Category Archives: Professional Services

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Premium Pricing for Professional Services

Premium Pricing for Professional Services written by Shawna Salinger read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Are you tired of the race to the bottom in pricing your professional services? Pricing is tough and it pushes many to commoditization. There’s a better route: premium pricing. Charging a premium elevates your services above the price wars but also transforms the very nature of your client relationships.

In this post, I’ll share keys to a premium pricing strategy for your professional services. After reading this, you’ll understand the role of messaging and how to build long-term client relationships. You won’t just be adding a few dollars to your rates; you’ll completely change how you’re perceived in the marketplace and how you deliver your services.

Table Of Contents:

Eliminate Commodity Thinking in Your Pricing Strategy

When you start treating your services like they’re just another product on the shelf, you’re headed down a slippery slope. Commodity thinking is by far one of the most common pricing tactics out there and is a surefire way to get stuck in a race to the bottom. 

If you want to charge premium rates and stand out in your market, you’ve got to shift your mindset and eliminate commodity thinking.

So, what exactly is commodity thinking? It’s when you start viewing your services as interchangeable with everyone else’s. With this approach, you’ll be selling packages that focus more on a certain set of deliverables than a strategic solution. 

The Impact on Pricing Strategies

When you treat your services like a commodity, it has a big impact on your pricing strategies. You start feeling pressure to lower your rates to compete with everyone else. 

But that’s a losing game. You end up working harder for less money, and it’s tough to sustain long-term. If you want to charge premium prices, you need to break free from commodity thinking and focus on providing a valuable solution. Often, it’s fear that holds people back from charging premium rates, because it’s scary to be different from everyone else.

Premium Pricing Approach: Selling Solutions, Not Hours

In the professional services realm, the traditional billing model has long been trading time for dollars. But here’s a transformative thought: what if instead of selling hours, we sold solutions? 

When you trade time for dollars, you inherently limit your growth. There’s a cap to how many hours you can work and, consequently, how much you can earn. 

More critically, this model positions your services as a commodity, where the only differentiator becomes your hourly rate. It’s a precarious position that invites price comparison and undermines the unique value you bring to your clients.

Offering Complete Solutions

Selling complete solutions means focusing on the outcome you deliver, not the hours of work it takes to get there. It’s about understanding the profound challenges your clients face and offering a packaged solution that addresses these challenges head-on. This approach doesn’t just elevate your services; it makes you an indispensable partner in your client’s success.

premium pricing

Here are a few key benefits of selling solutions over time:

Value Perception: Your clients aren’t just paying for your time; they’re investing in a result that has a tangible impact on their business or life. This shifts the conversation from cost to value.

Scalability: Solutions can be scaled and replicated across clients without directly increasing your workload. This opens the door to exponential growth that isn’t possible when you’re limited by the number of billable hours.

Differentiation: By offering a complete solution, you differentiate your services based on the unique outcomes you deliver. This sets you apart in a crowded market where many are still selling time.

Implementing Premium Pricing

Making the transition from selling time to selling solutions begins with a deep dive into understanding your clients’ needs and the challenges they face. It involves productizing your services in a way that clearly articulates the end result and the path to get there. 

It also requires confidence in the value you provide, allowing you to price based on impact rather than effort. Lack of understanding is a top customer complaint when it comes to professional services. If you can demonstrate that understanding, you’ll have a major competitive advantage.

Premium Pricing Through Trust and Value

In order to command premium pricing, you’ve got to build trust with your clients and demonstrate the value you bring to the table.

One effective way to do this is by creating productized packages that offer clear value propositions. When clients can see exactly what they’re getting for their money, they’re more likely to invest in your services.

Crafting Productized Packages

To create a productized package, start by identifying a specific problem or need that your target clients have. Then, develop a solution that addresses that problem in a comprehensive way.

Your package should include all the elements needed to achieve the desired outcome, whether that’s a certain number of consulting hours, a set of deliverables, or access to specific resources.

The Role of Initial Engagements in Building Trust

Initial engagements are another great opportunity to build trust and set the stage for premium pricing. When you knock it out of the park on one project, clients are more likely to invest in an ongoing engagement.

Use these initial projects to demonstrate your expertise, reliability, and value. Aim to provide outstanding results, and you’re on your way to justifying those top-tier prices.

Establishing Long-term Client Relationships

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of long-term client relationships in sustaining premium pricing. When you build strong, ongoing partnerships with your clients, they’re more likely to see the value in your services over time.

Aim to always bring your A-game and knock customer service out of the park. Check in regularly to ensure you’re meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations.

By creating a productized package with a clear value proposition and set pricing, you can attract clients and build trust. And by developing that trust through an initial engagement, you can lay the foundation for long-term client relationships and recurring revenue.

Key Takeaway: 

Stop seeing your services as just another option out there. Your unique skills and approach are your ticket to premium pricing. Focus on what sets you apart, communicate that value clearly, and build trust with top-notch results.

Becoming a Premium Brand 

If you want to charge premium prices, you can’t focus on transactions. You’ve got to build real, meaningful relationships with your clients. 

This is how you become a premium brand – a must, since brand-based referrals are a limitless source of clients, if you can get them. 

Creating Brand Loyalty Through Transformational Relationships

Transactional relationships are all about the here and now. You provide a service, the client pays you, end of story. There’s no real depth or ongoing connection.

But transformational relationships? That’s where the magic happens. You become more than just a service provider – you’re a trusted partner invested in your client’s success.

And here’s the thing: clients are willing to pay a premium for that kind of relationship. When you’re truly in their corner, price becomes less of an issue. They know your value.

