Video and Professional Service Firms

The most misused and abused marketing tactic by professional service firms is video. The vast majority of firms have never created a video (which is a mistake that we’ll address later), but the ones that have, wow, do they do it wrong. You’ve seen them. They are the videos that make you cringe when you see a CPA standing against a blank wall, with bad lighting and audio, talking about some specific regulation. Most firms know that any videos they produce could come off like the one described, so they steer clear of video all together. While the content itself is likely important and valuable, how it is delivered is all wrong. Video is a powerful medium for service firms to take advantage of, but it needs to be done correctly. When a video is good, people watch it and feel a connection to your firm. With the line between a good video and a bad video razor thin, how would an accounting firm produce a quality video? First off, it’s unlikely that any members of the firm themselves would have the skills necessary to produce high quality videos, so you’ll likely need outside help. Next you’ll need to think of how you would use a video or a video series. One type of video that would work well for an accounting firm is a firm introduction video. Don’t think of it as a two minute talk about yourself video, but instead as a documentary. A documentary trying to answer the question, “why should somebody want to work with this firm?” You can interview clients, partners, associates, and others...

SEO Isn’t What They Teach in Continuing Education Seminars

Here are three tips to understand SEO for lawyers. SEO for lawyers isn’t as hard as you might think. What is the best SEO for lawyers? That is what is known as keyword stuffing. For better or worse, SEO (search engine optimization) is a common topic at continuing education seminars that cover the business of running a professional service firm in the age of the internet. SEO is the practice of making a website and content as friendly as possible for search engines like Google and Bing to crawl. What this should mean is that if an accounting firm in Seattle, WA does most of its business with local clients, the phrase “Seattle accounting firm” should appear on their website. What is usually means in practice is something called keyword stuffing. It’s what I did at the top of this post and it is an outdated and poor method of SEO. Unfortunately, it is all too common and the search engines will penalize your website with a lower ranking. It might look something like this: “We’re one of oldest Seattle accounting firms and have the experience to work with you to solve your problems. We take great pride in being able to work with clients in a flexible and cost-efficient manner that addresses all of their needs. As a Seattle accounting firm, we’re dedicated to helping our community where we live, work, and play. We’re excited to understand your challenges and work through them with you. Thank you for considering us as a local Seattle accounting firm.” I made that up, but just take a look at a few...

What is Professional Services Marketing?

It’s a basic question that most attorneys and accountants can probably answer decently well. Depending on the firm, the question may or may not have come up during business development discussions. If they practice in a small firm, they probably contracted out the things that had to get done- maybe a website, maybe some logo and branding work, but they likely didn’t take the time to develop a vision as to how they want their clients and colleagues to see them. Sadly, history needs to take some of the blame. Professional service firms have traditionally received business from referrals- either via clients or colleagues and the legal profession even eschewed advertising altogether for many years. That, of course, changed with Bates v. State Bar of Arizona in 1977. Additionally, what methods did potential clients even have of finding attorneys or accountants? The phone book? Radio and television? It’s easy to see why these professions grew and developed into referral based industries. Ask many and they’ll say that marketing doesn’t work. I’d add a nuance to that statement: Good marketing is good business. Bad marketing is bad. I’m not talking about putting ads on buses and benches. I’m talking about looking at the image and reputation of your firm and seeing if it jives with where you want your business to go. I’m talking about using modern tools and technology to make your firm look, well, modern. I’m talking about telling your story and showing clients and colleagues why somebody would want to hire you or refer you. I’m talking about a better way to market professional service firms....