How Marketing Benefits Your Accounting or Bookkeeping Firm.
84% of firms agree that accounting needs to embrace digital marketing as a means of attracting new clients, according to a recent survey by Propero Partners. But if your accounting or bookkeeping practice is turning a decent profit without adding new clients, why would you put time, money and effort into marketing the firm?
For many successful accounting and bookkeeping practices, having a core (and unchanging) client base allows them to meet their workload targets, keep those clients happy and remain profitable. And these practices can sometimes be reluctant to grow their client numbers.
So if you don't want new clients, why would you invest in marketing activity? We’ve highlighted 5 key ways that marketing adds value, without necessarily generating new clients if you don’t want them.
1. Marketing Isn't Just About Leads
Marketing isn't a pure lead generation activity for your accounting or bookkeeping firm – and that broader reality is something that’s vital to understand from the outset.
Good marketing doesn’t just find and win new clients, it's also equally about raising the firm’s profile, building relationships and retaining your existing clients. If you currently have a client base that values your expertise and services, it’s vital to keep those customers and to market the firm’s experience, knowledge and advisory capabilities directly to these valued contacts.
2. Good Marketing Keeps Your Existing Clients Happy
Keeping clients happy is a key factor in retaining their business. And a significant part of this comes down to good client communication and frequent interactions with your core contacts.
Giving helpful content without expectation is central to increasing these interactions and maintaining your position as a valued adviser. Good of use of content marketing and social media marketing keeps your existing clients happy by keeping them informed and up-to-date with the latest business issues.
Here are some productive ways to add value for your existing clients:
- Post regular blog content – and write about the topics that are most relevant or pressing to your existing client base, or your chosen client niches and industries.
- Keep clients up-to-date through social media – using Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. to post regular social updates around the topical events and issues of the day.
- Give away practical guides and content – and offer step-by-step advice on key issues, such as improving cashflow, accessing finance or dealing with new technology.
- Run events and webinars – where you can meet clients, whether in person or online, and share your expertise with them in the most direct and effective ways.
In essence, it’s about helping your clients and keeping them happy, rather than selling.
3. Social and Digital Marketing Enhance Your Brand Profile
Regular digital marketing helps your firm to retain a high profile in the market, and positions you as a practice that clients and prospects can trust as an adviser.
This isn’t a direct approach aimed at increasing leads, enquiries and sales, but a way to put the firm’s people, expertise and services into context in the marketplace. Raising ‘brand profile’ has a positive effect on customer loyalty but also on your firm’s staff retention.
These are a few core ways to boost your brand:
- Create an effective website – and make an online ‘shop window’ for the firm that makes it clear where you provide help, assurance and assistance for your clients.
- Embrace the benefits of digital marketing – and use regular content and campaigns to raise awareness of the firm and your people with your target audiences.
- Up your social media game – to engage more directly with your business audiences and create a two-way communication channel with clients, prospects and peers.
4. You Learn More About Your Ideal Client
With the tracking and analytics tools that modern marketing software provides, you can track and measure the engagement levels of your marketing to refine your ideal client type.
With digital marketing, you can easily profile and target a very specific audience. And this makes it easier than ever to ensure you're attracting and keeping the right kind of clients for the long-term health of the practice.
Defining the ideal client for your firm helps you get a concrete idea of the businesses that will add the most value. Knowing this ideal client type is fundamental to making the your whole practice more efficient and profitable.
80% of your results will come from the top 20% of your clients, according to the Pareto Principle. So it’s vital to review your client base and to identify the clients who bring in the revenue in the most efficient ways, and those that are just eating into your fee-earning time.
By profiling your perfect client (and knowing what makes a bad client), you can then target your content, your social posts and your campaigns at very specific business audience for the long-term health of your business and future opportunities to grow. You’ll also be able to track how well this marketing performs in engaging these ideal client types.
5. It Keeps the Firm’s Thinking and Knowledge Fresh
Accountants are seen as highly trusted advisers by many businesses, and that level of trust comes down to building relationships, creating a partnership and sharing the most useful advice. Accountancy has developed beyond compliance, with clients now looking for deeper strategic guidance and advice.
And advice has far more value to clients when it’s current and fresh.
Marketing isn't just a one-way street. By researching new topics, writing new content and engaging through social media you will keep your own thinking fresher, more up to date and more in tune with the mindset of your ideal client – and that’s great for client advice.
Marketing as the Driver of Client Relationships
Translating the complexity of running a modern business is what business owners want from their adviser. And careful use of marketing helps your firm to offer advice, provide practical guidance and build more meaningful relationships with your clients.
So even if new clients are not your primary goal, there’s still a place for carefully planned and targeted marketing of your firm.
Using modern marketing techniques helps the firm to:
- Share helpful advice and content with existing clients
- Strengthen your relationships with business owners
- Raise the brand profile of your firm and team in the market
- Provide the analytics and data you need to understand your clients
Client relationships are central to the long-term success of your firm. And marketing is a key driver in starting, cementing and nurturing those relationships.
About the Author: Steve Ash is a specialist in accounting, marketing, business software and fintech apps.