Marketing your accounting firm can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of easy, effective marketing tactics you can leverage that don't require a marketing team or a massive investment. All you need is a few hours per week and this handy guide to help you market your accounting firm like a pro.
There are some basic strategies of modern marketing that are easy to use and apply to your accounting business, here’s how…
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is essential for your business to remain relevant in the digital age. It doesn’t matter how big or old your firm is, where your offices are or how much money you spend on advertising, if you make your website appealing to search engines it will improve your ranking, drive traffic to your site and put you in the way of new clients. The algorithms search engines use are complicated but many of the most important SEO techniques, including making sure your site is mobile enabled, easy to navigate, holds fresh content with useful information, links to other relevant pages and encourages visitors to linger will pay dividends in helping to convert prospects to clients once they’ve found you too.
Content Marketing – Be Helpful, Be Interesting
A direct email and social media marketing strategy needs great content to catch your audience's attention.
Good Content has the customer at its heart. It is shareable, interesting/useful to prospective clients and helps establish you as an authority in your area.
It's well worth investing in a blog, as research has proved that companies with blogs on average see 55% more site visits. Hosted on your website, a blog can be shared widely on social media or with prospects/clients by direct email. Consider covering best practices, how-to's, industry news, insights, market analysis, expert interviews – anything that might answer a client's interest and needs. Your ‘how to choose a good financial advisor/bookkeeper’ blog can be helping to guide a new client your way from the moment they consider hiring.
In addition, you can create white papers, infographics, short videos, and other share-worthy content to share through the same channels. Consider sharing online events like webinars and training too. The idea is to use content as a branding tool to position your business in the market and engage prospects. It is a long term investment in gathering and keeping clients. Useful and engaging information builds trust and preference.
Using Social Media
There's more to social media marketing than just creating a page for your business on Facebook and LinkedIn, it is important to keep working on activity and engagement.
Social media is an excellent platform to promote your brand and content, targeted digital advertising can also be used to reach a particular segment or demographic. You can pay a few dollars a day to promote your posts or tweets to attract new followers and drive traffic to your website.
These best practices will make your social media marketing more effective:
- Make it visual, images are popular and more likely to be liked or shared, not just on the picture led channels like Instagram and Pinterest but Facebook and Twitter too
- Consider the shareability of your posts and content, you want people to spread the word for you
- Maintain a consistent brand voice, avoiding slang but allowing for light hearted and appropriate humour
- Interact by posing questions and and responding to users who comment on your content or leave you a review
- Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your posts should be engaging, helpful and informative, the remaining 20% can be promotional. Being pushy is a quick way to lose followers
Try to find time to engage with online conversation in your field such as searching Twitter and open forums for relevant accounting threads where you can introduce helpful content. This ‘content networking’ can be time consuming but is great for building visibility and trust.
Word of mouth remains one of the most effective and most cost effective forms of marketing. And although referrals can happen naturally, you will get more if you are proactive.
A six-month survey on consumers across three industries revealed that the largest influence on purchasing behaviour was word of mouth. For 74% of people this was their top influencer.
Create buzz to get people talking through impeccable customer service and a strong social media campaign. The buzz you create about your services can then build its own momentum, but don’t forget to push the process along whoever possible.
Establish systems to help you collect referrals both in the office and online, using staff training and incentives.
You can hold campaigns throughout the year to boost referral traffic. Promote your campaign on your website, social media profiles, in office, and via email. Make sure your audience knows what's in it for them, if they refer a new client to you.
Online Reviews (Real Ones!)
Online reviews are word-of-mouth marketing in digital form, more than 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from a family member or friend.
Make it a habit to ask happy clients to share good experiences with your firm as positive reviews on Google or your social media channels. But avoid paid reviews as any indication that your reviews are not independent will be damaging.
Negative or less-than-perfect reviews are not a disaster. Accounting firms who have nothing lower than a five-star rating might look suspicious. Read reviewer's comments to see where you can make improvements, and respond to comments quickly and appropriately. This personal touch can help leave the reviewer, and anyone reading it with a better impression of your firm.
Having got going with the above, you need to track and measure the success of your marketing to find out what works for you and keep improving your campaigns. Luckily there are some effective tools like Google Analytics to help you make a start, the better you are at reading the analytics the more effective all your digital marketing will become.
It can take time for campaigns to bear fruit, but keep mining the data and using it to make improvements to your digital marketing. It’s exciting to see how a little application can yield real results for your accountancy practice.