If you were the owner/partner in a traditional professional services business, ie an accountant or a lawyer, how would you use internet marketing to build your practice?
One path would be to run ppc advertising in your region to a landing page offering some sort of loss leader promotion, like a free consultation.
Does anyone have any other ideas?
I think having a Blog along with other social media tools works well.
Blog lets you connect with your community plus potential clients. On your blog you can show off your skills and depths of knowledge. Within 2-3 years you can earn that "authority" that every professional strives for.
However, the problem I face is that I am not passionate about "writing", I love my work that's it. May be I should hire someone to do that for me.
A true loss leader isn't really necessary, since an accountant's or lawyer's clients -- almost by definition -- have problems judging the quality of the work. It's every consultants core problem: Clients can only judge the "product" after they bought it, sometimes not even then.
This is why reputation and (perceived) authority is so important for consultants.
The usual ingredients to get authority and reputation is time (years spend in business), size (being in the top 100), or word-of-mouth: being recommended by previous clients or independent magazines, journals, TV reports, etc. A less known ingredient is spending money for apparently unrelated stuff: exclusive office furniture, exclusive business cards, an exclusive car, watch, suit, etc. -- even looking "attractive" (fit, groomed, etc.).
Accountants building their practise obviously have (nearly) none of the above. Thus, they need to do other "expensive" stuff. Some tips:
Hope that helps.
One option is to create a resource (ebook, series of email follow ups) that your prospects would find valuable. As an example, if you're going after accounting prospects, you could write up something like "Top 10 Mistakes people make when hiring an accountant" or "Top 10 mistakes small business owners make in their accounting - and how you can avoid them."
Then, use local ppc ads to drive traffic to that page where they can enter name/email to get it. Use an autoresponder like Aweber.com to automate the delivery of the book. Then, follow up with these prospects with a weekly newsletter or something that will establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Science says it takes about 7 messages for someone to get comfortable with you, so you can pretty quickly build your rep in their eyes.
That email list will be one of your greatest assets, because you can continue to deliver value (and sales messages!) to that list... and you will 1) compel them to buy or 2) be at "top of mind" when they decide they need an accounting service.
There are a few more strategies as well, but my tea is running a little low to go deeper.
Ask your happy customers (Hopefully, this should be most of them), to rate you on Yelp.