As 2013 draws to a close, it’s a perfect time to highlight some of the most popular posts from the Professional Services Marketing Blog. Kathy Dam leads the effort to find the most popular posts across a range of topics and write up the descriptions.

As you can see, it has been an exciting year. Please enjoy and share the best of Professional Services Marketing Blog.

1. A 10 Step Brand Development Strategy for Your Professional Services Firm

The brand of any professional services firm is arguably its most valuable asset. Your brand is the combination of your reputation and visibility in the marketplace, and needs to be relevant for your target audiences. To drive growth and profitability, there are a few essentials to have in place: the proper strategy, an arsenal of brand-building tools, and a plan to actually build your brand. This post lays out a digestible 10-step strategy to develop your brand.

2. Buyer Behavior and Professional Services: A New Research Study

The Hinge Research Institute conducted an extensive study on buyers and sellers of professional services to understand buyer behavior from both sides of the relationship. This post summarizes key findings and introduces complimentary research reports for each industry studied: technology services, management consulting, accounting and financial services, and architecture/engineering/construction.

3. How to Increase the Brand Visibility of Your Professional Services Firm

A strong reputation is important, but is rendered inadequate without high visibility in the marketplace. Having one without the other creates a hollow brand. Your firm should focus on strategies that will boost both your reputation and visibility to strengthen your brand. This post outlines 5 ways to do this.

4. Closing the Sale: 5 Things Every Professional Services Marketer Should Know

Sales and marketing are distinct entities, to be sure. However, the two go hand-in-hand and when they work in tandem, the sales process and actually closing the sale can become much simpler. This post draws from Hinge’s research and breaks down the 5 things professional services marketers should know to generate more business and make the sales process both easier and more effective.

5. Top 7 Referral Marketing Ideas for Professional Services Firms

Professional services firms understand the importance of referrals. After all, referred clients often cost less, close more quickly, and are easier to manage. However, the struggle is often how to get more referrals. This post discusses the 3 main types of referrals and the top 7 ideas to incorporate into your referral marketing strategy. 

6. Reputation Marketing vs. Relationship Building in Professional Services

When a buyer is looking at potential service providers to solve their business challenges, don’t count on a personal relationship to seal the deal. In the professional services world, our research has shown that the best way to market to buyers is to develop a reputation for producing results. This post further discusses the importance of a strong reputation.

7. Creating a Marketing Plan: A Guide for Professional Services Firms

Creating a strong marketing plan for the modern professional services firm isn’t as simple as it once was. The rise of instant global communication has made the playing field exponentially more competitive. This introduction to Hinge’s new Marketing Planning Guide lays the groundwork to address key marketing planning issues and helps your firm keep up with the ever-changing marketplace.

8. 5 Keys to Building Business Relationships

Your firm has refined its service offerings, is appropriately priced for the marketplace, and has distinct competitive advantages. But is that enough? From Hinge’s research, we’ve found that when buyers select a professional services provider, an existing relationship often tips the scale in favor of the winner. Learn about 5 keys to building business relationships to help your firm win the sale as well.

9. Strong Brand, Weak Brand: 5 Brand Killing Beliefs You Must Avoid

As earlier posts have stated, a strong brand is a fundamental need for successful professional services firms. Yet senior executives often have self-defeating beliefs or behaviors that actually weaken their firm’s brand. Refocus and coordinate your efforts to ensure your firm avoids these 5 brand killing beliefs.

10. Developing Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing has skyrocketed and new firms are adopting it as part of their daily strategy. Done properly, it can be a powerful lead generation tool. Despite its growing popularity, however, few firms have uncovered how to provide meaningful, relevant content to their target audiences that actually set them apart. This post provides 10 tips to get your content marketing strategy on the right track.

There you have it, the best of the best for 2013.

Thanks so much for your support and feedback. And a special thanks to all the contributors and editors of the Professional Services Marketing Blog, especially Stacy Picking. You are the best, Stacy!

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