Most accounting and bookkeeping firms build up a client base without really thinking about it. You’ll have some clients who are perfectly aligned with your firm, some mediocre, unappreciative or slow-paying clients and, sadly, some clients that you simply don’t enjoy dealing with at all. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By understanding who your ideal clients are and marketing your firm to them, it’s entirely possible to collect clients who fit.
It all starts with a clear picture of your target audience
Your target audience is a defined group of consumers or potential clients that you wish to attract with advertising and marketing. If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, you’re likely to be looking for business clients rather than individuals, so the usual demographics of age, gender, hobbies and income don’t quite fit.
Your criteria can include things like:
- Minimum annual turnover
- A business in growth mode
- A client who is unlikely to shop around on price
- A client who pays on time
- A strong business network – an opportunity for referrals
- Appreciates advice – scope for growth in services offered
- A business that aligns with your values
- Ambitious owners
- Easy to deal with
- Fitting within your preferred industry
There may be trade-offs and compromises you need to make along the way, particularly when you are starting. You’ll need to take on some clients who don’t tick every box – it’s more about defining the ideal, so you can work towards it.
Why it matters
Targeting ‘anyone who needs accounting services’ is unlikely to lead to a client base you enjoy working with day in and day out, or make you particularly appealing to your audience either. By defining your ideal clients and creating a checklist of attributes, you can quickly identify which clients are worth pursuing and which aren’t such a great fit. Most importantly, having a defined target audience will determine your marketing strategy and help you develop a point of difference.
Know them, know where to find them
A satisfied client or staff member could be your best salesperson. Be proactive with soliciting referrals – share your ideal client profile with your internal team, reward referrals and ask clients to spread the word too. Don’t forget to ask them for testimonials and endorsements on professional networking sites like LinkedIn, too – as this can be a great source of new clients.
Network at industry events
Identify and attend industry events where your target clients are likely to be. Nothing beats in-person interaction when done well, so be prepared by thinking about what kind of value you can offer to potential clients. Exchange business cards and follow up with attendees who fit your ideal client profile.
Partner with professionals
Establishing or improving alliances with other qualified and trusted professionals is valuable for mutual recommendations. Partner with businesses that complement your niche – they could be lawyers, mortgage brokers, investment advisors or recruiters. You’ll quickly find that mutual referrals begin to flow, and you can form a win-win partnership.
Share your wisdom
You likely have a store of valuable industry-specific information and knowledge within your firm which can be unlocked and shared with potential clients. Whether you look at social media, blog writing, webinars or seminars, make the most of your collective financial wisdom and use it to attract new clients who fit your brief.
Know them, net them, enjoy them
A defined target audience is more than just a marketing tool. It helps you identify your ideal client in your own mind, so you know what you’re looking for and working towards. It helps you invest your advertising budget in the right places and choose strategies that work for your audience. And best of all, it helps you work toward a client base that aligns with your business goals.
Need help communicating with your dream clients? Talk to BOMA for help