7 Keys to Marketing Success for Accountants
As an accountant, marketing probably isn’t your passion and might be something you’ve neglected altogether.
There could be a variety of reasons for this. Maybe you’ve tried and failed in the past. Maybe you’ve been overly budget-conscious and don’t want to make the monetary investment. Or maybe you just don’t have a desire to grow your firm and are happy staying as a sole proprietorship (In that case, this article doesn’t apply to you.)
But for those of you that do desire growth, you need to focus on marketing.
There are a lot of accounting firms out there, so you need to differentiate yourself with a solid marketing strategy.
If you think what you have to offer is valuable and you’re not marketing, then you’re doing others a disservice.
It takes time to see success with your marketing efforts, but it’s well worth it.
Let’s take a look at the 7 ways you can build a great marketing strategy, starting today.
1) Bring a Long-Term Mindset to Your Efforts
I’ve seen many accountants get burned by companies that promise fast marketing results. When the results don’t show up, it leaves the accountant discouraged and reluctant to give marketing another shot.
The main problem here is thinking that you’ll see quick results from your marketing efforts. You need to be thinking at least a year down the road. You must give people time to find out about you, learn about you, trust you…..and this process doesn’t happen overnight. The “Rule of 7” in marketing states that someone must hear your marketing message at least seven times before they consider doing business with you.
Shifting your focus to the long term should also come with the understanding that constant reinvention will be necessary for effective marketing. Your core message may stay the same, but your method for communicating this message to your audience must evolve over time. What works now might not be effective even a few months later. Alternatively, just because one tactic doesn’t work now doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future.
Keep up with the times, stay flexible, and be diligent about finding what works for you.
2) Try Marketing on Your Own First and Outsource Later
Marketing is all about describing and sharing the unique value you’re able to bring to your clients. In addition to simply describing the value you provide, you can further highlight it by letting your unique voice and personality come through. You need a firm understanding of these elements yourself before you can see success by outsourcing your marketing.
When you outsource too early, you miss the opportunity to really dial in important elements like your unique voice. And if a marketing agency isn’t able to get this information from you, they’ll more likely than not end up creating content that doesn’t reflect your company’s unique identity.
The core message is within you, and you’re the one that needs to define it first. Once that message is at a place where it can be replicated, then you can think about outsourcing. Because eventually your company’s growth will make it unsustainable to do all the marketing yourself.
3) Have a Consistent Marketing Budget
Unfortunately in harder times, marketing is typically the first line item that gets cut from the budget. But if you can maintain a consistent budget when others are cutting back, then you have an edge up from everyone else.
Do everything in your power to keep from decreasing your marketing spend, even in trying times. At any given point, you should be investing around 5%-10% of your overall revenue into marketing efforts.
If you need to cut back on spending but aren’t interested in cutting wages or employees, you might consider cutting your own salary before dipping into your marketing budget.
I say this because your future salary depends on the consistency and quality of your current marketing efforts.
4) Create an Effective Website
In today’s age, you need a clean and professional looking website. Luckily, you don’t need to be a programmer or spend thousands of dollars to build a site that suits your purposes. If you have the extra money to hire a professional, that’s great, do it. But you’ll likely be fine using a service such as Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace to do it yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at the elements you need to focus on for a great website:
Appearance: You want your website to be distinguishable from others in your industry. If your site looks like hundreds of other accounting sites, you’ll get lost in the mix. This doesn’t mean you need to go way outside the box, you just have to make sure your site tells your unique story and reflects your brand in the visual elements.
- Essential visual elements:
- Company Colors
Navigation: There must be a clear path for people to find the information they’re looking for. Make sure every menu and sub-menu has a specific and meaningful purpose. If someone gets confused navigating your site, you’ll lose them. Always be sure to highlight the top 3-5 services you provide. Don’t try to list every single thing you do! This is a surefire way to dilute the unique value you can bring to clients.
