Open vs Closed Content Marketing: Which Accountant Should You Contact?
Here’s the thing, professional services firms are by far the most conservative marketers out there. You could argue a case that medicos supersede them, but I realise legislation might have a role to play with that.
But why are they so conservative?
Melissah Smith hits the nail in the head by claiming that most professional services firms feel that “good work speaks for itself” and “you need to find the clients pain” when undertaking any form of marketing. This may have been entirely true several years ago, but we’re in a digital era where 57% of the purchase decision is complete even before a customer calls a supplier.
How does this happen?
Your prospect has already done their due diligence, my friend.
You have to build trust, it’s that simple.
How do you do that when you don’t have an opportunity to engage with potential clients that are in need of your services?
With your website of course (assuming you have one of those?). But to take it one step further, the latest 2015 B2B Usability Report by Huff Industrial Marketing & KoMarketing concluded that in addition to supplying your contact information, respondents indicated that research reports (42%), client testimonials (38%) and case studies/white papers/blog articles (37%) were rated as “must have” or “very important” when establishing a business’s credibility.
Let’s observe this scenario
I was lucky enough to stumble across Trevor Young’s post on LinkedIn which presented this scenario that summed up the impact of operating a business with a poor digital presence vs one which has invested time and effort in order to appeal to their target audience.
Let’s assume you have two accounting practices to choose from (both recommended by trusted sources) and assuming all things equal with their skillset, size and pricing models. Trevor refers to one as a ‘closed shop’ which has a website full of stock imagery, poor social media presence, no blog, brags a lot, no photos of their staff – you see where this is headed?
Now on the other side we have an ‘open shop’ which is a transparent practice that features photos of their staff, a company blog where various staff members contribute their thoughts, an active social media presence and they even have a podcast where the firm’s partners pass on their knowledge to existing and prospective clients.
The below infographic summarises the scenario, but Trevor goes into more detail in his post.
But wait, you want examples of businesses doing it right?
I thought you’d never ask 🙂 Here are two vastly different businesses that showcase digital trust by following the ‘open shop’ approach and do a pretty decent job of it.
1. Charles Badenach (Financial Adviser)
Charles does a clever job of hitting all the right notes we spoke about on his home job. We see the use of his real photo, the menu shows us a publish option which features articles, blog posts and we even have a video on the bottom right where Charles talks about what he does.
As a potential client, I have enough information to make an informed decision whether to contact Charles regarding my financial affairs.
SalesITV have a team of high-powered individuals that focus on providing the world’s largest single source sales and customer service training library to bolster your team’s selling skills.
Let’s jump right into their blog which is not only active from a social sharing perspective but we can immediately pick up that a number of team members openly contribute their thoughts to the blog. Having a multi-author blog allows different employees to demonstrate their own skillset, build their own brand and reach a new audience through their own following.
If you wanted to learn more about the team, their about us page features ‘real’ photos of their team with a bio and if you wanted to connect with them on social media, you have access to their respective usernames.
Going back to our earlier scenario, which practice would you contact?
Would you go with the ‘closed shop’ which barely offers any insight to their business nor do you have pictures of who operates and works within the business?
Do you go with the ‘open shop’ which lays everything out on a platter from images of staff and the practice to highlight their culture, engaging content via their blog and an active social media presence.
I know my answer, but I’d love to hear yours. When you’re in need of a professional service, how do you decide which provider to contact?
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