Digital marketing has become the go-to platform for many professional services firms. Compared to traditional marketing, online efforts are easy to measure and, interestingly enough, often less expensive.

Even so, many traditional, offline marketing tactics can be effective at building and supporting your firm’s online brand. In fact, the marketing strategies that deliver the greatest impact use a combination of online and offline techniques.

How offline and online marketing approaches work together to support brands

When implemented together, offline and online marketing techniques can support and amplify one another, creating a unified strategy. In the most recent release of our annual research report on high-growth marketing strategies, we uncovered which marketing techniques deliver the most impact. Below, I’ll discuss five of those offline marketing techniques and how you can integrate them into your overall marketing strategy. Of course, every industry is different, so you may find that one or more of these techniques is less relevant to your audience. If another tactic has worked for you in the past, by all means keep doing it.


Figure 1. Common Offline and Online Marketing Techniques


1. Networking Activities

Face-to-face connections, even virtual ones, continue to play a valuable role in networking. What’s more, they can help drive traffic to your website, allowing the contacts you’ve made in person to learn more about you and your firm.

In many cases, a good clean handshake is still important — being able to “put a face with a name” removes a level of abstraction from your brand and makes your firm more approachable. But choose your opportunities wisely. Seek out associations or organizations to which your target audience belongs. In time, you might take networking even further by attending — or better, speaking at — their national conferences.

2. Attend Association Conferences and Trade Shows

Trade shows can provide opportunities to network with both prospective buyers and other industry leaders. In addition, these events can offer other offline marketing opportunities — for instance, they are ideal places to distribute your print materials or explore the possibility of becoming a future featured speaker. Which brings me to the next technique.

3. Speaking Opportunities

Speaking engagements put you directly in front of a highly targeted audience that is primed and ready to hear what you have to say. And they are a proven way to establish your firm’s credibility and thought leadership. According to our research, speaking engagements are the second-most popular way that Visible Experts®acquire leads.

Top 10 Lead Sources Named by Visible Experts

Figure 2. Visible Experts’ Top 10 Sources of Leads

If you’re just starting on your journey to thought leadership, however, don’t expect to secure prime speaking engagement opportunities right off the bat. Instead, start small by approaching an association’s local chapter. And don’t expect to be paid for these initial forays (for that matter, many national gigs are unpaid or cover only travel expenses). By adjusting your expectations, even your earliest experiences can pay off in the long run.

4. Warm Calling

While not as common as they once were, calls to prospects have a personal touch, and they can still resonate with interested buyers. More personal than emails, phone calls require an instant response — which, unfortunately, can cut both ways. In our most recent research, phone calls are experiencing a renaissance, especially among the fastest growing firms.

High-growth firms are having particular success with so-called “warm calling.” Unlike cold calls, which are a low-yield numbers game, warm calls deliver frequent, better-quality result. A “warm” prospect is one who not only knows of your firm but has been exposed to your thought leadership — usually through digital channels like your website, social media or email marketing, though offline techniques such as speaking engagements or books can also build engagement offline. Some firms even use the call itself as an opportunity to offer the prospect a piece of valuable content to make their expertise more tangible.

5. Demos/Consultations

Live, personal demos and consultations provide a direct connection between buyer and seller. As a result, they are one of the most effective bottom-of-the-funnel tools — of any kind. For the first time, a prospect can directly experience the firm’s expertise and/or product. But these activities work best when they are set up by prior marketing interactions. When a prospective buyer has visited the firm’s website, read multiple blog posts, downloaded white papers or executive guides and received relevant educational content by email, they are far more inclined to buy. After all, they already know and trust the firm. Often, a live demo or free consultation provides the extra confidence a buyer needs to request a proposal and move forward toward a contract.

Combining strategies for better results

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between offline and online marketing strategies. In fact, using both is more powerful. By combining the two approaches, you can bring your marketing full circle —  increasing your firm’s visibility and, at the same time, attracting more attention to your online brand.

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Elizabeth Harr

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