1728 – Online Marketing Strategies with Elizabeth Harr of Hinge Marketing

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the  Partner of Hinge Marketing, Elizabeth Harr.

Harr wide

When asked about the types of clients they work with, Liz mentioned a broad spectrum of professional service firms. These include engineering firms, architectural firms, law firms, accounting firms, and financial services companies. Any business that provides advisory services falls under their purview. However, their focus is primarily on B2B rather than B2C.

Liz also emphasized the importance of understanding the sophisticated audience that professional services firms serve. These clients are not interested in being sold to; they want to be educated.

Websites play a crucial role in connecting professional service companies with their audience. Liz explained that websites should provide easy access to relevant content that is unique and informative. This could be in the form of articles at the beginning of the customer journey.

Liz recommended visiting their website and exploring the library section, which contains a wealth of free content. She specifically suggested checking out the guides, including one on business development for professional service leaders. This guide has proven helpful, providing readers with a checklist of actionable steps.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Overview of Hinge Marketing and their work with professional services firms
  • Examples of professional service clients they work with (engineering, architecture, law, accounting, financial services)
  • The importance of understanding the sophisticated audience of professional services firms
  • Marketing strategies for professional service companies, focusing on providing valuable and informative content
  • Connecting with the audience on a human level through websites and relevant content
  • Engagement process with clients, including research and growth strategies
  • Resources available on Hinge Marketing's website, including guides and the library section
  • Introduction to Hinge University, an online learning platform with niche courses and exclusive content

About Elizabeth Harr:

Elizabeth Harr is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in strategic planning, brand management, and communications. She co-founded a tech firm early in her career and has since become a recognized expert in the professional services industry.

Elizabeth is known for her expertise in the field and is a frequent contributor to the industry's knowledge base. As a Visible Expert®, she actively shares her insights through articles, webinars, and speaking engagements at professional services events nationwide.

With a strong background in technology and a passion for effective communication, Elizabeth Harr continues to make significant contributions to Hinge and the broader professional services community.

Her wealth of experience and expertise make her a valuable resource for individuals and organizations seeking strategic guidance and insights in the rapidly evolving tech and professional services landscape.

About Hinge Marketing:

Hinge Marketing is a prominent branding and marketing firm specializing in professional services. Renowned for its expertise, Hinge Marketing conducts pioneering research on high-growth firms' marketing characteristics, enabling businesses to refine strategies, re-brand effectively, launch new services, and expand into new markets.

Their comprehensive services encompass research, strategic planning, award-winning creative solutions, and online marketing, catering to various industries such as architecture, engineering, construction, technology, government contracting, accounting, finance, and consulting.

Hinge Marketing's commitment to original research and tailored marketing strategies positions them as industry leaders, empowering professional service firms to elevate their presence and achieve substantial growth.

With a focus on innovation and client success, Hinge Marketing remains a trusted partner for businesses seeking impactful branding and marketing solutions in the competitive professional services landscape.

Tweetable Moments:

03:34 – “They're not here to be told and sold, they want to be educated.”

12:01 – “Be visible for the things your audience cares about.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Hinge Marketing website at

Check out Hinge Marketing on LinkedIn at

Check out Hinge Marketing on Twitter at

Check out Hinge Marketingon Facebook at

Check out Elizabeth Harr  on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now it's Elizabeth Hard. Elizabeth, you are the managing partner at hinge. You're found on the web at Hinge Liz, thank you so much for joining us. Josh.

Elizabeth (00:01:11) - Thank you. I'm really excited to be speaking with you today.

Josh (00:01:14) - Absolutely. Do please do give us an overview of your work with hinge and who you serve and what you do.

Elizabeth (00:01:20) - Well. Hinge is a very specialty organization. We at the highest level. We're marketing and branding tons of company in that space. I mean, there's lots of marketing branding agencies out there. We work exclusively in the professional services space, and the reason we even founded hinge is because there really has not been a great answer for professional services firms on how to go to market and how to build a sustainable pipeline, and how to sell to a very sophisticated audience that, you know, sits in professional services. So that's what we do. That's what we've always done, and we're full service. So we do everything from building strategies to building websites to helping be part of their team.

Josh (00:02:02) - And, you know, as we kind of do some further table setting here, when you talk about professional services, maybe kind of list off some of the clients. You not not necessarily like who they are, but what they are like, what do they do specifically?

Elizabeth (00:02:16) - Yeah. So we work with engineering firms, architectural firms, law firms, accounting firms, financial services, big in the tech space.

