There are many ways to sell professional services. Word of mouth, discovery through search engines, proximity, are some of the many means. With digitalisation, selling professional services online is now possible, and the digital channel is an increasingly important sales channel for all types of companies, offices, law firms and consultancy firms.
That said, many companies are sceptical about investing in and leveraging this channel. And even those that end up investing in it do not do so with the conviction necessary to achieve results. Any organisation expects that by investing X, it will be able to achieve at least X+1 turnover. However, reaching this ROI break-even point can take months or even years, depending on the degree of digital maturity of each case.
In this post we will review what steps to take into account when selling professional services online.
And what makes us more than capable of solving this question? Let’s start with…
- We work with a number of clients who are rightly part of the professional services sector, and who have a very positive return on investment. From law firms, management companies, architects’ offices, consultancy firms, etc…
- If after a year of continuing with our digital partner pack and generating the necessary content, no results are obtained, we refund the full amount paid by our clients.
- We have gone through the same process ourselves, although we know that this can involve a significant investment of time and resources, following all these steps is the way to automate the brand awareness of your company.
Steps to consider when selling professional services online
1. Everything goes through your website
Humanise your website
Selling professional services is the same as selling someone’s time. After all, the most normal thing when hiring someone’s hours is to know who is going to attend to you. Many professional service company websites are full of stock photos of anonymous people pretending to be working in non-existent offices. Please avoid stock photos! Nothing conveys less trust than stock photos on your website: it conveys depersonalisation and mistrust. It’s OK if you have a small or understaffed office, be transparent and show the reality; the person who will end up hiring you will know it anyway. If you don’t have a large team yet, it’s OK, you can leverage your personal brand. This generates a lot of trust, since the same person who is exposing himself and providing value through the content he distributes is the same person who is going to provide the professional services.
On the other hand, the more employees and collaborators that appear on your website and in your content generation strategy that we will discuss below, the more trust your digital assets will exude. In addition, one of the common situations we often encounter is that employees do not want to be actively involved in the content generation and distribution strategy. This can be solved in two ways:
- Creating a system of incentives through gamification so that employees end up participating in the company’s communication strategy. For example, creating a points system so that relevant content is generated. For example:
- Linkedin post: 4 points
- Generation of a blog post: 2 points.
- Generate a video to distribute on social media and on the web: 6 points.
- Review content generated by the marketing team: 1 point
The key to this process is to have an updated scoreboard of the points obtained by the workers so that there is a certain competitiveness between them, as well as having a good incentive at the end of the year for the winners.
Include calls to action, so that customers can contact you quickly and easily.
A key aspect of your website is that in 15 seconds users should be able to identify what your services consist of. That is to say, the homepage of your website should have your value proposition in a sentence and a call to action (what is called Call to Action or CTA) that should normally direct you to the contact page, subscribe, start a free trial, etc.
Leave aside inspirational phrases that make no sense at all. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer, who enters your website for the first time to get to know you. They should be able to identify what we are offering, and they should be able to do so very quickly. Seeing the faces of the workers (especially if there is a powerful team behind it), and linking with the first point, can be a good strategy.
Remember that most of your potential customers are going to visit your website from a mobile device. Don’t make the mistake of looking at your website only from your computer screen. Likewise, contact details should be easily accessible from this device, if possible just a click away from a WhatsApp message or a phone call.
Include conversion catalysts
For example, logos of companies you already work for, customer testimonials, the different locations of your company in the territory… All these aspects are conversion catalysts, and they have to be visible on your website, since you are going to transmit confidence to your potential customer.
Include contact details in several places on the website that are easily and quickly accessible. It seems obvious, but many websites of professional services companies include contact details only on the contact page. It is much more convenient for the user to access contact details throughout the website. For example, you can include the telephone number, the company address or even links to the corresponding social networks in the footer. In this sense, play with mobile usability. Enable various buttons so that users can call you or send you a Whatsapp at the click of a button. One way to do this is to enable a sticky section in the mobile footer of your website. See examples from some of our clients below:
It is important that you open a Google My Business listing with your business, especially if the services you provide are local, such as a company of integral reforms, an agency or a dental clinic. This way, potential clients in your area will find you easily.
Similarly, if you want your business to stand out from the rest, we recommend that you ask your regular customers to leave a review on your Google My Business listing. The more reviews you have, the more the algorithm will highlight your business above the rest.
Organic positioning or SEO is key
Along the same lines as the previous point, what we have detected with clients to whom we have been providing services for several years is that it is important to be a reference within your niche in the digital ecosystem. For example, you are currently reading a post on our blog about how to sell professional services online. By talking about this, you are already identifying that we are a benchmark in the field, and if you are thinking of hiring an expert, you will take us into account when evaluating proposals. The same thing happens with an architectural firm when it positions itself by talking about home automation.