Strategies for Cultivating Customer Loyalty

So how do you build these game-changing relationships? It starts with really listening to your clients. Don’t just hear their words – dig into their challenges, goals, and aspirations.

Show up consistently. Be responsive and reliable. Anticipate their needs and go the extra mile to deliver. Continuously look for ways to add value beyond the scope of your engagement.

Invest in your clients’ growth. Let others in on what you know, connect them with the right people at the right time, and don’t hold back on celebrating their successes. Show that you’re not just there to invoice them – you’re genuinely invested in their success.

There is less competition in charging premium pricing for professional services compared to lower price points.

Remember, transformational relationships take time. But when you get them right, you’ll have clients who stick with you, advocate for you, and happily pay your premium prices. That’s the power of going beyond transactions.

High Value Messaging for Premium Pricing

Your pricing is premium, and your messaging should be too. The way you communicate your value plays a huge role in justifying those premium price tags.

But here’s the key: it’s not about you. The most effective messaging is all about your client. Let’s dive into how empathy and targeted communication can be your secret weapons for premium pricing success.

Empathy as a Marketing Strategy

Empathy is everything. Put yourself in their shoes. What keeps them up at night? What does success look like for them? 

The more you can empathize with their situation, the better positioned you’ll be to communicate your value.

When your messaging comes from a place of genuine understanding, it resonates on a deeper level. Clients feel heard, understood, and confident that you’re the right partner to help them achieve their goals.

Marketing to High Value Clients

Generic messaging just won’t cut it. To nail that higher price point, your messaging has got to hit the bullseye with the people you’re really trying to reach.

Speak their language. Use the words, phrases, and examples that resonate with them and their specific challenges. Show that you “get” them on a fundamental level.

Highlight the outcomes and transformations you help clients achieve. Paint a vivid picture of what success looks like – and how your premium services are the key to getting there.

Use case studies, testimonials, and storytelling to bring your value to life. Show the real, tangible impact you’ve had on clients just like them.

Keep in mind, getting your message across isn’t about showing off or trying to be too cute. It’s about communicating your value in a way that deeply resonates with your target audience and makes your premium pricing feel like a no-brainer.

Key Takeaways: 

Want premium prices? Build real, deep connections with clients. Go beyond transactions to become a trusted partner in their success.

Listen deeply, show up consistently, and invest in your clients’ growth. This approach makes price less of an issue because they see your value.

Your messaging should scream empathy and understanding. Speak directly to client challenges and how you’re the solution, making premium pricing feel justified.

The path to charging more for your professional services is built on a foundation of strategic messaging, empathy, and clear differentiation. It’s about shifting focus from the service you offer to the solution you provide—a solution to a problem so well understood and articulated that your target client feels seen and heard in a way they haven’t before.

Adopt this approach, and you’re not just selling services; you’re building relationships and creating value that justifies premium pricing. This is how you distinguish yourself in a crowded market and build a sustainable, scalable business model centered on meaningful client relationships.

The Small Business Guide to Podcasting

The Small Business Guide to Podcasting written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The term podcasting has become mainstream these days and interest in this medium is on the rise and, rightfully so. Not only is it convenient for listeners who want topics that they’re interested in on-demand, but it’s also valuable for the person or business hosting them.

Below find seven great reasons every business should consider starting a podcast

Getting started is easier than it looks

The secret’s out, podcasting really isn’t that difficult to get started. People often assume that podcasts require a lot of fancy equipment and a large investment, and while you certainly can get to that point, you definitely don’t have to start there.

As long as you have a microphone that works, a way to record a conversation with guests (if you have guests), and a way to share the content with your audience, you’re really all set. Here’s a simple set-up that covers what you need.

  • Microphone USB Mic such as a Blue Yetti
  • Recording – You can use Squadcast, Skype or Zoom
  • Editing – Garage Band or Audacity
  • Hosting – Libsyn or Blubrry
  • Publishing – Podcast on WordPress using Blubrry Plugin
  • Distribution – iTunes/Apple, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn

You can repurpose episodes into other forms of content

Since podcasting is audio-based, repurposing the material into other forms of content, such as video, a blog post or a series of blog posts, is a great way to create content without reinventing the wheel. Additionally, it helps to further expand your reach because part of your audience may not be podcast listeners, but they may be blog readers, and vice versa. is a great transcription service.

Podcasting is great for networking and building referrals

Reaching out to others to have them as a guest on your show is a great way to build your network and will also give you more chances to be asked to be a guest on other podcasts, furthering your connections even more. The more people you can connect with, the more you’ll increase the chances of referrals, leading to more opportunities and business for your company.

Along with networking and building referrals, podcasting can expand your public speaking skills as well which can lead to in-person speaking events (a great way to establish authority and credibility in your field).

It establishes an emotional connection with your audience

The format of a podcast allows you to develop a deeper relationship with your audience. You’re not hiding behind words on a page. Hearing your voice on a frequent basis makes your audience feel like they actually know you, and the more likely you are to establish an emotional connection with them, the more likely they’ll be to follow your brand and buy from you.

You can make money from it

Not all podcasters want or need to monetize, but if you are interested in making money from your show, there are a number of ways to do that, including:

  • Sponsorships
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Product promotion (be careful with how you go about this, your podcast should be entertaining and educational, not “salesy” if you want it to truly be effective)

You can increase traffic to your website

The audio portion of your podcast can drive traffic to your website simply because it helps to build your credibility and authority on your topic which often makes your audience want to visit your website to learn more. Another way this boosts site traffic is that podcasts often come with show notes (at least they should) that people can review for resources and an outline of the show. If people are on your site reviewing the show notes, or even the episode transcript, they’ll be more likely to visit other areas of your site, which will increase the odds of them converting to customers.

