In the first part of this three-part series on new media professional services marketing, I explored the unique nature of professional services firms and why lawyers, accountants, and others generally find digital and social media marketing so challenging. This time around, I'll explore two characteristics that are a mark of successful digital marketing: keeping your outreach in bite-size portions, and marketing with a personal touch.
Marketing as an Hors d'Oeuvre: Bite Size Over Kitchen Sink
Whitepapers play their role in marketing. In the legal world, for example, lengthy and heavily cited law review articles also play their role, displaying the experience and intellectual prowess of their authors. Yet in a social and mobile world, people increasingly want to consume their content in bite-size servings.
Do I want to buy that Costco-sized food item? Maybe. But my purchase decision can be positively influenced by nibbling on a piece of the product first, when it's being cooked and served up on a toothpick just for me.
The point is, no one "reads" anything anymore. So, the first job is to offer a nibble—a tweet, a clickable link in a LinkedIn status update, or a 2-5-minute podcast or video.
How? Try this:
- Get comfortable with brevity. The true professional may find such brevity difficult to achieve. Consultancies are used to providing in-depth reports to their clients, and many lawyers feel compelled to be exhaustive in their legal briefs and recommendations—the more footnotes, the better! They are accustomed to aiming for length and thoroughness. That may be fine for client work product, but not for marketing oneself.
- Start with a simple outline. It's been said that the easiest way to write a book is to write a top-level outline, expand it, and then write prose for each section of the outline. Filling it out section by section, you eventually end up with a book. In digital marketing, the process is reversed. That thorough analysis for a client should be parsed out and distributed in smaller pieces through the various digital and social media channels. Little seeds spread across a wider landscape increase the probability of success.
Bottom line: more frequent but shorter messages are perceived as more digestible to a potential reader, just like an hors d'oeuvre. So keep it short. With online tools, one can always provide access to deeper value by including a link to a more in-depth article.
It's a Social World: Marketing Is Now Personal