Professional services firms (law, CPA, architect, engineer, IT services, consulting, etc.) are struggling with modern marketing. Many firms were founded in an era wherein marketing was seen as a “necessary evil.” As marketing (or business development, client development, etc.) has become more essential for improved books of business, firms have begun to hire marketing staff. In most cases, these folks have been tasked with corporate marketing rather than marketing the individual professionals. With the onrush of social media as a marketing discipline, there is a sharp dichotomy between the corporate web presence and the “sum of the parts” of individual professionals’ social media presences.
Michelle Golden, who is very active in professional services marketing organizations, recommends taking baseline measurements as early in the (any) marketing process as possible, and then identifying very specific objectives as part of an individual’s role in increasing his or her—and ultimately the firm’s—visibility. She writes of the individual versus company promotion trade-off, in a blog post “Why Social Media Rock Stars Are Good For Your Firm.” (Sometimes CPA- or law-firm partners get frustrated about the attention an individual “supposedly representing the firm” starts getting when their online visibility increases. This (blog post) helps explain to those partners why they should encourage the individual “fame” and not squelch it.)
Golden says that “You can rarely truly know exactly where a lead is generated anymore (unless it’s from a specific campaign) and that’s OK. We are looking for overall growth. This is all the ROI that you’ll need.”
Here are some specific ways she suggests to put marketing metrics in place:
To accurately assess growth later, I recommend taking these broad baseline measurements now:
- number of current clients
- revenue (average and standard deviation)
- revenue change % year over year
- client longevity (length of stay with the firm)
- frequency of client interactions
- frequency of transactions (purchases)
- number of clients lost per month, quarter, or year
- number of new clients per month, quarter, or year
PLANNING AND GOALS
- Increase retweets and mentions (by anyone) related to [practice topic] from [baseline #] to [goal #] by [date]
- Obtain [#] retweets and mentions by target personas including peers and thought leaders in the specialty (i.e., Get on their radar. Knowing exactly who they are in advance is best.) by [date]
- Receive at least [#] unsolicited invitations from trade organizations to speak or write by [date]
- Earn [#] appearances as media “expert” in [publication or station] by [date]
- Receive [#] questions or requests for advice from [define personas] every [frequency]
- Build up to [#] of [define persona] Twitter (or blog) followers (or subscribers) by [date]
- Move [# define persona, or specific names] from digital to personal conversations by [date]
TRACKING WORTHWHILE THINGS
- Where did it appear?
- Who said it?
- Was it positive? Y/N
- What was said? Categorize the nature of the comment and keep a clip file.
- Was the mention about a particular practice, department, or person?
- Did the mention include reference to your content or website? If so, to what specific content or page?
- Who responded and how fast? You may want to keep the response in a clip file, too.
Keep the suggestions above in mind as you develop and refine a social media strategy as a part of your overall marketing plan. Helping your team members become better at their online thought leadership will enhance the brand reputation of the firm. In the process, your best indicator of ROI–increased revenues–should show enhanced performance as well.