were quick to predict the demise of the printed book due to the emergence of the e-book. James Surowiecki, writing in the New Yorker says, “Some people think physical books are technologically obsolete”.

On the other hand, according to a recent survey by the Codex Group, “ninety-seven percent of people who read e-books say they were still wedded to print, and only three percent of frequent book buyers read only digital.” Come to your own conclusion about the future of e-books.

What does this have to do with marketing professional services? My premise is that new (school) technology does not replace old school technology. New technology, in fact, enhances the old.

Take a look at Leepson’s Five Rules and come to your own conclusions.

#1: Talk to your prospects (Old School). The most effective way to promote professional services is to present a paper, give a talk or get on a panel at a conference where your clients hang out. Talks demonstrate your professional competencies to your target market.

It’s not good enough just to join your local or national professional association. You need to get on a committee or volunteer to do something. This is a great way to get your name out to your target market (such as association members and vendors).

#2: Publish or Perish (Old School) is the mantra of academia. Enhance your credibility by writing something. Write a short case study or a lessons-learned article for a publication your target market reads. If you publish your article online, make sure the article is placed on a site that you know your prospects will read. Use other online vehicles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to link to your article.

#3: You are your brand (New School). Branding is not the New School panacea for your marketing woes. Tell your prospects, “Use my professional services, and you’ll get this (specific) benefit”. Make sure your benefit claim is couched in terms of your unique capabilities. Your job is to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

#4: Websites are passive. (New School) Your website, blog and business Facebook page can help promote the features and benefits of your professional service. But remember, your website is a passive, not aggressive, communication channel.

However, prospects will most likely look you up online before contacting you.

#5: Social Media could be anti-social (New School). Tweets (without links to meaningful content), Instagram pictures and some blog postings as New School marketing strategies, are generally thin on content and have a fleeting quality. Also, there is little or no value in broadcasting your message to a wide, dispersed audience. Social media are great ways to communicate information, but your goal is to go beyond communication and establish a connection with your prospects. Don’t confuse communication with connection.

Leepson’s Rules are not immutable, but there are definitely both Old and New School best practices you should use when it comes to promoting your professional service.