Google is the most used search engine in the world, so being present and visible in the top positions guarantees a degree of brand awareness that can translate into new customers. In terms of brand awareness, we would like to make an aside to highlight the importance of YouTube as a search engine that is being used more and more. The younger generations read less and less and consume more audiovisual content in video format. Humans are visual beings, so betting on positioning content on YouTube is a guarantee of success.
It is also very important that the content you generate is not generic content. In other words, you have to create content that is not copied by competitors, especially if they are more digitally mature than you are.
Let me give you an example: one of our clients, which is an agency, hired us because they wanted to appear first in the search results when people in Barcelona searched for the term “agency” on Google. Well, the client in question had no website, no presence on social networks and was starting from scratch. Being in the first position in Google for such a competitive term was almost impossible. To get closer to the goal, our organic positioning specialists carried out a keyword study in which they identified certain long tail words that had a certain volume of searches but that were not so competitive for those that could be positioned. This strategy is possible as long as advanced SEO work is done. To clarify concepts, a long tail keyword, in the example we have given, would be: agency of cryptocurrencies, PYMES agency, etc…
2. Add value
Provide value to your potential customers through the content you generate. There are two reasons why potential customers will start following you on social networks: 1) that you entertain them and 2) that you provide value. The first one, due to the type of company you represent, is not very feasible, so focus on providing value to your potential customers.
Generate quality content
Try to make the content you create as high quality as possible. The more you contribute, the more you will activate the reciprocity bias, and therefore, your potential customers will feel more indebted to you. This value must be provided by the company’s employees, in line with the point already mentioned: the humanisation of your brand.
Providing quality content as a method of attracting potential customers is called inbound marketing or attraction marketing.
Focus on niche opportunities to start with: You must have the flexibility that the big guys don’t have.
The big competitors will be competing for the most generic searches, as in the example above “gestoría”. In our case what we should do is a keyword study to position less competitive terms but with a certain search volume. This happens especially when there are certain trends in our sector that are yet to be exploited and there is no content created about them; we are ahead of the trends. Some examples of companies we have helped have been terms such as:
- Cryptocurrency management -> from the generic term “management”
- Tiktok management -> from the generic term
- Automated studio -> from the generic term “architectural studies”
- automated systems -> of the generic term “architecture studio”
- ecological bags -> of the generic term “bags”
- bags for masks -> of the generic term “bags”
Video and voice-over content: The trends
YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world and the trend is on the rise. How does this translate? Content in audio-visual format is a bet for the future. Create a YouTube channel, open a TikTok account or an IG account and generate IGTVs, Reels, etc.
3. Improve your brand visibility
One of the most effective ways to improve the visibility of your brand is to distribute the content you have created through social networks and different digital platforms through paid campaigns, such as TikTok Ads, Facebook Ads, Youtube Ads, etc.
In this sense, a very effective way to distribute content is that your ads are not mere banners promoting a product or service, but are explanatory videos that you know are of interest to the audience you are targeting. This type of ads (not ads) have much higher interaction ratios than other types of more promotional ads, so the distribution of these ads will be much more economical, since the algorithm of the platforms will distribute them at a lower price.
Below is an example of a video from one of our clients that we have used as an advertisement.
Choose the platform your potential customer is on
Analyse your potential customer, and don’t try to cover all platforms! If you think your potential customer is mostly on YouTube and Instagram, focus on these two platforms, and launch campaigns to attract them. Use the right targeting to get these customers to see you.
4. Exploit your database and automate as many communications as you can.
Every established business has a customer database. They do not consume all the services that they could be contracting from you. Our recommendation is that you inform your clients that you offer a different type of service to the one they are currently contracted for: they will not ask you for more and they will not know that you know how to do more than what you already do. On many occasions we can guarantee that clients are unaware that other services, new and different from what they already know, can be contracted.
Taking this into account, launching specific and segmented campaigns on the current database offering certain products or services can be highly beneficial, as these customers already know you and how you work. Consequently, cross-selling services can be the easiest and quickest quick win to achieve.
Automate certain communications with your existing customers
For example, every time you generate new content, make sure you distribute it to your entire database. Try to segment it and report relevant content to the customers in question. Above all, focus on continuing to add value. This will differentiate you from the rest of your client’s suppliers.
5. The sale is closed over the phone, notoriety is generated online.
Make sure that potential customers interested in your services who enter through digital channels are attended to correctly. On many occasions we see how calls from potential customers are neglected by the administration or customer service department, due to the lack of habit of receiving calls from potential customers. Every call from a potential customer has cost a lot of resources, so it cannot be lost in oblivion. Each call must be treated with the personal attention it deserves. Imagine that you have made every effort to gain notoriety within the digital channel, but the phone is not answered in a timely manner. All the effort you’ve put in will have been for nothing.
These are our top 5 tips for selling professional services online. However, each case is different and has its own peculiarities. In this sense, it is important to analyse which tools and platforms are the most suitable for your potential client. If you need more information or have any doubts about how to start this process, please contact us for more personalised attention. We will keep you informed and informed of the latest news!