With the advent of social media and the power of ‘influencer’ marketing, ensuring your company has a solid digital marketing strategy has never been as important - regardless of the sector you operate within.
While so-called ‘white-collar’ industries, such as professional services, used to be able to rely on existing business contacts, traditional networking events, and word-of-mouth recommendations to attract new clients, more and more potential customers are moving online – and the companies seeking to attract them are having to follow.
There is no denying that it may be more challenging to remain fresh and engaging with your marketing endeavours when you are selling products and services which satisfy ‘needs’ rather than ‘wants’.
However, having a content marketing strategy in place is equally important and more significantly, equally achievable for those operating in white-collar industries.
Play to your strengths
Use the fact that you’re a white-collar business to your advantage.
It’s no secret that trying to be innovative and generating leads online as a professional services company is more challenging than lifestyle brands, however, you can harness this thinking to work for you.
If your competitors aren’t seeing the value in embracing content marketing – perhaps they see it as too challenging or not worth the effort – their complacency is making it easier for you to stand out amongst the crowd.
Shout about your USP
Find your USP and don’t be afraid to shout about it!
In a crowded marketplace, being able to stand apart from your competitors is vital. Whether this is price, customer service, national (or local) coverage, or expertise in a niche area, hone down on what makes your company special and utilise these strengths.
The first step is to take the time to discover what your USP genuinely is. Don’t simply create one based on ‘buzz phrases’ for the purposes of marketing.
Talk to people within your organisation, as well as your customers and clients. Understanding what truly makes your company unique will come across much more genuine in your subsequent marketing efforts than simply relying on a tired cliché which is unlikely to fully encompass the value your products or services can offer customers.
Knowledge is power
Position your company as the experts within your sector. Rather than just trying to sell to potential customers, give them something of value.
Creating thought-leadership content and informative white-papers in which key members of your organisation impart their views, opinions, and analysis of key developments and challenges within your industry.
This will not only help you to stand apart from your competitors, but also help build brand strength.
Say something original
Avoid the trap of your content marketing efforts being resigned to the echo-chamber. This happens when the same messages are being delivered in the same way by your competitors.
In order you stand out you need to offer something readers can’t get elsewhere.
This could be a commentary on an industry-specific issue from one of your key employees, a piece of research commissioned by the company, or analysis on data your company holds which is relevant to the wider sector. Finding something unique to say will help your voice be heard among the noise.
Utilise a variety of platforms
While ensuring your content marketing activities reach a wide audience online through the use of your website, blogs, and social media, consider taking these efforts to offline platforms too.
For instance, a thought-leadership article may translate well to the stage at an industry conference.
Not only will you have a captive and highly targeted audience on the day, but by making your experts visible offline, you will also be building valuable brand recognition and amplifying credibility.
When selling a credence product, retaining professionalism at all times is paramount; however, this does not mean you cannot inject creativity into your marketing activities. The key with any type of marketing is to know your customer and understand what is important to them.
When constructing a content-based marketing strategy, use all the resources at your disposal, from the variety of digital platforms which can be used to convey your message, through to the key personalities within your business who can deliver them to your target audience in the most relatable manner possible.
Keith Tully is a partner at Real Business Rescue, specialising in restructuring and turnaround support for SMEs experiencing financial and operational distress.