Marketing professional services: strategy vs. tactics


Marketing professional services requires both strategies and tactics. A strategy is a process or plan. Tactics are specific actions for implementing that plan.

You may have several tactics you use to effect a given strategy. For example, your strategy may be to build your reputation in your community, target market, or among other lawyers. Your tactics may include doing charitable work, issuing press releases highlighting key victories, or teaching CLE classes.

Most attorneys employ similar strategies because we have similar objectives. We want to meet new prospective clients and referral sources, grow our lists, and generate more repeat business and referrals. Where we differ is in our tactics.

And that’s okay. You get to choose. You may like meeting people through social media while the next attorney prefers pressing the flesh. For most strategies, there are several tactics to choose from. You can do any or all.

If your strategy is to offer value to prospective clients so they (a) find you, (b) learn how you can help them, and (c) get to know, like, and trust you, there are many ways to accomplish this. You can conduct free seminars, offer a newsletter, put content on a blog, advertise a free report, create youtube videos, or engage with prospective clients via hangouts.

If your strategy is to meet and build relationships with centers of influence in your target market, your tactics may include general networking (e.g., Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.), networking at niche-specific events, joint venture marketing, speaking at luncheons, or asking your existing professional contacts to introduce you to their counterparts.

If your strategy is to get more referrals from existing and former clients, tactics include educating them about your “ideal client,” making it easy to give referrals (e.g., outlining the process, providing a form), creating hand outs they can deliver to people they know, and endearing them to you by delivering more value and service than they expect.

If your strategy is to build your list of prospective clients, you can accomplish this through guest posts, keyword rich blog content, improved landing pages, and offering an incentive (i.e., a report) to encourage opt ins.

In my opinion, all of the above strategies are important, if not essential for building a professional practice. But there is enough variety in the tactics to allow each attorney to effect those strategies in a way that suits their practice and preferences.

In your planning, start with strategies. Decide what you want to accomplish. Then, choose from a menu of tactics. Infuse those tactics with your personal brand and style to create a plan of action that is both effective and well suited to you.

Once your plan is working, you can expand on the scope of your tactics (e.g., add more content to your site, find more places for networking), add additional tactics to your marketing mix, or both.

For a simple marketing plan that really works, get this. If you will be marketing online, get this.