Five mistakes small professional service businesses make when it comes to marketing

The professional services industry is a tough one. With longer buying cycles and a constant pressure on your time, keeping your marketing on auto-pilot can often seem like a tempting proposition. However, this often leads to your sales pipeline being much smaller than it can be. Here are five common mistakes that you should try to avoid.

1. Setting goals that are not S.M.A.R.T

S.M.A.R.T  goals are a mainstay for productivity enthusiasts everywhere, and for good reason too. It helps with the planning process by providing specific targets to reach within a set timeframe – which is definitely helpful when committing resources towards a given goal. It takes a bit more time and forethought to creating these goals, especially when compared to the tremendously vague “increase sales”, however, the payoffs are immense. First, it gives you a timeframe to judge whether what you’re doing is working. This lets you give any given strategy enough time to achieve the desired results and if not, drop the

First, it gives you a timeframe to judge whether what you’re doing is working. This lets you give any given strategy enough time to achieve the desired results and if not, quickly cut your losses and not be stuck in a limbo. Secondly, it helps you clarify your strategy and how to plan your business and commitments in the future.

2. Not tracking the right metrics

Often, when it comes to tracking, small businesses get charmed by the media shorthand of chasing vanity metrics. These are numbers that sound nice, but at the end of it aren’t actionable or useful in any sense. Things like followers, monthly website visitors are all things that are nice to know, but not necessarily helpful. Instead, you should focus on metrics that give you a useful insight such as sources of traffic, or engagement rates for each landing page. That will help you discern what is working or not, and base your next moves on actual data.

3. Not focusing on niches 

It might be counter-intuitive to create marketing material for smaller segments of your target audience, especially when you’re strapped for time. But as the saying goes, trying to please everyone only ensures that you please no one. By creating specifically targeted content, engagement is higher because it is relevant. In fact, it is often the case that the subsequent increase in conversion more than makes up for the loss in being broader.

4. Not creating marketing for the different stages of the buying process


For buyers of professional services, the buying cycle is often a lot longer than that of say, consumer services. That means that there are lots of opportunities to communicate with potential customers and build a relationship so that when they are ready to make a purchase, your offering is already top of mind, putting you way ahead of your competition who are creating generic transactional marketing material.

5. Not optimizing and pivoting to what works


If your marketing has been sticking to the same holding pattern for several years now, it is more than due for a review. Not optimizing for results with the insights you’ve gained over the years is leaving money on the table. If you’ve been dutiful about tracking the right metrics, the insights are already there for the taking!

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