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Firms who invest in effective digital marketing such as social media, pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimisation (SEO) can often see great results within a relatively short space of time. Through easily trackable analytics, it is easy to see the actual impact of this increased marketing activity.  In turn, brand awareness grows, the number of new enquiries increases and the business expands.

But what happens if you stop marketing because you're too busy?

You’re busy doing the day job – dealing with all that new work – and might not think you need to carry on marketing.  But where are new enquiries going to come from several months down the line, or next year?  If you have a long lead time from enquiries to billing, you should be mindful of what you’ll be working on in 3-6 months’ time, perhaps even longer.

Managing new enquiries is a balancing act.  On one hand, you don’t want to take on too much and risk disappointing new and existing clients and, on the other, you don’t want to upset people by turning work away.  But without ongoing marketing and continuing to build your brand, you’ll soon see a slump in web traffic and engagement on social media and possibly a downturn in work.

As a professional services firm, you may not get regular repeat business from clients – some firms we work with have hundreds or thousands of clients, each instructing them only once or twice in their lifetime.  They may not remember who they dealt with previously – for example, can you remember which conveyancing solicitor you used when you last moved house?  Maintaining a presence on social media is a great way for your business to establish ‘social proof', with client testimonials and case studies helping to reinforce your offering, prompting satisfied clients to be your advocates and recommend your services.  Make sure that your posts include clear calls to action, so that when people do need to get in touch, you've made it as easy as possible for them.

Also, if you grow then you'll need to recruit.  At a time of struggling to find and keep the best talent, the key resource in any professional services firm, having a strong social media presence is key.  As well as being practically useful as a way of advertising vacancies, prospective recruits will be carrying out their own due diligence, carefully selecting where they want to work.  Looking at a firm's social media accounts lets them have a glimpse 'under the skin' of the business and find out more about what they get up to, the causes they support, their professionalism, whether they keep up to date, and how they are seen by peers in their industry, as well as their clients.

Firms that are busy doing the day job are the first to admit that marketing takes a back seat when things get hectic, yet still recognise the need to stay 'front of mind' to their target audience.  Having an in-house marketing team is not always a viable option, meaning senior managers or business owners are often the ones trying to manage social media accounts, update the website, blog etc into the wee small hours.  Outsourcing to a specialist marketing agency can be a time-saving, cost effective alternative and with their external perspective and experience, they can also come up with new ideas and advise on the latest industry developments.

Headed by Chartered Marketer, Chris Lucarelli, Cal Partners is an award-winning marketing and digital marketing agency and business development consultancy for professional services firms.  We work with companies of all sizes, as an outsourced marketing department to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies that deliver results.

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Account Manager, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services