Acquiring new clients for your accounting firm is fundamental to building your firm. In fact, it is one of the biggest challenges identified by many of our accounting clients. If you want to expand and grow your business, you need to look at how you market your firm. If you don’t have a strong focus on marketing, your growth will slow or even stop completely.
You may invest time and effort into pursuing other efforts to grow your business, that simply won’t pay off. The only proven strategy to build a prosperous accounting firm is through effective marketing.
Where To Begin
Often, accountants will adopt a shotgun approach, chasing prospects using any means necessary. You simply don’t have the time or resources to be wasting on strategies that are not going to work. A more structured, focused approach has been proven to be more effective than a shotgun approach time and time again. Spending your time chasing the right type of prospect is a much better use of your time.
Consistency is Key
In any of your marketing activities, consistency is key. Wherever you communicate your firm’s brand, always make sure you stick with the same message, tone and voice.
Regardless of what medium you choose to use to market you firm, consistency is key. If you have a colour scheme, a logo, a type of font, anything that is specific to you business, use this on your Facebook Business Page, your LinkedIn page and any other social media account you have. Use the same brand elements on your print media, any billboard marketing you do, everything needs to be the same to build brand awareness.
The next step is to develop a message that demonstrates your firm’s values, professionalism and what your value proposition is. Accounting is a competitive industry, separating your firm from all the other firms is essential to your success and this tailored message can help significantly in moving your forward as the ideal candidate for the prospect’s search for a new accountant.
It’s all about Google
Imagine you are out with friends at the pub and one of your friends makes a statement that you know is wrong. You tell him that the statement is inaccurate, but he won’t budge on his opinion, what do you do? You Google it of course. Google has dominated their market so well that people don’t ‘search’ for things anymore, they Google them. The same is true for accountants, if a prospect is looking for an accountant, unless they’re over 85 and an absolute Yellow Pages die-hard, they’re going to Google it. If you don’t show up, where do you think they will go?
How To Get Into Google
Search engine optimisation. Three little words that could do wonders for your bottom line. SEO is the term used when describing the process of improving your ranking in Google. It includes optimising your website for Google, improving your content, and developing links back to your website from authority websites, to name just a few of the many factors that influence ranking.
Is SEO something you even need?
Let’s run a quick diagnostic. Type “Accountant (your city)” into Google. Without scrolling, can you see your business? If you can’t, you’ve just missed out on getting in front of half the people using these search parameters. In fact, if you aren’t at least on the first page you are missing out on 91% of the people searching for you. Those numbers are rather difficult to ignore. Discover the 5 questions you should ask to see if Google ranking is right for your business.
Regardless of whether the target market you chose earlier was personal tax returns or large scale business accounting solutions, a solid web presence is the most vital cog in your marketing machine. Of course, having a strong web presence means more than appearing high in Google search rankings. You should also consider a social media approach when thinking about your marketing strategy.
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Find your ideal customer
With a limitless amount of darts, you can throw them all, dart after dart, and eventually hit the bullseye. A lot of darts will be wasted, but you will eventually hit something worthwhile. Sadly, we don’t have an endless supply of darts, or resources for that matters, so we need to be more accurate with our throws.
If you haven’t done so already, consider creating persona models for your firm to determine who your ideal customer is. Hubspot have a great article about selecting a buyer persona.
You can segment your business in any way that you want, you could only serve businesses in a specific geographical location, or a specific demographic, you could choose to only work with startups, or mum and dad stores. The choice is yours.
Everyone needs an accountant, if you choose to specialise in a specific industry or a specific personal accounting subject, you can even increase your pricing structure. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to not choose the shotgun approach, there is no return on investment there.
Utilise the influence of social media
Social media is an online form of word-of-mouth marketing. People will often ask their friends for their opinion on a service when they are looking for something in particular. They will review brands and follow those they like. Thus, having a social media presence can be a great way to build awareness and increase your client base.
There are a lot of social media platforms available, but the most common are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. YouTube is also useful, but isn’t really considered a social media platform. Discovering where your customers are and focusing on that platform will be more effective than trying to post on all platforms.
Social media is a great place to interact with your prospects and existing clients. It isn’t about flogging your brand and trying to make as many sales as possible. Social media is about building relationships and spreading awareness of your business.
If you provide a lot of value to your followers on your social media platform of choice, you can even become an influencer in your industry, with people referring you to their friends and family based on reputation and trust.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
The above strategies are reliant on you provide a great service to your clients. If you develop a bad reputation and lose your clients’ trust, it will be a long road to regain this. People are paying more and more attention to Facebook and Google reviews, and sometimes making decisions based on these reviews. Serve your clients well, and your marketing efforts won’t be for naught.
Measure Your Marketing
Building a marketing strategy is easy, but finding one that actually works is a whole different ball game. The only way you are going to determine how effective your marketing is at improving your customer acquisition process and growing your business is by measuring your successes and failures. To do this, you should ascertain your current position to create a benchmark. Determine how many clients are you getting in each month, quarter, year.
Next set a key performance indicator for each strategy with specific timeframe and number of acquisitions. Once the timeframe has been reached, review the performance of the campaign and determine what methods were effective and what methods were not.
Growing your business is one of the most important things you can do for longevity. Without marketing however, you are reliant on referrals to keep your business going. Take control of your businesses direction and take action by implementing a marketing strategy, either yourself or hire a professional.