Marketing and Advertising Guide for Professionals
In this article, I have discussed the problems faced by young professionals marketing their services. Professionals are bound by the guidelines of their governing bodies and majority of these governing bodies does not allow direct marketing. Direct marketing is however not even suggested for professional services. I have discussed the practical situation with case studies and provided some tips on how you can leverage the online media by publishing your professional knowledge, which can help you to successfully market your services in a ethical and professional way.
The big challenge for any professional is how to market his services. Marketing issue is bigger for freshly qualified professionals. They don’t have much cash to burn in advertising; some professionals are not even allowed to advertise their services.
How do public know, whether you are providing any services? Marketing is one of the biggest issues that professionals are challenged with.
How do you being a professional market your services? You are not allowed to advertise your services in TV or Paper; you cannot put an online advertisement for your services. How do you market your services under these restrictions?
Being a professional even I faced the marketing heat. Our institute does not allow us to market our services directly and we should be thankful to our institute (ICAI) for restricting it. Even I believe that these restrictions by governing bodies are in interest of profession, otherwise profession may lose respect. But, still the question remains about marketing your services.
Various institutes though have restricted direct advertising but allow advertisements in classifieds websites. Professionals can post their ads in classifieds websites, whether free or paid.
If you think that by posting your ad in a classifieds website you will start getting leads, you are wrong. Professionals are allowed to advertise their services in classifieds, even if they are not free of cost. If you are posting a free ad, there is no chance that your ad will appear on top. Top spots in a classifieds website are always booked for those who paid.
If you thought posting in classifieds can do wonders, you were wrong. If you are lucky, there are chances that 1 out of millions may see your advertisement.
Your position is not different from lakhs of professionals, who have just started and are facing marketing challenges. Challenges that professionals face are:
- How to market services?
- Lack of funds or resources to participate in paid subscription of classifieds.
- Lack of contacts to generate leads from reference.
If you think there is no solution for this, you are wrong again. We have lot of success stories where people smartly made use of computers to generate leads. I am one of those who benefited from this.
How to leverage online presence and make use of our knowledge to generate leads in a professional way?
You are reading this, means you searched on Google or came on this by some reference. But point is you are reading this article. It takes hardly 30 minutes to write an article, about something we know. By this time you must have got an idea, what I am trying to indicate.
I AM ONE OF THE MANY PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE JUST STARTED. Best part of my marketing strategy, the entire cost was a big ZERO. Interesting part, a good number of people searching online for professional help lend on my articles.
For example, if you search “VAT Registration procedure in Karnataka”. My discussion in forum is the top result in Google. I get lot of calls for vat registrations, and all this is without spending a penny. Many such article and discussions appears on top in Google.
I am not telling that classifieds postings should be avoided. But, only classifieds will not help you. You need to adopt a different strategy, a strategy that is well planned and differentiate you from crowd. Even if we look at the general trend of any profession, there are 2 types of clients. One, who are doing business from long time and have established contacts with consultants, they will not change consultants very frequently. You can catch these clients with reference only (with some exception).
However there are other clients, who are more professional and represent young blood. These people are one who spends their time on internet. They are depended more on Google. They appoint consultants by filtering profiles on various classifieds websites. They hire people on job portals. These people are increasing in number. This trend shows that if you don’t have an online presence and following, you may lose your marketing battle.
When you post a classified advertisement your main intention is to get clients. People use classifieds websites to find a consultant, but what is possibility of people finding your advertisement. It is highly possible that your ad will get lost in tons of listings. You can show your listing on top of other advertisements, by paying money. Most of the classifieds have premium listing plan, under this plan you have to pay to get a premium spot (read Eye catching spot). Most of the times, in fact more than 90% time even I contact the businesses listed in premium category.
Every possible way to market services finally ends in spending money except one that I suggested and even strictly followed. Once you adopt this strategy, you are sure to succeed in your online marketing goals.
Here is a guide and tips you can follow to participate in discussions and write your articles. These tips will help you to write articles and discussions which will not only make a good impression among readers but will rank better in search engines.
First you have to understand that your writings will create an image of you. Your articles, discussion and classifieds listing will create the first impression about you. First impression is very important, there is huge competition and if you miss first chance someone else will grab it. Be natural and don’t copy the style of others. Your articles and discussion should represent your personality.
