Have you ever heard the saying ‘If you aren’t on Google you don’t exist?’. Well as funny or scary as that might seem, from a business and sales perspective that is pretty much true! Remember the days where you needed a Yellow Pages listing? There were reports of people missing out on the deadline of getting their Yellow Pages ads submitted on time (when it was print only) and the effects were devastating to their business for that year….why?…..because they simply couldn’t be found. So instead of getting a listing in the phone book – you need a digital marketing strategy.
Fast forward a couple of decades and the principle is the same, the mode slightly different. Today it is all about search engines, and more specifically Google. Yes there are other search engines, but Google is the largest, followed by YouTube which is owned by Google. So needless to say Google has a big influence on your business and profile and your digital marketing strategy should begin with Google.
You might still be nicely enclosed in a safe environment full of existing clients and strong referrals or you might have already started to see that gaining new clients is starting to get a bit harder. Either way, change is coming for professional services that previously relied on personal recommendations.
Even if you are personally referred to someone they will still ‘Google’ you. Have you ‘Googled’ yourself lately? What will they find? What they should find is this…
- Your LinkedIn profile – this will usually be the first or second link displayed when someone searches the web for you. If they click on this then you need to ensure that your profile is complete – check out our checklist for your LinkedIn profile here.
- Your website – your website is like your digital office. We often spend lots of time and money getting our physical office space right. Good signage, great location, nice chairs in the foyer. But you need to think of your website as your digital shop front. In fact most people will probably visit your website and develop an opinion of you and your business before they set foot into your office. They will definitely use your website when deciding whether to contact you at all.
- Media – if you have been mentioned or interviewed in media websites or industry publications then these will appear when searching for your name.
- Industry directories – if you are listed on a directory for your industry body then this may appear on a Google search for you.
- Other social media sites – your Facebook page, Instagram, We Chat, Twitter or SnapChat will also appear when you search your name or your firms.
What does all this mean? Why is it important? Firstly it helps give your prospective client an overall view of you. They can see that you are a real person, and the breadth of your experience and qualifications. It gives them confidence. They can see a photo of what you look like.
Digital referrals and reviews
We know that 82% of people now trust an online review as much as they trust a personal referral. So this changes the playing field completely for professional services marketing. Now those industries that relied so heavily on referrals need to take online reviews and referrals seriously. Here are some of the ways that people can refer and recommend you digitally.
- Google My Business – this is the biggest. A positive Google review is like a little golden nugget. It is a powerful tool mainly because it is trusted so highly by people. So ensuring that you have a Google My Business listing both helps you to be found more easily, but it also showcases your Google reviews.
- Facebook – if you are servicing B2C customers then Facebook is a powerful referral tool. Having a Facebook page allows people to ‘tag’ your services when others are looking for recommendations. People ask for recommendations both within their own network on Facebook, but also within local groups on Facebook.
- LinkedIn Recommendations – these appear at the bottom of your profile page and are really powerful. Having a strong list of good reviews certainly puts you in good stead.
So take a moment today and open up a web browser and type your name in…..what do you find? Type your business name in and see what you can find. Then do the same for your competitors. Finally, type in the sorts of things that your ideal client might type in when searching for your services, what do you find? Contact us today to talk about how you can improve your digital footprint and build a digital marketing strategy.