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3 advanced tips for marketing professional services

In the spirit of Who's on First ny twm1340 via FlickrI broke my toe and learned 3 ways advanced tips for marketing professional services

The back story

Two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I stubbed my little toe.  Hard.  It hurt a lot.  And it really didn’t look good.  Sticking out sideways  just didn’t seem like a “just grin and bear it thing.”

Being a good twenty-first centurerer, I did what all citizens of the internet do.  I hobbled over to the computer, switched it on and began.

1.       I wanted to solve a problem: where could I get medical attention in small town England in the early hours of Sunday morning.

2.       What medical attention did I need?  What should I be doing, if anything?  What do I need to arrange to have done?

Getting my toe fixed turned out to be a long story but I didn’t want it this to be a “whinge” story.  Britain has enough whinging poms.   So I wrote down what I experience in detail as excrutiating as the pain in my toe and extracted

  • Three ways that I don’t want to do business
  • Three ways I do want to do business

#1  Keep the conversation on the expert thinking that the customer came to you to buy

When I arrived at A&E, I was told that I could wait one hour for “triage” and then two hours to see a doctor.

I was already ambivalent about being in A&E and the decision was thrown back to me as if I was a naughty child who was being offered strawberry ice-cream or nothing.   What was this conversation about, exactly?

I think that what should have been communicated to me was this:

  • We need a doctor to look at your toe.
  • Because a bust toe is not life threatening, you will be in the “minor queue” and it takes one hour to get to see the nurse who will take some notes (I refuse to call that triage as they did) and then another another two hours to see a doctor.
  • Please make arrangements to stay here for 3.5 hours.

That would have communicated their decision in medical terms, explained to me quite adequately why I would have to wait, and directed my attention to what I could do to help.

My main takeaway of this experience was that until I reached a doctor – more than 12 hours after the event  and 10th interaction into the process – I had no medical conversation at all.  The first nine interactions, beginning with the website, were simply not about medicine.

Takeaway : Where is the expert thinking?

How quickly do customers reach the expert thinking that they hire me for?  Or are they getting tangled up in god knows what other considerations that are really not their concern?

#2 Dominate the top SEO on “how to buy” for your industry

I made some effort to get medical help at 2 am in the morning because information on the internet suggested I should (within 4 hours).

If we are gleaning what we can from this website and that, this is not good for NHS as a business.  It is not good for any business.

It’s best to make sure that the general method of making a buying decision in our segment gets good SEO and if we aren’t big enough to make it happen, we should ensure that our trade body does!

Takeaway: How good is our public information service?

How does the ‘public’ understand our sector and what questions do they put into Google?  Let’s answer them and drive those posts to the number 1 spot on the page.  It’s foolhardy to leave public understanding to chance.

#3  Match the conversion process to the profit level of the sale

Ultimately, a fully qualified surgeon strapped my toe.  He explained that he would not even Xray it because no matter what he saw, the treatment is the same.

By the time I spoke to him, he was my 10th point of contact with the NHS.  Four of those points actively tried to not make a decision and thus left we with one choice only – to stay in the queue.  One gave me flagrantly incorrect information (postal code) and another corrected it.  Three we helpful  (3/9).

To use Google’s language, there is a system of “conversion” that took me deeper and deeper into the system.  Each conversion step costs the NHS (and me) and ultimately, the service was delivered very expertly but very expensively.  My foot was strapped by someone with 30 years of education and training and 10 years’ international experience.

Of course, this formula might make sense in some way when we look at the whole picture of the NHS.  I’ll leave running them to them.

What I learned was to track the whole conversion process and make sure the ROI makes sense at track level.   The truth is that getting a busted toe strapped is akin to buying a coffee at the railway station.  I would like it to be better than the coffee I can buy in a British Railway Station – so let’s make that akin to buying a cold beer or coke.

It needs to be quick and easy.  There shouldn’t be a lot of queuing.  S’truth, if you can buy fresh crab from a vending machine, there should be some way for light injuries to be seen to quickly and easily without requiring people to be treated by massively expensive people.

Takeaway: Have we bundled our service correctly?

Let’s begin at the value of the sale and work backwards.  We have to devise marketing techniques that match our profit levels.  Coke can do it. So can we.

Summary

So that’s what I learned from along expensive saga of stubbing my toe at 2am on a Sunday morning .  Given that I am a psychologist

  • How quickly can someone ask a question about a psychological problem in their business and get a clear answer about their choices?
  • If they put that question into Google, would the no 1 position be dominated by advice that I agree with?
  • What is this sale actually worth (to my customers and me) and are we delivering the service where they need it at the right price?

Well, I can’t answer these three questions that easily myself.  So I will store them away and watch myself.  Maybe 12 hours with the NHS will lead me to improve my business.

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