I have successfully tested this method and can assure you that by discussing online and sharing your knowledge can do wonders in your marketing strategy. Big companies have adopted the content marketing to advertise their products; almost all big companies have blogs.
We cannot have blogs to write articles, though blog is a good option but creating a blog and maintaining it is another product itself. You need to take care of SEO, technical aspect and finally marketing of your blog. It becomes very difficult to concentrate on your profession and blog at the time when you are struggling to create your online identity. Blogs do not achieve success overnight.
It is suggested that you choose an already existing website to write articles and discussions. I chose Tikshare (I was one of the founder) to write articles and discussions. I mostly write about topics which are related to subjects I practice. You can choose topics that are related to your profession, people will for sure try to contact for professional work.
If we go to a micro level, here are some tips you can follow to write your article on any website. Tikshare is optimized for professional articles and discussions, my advice would be to start writing on Tikshare.
- Title of your article matters most, keep a Title which represents you article.
- If you are writing an article, make it long. People love to read long articles. Long articles are considered more trustworthy since they contain proper research and reference to source of research.
- Your article should be divided in different parts (Purpose, Body and conclusion).
- If you can provide an image with your article, it can boost the visibility of your article.
- Spell and Grammar checks are must before you publish your article.
- Adopt your own style of writing.
- Never copy the work of others. If you need to quote someone else work in your article, provide a proper reference.
These were some tips that can help you to connect with your potential clients by writing articles. If you feel that you don’t have enough time to write frequently, it is advised that you continue to participate in discussions.
I love Tikshare, not because I am one of the founders but because it is different from other websites. Tikshare provides you a complete package to market your services without breaking a single rule or guidelines of any institute or governing body.
You can write your articles and also participate in discussions. You can publish your classified advertisement in business section of website. Tikshare already have many discussions and many of them attract huge visitors. People visiting Tikshare, are mostly businessman and they are in continuous need of consultants.
Some tips to help you become star of Tikshare:
- Be professional, and maintain the professional atmosphere on site.
- Write articles on the issues majority of your customer face. For example, if you are Tax Consultants you can write on various aspects related to TDS. There are many people who are not comfortable with TDS laws and most of the time TDS work is outsourced.
- For discussions in forum follow the same rule suggested in point 2.
- Post your advertisement in Tikshare Classifieds, people reading your articles may provide a review and boost your online marketing strategy.
- Share your articles with your clients and friends, if once your article becomes viral in social media. You will be internet star within a day.
- Promptly reply to comments posted on your articles.
- Invite your friends to comment on your articles and indulge in discussions, this will help you to improve writing skills and friends are best to critical judge anyone.
- Ask experienced people in your profession to review your articles. This will help you to correct wrong facts, if any included in article. Best part with Tikshare is that you can edit your articles at any time.
- Make articles interesting to read. People love to read interesting things. Always remember that you are writing for a purpose and article should be well drafted according to demography and taste of your audience.
- Most of the people spend their times on social media, it is always better to share your articles on as many social networks as possible.
I have participated in many discussions on Tikshare which are related to Classifieds advertising. I have tried each and every classifieds website active in India, with my all experience I can say that classifieds website cannot give you clients unless you pay them. Even if we look at how Justdial work, most of you must have used Justdial.
Did you ever get a client from any of the classifieds websites? Even if you got a client from Classifieds websites, your ROI (time invested) was satisfactory? Professional articles and participation in discussions has provided better results than posting in Classifieds. Even if you don’t get clients (which is rare, at least you leave a MARK.
If you agree to this article, you can start you online marketing journey with a better and proved way. Join Tikshare and Start sharing your knowledge.
Please do open a discussion post and share your success stories from online marketing of your services.
Very Nice Article sir.. i have a questions that suppose if you are take care of SEO.. so its takes a time. but we checkout many startup websites like vakilsearch, MyIncoporation, taxmantra & many more.. is the top in the domain who's get 6000 Clients in a year. so they are also Young CA's, CS's & lawyers so how can they doing PPC Adwords & other marketing.. its is possible that you create a another pvt ltd company and associate with your CA firm and then do advertising.. Please clear my all doubts.
As a CA you cannot market your services. Vakilsearch or other websites must be registered as a seperate legal entity and not practicing.
However institute allows formation of a private limited company and can provide similar services but again professional care should be taken.
Only thing to watch out is that these companies should not represent themselves as Chartered Accountants which is prohibited by our ethical guidelines.