A lot of small businesses prefer to walk over hot coals than take into consideration their marketing, therefore marketing your new firm is a challenging sell that will usually fall on deaf ears. However, while they may not be impressive, marketing strategies for small businesses are very important, after all, that’s what will earn you money. Even we accountants have to advertise and market our business, so we have prepared some top tips to market your business from accountancy firms and for accountancy firms.
“We know that accounting is a more competitive business in the united states and that many accounting firms create business via referrals,” adds Bill Corbett, Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations. “However, they are required to market and take the effort critically. With new technology and the millennial generation coming, individual and firms who are not ready to market and be competitive will be affected.
Have A Marketing Plan
This may seem to be an obvious one, however, if you don’t have a marketing plan which includes goals, action steps, and rewards then your marketing initiatives are likely to be pretty substandard. This plan should also involve a schedule for your activities and also the budget you really can afford to allocate it.
Says Bill Corbett:
“Every individual accountant and/or partner must have their own personal marketing plan—the marketing plan will set goals, find marketing messages, identify what online sites or tools will likely be used, for example, LinkedIn.”
There are many opportunities to get your business discovered for free (or very low cost) at networking events. But, it’s not only about collecting a lot of business cards as you can; following up is vital. If it’s a particularly relevant event, you can also think of offering your knowledge to present or run a few workshops, which is a great way of marketing yourself as a professional accounting firm.
“Have a system for approaching networking events and for follow up – many accountants do not do this well (basically most business people don’t do this well),” says Corbett. “When networking, add contacts to LinkedIn and use LinkedIn to communicate with them.”
Use Content To Develop Your Expertise
An alternative way to show your expertise is through crafting persuasive content. Accounting is a complex subject, which is where sharing your knowledge in an easy-to-understand manner can make your company stand out.
“Well written content is hard to come by,” says Ryan O’Donnell, director of Marketing at Avalara TrustFile, a sales tax filing software provider. “Invest in content that helps your target audience respond to questions and use it in order to establish a basis for future conversations. Get email addresses and begins to have ongoing communications with your target audience.”
Invest In The Best Cloud-Based Apps
Using cloud-based apps will help you reach a larger market much more efficiently than your competitors. Whether this is to automate key tasks, to handle your campaigns, or to analyze success as well as failure, there are a lot of great options that will simplify your processes and enhance the way you work.
“The solution is not to just make your clients’ lives better with such apps, but to market your use of these apps as a competitive advantage—use these apps to separate yourself from the competition, making you be noticed as offering a unique service than any other local accountants”, says Walton.
Manage Your Marketing Efforts With CRM Software
One of the major cloud-based apps you’ll want to invest in is a CRM system, for instance, Infusionsoft or Insightly. If you want to make sure your marketing campaigns reach the right contact at the right time then you need a way to handle these relationships.
“A strong CRM app, such as SalesForce, Zoho, or my personal preferred HatchBuck, allows you to effectively stay on top of every client, automate much of your advertising, and ensure that you are accessing all your prospective and existing clients on a regular basis.”
Keep In Email Contact
One important opportunity for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and even accountancy firms to better market themselves is to their existing customer database through email marketing.
“Using a cloud-based newsletter app like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact lets you effectively and appropriately reach a much broader audience with your message,” says Walton.
Send Out Timely Reminders
Whether they are your present customers or not, reminding clients of crucial deadlines will keep you top of mind throughout crucial accounting periods—apps such as Drip, and SendinBlue can help by creating automatic notifications. “Send programmed email reminders when clients are due for their next audit or tax return to advertise recurring revenue for your firm,” says Lunk.
Expand Your Reach With Social Media
While email is important to reaching clients, expanding your marketing efforts to social media is equally crucial in helping you to broaden your brand reach. “We work in the sales tax space and have more than tripled our site traffic using this approach,” says O’Donnell.
Social media marketing apps for instance Hoot suite can help you schedule social media posts, give insights into trends, and its visual dashboard can help you see what’s happening within your industry and what your followers are saying.
Offer Free Tools And Resources
Show potential clients that you’re not just looking to grab a quick buck from their business and then vanish by providing useful information on your website. At no cost.
“Attract new clients by offering totally free tools and resources on your company sites, such as articles, eBooks and financial calculators,” says Lunk.
Get A Few PR
Just been abseiling down the tallest building in your state? Or won the prize for best accounting firm at your local company awards? Shout about it. Get in touch with news organizations to get yourself a couple of media coverage, and use it as a less obvious form of marketing.
“Use the media coverage to develop the firm’s brand and individual popularity as experts and advocates for clients as well as businesses,” says Corbett.