Earlier this year, Propero launched the UK industry report: The State of Digital Marketing in Professional Services. In this report, 370 senior decision-makers were surveyed from professional services industries to gain a greater understanding for how they generate new business and approach their referrals.

Overall from our research we found that the three most popular digital marketing methods used by respondents are unpaid social media (54%), blogging (41%), and email newsletters (37%) – methods which require little to no marketing spend.

However, there is an obvious distinction regarding the use of paid-for digital marketing when comparing the firms that receive 10+ new business enquiries per month (25% of respondents) and those that receive zero to 10 (75% of respondents).

Of the firms that receive the most new business enquiries per month, 47% use search engine marketing, 38% use social media advertising (paid social), and 27% use web banners and/or display ads to attract new business. On the other hand, of the firms that receive less new business enquiries per month, only 24% use search engine marketing, 23% use social media advertising (paid social), and 17% use web banners and/or display ads to attract new business.

This indicates that although unpaid digital marketing methods can support a successful client attraction strategy, firms that take advantage of paid-for activities are more likely to receive a higher number of new business enquiries per month.

This was further supported when we investigated paid-for digital marketing methods by industry:

ACCOUNTING FIRMS

38% of accounting firms that get 10+ new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 38% use search engine marketing and 13% use web banners and/or display ads. However, only 18% of accounting firms that get 0 to 10 new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 29% use search engine marketing and 6% use web banners and/or display ads.

LAW FIRMS

26% of law firms that get 10+ new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 31% use search engine marketing and 21% use web banners and/or display ads. However, only 21% of law firms that get 0 to 10 new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 25% use search engine marketing and 7% use web banners and/or display ads.

FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS

41% of financial services firms that get 10+ new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 76% use search engine marketing and 35% use web banners and/or display ads. However, only 29% of financial services firms that get 0 to 10 new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 25% use search engine marketing and 8% use web banners and/or display ads.

I.T. CONSULTANCIES

50% of I.T. consultancies that get 10+ new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 50% use search engine marketing and 33% use web banners and/or display ads. However, only 24% of I.T. consultancies that get 0 to 10 new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 36% use search engine marketing and 9% use web banners and/or display ads.

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCIES

60% of management consultancies that get 10+ new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 60% use search engine marketing and 60% use web banners and/or display ads. However, only 19% of management consultancies that get 0 to 10 new business enquiries per month use social advertising (paid social), 12% use search engine marketing and 2% use web banners and/or display ads.

Is your firm depending on unpaid digital marketing activities alone to boost visibility? Although these methods will help your firm to survive, it won’t help it thrive. To grow your firm and see clear ROI (return on investment), invest in stronger paid-marketing strategies to compete with other leading firms in your industry.

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