Another way podcasts boost site traffic is that they often come with show notes (at least they should) that people can review for resources and an outline of the show. If people are already on your site reviewing the show notes, or even the episode transcript, they’ll be more likely to visit other areas of your site, which will increase the odds of them converting to customers.

Podcasting is a type of long-form content that people actually pay attention to

Hate to say it, but our attention spans are fading. We live in a world of information overload where we only have the time to consume small bits of information at a time. With podcasts however, you can consume them at times when other forms of content are unavailable (hopefully you’re not reading a blog post while driving to work in the morning). Whereas with a podcast, you can sit in traffic for an hour and consume valuable information. Since people are engaged with podcasts for longer periods of time than other content, this gives you opportunities to showcase your knowledge and expertise in a way that you’re unable to with other formats.

Podcast Guesting is a Killer Marketing Tactic

So far we’ve focused on creating your own podcast but there are many benefits associated with being a guest of someone else’s podcast.

There’s no denying that interest in podcasting has increased over time, especially within the last 5-6 years. I think this is for a couple of reasons:

  • Content has become the air that drives so many channels
  • It’s portable and allows for multi-tasking nature of it

The combination of the two has allowed the popularity of this medium to skyrocket, both from listening and production standpoints.

While I think producing a podcast is a great idea and can provide many benefits for your business, there are also a plethora of opportunities that are there in podcasting for any business owner, namely through being a guest on another person’s podcast. Let’s dive in.

Guest interviews

Putting yourself out there as a guest on podcasts (as opposed to traditional PR with radio and TV) is one of the best things you can do for your business these days, but let me be clear, in order to be successful with it,  you must put yourself out there and pitch yourself on an ongoing basis, and truly build this as a channel for your marketing efforts.

A podcast interview is not only content, it’s great quality content. It’s a tremendous way for you to build expertise, authority, and branding for you and your business. When people hear your voice, it adds a deeper level to building trust, and the more a person trusts you, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you.

SEO and the benefits of podcasting

My friend, Phil Singleton, is one of the most knowledgeable people on SEO that I know, and he recently stated (over this past weekend, in fact) that of all the time he has spent on SEO, podcasting may be the best SEO tactic to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Being a podcast guest provides the following benefits:

  • Gives you access to an engaged audience
  • The host does the majority of the work
  • You have virtually no preparation (especially in comparison to guest blog posts)
  • High production value will make the content more shareable
  • There will likely be show notes that will drive links back to your website
  • Reviews can help build authority and credibility
  • There is a ton of repurposing potential with the content

At the end of the day, SEO really comes down to three main things:

  • Keywords– You must know what keywords your ideal client is searching for
  • Content– You must build those keywords into your content on a consistent basis
  • Links– That content must be seen and shared by other people by acquiring links from other sites to link to that content. From that, Google surmises that it’s good content.

If you focus on those few things over time, you will show up, and likely rank highly, in search engine rankings. What this means, is that a guest appearance on a podcast is your content on steroids. You get high-quality content and awareness to the podcaster’s audience (podcasts get shared more than blog posts).

Guest blog posts are a lot of work and time-consuming. Even if a podcast doesn’t have a huge following, it will likely still have more engagement than blog posts and have the ability to get more shares than regular blog posts and you will get links back to whatever it is that you’re promoting.

To make this even better, a lot of podcasters, including myself, are also creating transcripts along with their podcast episodes to have the written word content go along with the spoken content. In many cases, if you appear on a podcast, and they don’t transcribe it, many podcasters will let you transcribe it and repurpose it for additional content on your site; again, which will help to boost your SEO.

How to get on shows

Remember, this is a consistent process, not just something you do every once in a while, so it’s important that you allocate time and attention to this. Below are a few ways you can approach getting on podcasts.

Google search

Google is great at showing podcasts. Start by searching with an industry you’re interested in and google “[industry] podcast” and see what appears. Simple enough, right?


iTunes not only categorizes podcasts, they include related searches like Google as well.


If you click on an author link, Amazon will show related authors, which can help expand your search.

From your research, build a spreadsheet of hosts you want to reach out to. Most podcasts have some form of contact information or a form asking people to pitch themselves as a guest.

Once your spreadsheet is filled out, one of the things I’d spend time on is to think of your objective for being on a show. Make the podcast host understand the value they’ll get by interviewing you.

From a content and link objective perspective, don’t worry about how big the show is or the size of the audience. Focus on the links and content and make sure they align with your objective.

In almost all cases, you need to go out and pitch people. I can’t emphasize this enough if you listen and subscribe to their show and know the host’s listeners, what they talk about, and how they deliver value, you’ll do a much better job of showing how you’ll benefit their listeners in your pitch.

These days, podcasters are looking for guests to have one-sheets that include your bio, why you’re a good fit, what you have to offer, places you’ve appeared, what others have said about you, and so on. If a podcaster is trying to decide between you and another guest, the one-pager can go a long way. The more professional you’ll look, the better your odds are of getting chosen for the show.

How to be a great guest

Your work isn’t done once you book the podcast. In order to be a great guest and get the most value out of this exposure, you really need to prep for it.

Subscribe and listen

If you want to be on a show, subscribe to it, or at least listen to it and really educate yourself on the host’s style and type of questions he/she may ask.

Don’t sell

The purpose of the interview is to educate or entertain the host’s audience. You may have the opportunity at the end of the episode to say where people can find you and so on, but nothing will turn an interview sour faster than selling.