Elizabeth (00:02:25) - So if you provide advisory, even if you have a widget or a product or a software platform or whatever, if you provide advisory, that is a professional service. And so you kind of fall in that broad category of professional services, but it's B2B, not B2C.

Josh (00:02:44) - Yeah. All right. So Liz, give us kind of the overview of what is it that's unique about professional service companies that, you know, let's say okay, well you're not a brand of coffee. You're not a widget that you're selling in E-com. You provide services. What are the particular things that a professional services company is going to need to know in regards to marketing their services?

Elizabeth (00:03:09) - So I love talking about this. I could talk about this all day, every day, because number one is we who are leaders of professional services firms, anyone who is a leader and providing advisory and counsel. We have a very sophisticated audience that makes up our client and prospective client roster. What does that mean? Well, they are not interested in the shiny rocks.

Elizabeth (00:03:34) - They're not here to be told and sold. They want to be educated. And if you're not spending their time valuably and then you may as well not be in the room. So that's really the guiding principle of anyone who's involved in professional services and anyone who's involved in building a pipeline and sustaining that pipeline and bringing new business. You've got to show up in an authoritative, educational, in other words, useful, informative manner. This is not a time to try to make a quick deal and try to, you know, sell by showing shiny rocks and doing a dog and pony show. Not relevant.

Josh (00:04:12) - Yeah. And so what are the ways that we can connect on that human to human level? I don't know if there's just things that you typically may see in a professional services website and branding before you get your hands on it. And then what's kind of that before and after potentially. I understand that this is very custom, but I would imagine that there's some general rules of the road that you see pretty commonly.

Elizabeth (00:04:36) - Yeah, absolutely. By far the best way to get your foot in the door is by showcasing your expertise. And it's interesting how you worded your question, because on the one hand, it's expertise all the way from beginning, middle and end. But how you showcase your expertise and the way you give access to it is going to be different. So in the beginning, think about like someone who doesn't really know you, they never heard of you. Maybe they even got referred to you. They're not going to spend two hours digesting a book you wrote. Not always, but they will be very interested in an article that you've written. And so your website really needs to provide free access to easy to digest, relevant content that has a unique angle. Like I hear you talk about this a lot, Josh, don't contribute to the noise, okay? Everybody blogs, everybody has a blog, everybody writes articles. Make sure that if you spend any ounce of time producing thought leadership, that it is unique or has a unique angle on a topic that maybe lots of other people are dialoguing about, otherwise, you're not really that special.

Elizabeth (00:05:48) - But anyway, back to your question. Really. It's providing access to your expertise and think about at the beginning, having access to easy to digest. Whereas all the way at the end, that's where you can get away with now that you've gotten on somebody's radar. They might be interested in downloading a book that you wrote, or an executive guide, or sitting on a podcast or a webinar. And podcasts, by the way, are really applicable at all levels, all stages of the game. But expertise, expertise and expertise, that's what you need to provide access to. And that's what you need to do to get on the radar, stay on the radar and close the deal.

Josh (00:06:28) - Yeah. And so for someone, let's say that they provide professional services in their local town or their city or something, and they say, But Liz, it's so noisy. Like, yeah, we could do a blog, but everyone's doing a blog. How do we differentiate? Or how do we provide something that, you know, how might that look? I'll let you explain if the concern is, I just don't feel like we've spent all this time and effort and created this white paper.

Josh (00:06:52) - But again, people just don't seem to care. So if I'm hearing you correctly, I think specificity in Niching is going to be a critical part of that.

Elizabeth (00:07:01) - Yeah. So first of all, if anyone is experiencing that, you're in great company because it happens all the time where you're doing the right things, checking the right boxes, got the right techniques, but nobody knows about it, ah, you're not getting any traction. So it's usually symptomatic of a couple of things. One is what you're writing about you might be passionate about, but it's not intersecting with the key things that are keeping your clients and prospective clients up at night. I call it the 4 a.m. issue. Everybody wakes up at 4 a.m. or somewhere around there, and their business leaders are thinking about something they're trying to solve. Then later they go and they do some looking around. They're going to talk to their peers. Who do you know, they're going to go online and they're going to start searching. You need to show up as either someone who gets referred or show up in that search for potential solutions to the problems they're trying to solve.

Elizabeth (00:07:59) - How do you do that? Well, it is through thought leadership. But if you're not talking about the right topic, it's not going to be found. So that's one thing is you can blog and blog and blog until you're blue in the face. But if you're just blogging about stuff that you care about and it doesn't intersect with what your audience cares about, then it's not going to be found.

