How to get employees to help market your firm
19th, Mar 2019
In many professional service firms, only a small percentage of people are actively engaged in marketing. The remaining employees don’t participate. The reason for this is usually some combination of them being uncomfortable with marketing and/or not being asked or required to do it. However, it is a huge missed opportunity not to get them involved in at least small ways.
Their efforts can help expand your reach, encourage them to feel vested in the success of the firm and build their skills so they become better employees and future partners. They may be resistant, but there are ways to help get past that.
1. Offer lots of choices. Some people enjoy networking at parties, but that’s not the only option. There are many ways to market. They can get involved in an organization – professional association, charity, or business group. For those who don’t feel comfortable socializing, they can write articles or blog posts, do research, help with social media or other tasks.
2. Give them training. No one is born knowing how to market effectively. Depending on the firm’s needs, bring in trainers or send employees to seminars so they can learn how to network, improve their public speaking, use social media, manage their time, and develop other necessary skills. Remember to also educate them on the firm’s brand message so everyone is consistent about what to communicate about the firm.
3. Provide support. In addition to training, firms can maximize employee efforts in other ways such as by creating marketing materials, researching potential prospects or networking opportunities, making appointments, maintaining an updated contact database and other tasks. There are many marketing-related activities that should be delegated to marketing and administrative staff or outsourced to those better able to handle those tasks effectively. That leaves employees free to focus on their specific contribution to marketing.
4. Develop individual marketing plans. Employees should have their own marketing plan which outlines who they want to target with their marketing, what specific steps they will take and establishes specific goals (ex. number of events they will attend, follow up meetings, articles written, etc.). This helps ensure employees are strategic and focused in their marketing efforts.
5. Ask for their feedback and ideas. Employees often are the ones fielding daily questions from clients and may be able to offer insights about what prospects want to know about. This feedback can help you develop the right content and messaging. In addition, some of your employees may have experience with marketing from prior positions and can make suggestions for improvements or be a source for new ideas. Asking for their thoughts also helps them feel engaged in the firm and that their contributions matter.
6. Use a carrot and stick approach. It’s always best to find ways to incentivize employees to want to market. Public praise for their efforts, touting their successes and monetary recognition (salary increase, bonus, gift cards, etc.) certainly help. You want to show them they are truly valued, and you’re not just dumping work on them that they don’t want. On the other hand, if marketing isn’t a requirement at the firm, many employees will opt-out. This means there must be a consequence for not participating. Make it a part of each employee’s annual review and tie it to compensation and promotions.
Everyone doesn’t have to be a rainmaker, but they can contribute to bringing in new business and spreading your marketing message. Use these tips to help encourage their efforts and give them the tools to succeed.
Tagged: goal planning, operations and process