Answer questions succinctly

A minute to 90 seconds is often too long for a response. Prepping will help you be clear and concise in your delivery.

Sound quality

Nothing is more frustrating than listening to a podcast with poor sound quality. Before you hop on the interview, confirm you have a solid internet connection or cell reception, and take the call in a quiet space to try to eliminate any extra background noise.

Show appreciation for the opportunity

Once you’re on the call, remember to thank the host for having you on the show and express your appreciation. Once the show is complete, be sure to leave a review for the podcast on iTunes.

How to promote your interview

After the show, most podcast hosts will send you a link to promote the show, and may even send you proposed copy for social media posts. Sharing and promoting your appearance makes a lot of sense. It helps spread the word and it’s good content that people may want to share. Look for multiple ways to promote it to your network.

After everything is said and done, ask your host for a review and use it in your marketing to boost your authority. If you own a local business, have them do the review through Google. Think of this as an opportunity to produce content and get amazing links and put your SEO on steroids.

One of the best ways to get the interest of podcast hosts is to let them know you’ll be a great promotional partner as well as a great guest.

Below is a checklist of potential promotional activities once you’ve been a podcast guest.

  • Add it to Your Next Webinar
    • Do you host webinars? If so, why not make a highlight of your next one a chance to hear your recent podcast interview?
  • Email Newsletter
    • When someone signs up to receive your email newsletter you can include photos, teaser videos, quotes and Click To Tweets from the actual interview in your emails.
  • On Your Blog
    • Highlight the event with a blog post. You can include episode show notes, as well as the embedded video or audio from the interview. You can even repurpose your podcast interview into a long-form blog and then embed the audio of it at the end of the post.
  • Social Channels
    • Please post links to the podcast, videos, graphics, quotes, and photos. Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat are all great for real-time engagement. Also, Facebook, Instagram Images, and LinkedIn offer the perfect platforms for promoting evergreen content.
  • Retargeting and Paid Advertising
    • Paid advertising on social media can also be effective. With Facebook especially, you can create ads that are hyper-targeted for the ideal persona that will find value in your interview.
  • Email Signatures
    • The average person sent 34 business emails daily. Now think about if you have advertised your podcast interview in each one of these. That gives you the opportunity to reach even more people.


Small Business Guide to the Google Universe

Small Business Guide to the Google Universe written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The video above is a replay of a recent live webinar I conducted. Combined with the text below you should have a pretty good feel for how to use Google for small businesses.

While Google has a lot of different products and services, to me, the following are what truly make up Google’s Small Business Universe for marketers and small business owners:

These are all great tools to help you grow your small business, so I thought I’d dive into each of them to give you a better understanding of how to use them and how they can benefit you.

Google My Business

This tool is critical for local businesses. This is one of the top ways, if not the way, businesses are getting found in their local community, which is why I spend so much time talking and writing about this topic.

Google My Business

Google My Business and the 3-Pack (above) show up when a person does a search for a term that is clearly for a local business. Getting your business to show up in the maps listing, as seen above, is extremely important and a good goal to achieve for local businesses today. There are a lot of factors that go into this, but the first one to focus on is ensuring your Google My Business listing is accurate and well-optimized. To optimize the listing:

  • Claim the listing
  • Make sure you don’t have any duplicate listings (this is rather common with the various iterations this tool went through)
  • Select a specific category for your business (avoid being too general)
  • Ensure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) match the NAP on your website
  • Add images and videos
  • Put efforts together to help your business increase positive reviews on the listing (reviews are a huge ranking factor)

In addition to the tactics above, there are some things you can do on an ongoing basis to increase your chances of being found in the 3-Pack.

Google Posts

  • Respond to all reviews (both positive and negative) – Be sure to turn on notifications so that you are alerted when a new review has been posted so that you can respond promptly.
  • Use Google Posts – This is one of the newer features within the Google My Business listing and typically speaking, if Google really starts to pay attention to something, I’d recommend you spend time on it as well as it could imply that it will influence search rankings. This is one of those things. This new feature allows you to essentially showcase mini blog posts within the Google My Business listing that can be educational or promotional. It’s another area to really showcase your business.
  • Another thing to check frequently is making sure nobody is suggesting inaccurate edits to your listing, which people have the ability to do by clicking the Suggest an Edit feature in the public listing.
  • With the new messaging feature on mobile devices, people can actually text you now from the Google My Business listing (your number will never show publicly). This can be a great tool for businesses who are appointment-focused or need to respond to messages quickly.
  • You have the ability to set up your website as a tracking URL (UTM code) in the edit screen of your listing (it will still show as your URL when it’s public-facing). This allows you to clearly see where your marketing efforts are having an impact, where people are coming from, and so on. If you don’t create a tracking URL, and just put in your web address, all of that traffic in Google Analytics will say it came from Direct traffic and won’t segment out that it was from your listing, which I think is important information to have. By adding the UTM code, it will filter under the Organic traffic bucket, which is where it really belongs.

Google Search Console

This is another free tool that has actually been around for a while (formerly Webmaster Tools) and is one of the most important tools for you to use for your SEO efforts. Google has spent a lot of time in recent years to improve it which to me, is a sign it’s not going away anytime soon and is a significant tool for you to use.

This tool is your best source of data about where your traffic is coming from, how pages are ranking, and what people are searching for that actually lead them to your website (we used to be able to get that information in Google Analytics but are no longer able to).

They are currently in the process of releasing a new version of the tool, so right now you’ll spend a bit of time going back and forth between the old version and new, which isn’t a huge deal with how it’s set up, but it’s something to be aware of.

