Rethinking Referral Marketing: Build Out Your Visibility
You’ve developed a referral marketing strategy through research and implemented it with high-quality educational content, savvy online networking, participation in industry events, and more. Congratulations!
This referral marketing engine will drive your organization forward into the future. But now comes the hard part: building it out and keeping it up.
In today’s information-saturated world, you can’t simply create content and send it out like a message in a bottle. Instead, you should put as much effort into the promotion of your content as you put into creating it. After all, if no one sees it, then all of that effort has gone to waste.
Fortunately, we’ve identified effective techniques for promoting your content and making your expertise more accessible to your audience.
Making Your Expertise Accessible
First, consider your goal: to get your expertise (in the form of educational content) in front of your target audience of decision-makers and influencers. How can you go about this?
One answer is social media. If you’ve built up your network online, you should have a powerful avenue through which to share your content and ideas. Share blog posts, eBooks, webinars, and more on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to educate your audiences and generate discussion. Make it clear how your content is relevant to their challenges and invite them to engage with it through comments or social media conversation.
Social media is powerful and should form a central part of your content strategy — but taken alone, it’s not enough. Not everyone in your audience will be accessible through social media. Indeed, not everyone in your audience will be responsive to any one channel or at any one time. For this reason, you need to take a diversified approach.
Becoming More Visible
What are the most powerful tools and techniques your firm can use to distribute your educational content and spread the word about your expertise? We’ve already covered social media, but there are several more crucial factors to consider:
Search engine optimization (SEO):
By optimizing the content on your site for search visibility and earning links to your content from other folks on the web, you can dramatically improve your ranking in online searches — and make it much easier for audiences to find you when they have a problem, or even when they’ve heard about you by reputation. By associating your site and content with keyword phrases that describe your expertise and the problems you solve, you can help your audiences find the answers they need.
Partnerships are a powerful way to confer and cultivate credibility. These might take the form of joint research, joint publications, jointly conducted events, or other pairings of expertise with another firm or professional association. Similarly, it can be helpful to conduct events like webinars in conjunction with other experts from other organizations, bringing a diversity of perspectives and fostering an environment of collaborative learning.
Advertising and sponsorships:
Online advertising can be an effective way to drive audiences to your content, either through platforms like Google AdWords or through social networks like LinkedIn. Like search engine optimization, online ads can help connect audiences concerned with certain topics or issues with the answers they need. While most forms of offline advertising are less effective or at the very least, are much more difficult to track, you can boost your visibility among a targeted audience by sponsoring certain industry awards or events.
Like your content creation, these efforts must be continuous. But if you maintain them, they will pay off, earning both new business and new referrals. As you practice these visibility-building techniques, you will find that you are more connected to your industry — and as a result, that you enjoy a more powerful reputation. With patience, thoughtfulness, and hard work, your referral marketing strategy will not only bring in more referrals, but also transform your firm’s position in the marketplace.
The age-old art of the referral has changed — and this transformation stands to benefit firms that are prepared to share their specialized expertise.
The new science of the referral requires commitment. Your firm must remain dedicated to research, to your referral marketing strategy, and to the educational efforts that will generate referrals based on your reputation and expertise from across the industry. But if you are diligent, the rewards — and the competitive edge they afford — are tremendous. Quite simply, you will build your visibility, generate new business, and grow.
- Get a step-by-step guide to building a powerful referral strategy with our free Rethinking Referral Marketing executive guide.
- Dig into the research behind generating referrals today with our free Referral Marketing for Professional Services Firms research report.
- Join us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more tips on driving referrals and new business.
How Hinge Can Help:
It’s time to rethink your referral marketing strategy. The Visible Firm℠ is the leading marketing program for delivering greater visibility, growth, and profits. This customized program will identify the most practical offline and online marketing tools your firm will need to gain new clients and reach new heights.
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