Growing your accounting firm requires a serious and strategic approach, and having a detailed marketing strategy in place is essential.
However, marketing usually isn’t a top priority when we’re talking about smaller accounting firms, but growth requires investing more time and money in it.
Making your firm more visible will result in generating better leads and boosting your profits, and digital marketing can help you achieve that. This post gives a more in-depth idea of what is marketing.
Let’s dig in and discuss the importance of digital marketing for accountants as well as talk about strategies accounting firms can benefit from.
The Importance of Marketing for Accountants
Despite the fact that both companies and individuals are in need of accounting services such as tax filing, bookkeeping, providing business advice, payroll, or company formation, you still need ideas to market your accountancy firm effectively.
The thing is that the accounting landscape has become increasingly competitive, meaning that you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd of other accountants and firms if you want to attract new clients and keep the existing ones.
And this isn’t something that will happen by itself, which is why you need to have a marketing plan that will help you promote your accounting firm and increase your firm’s visibility.
And although traditional advertising tactics are still working, focusing on digital marketing will yield better results and reduce your costs.
Know Your Target Market
No marketing strategy will be successful unless you know your target market and your clients’ needs inside out.
Establishing your speciality and carving out your niche should precede all your marketing efforts. Create an ideal customer profile and try to understand the challenges they face, (reach more customers).
This doesn’t mean that you have to become an expert in the field of engineering to be able to offer accounting services to an engineering firm. But, understanding the issues they struggle with will add up to your professional expertise and help you market your services better.
The top niches for accounting firms include international tax, IT, and estate accounting.
Build an Exceptional Website
The marketing landscape has become increasingly digital.
For example, 81% of people start their customer journey online as they conduct research on the internet before making a purchase.
It’s obvious that having a strong online presence will help you attract your target audience more easily. Besides that, digital marketing is more effective and efficient, since you can track your efforts and identify what works and what doesn’t yield results.
When it comes to marketing for accounting firms, having a well-designed and optimized website is a surefire way to generate high-quality traffic and help your leads find your firm.
Here are the factors you should take into consideration when building or updating the website for your accounting business.
Establish a Clear Goal
While selling your services as an accountant can be a legitimate goal of your website, it’s best to think about what you want to achieve and tweak your site accordingly.
To illustrate this point, it’s worth mentioning that almost 96% of first-time visitors that land on your website aren’t ready to buy. This means that if your main goal is to get your prospects to convert and seal the deal right away, then your digital marketing strategy is at risk of underdelivering.
A more realistic goal would be keeping your visitors, interesting them to explore further, or obtaining their email address so that you can nurture them using email marketing campaigns. All these goals are achievable and they contribute to your end goal – selling your services.
Produce Educational Content
Accounting is a complicated matter and many people don’t know the first thing about it. Even those who run a business.
Therefore, it’s up to you to bring this entire concept closer to them and educate your clients and prospects about the importance of having an accountant. At the same time, content is a great vehicle for showcasing all the benefits of hiring your accounting firm.
Educating your audience instead of selling to them will help you build trust and loyalty, and ultimately allow you to close more clients.
Craft Your Pop-Ups Carefully
Did you know that websites that leverage pop-ups experience a 40% drop in bounce rate?
Although these disruptive elements are considered to be annoying, they can be very helpful if you implement the best practices. Pop-ups can help you collect email addresses and other relevant information from your prospects, which is crucial for the success of your marketing efforts.
It’s important to minimize disruption and add value to your visitors. Use timed pop-ups that will be displayed after a visitor has spent a predefined period of time on your website or landing page.
Another clever tactic is leveraging so-called exit pop-ups, that is the ones that will be displayed when your visitors are about to bounce. That way, you can encourage them to convert one more time.
Use different, tailored pop-up copy for every web or landing page. Offering a free trial works great for product pages while promoting your latest e-book is a great idea for your blog.
Create Irresistible Call-to-Action Buttons
They might be tiny in size, but CTAs are among the most important elements of any website because they drive conversions and bring new clients.
The trick is to use action verbs to tell your visitors what exactly you want them to do. Some examples include: Sign up for, Download, Subscribe, or Book a meeting.
Make your call-to-action buttons prominent and highly visible so that no client misses them.
Make Your Website Responsive
The fact that most people are glued to their smartphones has a lot to do with improving your marketing efforts.
Namely, given that more than 50% of your visitors come from mobile devices, it’s essential that they can access your website properly. Optimize it so that your audience can easily find what they’re looking for regardless of the device they’re using.
Set Up an Email Marketing Strategy
When it comes to business communication, customers prefer to use email as it’s not disruptive and it’s highly efficient.
Besides that, email is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, despite being one of the oldest types of online marketing. For every pound you invest, you can expect to earn 38, which translates to a 3,800 ROI.
Besides being easy on the budget, it also provides the broadest reach of all the other digital channels.
Attract your potential clients with valuable resources, industry news, and useful information. A well-thought-out newsletter is great for nurturing your prospects, so make sure to offer helpful tax tips and relevant resources packed with business advice.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of responsiveness, and it applies to this strategy. Given that your prospects will most probably open and read your emails on their smartphones, avoid long blocks of text. Instead of that, tease them with short and catchy excerpts that link back to the resources on your website.