To set everything up, go to Google Search Console and:

  • Claim and verify your website (I’d recommend choosing the Google Analytics option in the instructions to do this)
  • Add your sitemap (if you use WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool to submit a sitemap)
  • Check your messages – This is where Google will communicate with you about your website and any issues you’re experiencing (it may take a couple of days for the messages to populate). Google will actually be able to point out page crawl errors, HTML improvements, penalties, and if you’ve been hacked. It will also tell you how to fix all of these issues.
  • Integrate Google Search Console with Google Analytics (this will help you track goals and conversions). In Google Analytics, click Admin and then Property settings, you’ll see Search Console and it will give you the ability to add a Search Console.
  • Wait a few days (depending on your site, it may take some time for Google to crawl your site and gather the information needed).

This tool is also a great place to track the performance of your content and pages. You can:

  • Find keyword search rankings
  • Compare performance over time
  • Check out click through rate
  • Spot ranking opportunities
  • Find conversion opportunities

Google Ads

Google has recently changed the name from Google AdWords to Google Ads, and I think there are a couple of reasons why:

  • It’s more comprehensive than it used to be (it’s so much more than keywords now)
  • Advertising is now more about intent
  • Machine learning behavior and bots will dictate how advertising rolls out

How to Link Google Ads to Google Analytics

Link Google Ads and Analytics

The screenshot above is located in Google Analytics. Click Admin and scroll over to Property, where you’ll see AdWords linking (you can do this from Google Ads as well). I recommend integrating these tools because you want to know where your traffic is coming from and if it’s converting. It’s a great way to track your goals and get granular with your marketing.

New features in Google Ads

  • Local Ads (new campaign type)
    • Access by going to New Campaign
    • Local Campaign is focused on small local business and make it as easy as possible to run a campaign across various properties in the Google Universe
    • As a side note, see where it makes sense because it’ll be an easy way to spend all of your money at once.
  • Responsive Search Ad (new ad type)
    • Google does A/B testing for you and you’re able to input up to 15 headlines, 300 characters and 4 descriptions in the pool where they’ll mix up all the combinations (including extensions) and test on your behalf (leading to roughly 40K+ possible combinations) so that you know the ads give you the greatest opportunity for click-through rates.
    • These ads will essentially take over page one of Google (which is great for advertisers) and is something marketers should pay attention to.
    • These ads are currently in beta and aren’t showing up for everybody just yet (best practices aren’t currently in place in this beta phase either)
  • Local Service Ads from Google
    • This feature has been around for awhile but it is something that has been expanding rapidly. It is focused on a handful of home service businesses and if you’re one of these businesses, you need to be paying attention to these placements because they are dominating page one.
    • Reviews, proximity, responsiveness and how well your ad profile is optimized will contribute to your prominence in this space.
    • These ads are set up as cost per lead based on search term.
    • You have the ability to do search term and geotargeting.

To sign up for Local Service Ads:

  • Go to
  • Download the app
  • Create a profile
  • Get Google Guaranteed (employee background checks)
  • Set a monthly budget in Google Ads
  • Respond quickly
  • Focus on reviews

Local Service Ads

If I had to name a few key takeaways from this post, they would be:

  • Google My Business is a must for local businesses.
  • Google Search Console provides the best SEO data.
  • It’s important to connect Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console.
  • You must pay attention to ads.

There you have it! Have you started to explore these areas of Google? If not, I highly recommend doing so.

Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to SEO.

Content Tips to Help Your Professional Services Business Stand Out

Content Tips to Help Your Professional Services Business Stand Out written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Professional services cover a wide variety of industry, from law to accounting, and beyond. What makes these businesses unique is that they don’t offer tangible products to their customers, but rather, knowledge-based services instead.

People in this line of work are essentially selling relationships with a promised outcome, often making it difficult to prove their value. Additionally, these businesses are often inundated with competitors fighting for their audience’s attention.

Those in professional services know all too well how hard it can be to separate themselves from the crowd…but it can be done.

My recommendation? Start with content. Content is essentially the air of marketing these days. Without it, your business will fall behind. With that being said, here are a few ways to use it to give you a competitive advantage if you’re in this space.

Make time for marketing

First things first, you have to make time for marketing. It is not uncommon for people in professional services to want to dedicate 100% of their time to client work, but if you want a consistent flow of prospects coming in the door, you need to do your part and stay active with marketing.

This doesn’t mean you need to always have an endless supply of leads coming in, you only need enough to keep your business going, so identify that number and revise your efforts from there.

If you’re a CPA or a lawyer and don’t want, or have the time, to focus on the marketing efforts yourself, it’s OK to delegate these tasks and even outsource outside of your business. This will allow you to focus on client work and other tasks that require your attention. As long as you own the overall strategy, it’s OK to ask for help on the rest.

Be specific

Before you do anything, you must clearly define who your ideal client is, otherwise the marketing efforts you put in won’t even matter. Don’t just base your target audience on a hunch or what you believe to be true. Be sure to actually do your research, call clients, look at past client conversation via email, etc. The list goes on but it’s important to be extremely thorough with this and understand their pain points and how your business can help solve them. Once you’re aware of them, you can address them in your content (more on content later).

When talking to my clients in professional services, I often find that they find the most success by being really specific about who they’re trying to reach. This isn’t a necessity necessarily, but it can help you get really targeted with your messaging and establish a strong emotional connection with that group of people. Specializing can be a great thing, as long as you know how to reach and communicate with the people you’re going after.

