Differentiating Yourself from Other Professional Services Companies That All Sound the Same
March 1, 2019
By Sam McCue
There are more professional services companies every day in every area of the product or service map. If you happen to be the lucky one that gets to differentiate your offering from the competition, you might feel like you’ve got your work cut out for you. Fear not—here are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your message gets heard by your ideal customer profile without getting lost in the mix.
Can you remember the subject line of any email in your inbox? Maybe just the gist of it? Chances are you don’t open the majority of your emails because you know they are trying to sell you something. How about the last email you actually opened and read? If you opened it, it had some value to you. That is what you should aim to do with your messaging: Provide value.
Creating messaging that instantly offers something of use to your customer is a sure-fire way to get an increased level of response. Whether it is an e-book that addresses a specific problem they’re experiencing or a survey that offers them a chance to voice their opinion and get a gift card, you rarely get the opportunity to convert someone anymore without offering them some sort of value up front.
A Professional, Yet Conversational Tone
Almost every ideal customer of your business is used to being sold to, so don’t use the same language they’re already tuning out. Speak to them like a human, and you have a better chance of getting a human response. Even if their guard is constantly up, they’ll be more receptive to a conversational tone than they will be to “feature this” and “function that.” Find the best way to address their pain points in the most concise messaging available, and rise above the rest.
It’s also important that you get rid of the fancy buzzwords. A study performed at Princeton University concluded that people are less likely to trust you if you use more complex words. This is probably the same reason you can’t say “synergy” anymore without someone cracking a smile. Stick to the language your customers would use with you in a conversation, and you’re more likely to get that conversation to happen.
Take an Empathetic Approach
The best way to realize what your ideal customer wants is to put yourself in their shoes. There are so many ways to understand how they feel, but SmartBug recommends creating buyer personas by interviewing your current customers. Learn the reasons that they chose you, from what initially got their attention to why they chose you over your competitors. By creating a narrative around multiple buying experiences, you can write more directly to this profile. Your messaging will be better, and you will rise above the noise more effectively.
How Many Clicks Does It Take to Get to the Center of an Offer?
Once you have your customer’s interest, you have to convert them quickly. Picture a little clock ticking above their head that represents their attention span. If the clock runs out before they download your e-book, white paper, or infographic, you've lost. Many of your competitors don’t spend enough time here, and in some cases, haven’t spent enough time on conversion rate optimization. The copy has to be direct and intriguing, CTAs should be action-invoking and contrast with the page to stand out, and there shouldn’t be too many clicks from start to finish of the user experience.
Factoring these steps into your process will allow you to think more critically about how you stand out. You will notice a positive response over time and healthier conversion rates.
About the author
Sam McCue was formerly an Inbound Marketing Specialist at SmartBug, and has a comprehensive background in branding, sales acceleration, and sales engagement. From large organizations to small startups, Sam's main focus is aligning progress with business goals. Sam is a lifelong fly fisherman and lives in Hayden, ID with his wife Amanda, and blue heeler Sadie. Read more articles by Sam McCue.
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