Your website is indisputably the number one resource for services buyers to learn about you. If your site isn't designed to draw prospects in, or if your online presence isn't geared to help potential clients find and positively evaluate you, you're missing a huge opportunity.
This is according to research by Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., the Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services.
Providing references to potential clients is important—it shows satisfaction with your services from buyers you've worked with before. It offers a glimpse into your firm's past. But if it's your future that concerns you, take a look at the developing trends in how buyers research their services purchases. Below, you'll find data from a new body of independent research based on surveys of over 1,000 buyers of professional services. Those interviewed buy services from a wide range of providers, in fields from engineering to accounting, with about 40% of them engaged in purchasing legal services.
The references you provide are still significant, with over half of those surveyed using them as a resource, but they are no longer as widely embraced as newer research methods.
And because three of the top four research methods are directly related to your online presence, it might be time to update your approach to online marketing. Hang on to those client references—they could be a tipping point in your favor—but engaging in social media, revamping your site, and investing in search engine optimization will go a long way to getting potential customers' eyes on those references in the first place.
In our research, we also found that buyers are looking to multiple sources for information about their upcoming purchases. If you're missing from any of their usual channels, you're missing the opportunity to shine. So get online, get optimized, and get visible. Put your best foot forward online, and become your own best reference.