Create a content strategy

One of the first things a professional services business needs to do as part of their marketing efforts is to develop a content strategy, which very few businesses actually do. However, a documented strategy can help to keep your business on track and make you more effective with your efforts. Knowing your goals, what you’ll be creating and what you’ll be measuring will help you optimize your marketing efforts moving forward and can prevent you from spinning your wheels.

Since professional services don’t sell tangible products, it is especially important that these businesses show their knowledge and expertise through content to help establish trust and credibility with their audience.

Be a thought leader

Since you’re selling services and not a product (per se), you need to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry (and location if you’re a local business) and prove that you have a lot of experience and are more than capable to handle your client’s needs.

Often times, clients of a professional services business don’t really know what they’re getting into or fully understand the process and services. Many times, the only things they care about are that you’re reputable and know what you’re doing due to extensive experience.

Whatever expertise you have, make it known through testimonials, case studies, association badges, the works! Remember to be original and show your personality. Your prospects are likely doing their research and they don’t want to hear the same thing from every business they’re approaching. Make yourself unique and memorable through your content.

Put your website to work

The purpose of your website isn’t to sit there and look pretty. It needs to actually do work for your business. In a nutshell, in addition to it carrying your message and showcasing your personality, it can act as a lead generating machine and be the hub of your marketing efforts.

I discuss the content necessities for a professional services website in this post and highly recommend that you check it out for a deeper dive into this topic.

Focus on SEO

Many businesses don’t immediately think SEO when they think of content, however, these days, they are almost one in the same. The more valuable content you put on your site, the more Google will recognize you as a website to watch. They want their users to have an exceptional customer experience. If Google recognizes you do that for your clients and prospects, they’ll be more likely to increase your rank in search engine results pages.

If I haven’t implied this enough throughout the rest of the post, let me state here that your content must be valuable to your audience. It must be well-written and truly useful for its viewers.

Within the content, it’s important to include relevant keywords to help alert Google of what the content is about. Note, and this is a big note: Do not keyword stuff. The keywords you use should flow naturally. Google can tell when you overuse keywords and will penalize your site for it.

Include these keywords in your content, header tags, meta descriptions, page titles, alt text, and URL.

As with most areas of marketing, your SEO strategy isn’t something you should just focus on sporadically. It’s important to give it consistent attention to make sure that the tactics you’re implementing are working.

To wrap everything up, content marketing in the professional services space needs to be about truly helping your audience and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Show each prospect and client that you truly care and that they’ve been heard. Essentially, make them feel special, both in your one-on-one conversations with them as well as in your content.

By making your content revolve around your prospect and not your business, you’ll be one step closer to turning them into a client.

Need more tips on how to grow your business? Check out our entire Guide to Marketing Professional Services.

Keys to Business Growth for Professional Services

Keys to Business Growth for Professional Services written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Sure, people in professional services need to be good at what they do, but their audience hopes that’s a given. Sometimes even the best of the best have a hard time growing their business because they are so focused on the services they provide, they just don’t dedicate time to the growth of their company (or simply don’t know where to start to do that).

Whether you’re in accounting, law, tech consulting, or provide and other professional service, the advice below still applies if you want to separate yourself from the competition and grow your business.

Common traits I hear from my professional service-based clients include:

  • Business to-date is primarily from referrals and word of mouth
  • They’re successful to an extent but could be more successful with the right strategy in place
  • Scaling is intimidating and it’s unclear how to do it effectively

To take control of your growth efforts, take some of my advice below.

Identify your ideal client

This notion goes above and beyond simply identifying and understanding your target audience. While that’s important, it’s equally important to understand the types of clients you want to work with. This will make both your life and your client’s life easier. Ask yourself the following:

  • Who needs the services you provide?
  • Who can you deliver the greatest value to?
  • Who do you enjoy working with?

Think about your best clients today and what makes them ideal for you so that you can apply it to attracting new clients moving forward. Take the following into consideration when developing these ideal clients:

  • What are the must-haves to be a client (this will help you narrow down your list)?
  • What attributes are you looking for in a client (not required, but preferred)?
  • What makes them ideal?
  • What behaviors signal that they are the right fit for you?

Once you can answer these questions, put the list together and keep it nearby to help qualify prospects moving forward. This will help to ensure you don’t waste time spinning your wheels on the wrong candidates.

Develop a promise

Once you have your ideal client in mind, it’s important that you create a clear promise for them that can help you articulate you understand their wants and needs and that you are the right business to help them.

What’s tough about professional services is that they’re intangible, which is what makes your promise (and that you live up to your promise) so important. The promise needs to reinforce that you can help them reach their goals.

In addition to your promise, make your distinct point of view and point of differentiation from your competitors clear. This will help to separate you from the rest of the crowd.

I have a friend that owns an SEO firm and he basically says, “All you need to know about SEO is that we make the phone ring.” He doesn’t dive into how his business works, or SEO jargon, he gets to the root of what his clients care about and how he’ll help to get them what they want. See how that works?

Focus on problems, not solutions

What I’m essentially saying here, is focus on what your ideal clients are experiencing, not your services. People don’t really care about what you sell. All they care about are that their problems are solved and that you can help them solve them.

How to figure out your client’s problems

It’s important that you solve these problems early on in the customer journey. You need to get very good at understanding your ideal client’s intent because that’s where the data is that you’re looking for. To do this:

  • Master keyword research
  • Use online tools (like Answer the Public)
  • Look at your reviews
  • Read past emails
  • Ask your team who interacts with your clients what problems they’ve picked up on through conversations

You can even reach out to current clients to get the information you’re looking for. Here’s a list of questions that may be useful to ask them:

  • What are their goals and dreams?
  • How do they gather information to solve their problems?
  • What are some things that are important to them?
  • Do you know what the biggest unmet need is in your marketplace?
  • What is the biggest pain point your customer experiences?
  • How hard have you worked to try to solve their problems in the past?
  • Why is the problem so hard for them to solve?
  • Who else is trying to solve the problem and how are they approaching it?
  • What does success look like to them?
  • What might hold them back from buying a product or service?
  • How do they come to a purchase decision?

