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The Ultimate Marketing Framework for Professionals

marketing frameworkThe ultimate marketing framework allows professionals to focus on the three key strategies that make the greatest contributions to generating more new business successfully and continuously.

Ultimately all other marketing strategies will contribute to one of more of these three key strategies.

1. Branding

The single biggest marketing problem for professionals is their inability to distinguish themselves from the competition. As a result, many are unable to attract enough ideal clients, the kinds of people they love to serve and are good at satisfying.

Distinguishing one professional from the others is an ongoing challenge. Personal branding is the key to distinguishing ourselves from others. A professional brand helps distinguish one professional from competitors. It’s what makes us unique in a world of copies.

key pointGood branding will also help professionals attract and satisfy more of the kinds of clients they need want and deserve. Your brand positioning statement is one of the best tools for distinguishing yourself from the competition.

As a component of the marketing framework, your brand distinguishes you and your service. It defines:

  • your personal and professional distinctiveness
  • articulates your brand promise—the benefits that clients enjoy from those factors that distinguish you from all others.

Your brand also ensures the consistency of all marketing communications, online and off.

Storytelling-–the world’s oldest communication tool is becoming increasingly important in many aspects of business. It is especially critical in marketing. Experts tell us that most buying decisions are based on emotional elements and justified by logical factors.

Stories spark emotions. We have an emotional side as well as a rational side to our character; effective storytelling appeals to both sides of our character.

Authentic stories help you build emotional connections with clients and also help build brand awareness.

Unfortunately many brands fail. And many more never achieve success because they can’t compete in a crowded marketplace.

To increase the likelihood of the success of your brand, check out Ignore the Myths – Professional Service Branding Helps You Succeed.

Branding is the cornerstone of a marketing framework.  It supports the next element of the marketing framework—content strategy.

2. Content Strategy

This element of the marketing framework delivers and enhances your brand in the marketplace.

In the simplest of terms, content strategy is about to the right people at the right time in the right manner. In practice, this means applying the principles of strategic planning to create and deliver content that effectively connects with the target audience.

The purpose of content strategy is to achieve business goals by maximizing the impact of content that can be found, read, understood acted upon and shared.

key pointContent strategy is the ideal approach for professionals to build upon their brands to stand out from the competition and attract more potentially ideal clients, . As professionals, we all possess a vast store of knowledge and know-how, which represents valuable raw material for informational marketing content.

As the strategic basis for content marketing,content strategy is about creating, publishing and managing useful, and sharable content.

The strategic element includes the necessary research to identify the right people for your content. Obviously, the right people are your ideal clients, others just like them, referral sources who can refer potentially ideal clients and anyone one else who can contribute to your success.

Your content roadmap is your plan for succeeding in your content strategy. Among other benefits, your content roadmap clarifies your target audience and outlines your plan for content strategy success.

Possibly unaware of it, you probably already have a rich content inventory. Before cranking up your content production by analyze possible storytelling assets. You are probably richer in content than you think you are.

Ideally your research will also have identified the best ways to put your content in from of the right people: web content, blog posts, social media or other content such as email newsletters or special reports.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the action or application component of content strategy. It allows you to showcase your professional expertise, positioning you as an expert in your field. Invariably, experts in their fields attract the most ideal clients. It is the most visible element of a marketing framework.

effective content marketingBy taking a storytelling- approach to your marketing communications, you demonstrate your personal likability. Remember the old adage: if I like you I might do business with you, if I don’t, I won’t?

In effect, the combination of your professional expertise and personal likability offers potential clients a compelling reason for hiring you. This will increase the probability of clients’ choosing you over the competition.

If you have a website, you already know that content is king. Among other things, our content defines who we are and how we help our clients. However, in and of itself, continuously generating quality content is not content marketing. Effective content marketing is a strategic marketing approach to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and drive profitable client action.

key pointGreat content is the key to stimulating clients to take the action you want. Great marketing content is inspirational in nature. It’s the kind of inspiration that helps readers feel good about themselves, which in turn increases your credibility and liability.

Participation marketing makes great content even better. Engaging content can help generate positive experiences that your audience has about you and your brand.

Certainly, preparing content for purposes of content marketing with require more time and effort than preparing more of the same old blogs and social media posts. But the payoff is worth it. The return on your investment in producing great content include increased website traffic, ranking for target keywords, and domain authority & backlinks.

A final comment on content marketing. It’s not just for established businesses with a huge inventory of content. For start-ups, a content marketing strategy is especially important. Content marketing is a powerful tool that marketers are utilizing more than ever. Given its increasingly important role in marketing, it only makes sense that all businesses include content marketing in their initial business and marketing planning.

Content Sharing

Sharing content is the strategic application of social media sharing of comments, images and audio.

Our interconnected world makes it easier than ever share content. As a result, content distribution ranges from sharing among local groups of interested like-minded people to international reposting on global networks.

Social media is the most obvious channel for content distribution. Most, if not all blog posts include buttons that encourage readers to share the content on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. These simple buttons represent the minimal level of content sharing on social media.

