If so, you are not alone.
- High profile presence with ‘blue chip’ clients
- Renewed client loyalty
- Daily inquiries from prospective clients
- Prestigious press coverage
- Business alliances
- Improved recruiting capabilities
- Cost savings
- Improved customer service capabilities
A website may well be a long term objective but may not be the first priority for a start-up firm with tight cash flow and plans for a direct mail campaign.
As well, a search engine optimization strategy may be less of a priority for a firm focused on a niche market that knows it by name.
In most cases, however, the benefits of Internet marketing for a professional firm are hard to argue with.
Houston based Internet marketing consultant Steve Latham has posted an interesting article, 4 Factors Stunting Online Growth, that identifies why some companies are still slow to adapt the Internet for their marketing strategies. I have enclosed an excerpt of some of these reasons (with a focus on those most applicable to the professional sector) framed by my own commentary:
…McKinsey reported that the primary barriers to online investment were as follows:
Insufficient metrics to measure impact: 52 percent
For those of you not familiar, measurement tools that detail not only the traffic on your site but insightful information such as search strings used on search engines and urls of referral websites are also available and in some cases at no additional cost. Most hosting companies will have a website statistics package to offer. There are also online companies that specialize in this area that produce reports designed to be quite user friendly for the non-Internet guru!
Insufficient in-house capabilities: 41 percent…
I have clients that range from not really understanding how Google works to those that have programming capabilities in-house. The learning curve a firm faces when it first decides to get on board with Internet marketing is wide-ranging to say the least. The most practical approach to overcoming the gap in in-house capabilities is to work with a consultant who can guide you through the possibilities the Internet offers your firm, so that you will be positioned to make good marketing decisions.
Limited reach of digital tools: 24 percent
As Steve Latham points out, the Internet consumes 30% of the consumer’s time. If you want to know whom digital tools can reach, the answer is virtually everybody! And if they are not using the Internet to do their actually shopping (a statistic less relevant to the professional sector), you can count on the fact that most consumers are using it to do research before they shop.
It is fair to say that as few as twenty short years ago, the size and nature of the online opportunity was undetermined in so far as it would impact professionals. At this point in time however, this opportunity has been market tested. In fact, the benefits have transcended original expectations with the delivery of powerful unintended consequences. Professionals with a serious online presence have enjoyed the ability to:
- Recruit highly qualified candidates in the midst of a labour shortage
- Garner expert authority amongst peers and clients through the acquisition of a prestigious role within the media
- Generate ‘C Changing’ business alliances that changed the very map of their firm and its future
As professionals become better acquainted with the wide reaching impact that the Internet has actually unharnessed, the very question ‘what, if anything can a website do for my professional firm?’ evolves to ‘when and how can I leverage this opportunity as a core component of, not only our firm’s marketing, but our strategic plan?’.