Solving the problem

Once you have all the information mentioned above, you can actually start to solve their problems.

  • Start by refocusing your messaging and match your message to your ideal client so that it resonates with them quickly.
  • Take some time and break down every solution you sell, every benefit you attribute to what you do, and map it back to a handful of “trigger phrases.”
  • Develop an attention-grabbing headline to put on your website (think back to your promise with this one).
  • Through content, show them that you are experts in the field that will help to make their pain points go away. Providing actionable advice can go a long way.
  • Be responsive to comments, emails, and social media in an effort to build trust and establish a connection.

Provide an excellent customer experience

So many people are focused on the changes in marketing and all the new things we have to master and pay attention to.

The fact is the most significant driver of change today isn’t the way marketing is changing, it’s the way buying is changing.

With clients now in charge of their buying journey, the most important marketing element still left in our control is the customer experience.

While they are in charge of their journey, it’s your job to influence it, and in my opinion, this starts with your website.

Your website today is the jumping in point of the customer journey. Its job is to lead and guide prospects into a journey of awareness, trust, knowledge, insight, and conversion. All your ideal client wants is is a frictionless path to the information or action they’ve gone there to find. Website design should be renamed customer experience design.

Additionally, when it comes to the customer experience, the most tenuous point of the relationship is the beginning. Once a person becomes a client, you must look at their first 90 days as a trial period where your entire goal is to construct the type of experience that can only turn them into a raving fan (and great referral source down the road!).

At the end of the day, businesses that deliver the best customer experience do so because they care about helping the people they serve.

There are many other important factors that lead to a successful business, but nailing the points mentioned above is a great start. What have you found to be helpful in growing your business?

Perfecting Your Lead Generation Efforts: A Guide for Service Professionals

Perfecting Your Lead Generation Efforts: A Guide for Service Professionals written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you own a professional services business, odds are you’re trying to get leads in the door. What I often see is that these types of businesses develop automated lead funnels, because that’s what they’re told to do, and spend a lot of time vetting these leads, but let’s face it, they probably don’t have a ton of time to do that!

Instead of focusing on building an endless supply of leads, you should only be focusing on the amounts you actually need as well as how to balance bringing new customers in, and keeping new customers around. For example, if you’re a CPA, wouldn’t it be easier to focus on the clients you already have year after year as opposed to constantly be looking for new ones?

Here’s how I believe you should approach lead generation for your business.

Define your ideal client

Hopefully, you have a pretty good idea of who makes an ideal client for your business, but if not, you should figure that out ASAP.  To get started, it’s easiest to target the group you can help the most, the fastest because you’ll probably be able to demonstrate how you can get quick results and build raving fans.

Develop a client generation system

I have worked with a lot of service professionals, and from what I’ve seen, most of them want to work with roughly ten of the right clients at any given time. That’s it.

The typical service professional acquires new clients by attracting a lead that wants to meet and learn about how they might help them. Let’s say you have four clients now and you’d like to get six more. If one in four meetings turns into a new client (this is very low for our approach but will use this for easy math), it will take 24 meetings to get those additional clients you’re looking for.

You need to ask yourself what it takes to schedule consistent appointments and how you can increase the conversion rate of these appointments. If you can understand this and build a system around it, you’ll remove a lot of headaches that many service professionals experience in their lead generation efforts.

Set a revenue goal

Before you put any meetings on the calendar, you need to determine your annual revenue goal. This will give you insight into how many clients (and in turn, meetings and proposals) you need to obtain in order to reach that goal.

You simply need to factor how many appointments it will take to land one new client, and move forward from there.

Create a workhorse piece of content and focus on Facebook audiences

Content development may not necessarily be in your professional wheelhouse, but it’s essential for your business. You must create a valuable piece of content that will resonate with your target audience. Many find blogging to be the easiest way to format this content.

To ensure this one piece of content is the workhorse you need for your system, spend time researching the questions and problems your audience experiences the most.

Do your research. Interview past clients, conduct keyword research, and/or look at online forums to better understand what your audience experiences and common questions they have. The information found in your research may provide invaluable information as you search for hot topics for your blog post.

Once you know who you want to target, develop a list of people that you’d like to reach. If the list is properly targeted, it doesn’t have to be very large.

Use this list to build a custom Facebook audience and further create an expanded lookalike audience to increase the number of potential targeted prospects.

Add a content upgrade

In order for your promotion to work, add a “content upgrade” to the blog post you created. This is an offer for related content made inside the blog post that entices visitors to exchange an email address to receive the upgraded version of the content as well. Your content upgrade can be in the form of a checklist, ebook, or even a video. The email should then be used for follow-ups and lead nurturing efforts.

Advertise the blog post

Once your audience is in place, create Facebook ads driving people to your piece of content. To make things easier, you can even promote your blog post in a status update and “boost” your post to the custom or lookalike audience you created to get their eyes on it. The post will then show up as a sponsored post in the timelines of those you’ve targeted.

Offer value

Once a person responds to your content upgrade offer, reach out to them and offer a valuable service for no charge as a way to demonstrate how great it is to work with you and the type of service they can expect.

