My work in design and marketing has mainly been around professional services; lawyers, therapists, financial advisors and other “serious” professions.

I’ve thrived as an artist in this environment because I understand the three critical elements that a new or developing firm needs to effectively market to the right kind of clients.

All campaigns, design efforts, and marketing strategies center around three critical elements: Positioning to build respect, clear communication that is remembered, and strategies to become referred.

Respected, Remembered and Referred is the formula for a financially successful practice. So, let’s dive into how your marketing efforts can support those goals.

What do marketing basics look like?

There are five basic things that all professional services need. They are the building blocks to more advanced marketing efforts, and if they are not in place, remembered, respected and referred is a harder challenge.

Cocktail Pitch – a short compelling “what I do, and, who wins because I do it” Cocktail Pitches is the backbone of all communication and aid in being remembered, and being referred.

Brand – it’s hard to take a professional service seriously when the logo is blurry, there is no consistency in color use or fonts and it’s obvious you’re just cheap and not bootstrapping. Respect. Your brand trains people how to treat you, invest in a brand, and be strict in making sure everything you create is “on brand.”

Business cards – Professional services still need to have a non-embarrassing business card, even if most of the marketing efforts are made online. In person, networking is a powerful strategy for remembered, respected, and referred, and not having a business card is a huge omission.

Storytime:

I was recently at WordCamp Seattle and young and very charismatic accountant was working the room. He was asking professionals for their card, but when I asked him for his, his reply surprised me. “I don’t carry business cards because it puts too much pressure on a person to remember to call me, its a part my service to follow-up and invite you to work with me.” Honestly, as smooth as this line is, I would have more respect if he had a card “just in case.” The whole marketing approach seemed very cheap.

Website – Seems a little advanced to be included in the basics, right? Much of a website’s value is built over time. Having even a basic resume website up and running will become a vital hub for more advanced marketing efforts later on. Having a professional online presence in the form of a website and email address that’s not from Hotmail is part of building respect.

Facebook Business Page – Yeah. I fear including this in my basics will frustrate the youngins, and erk those anti-social media professionals. Every day, thousands of recommendations are being made on Facebook, and Facebook business pages are being tagged, and sales are made. If you are a professional service, you need to have a Facebook Business Page to be referred.

If you are a professional in an industry that is highly regulated; health, finances, working with minors, there is still a way to participate in social media. You might need to turn off reviews and submit posts for 3rd party review, but you can also post about less sensitive topics. I’ve seen financial planners simply reposting articles about their town to great success.

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