Over 60% of High-Growth Firms Are Increasing Their Online Marketing Budgets & Getting More Leads
It’s both refreshing and invigorating to come upon a firm like Hinge Marketing. They have an incredible library of research-based guides, articles, and videos to assist professional services firms of all sizes in becoming high-growth and more successful, particularly online.
Following our review of Spiraling Up!, they asked if we would review their latest book: Online Marketing for Professional Services. Would you call me a nerd if I said I couldn’t wait for it to get here in the mail? It’s OK; I’m a total nerd.
This book should be on the shelves of every online marketing professional, marketing manager / strategist, non-profit organization, and small business owner.
In what seems to be Hinge’s trademark style, OMPS is totally engrossing in its directness, simplifies complexity effortlessly, and engages through tone, content, and colorful imagery. It presents online marketing in a tremendously logical way, challenging you to argue how your business could survive and grow without it.
You Can’t Afford to Ignore Online Marketing
This is perhaps the #1 assertion I make time and again to my prospects, clients, and colleagues. This quote sells OMPS, not just for its logic but in the data they present subsequently to back it up:
If you’re sitting on the sidelines contemplating whether online marketing makes sense for your firm, you should be aware that many of your competitors are not so complacent. Consider some of these facts.
Fully 66% of firms [of the 500 we studied] plan to increase their online marketing budget this year. The average increase is 56%. And this is not a new trend. Over 46% of the firms we studied had already redesigned their website within the past 12 months. (p.49)
How Are People Reacting to You Online (That You Don’t Know About)?
OMPS cites three distinct scenarios that really make the argument for why online marketing and branding should be forever married in your mind.
- An ideal job candidate graduating from college checks out your website and those of your competitors before deciding where to apply.
- A potential client visits LinkedIn groups to ask for recommendations for a project perfect for your firm.
- An existing client sends a great referral to your website.
These three scenarios are happening now, but if you aren’t seeing leads coming through, consider what your online presence could be saying in each situation:
- We’re not as forward-moving or communicative as our competitors. (The job applicant looks elsewhere.)
- We don’t have much of a reputation in social media. (No one in the group recommends your company.)
- Our website doesn’t clearly indicate what we do or who we are. (The referral leaves the site without contacting you.)
Just the Stats, Man
What makes OMPS one of the best resources is its data-driven approach. They have synthesized the information in such a way as to truly help anyone trying to determine just where to stick their marketing dollars. The authors have given you the tools you need to devise a plan that fits the goals you’re hoping to reach.
Take a look at this chart, for instance, which shows just how effective online marketing strategies have been for average-growth and high-growth companies. How much would you pay for this chart alone? You can see that the most effective online marketing is content-driven and steeped in testing and reporting.
Think about how you’re spending your online marketing time and resources. Does it sync with this information?
Another great quote:
Because firms new to online marketing are uncertain of the risks, they devote only minimal resources to the effort. The result, of course, is limited results. They may even conclude that it doesn’t work. In short, they not only waste their initial investment, they draw the wrong conclusion, to boot.
From a business investment perspective, the strategy is clear. Invest enough to do it right or don’t invest at all. (p.60)
If You Need Proof, Read the Case Studies
The case studies featured throughout the book reflect Hinge’s commitment to the concepts they’re presenting while highlighting how high-growth firms have maximized the potential of online marketing – in ways you can also use.
Take Modative Architects, for instance, who now gain 90% of their leads online simply by crafting a content-development and online marketing strategy around a niche keyword phrase. A similar study featuring Kinaxis shows how they have a monthly strategy they employ to do the same, resulting in 40% of their leads originating from online.
Chapter 9: Here Comes the Strategy
My heart goes pitter-patter when a book bravely tells you how to solve The Mystery of Online Marketing. Hinge has done an unbelievable job, once again, at breaking all the various online marketing options into logical phases. If you read nothing else this entire year, read this chapter!
We’ve noticed that many business owners tend to get hung up in what OMPS calls Phase 1, which covers SEO and Web Analytics. In fact, many never break out of it, which is like taking a single bite of pasta and wondering why you’re not full.
Phase 2 includes blogging, online video, white papers, and other content-driven pieces. Again, the mere idea of producing this content can stymie even the best intentioned business owners, but it is a crucial way to boost Phase 1 and make Phases 3-6 go off effortlessly.
Phase 3 involves email marketing and webinars. Only then do they introduce social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter in Phase 4. Phase 5 centers around usability testing, and Phase 6 looks at online ads.
Then they take it a step further.
A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
This infographic speaks volumes and it’s 100% dead-on. When you create, you convert. It’s as simple as that. Yet, time and again, clients have to be coerced into understanding this. When presented with the fact, they sometimes even get defensive or back away entirely from online marketing.
If your attitude is:
Online marketing the way that you’re describing it is just too much work!
expect that you’re not likely to see results and, as an online marketing professional, I’m not likely to mind missing out on your business. There is a process that works, and OMPS has crystallized it beautifully.
Too often, it seems that people who want an online marketing plan mainly want problems solved with minimal effort on their side. Who wouldn’t? But that’s not showing much initiative to truly understand and meet the needs of your clients and leads, and it pulls you away from the high-growth goals we all have as business owners.
Times have changed. Thankfully, a resource like Online Marketing for Professional Services is taking a proactive stance on how to keep up – and more importantly, helping you to understand why.
Download Online Marketing for Professional Services for FREE from Hinge’s website or purchase a paperback hard copy from Amazon.com.