Set appointments

Make sure that your prospect is qualified to move forward before you propose any services to them. Remember, you want to enjoy working with them too. Even if they’re an ideal client on paper, they may not be the best match based on personality which can make it a difficult working relationship for both of you.

Provided all seems good to go, be sure to understand your lead’s objectives, goals, and potential challenges.

Then, make the appointment.


Once the lead is qualified, over deliver on what you promised as you set the appointment. Identify the ways you can truly help them and really show them the value of working with you.

Master the close

The key here is to help your lead tell you in their words what’s wrong and what not fixing it costs them. Listen to them before you mention anything related to your services.

Once you’ve heard their story, at that point you can identify ways to help them, but just make sure they know they have been heard. Show them how they can get immediate and long-lasting results by hiring you.

A customer generating system doesn’t have to be that complex, but it does have to be based on your overall growth needs and goals, so make sure you know what those are from the beginning.

Must-Have Website Elements for Professional Services

Must-Have Website Elements for Professional Services written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

As a professional services provider, your website should be your most valuable marketing asset and the hub of all of your marketing efforts. Your website shouldn’t just be a pretty design that people can look at. It needs to act as an actual tool for your business and work as a lead generating machine.

Your website has many jobs these days and should help you:

  • Get found – Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a priority for your business to help you rise above the competition in search engine results pages.
  • Build trust – I write more about this below as well, but your website needs to work the way your customers need it to and expect it to. You need to instill confidence in your audience.
  • Educate and inform – Help your audience understand what their problems and challenges actually are and how to solve them.
  • Nurture and convert – This is where the whole lead generation component comes into play. It’s common for people to visit your website numerous times before deciding to work with you. To ensure you stay top of mind, put enticing forms and CTAs in place (that link to valuable resources) to get their email address and continue to create valuable content that is relevant to their stage in the customer journey. This will help to move them closer to the sale.

I’m not going to lie, after working with countless professional services businesses over the years I can say that many websites look the same. They have the exact same structure and messaging (this even applies across industries) and it can be difficult to separate one business from another.

To help you stand out from the crowd, keep the points mentioned in this post in mind.

Speak to your specific audience

Now, the core of this is that you have to have a deep understanding of who your audience is in order to speak to them directly. You want them to feel special when they land on your site and this happens best when they feel an emotional connection with your messaging.

When developing the copy to reach your audience, keep the following in mind:

  • Focus on the messaging on your audience, not your business (i.e. replace “we” with “you”). It will resonate much better with them if you take this approach (easier said than done, but it’s a must).
  • Write as if you’re talking to one specific person, not a group of people.
  • Avoid using jargon. This is especially important for professional services. It can be so easy to get caught up in your everyday lingo, but the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t always make you sound smart. It confuses your audience more often than not because they don’t understand what you’re saying.
  • Write conversationally. This makes your business less intimidating and can make your prospects feel like you’re talking to them, rather than at them.

Find your point of differentiation

As mentioned, so many professional services websites look and feel the same, so you need to find a way to stand out. To do this, take a look at your brand’s company, culture, and services, and identify what makes you unique.

A good place to start is by looking at your culture (the most relatable aspect of your business) and showcase your culture through storytelling and various aspects across your site. You will have competition that provides the same services as you, but your company’s personality can truly set you apart.

Let your audience know who you are. Create an about page, show pictures of your team, share fun facts, and so on. Provide your mission and values that people can connect with. There are so many things that you can do. Start thinking of what these are and add them to your site ASAP.

Think about visuals and design

You know the phrase, “you need to dress to impress?” Well, this saying goes for your website as well. Your website is often a potential customer’s first impression, so you need to make it a good one. Make sure the visuals assist with guiding people through the buying process and that they accurately represent your culture and target audience.

Do the best you can to avoid common stock photos. They make you appear less authentic.

Take a look at your competitors’ websites when putting the design together. While you may be able to gather a few good ideas from what they’re doing, you should also look at them as designs to stay away from.

Ensure your site is mobile optimized

Your customers are busy and are likely researching your business on the go, so you need to provide a stellar user experience for them on their handheld devices. Google is actually penalizing sites that aren’t optimizing for mobile, so to avoid frustrating potential customers and losing rank in search, optimize ASAP.

Must-have homepage elements

In addition to the thoughts above, here are actual elements you need to add to your homepage:

  • A promise and sub-promise – You need to make a clear promise that will solve your customers’ problems. A sub-promise is a trust factor that a company offers (such as “Kansas City’s most trusted”). Make sure these elements are clear.
  • A call to action (CTA) – CTAs help to guide people through the customer journey and advise them on next steps. It provides a clear path for customers to take and removes ambiguity.
  • Contact information – Make it easy for people to get ahold of you. This is especially important for local businesses since a company’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) is a local ranking factor.
  • Video – Video allows you to give people an understanding of your personality, who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story. Some of your clients or customers may be intimidated by the professional services you provide, so providing an element that can humanize you or establish an emotional connection is ideal. A video can do just that.
  • Trust, proof, and authority elements – As a company that provides professional services, I can almost guarantee you are being compared to others that provide the same services you do before a person makes a decision on who they want to work with. To stand out, you must do your very best to include the following elements on your homepage: testimonials, client logos, association badges, client results, case studies, media recognition, and awards.
  • Fresh content – In order to best serve your prospects and clients, you need to always be providing valuable information for them. It shows your company is active and cares about the audience’s experience with your brand.
  • Core services – One of the things many companies don’t do enough of is list out their core services on their homepage. This can be a point of differentiation but can also help boost your SEO because it provides a good user experience.

If you own or run marketing for a professional services business, what are you doing on your website to help separate you from the competition?