80% of a company’s future profits come from just 20% of its existing customers is one of the stats frequently quoted in an attempt to illustrate the importance of customer retention, along with the fact that repeat customers spend 67% more in their third year than in their first year of doing business with a company.
All of this data offers pretty convincing arguments in favour of focusing your efforts on customer retention.
But, customer acquisition is equally important for the growth of your accounting business, because 50% of customers naturally churn over the course of 5 years.
The bottom line is that finding new clients is a must, regardless of whether your accounting business is new or established. However, this can be a challenging endeavour, so here are a couple of tips and tricks on how to land new clients and keep them.
Ask for Referrals
If you’re not comfortable with blowing your horn and bragging about your business, you can leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
92% of people trust recommendations from others over branded messaging, so it’s only logical to ask your existing happy clients to spread the word about your business.
But, you can add a twist to this approach.
By creating an incentive program, you’ll encourage your current clients to make an extra effort and provide you with referrals. Offer them something in return, such as a discount or additional services, every time they send a potential new client your way.
Ask them to provide you with testimonials and customer success stories which will be shared on your website and social media channels.
This tactic is a twofer because you both grow your client base and build loyalty with your existing customers.
Take a cue from PayPal, as the popular online payments system used referrals to boost its daily growth by 7 to 10% in its early days. Today, there are 100 million people worldwide who use this platform. And the company’s future didn’t look so bright given that it was voted one of the 10 worst business ideas of 1999.
Master Your Networking Skills
Despite the fact that we live in a digital age, face-to-face communication still reigns supreme.
This means that you should organize and attend different business events, conferences, meetups, fairs, trade shows, and other occasions where you can meet your potential clients and introduce your company.
It’s even better to show your professional expertise and apply to be a speaker at such events, as people are more likely to trust thought leaders and those they perceive as authorities in a particular field.
In order to be prepared and make the most of your networking efforts, make sure to obtain a list of attendees in advance and do a background check on them, because that way it will be easier for you to identify their pain points, needs, and preferences.
By doing so, you’ll eliminate educated guessing, which means that you’ll be able to approach every individual potential client with an offer tailored to their specific situation and provide them with the greatest value.
Don’t Forget to Follow up
There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance, but this shouldn’t prevent you from following up with the people you meet on the above-mentioned business events.
Did you know that only 2% of sales occur during the first meeting? And yes, you’re trying to sell your services too, which means that your chances of closing a deal increase substantially if you reconnect with your prospect soon after your initial contact.
While the not-taking-no-for-an-answer mentality might be annoying, you still shouldn’t give up after just one or two attempts. As a matter of fact, 80% of sales are closed after the fifth follow-up, so by quitting early in the process you practically leave money on the table.
Just make sure that all your follow-ups have a clear objective as only calling or emailing to touch base can be counterproductive.
Polish Your LinkedIn Profile
This networking social media channel for professionals has reached 575 million registered users which makes it extremely powerful in terms of connecting with your potential clients.
The trick is to build and maintain a captivating LinkedIn profile. The first thing many people do when they hear about a business is check it out on the internet, and if it’s a B2B company, then this social media platform is their main source of information.
So, it’s essential that you optimize your business offer and clearly communicate it on your profile, as this will help you get in touch with the right people.
When it comes to profile optimization, make sure that you
- Use a current, professional, high-quality photo as profiles with a headshot receive 14 times more views than those without it. The same goes for your business page, as it should feature your logo and branded visuals.
- Craft a killer headline and summary which will clearly express your fields of expertise and explain what services you offer.
- Regularly post superb content which tackles your prospects’ main pain points and offers solutions. Your key goal should be to educate them, as otherwise your efforts will be perceived as blatantly promotional and as such worthless and pushy.
- Reach out to your prospect via direct messages, comment on their posts, and engage in all kinds of interactions, as natural communication without a hidden agenda is the best way of establishing meaningful professional relationships.
Build a Presentable Website
Many SMB owners think that creating a website is an unnecessary and hefty investment, but since we’re talking about accounting services here, don’t forget that your potential clients want to be 100% sure that they’re dealing with a respectable agency before trusting their financial affairs to you.
Having a well-designed, informative website is certainly a surefire way of coming off as a serious and reputable business.
Nowadays you can build a free website on a platform such as WordPress and start publishing content.
However, although this platform itself is free, it’s much better to hire a professional to build an attractive, usable website with good navigation, because you have to take user experience into account.
Although it might sound superficial, 94% of first impressions are design related when it comes to websites, so don’t neglect this element of your digital reputation and ensure that the final result is visually appealing.
Besides being used in building awareness and recognition, your website is an excellent tool for capturing personal information from your visitors – offer them something, such as valuable content, an industry report or a free trial, in exchange for their name, email address, and company name.
List Your Company in a Business Directory
First of all, it’s crucial for any SMB to claim its Google business listing. It’s free, and it will put your company’s relevant details and location on Google Maps, which means that every time someone searches for a nearby accounting company, your business will pop up in their search results and voila! You’ve got yourself some free promotion.
Need some proof? How about a survey which says that 76% of local searches result in a same-day store visit?
So, if you want to be on your prospective clients’ radar, list your company. Apart from Google, you should take advantage of different business directories, both online and offline ones.
Yelp, for example, can boost your exposure for free, although there are also paid ads. This online directory will basically help you double down on your promotional efforts, as its listings appear in Google searches.
Have an SEO Strategy in Place
If you have a decent website and good content, you’re good to go, right?
Who is going to read your useful blog posts if nobody knows about your website? You can’t expect to generate traffic simply because someone will sometimes stumble upon your site online and discover its value.
By optimizing your content for search engines, it will show up in relevant searches and generate a lot of qualified traffic.
This strategy is, among other things, based on
- enriching your content with relevant keywords people enter in the Google search box when they’re looking for something,
- creating authority backlinks, that is links from respectable sources which point to your content,
- and building a strong internal linking structure.
Run Email Campaigns
After you’ve collected all the email addresses from your website visitors, it’s time to put them to good use.
Email outreach is still one of the most effective and affordable tactics to get in touch with your prospects, but only if it’s properly crafted.
The first thing you should do is segment your audience so that you can personalize and tailor your content.
Automate your efforts in order to be more efficient. This technique will allow you to schedule your emails in advance and keep track of your metrics. Besides, you won’t have to worry about sending the same email twice or missing out on opportunities by failing to respond to your prospects in a timely manner.
Send your audience regular newsletters packed with useful and actionable advice and information that they will find interesting. Let them know about your promotions, discounts, or new, upcoming services.
As you can see, the sky’s the limit when it comes to finding your new accounting clients. These strategies will help you take a step in the right direction.