Josh (00:08:20) - I think this may be what you're talking about, about research based branding is a phrase that I see that you use pretty predominantly on your own website, and that may be kind of where you're going with this. Okay. All right. Is reading your mind sorry to me.

Elizabeth (00:08:35) - So that is the North Star principle that all entrepreneurs, leaders, founders, anyone who's trying to drive a company forward needs to keep in mind. And essentially it's that understanding your audience's perspective, researching that, having data around that and then letting that guide your decisions about what you write about. What images do you use on your website? What's your elevator pitch? How do you talk about your services? How do you do the pitch when all of those things are done? Driven by research on how your audience lives things and breathe, it is game changing versus the times when you don't do that research and you're just saying, yeah, you know, I've been in this space for two decades.

Elizabeth (00:09:26) - I, I know my audience. I know what they want. I also know the competition and I know how they're messaging. So I'm just going to sit my smart people around the table and we're just going to come up with our own ideas. Never works. There's always blind spots. They're called blind spots, and we all have them as leaders where we think we know our audience. But the research always uncovers blind spots. In fact, guess I don't know. Josh, what would you think is the percentage of probability? I guess I'll ask you that we actually know our audience inside and out, how they live, think and breathe. Like, is it you're 100% aligned? Is it 50% what? What's the average? You would think that a seasoned entrepreneur is going to know about?

Josh (00:10:16) - Their audience kind of probably comes down to if they've actually done the work, because we've made big investments into research. And, you know, what we found was maybe in the list of what we were guessing or thought.

Josh (00:10:31) - But yeah, without that work, that's got to be low, you know? So it's not maybe like that core need or what that audience like it might be a suspicion, but what our experience was is there were eight other things that we thought that that's what our market really, really wanted. And it was so valuable to find out. Nope. They actually don't care about these four. They kind of care about these three. But this one, right? Here is, you know, it's like betted all on black. Put all your money. Just put it all on that one number on the roulette wheel because that's what they want, right? And how valuable is it to know that information?

Elizabeth (00:11:09) - It is everything we've been able to tie overall growth, annual growth and company profitability to the frequency of doing research. It is everything. And firms that frequently study their audience, whether it's like a formal study that takes, you know, two months or they're consistently sleuthing around on Google and understanding, like what's being dialog about and that kind of thing, and knowing the competition.

Elizabeth (00:11:38) - Firms who do that at least four times a year are many times more profitable and grow faster than firms who don't. So it has bottom line impact when you focus on it. Yeah.

Josh (00:11:53) - Tell me a little bit more about what your engagement when you're working with a client. Like what does that look like?

Elizabeth (00:12:01) - Yeah. So we've actually shaped the discussions and engagements we have with our clients around a couple of programs. In fact, we call them visible firm and Visible Expert. And it's because, yes, like I said in the opening, we are marketing and branding. So we teach them how to grow through paying attention to their brand and minding their marketing. But really, why are you doing this? It's to grow your company well. How do you grow your company? It's to be visible for the right things, just like we've been talking about. Be visible for the things your audience cares about. So that's why we call it visible firm or visible expert. And essentially our that's what our engagements look like.

Elizabeth (00:12:45) - We help them do the research, study their audience so that we as we are building their growth strategies. We're doing it with that audience mindset in mind. And then from there, we we help support whatever techniques they have skills and bandwidth gaps around and just get to execution.

Josh (00:13:05) - Yeah. And so your website is hinge marketing. What resources would you recommend to our friend that's been listening to our conversation right now. Like where do they go from here? What do they do?

Elizabeth (00:13:16) - Yeah, what I would do is go to our website, click on library. In that library you are going to find tons and tons of free content. What I would do if I were anybody listening today, I would go to the library, click on guides and the first thing that pops up is this very powerfully written and chock full of information guide on business development for leaders in the professional services space. And I've gotten a lot of feedback from people who read that, like they've got a checklist of five things to do right after they read that.

Elizabeth (00:13:53) - So that's what I would do. First is look through this free content and become educated.

Josh (00:13:59) - Yeah. Can I ask you to what does hinge University?

Elizabeth (00:14:03) - Hinge University is an online learning platform and we have lots of courses. We have different kinds of how to guides, like if you have a need for a very niche topic that you're trying to understand, but it's essentially an online learning platform that is member based and you just have access to lots of content that isn't in our free library.

Josh (00:14:27) - Yeah. Well, Liz Harr again, managing partner, Hinge marketing, your website again, hinge Liz, it's been a great conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.

Elizabeth (00:14:38) - Thank you. Josh, it was great to be here.

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