- Essential navigation elements:
- Calls to Action scattered around the site so customers can quickly and easily contact you for a quote, consultation, etc.
- Clean and logical Tabs and Menus
Messaging: This is where you truly highlight your value. People need to understand what you do, how you do it, and why you’re the solution to their problems. Speak the language of your target market, and be as concise as possible. Make every word count.
- Essential areas to focus on messaging:
- About page
- Bio Section
- Service pages
5) Utilize Reviews and Testimonials
Social proof works. Be sure to capitalize on any happy customers you have by asking for reviews and testimonials. Have customers leave their reviews on Google My Business first. Then place them on a visible part of your website.
The key here is to ask for reviews at convenient and appropriate times. Here are a couple of tips on timing:
- As a payroll service, I time our “ask” about one month after we run their first payroll. This is the time they are seeing the true value of our service and we’ve hit a good stride on working together.
- For accounting firms that do taxes: How about looking at your clients that are getting tax refunds, and ask them for reviews after their refunds have been processed? You could also ask clients on the spot after a successful tax planning session. The key is to be a little bold and persistent. If you’re emailing clients for a review, you’ll want to send at least three messages: one initial request, and two follow-ups.
- Send an initial email with an ask and a link. You could even include a team photo as a way to personalize the email.
- If they don’t respond within two days, send a follow up email.
- If still no response or review after a couple more days, send a final follow up email and say you won’t bother them any more.
Note: In the event of a bad review, try to stay as professional as possible. I would advise waiting 2-3 days before responding so you’re more calm. If you were truly in the wrong, be honest about it and do what you can to make it right.
6) Set up Google Ads
Using Google Ads is another great way to leverage the power of Google. Google has simpler “do it yourself” options, which are straightforward enough to set up yourself without a ton of technical knowledge.
Google will provide you with data on what your competitors typically spend on ads, which can guide how much money you should put toward the ads. I recommend trying to stay somewhere in the middle range of what your competitors are spending. Don’t break the bank, but also don’t bid too low or your ads might not be seen.
Google Ads is a long term play and you should run them for a year to gauge your results. You might hire an outside marketer to review your setup, provide recommendations, and set up advanced capabilities like retargeting ads.
7) Develop a Strong Content Strategy
Creating content is all about engaging your audience while at the same time boosting your authority in your field. Focus on value and being relevant.
Creating content can be daunting if you’re not sure where to start. That’s why it’s best to start small and work your way up to more frequent posting.
Channels to share your content on:
Website: Start by posting one blog post each month for a year. This brings value to your audience and can help with SEO.
LinkedIn: This is a great platform to let your voice and personality shine through. It’s important to note that personal pages tend to get more engagement than company pages. Focus on creating great content for your personal page, and then you can reshare that content on your company page. If you’re just getting started, focus on creating one engaging post per week while you find your voice and then slowly increase the frequency of posting.
- Content Ideas:
- Repurpose ideas and insights you find while researching relevant topics in your field.
- Share a quote that you find interesting and applicable to your audience.
- Share engaging news or trend articles.
- Repurpose expert insights from your blog.
Facebook: Honestly, there isn’t much engagement in the field of accounting on Facebook. Just post 1-2 times per week on your company page to show that the company is active. To make things even easier, simply copy some of your posts from LinkedIn and share them on Facebook. No need to reinvent the wheel here.
Let Marketing Become a Passion
For those of you who haven’t emphasized marketing in your business growth strategy before, now is a great time to start. Your business relies on it, and it is how you share your valuable services with more people.
Don’t let failed attempts or a lack of knowledge hold you back from getting started. Take the steps outlined above and have fun with it. Marketing isn’t a chore once you see the value and begin to find your voice with it. Start today and look forward to your growth down the line.
Is processing payroll taking up valuable time and energy in your firm, that could be used toward marketing other services your firm does well? We have a Partner Program for Accountants to help you easily and efficiently outsource payroll. Contact us to learn more!