A misconception among some in the professional services sector is that it isn’t necessary to actively promote their business online.

While personal contacts and networking is always going to be a prime source of commissions for professionals working in this sector, most prospective customers for all kinds of goods and services will check a firm’s credentials online before they buy.

Think about your own experience. if you’re thinking of changing accountant, or looking for an architect or a lawyer, surely you’d at the very least carry out a quick search on Google.  And after you’ve met someone you’re thinking of appointing – do you visit their website and check out any other online activity before making your decision?

There’s more to promoting your website than SEO.

Here are our five top tips for professional services firms that are serious about recruiting new customers.

Use terms clients and customers understand…

Putting detailed, descriptive content on your site is just what Google is looking for – but it’s no use if your potential customers can’t find it due to complex industry terms or jargon.

A common mistake is to take an insular view when writing copy for a professional service’s website. Ensure pages and content are written to reflect what your client understands a product or service is known as, rather than what you know it to actually be called. It doesn’t need to be dumbed down – just broad enough for all who visit to understand.

… and be varied in how you describe those services

Building on the last point, it’s also important to be varied in the way you describe your business to maximise pages’ potential for organic traffic.

Don’t simply list a service and think the job is done. Describe how the service you provide is desirable or unique, the different varieties of a product your company offers, or some free advice that is of benefit to your customers.

Just a little work that both helps visitors understand your business and marries up with the sort of information potential clients will be searching for will drive organic traffic to your site and keep visitors on the page.

Focus on where your clients come from

Unless it’s a genuine player on a national scale, there’s no reason why small to medium firms shouldn’t be focused on their locality. Tap in to a specific market by detailing exactly where your business is based. For example, a business offering financial advice in Chester should have page titles, meta data and content that reflect its target demographic.

Searching by location is one of the first ways search engine users narrow down their results, so ranking highly for a particular location is an invaluable way of enticing visitors.

If you’re an established business in a particular area but looking to branch out into new territory, be creative with ways of doing so. News or blog posts about success in a new region, or social media activity targeted at a particular location will help raise awareness.

Become an authority in your field

If you’ve expertise or specialise in a specific subject, don’t be modest about it – sharing your pearls of wisdom and encyclopedic knowledge through PR activity will undoubtedly yield results.

A great way to make the most of your online content is to increase your online presence away from your website. Look for opportunities to share your expertise with others that have a vested interest in your specialist subject.

Guest blogs and posts on other popular sites, engagement with thought-leaders on social media and coverage in trade media, introduce new traffic streams, build valuable links and enhance your reputation as an expert in your chosen field.

There’s nothing boring about your business – so be creative

It doesn’t matter what your business is – there’s no excuse for dull content. It’s vital that all copy across your website, from service pages to latest news, is as engaging as possible.

Don’t be negative and assume your business is too complicated or niche to be of interest to other web users. Think about tapping into current affairs or popular news stories, commenting on how your business or industry is involved, or share features and advice from your sector. So long as you focus on well written, informative and meaningful information, you can’t go too far wrong.

For service pages, don’t bore readers with a barrage of technical information and industry terms – make content as easy to digest as possible. Think about condensing services to simple summaries, with further detail available on sub-pages.