Of today’s billion plus active websites, many offer valuable content sharing opportunities.

Here are three websites that can help get you started in this channel of content distribution.

SlideShareThis free community site allows content producers to share such content as presentations, eBooks, and videos. With more than 60 million visitors and 130 million page views monthly, it’s a good location to share business content.

Scribd: Self-described as “a modern library of books, audiobooks, comics & sheet music” this is another free community content sharing site. Unlike SlideShare whose focus is visual content, Scribd is ideal for text-based documents such as reports, white papers, and case studies.

Sharebullet: This website offers a unique approach to content distribution. The online platform allows its content-producing users to feature specific web pages that can be shared by other users.

Users have the choice of featuring a web page (which Sharebullet calls a campaign) at no cost, or on a pay-per-click basis.

client service3. Client Service

This is the component of your marketing frame work that keeps clients coming back for more service and referring new clients to you.

Through content marketing, professionals can attract new clients. Once added to your roster, new clients deserve the highest quality of service that you can deliver. There is no better approach to satisfying them, which in turn will encourage them to hire you again and refer others to you.

What is quality client service?

Quality is what your clients say it is …nothing more, nothing less.

Despite everything that has been written and spoken about quality. there are 2 fundamental elements of quality service:

  1. meeting your clients’ needs and wants
  2. meeting…or preferably exceeding….clients’ expectations

Quality service starts with identifying ideal clients and developing a buyer profile that describes these clients. Guided by these two factors, you are better prepared to apply your expertise and resources to satisfy clients.

One of the best ways of exceeding expectations is by re-framing your routinely good services as memorable experiences for your clients. These experiences help satisfied client become delighted fans, eagerly promoting those professionals who continue to exceed their expectations. To learn more about creating memorable client experiences, see From Good Professional Services to Memorable Experiences – Keep Your Clients Coming Back

Marketing Framework Sub-Strategies

In combination, branding, content strategy and good client service comprise the ultimate marketing framework for professionals.

As outlined above, our personal/professional brands allow us to differentiate ourselves and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Our brand statements also promise potential clients the benefits that they will enjoy once they become clients.

Marketing strategy focuses on getting the right content—our great content—to the right people. These people include potentially ideal clients, actual clients as well as others who can contribute to our success.

key pointOnce potential clients have made the decision to become actual clients, it is high quality service that satisfying them, encouraging them to hire you again and refer others to you.

Virtually all other marketing strategies, which for present purposes are referred to as Sub-Strategies contribute to the the overall marketing framework strategies…Super-Strategies.

Research & Planning

The process of developing and promoting a brand requires both external and internal research. The external research identifies unmet market needs and by extension what potentially ideal clients need and want from services like yours. It also identifies competitors already in the marketplace and how their services satisfy clients.

The internal component is a self-assessment that identifies among other factors, your strengths and areas in which you are as good or preferably better than the competition.

More in-depth research is required to identify the right content, the right people for this content and the right way to not only deliver this content, but get it read and acted upon.

Sustainable client satisfaction depends upon ongoing research that monitors clients’ shifting needs and wants. By monitoring what clients are looking for, you are well positioned to respond effectively to evolving trends and developments.

And of course research in any of the marketing framework Super-Strategies is little more than wasted time without a plan of action to benefit from the information gathered.

Marketing Communications

Any and all communications, whether electronic, hard copy or in-person represent potential opportunities to generate new business. With a good brand and sound content strategy, you can stay on message, consistently helping others learn what they need to know to hire, recommend, or otherwise contribute to your success.

Content marketing and marketing communications are inter-connected. Effective content marketing depends upon all marketing communications vehicles delivering good content so good that readers want to share it. Similarly, a sound content strategy drives consistent good, sharable content.

key pointRealistically, all communications with clients have marketing potential. This potential could take the obvious form of doing whatever it takes to satisfy clients. Or it could be exceeding client expectations and delivering a truly memorable experience.

Regardless of content or format, all marketing communications support the marketing framework Super-Strategies.

Marketing Relationships

In addition to providing quality client service, four key sub-strategies help develop and maintain productive marketing relationships:

  1. Networking
  2. Generating Referrals
  3. Keeping In Touch
  4. Contacting Strangers

Marketing communications drive the development and enhancement of these sub-strategies. As a result, these sub-strategies also influenced if not defined by the marketing framework Super-Strategies. This means stronger the marketing framework, the better the results that can be expected from these sub-strategies.

Why The Marketing Framework Is Important

As you are no doubt aware, marketing can be a complex and confusing process. To try to manage this process, many people choose to focus on a handful of strategies that they like and seem to work well.

key pointA marketing framework represents the structure that allows us to fit the various parts of the marketing puzzle together.

Remaining focused the three Super-Strategies of the marketing framework will help you fit all of the marketing puzzle pieces into place. And as an added bonus, if any pieces don’t fit, you can get rid of them.

A final work of caution. Don’t over-think the marketing framework. Keep it in mind and use it as resource when you face a seemingly unresolvable marketing issue challenge.