To make the most of this digital marketing strategy, it’s important to:
- Keep your list clean. In other words, eliminate all hard bounces and unresponsive recipients, and regularly update the contact information of your clients and prospects.
- Segment your list and tailor your content to the needs and interests of every individual segment.
- Be consistent. Always send your emails and newsletters on the same day so that your audience knows when they can expect your updates.
Finally, your marketing activities related to email can be successful only if you monitor your analytics and keep track of your open, click, and conversion rates, and tweak your efforts accordingly.
Run a Blog
Content is at the core of marketing for accountants.
That’s why this strategy should be listed as the top priority in your marketing plan. It performs best when it’s paired with search engine optimization.
Make sure your every blog post is optimized for SEO. That way Google and other search engines will be able to index and rank them, thus allowing your target audience to find your content in search results.
But, many accounting firms, and any other companies for that matter, tend to use content to directly promote their products and services without providing value to their readers and potential clients. Such an approach is counter-productive and can hinder the performance of your digital marketing strategy.
To prevent this from happening, your blog should contain educational content whose purpose is to address your audience’s pain points and offer them viable solutions.
It’s best to create a content marketing plan in which you’ll outline different stages of the buyer’s journey and map the type of content corresponding to each stage.
The first stage is awareness, and at this point, your prospects don’t even know that you exist and are only trying to figure out and name the problem they’re experiencing.
The content focused on these problems such as blog posts, white papers, and e-books is what they need. Don’t try to push your agenda and forget about your sales pitch. Concentrating on your clients and their problems is critical as helping them understand the root of their problem and what’s causing it will increase top-of-mind awareness.
In other words, they will memorize yours over other accounting firms and come to you when they decide to hire an accountant.
After your potential clients have named their problem, they start actively looking for a solution.
That’s when they’re comparing different methods and approaches and trying to see which one best fits their needs.
At this stage, you should focus your attention on offering them a solution to their problem. Again, forget about promoting your accounting firm and try to showcase your expertise and position yourself as an authority in the field instead. Given that people are more likely to trust experts, this way you can finally convince them that you know how to solve their problem.
Hosting webinars and podcasts, as well as creating educational videos will help you achieve this goal.
Finally, your potential clients are ready to make a decision, which means that they’re vetting different solutions and comparing you with other accounting firms. If you’ve managed to attract their attention in the previous two stages, you will have a certain competitive advantage.
Bringing out the big guns such as case studies, free trials, and live demos will help you hook your prospects and get them to say yes to you.
Leverage Social Media Platforms
By embracing social media, you’ll have an opportunity to get in touch with potential and existing clients more easily.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are channels that you can use for networking, customer support, and promoting your accounting business. Since it’s very likely that your target audience hangs out on at least one of these platforms, you should build your presence there too.
Apart from posting relevant content consistently, it’s essential to engage your target audience by responding to their questions and comments.
Another way to harness the power of social media and make it work for your accounting business is by joining industry groups and communities. There you can share your expertise and help others with your advice. Social media groups and communities are also beneficial because you can get up to speed about the latest trends and feel the pulse of your target market.
Finally, paid advertising should be a key part of marketing for accountants particularly because LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to get granular with their targeting options.
Develop a Referral Marketing Strategy
Surveys show that 51% of consumers in the UK are most likely to trust recommendations coming from their friends and partners.
Word of mouth is a practice that has always played an important role in attracting clients and bringing in new business opportunities.
Referrals are a digital version of word-of-mouth marketing and they can significantly spur the growth of your accounting firm.
As your happy existing clients are your best brand ambassadors, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them to recommend your accounting business to their friends, family, and business associates.
You can facilitate this process by creating predefined templates for your clients to use. Offering incentives, such as a discount, for every new client they refer, will additionally stimulate them to proactively work in your favour and help you generate a lot of new referrals.
Offer Free Guidance
Many business owners struggle with filing tax returns and managing their finances properly.
Offering free guidance and helping them navigate these challenges is an excellent strategy, as those whom you help will feel obliged to return the favour by opting for your paid services.
But, if a potential client doesn’t see any real value in such an offer, they will be reluctant to schedule a free consultation with you. So, for this strategy to work, your call to action needs to contain a clear value proposition.
For example, instead of saying “Click here for a free consultation,” use something along the lines of “Click here to talk about accounting challenges you face and we’ll discuss a treatment plan.” This way, every prospective client will understand what they will get if they decide to make a room in their calendar for a meeting with you.
Another good practice is defining how long the consultation will be and letting your leads know it in advance. This also means mapping out what you will cover during that 15 or 30-minute session.
Following up on your potential clients after a free consultation is a must if you want this tactic to be successful. Clearly communicate what the next step will be, so that your prospects know what action to take when you reach out.
Take Advantage of Networking
Networking is one of the best ways to raise your and your firm’s profile.
Related: Marketing Ideas for Accountants
Attending industry conferences, trade shows, and meetups should be on your calendar, but as these are currently put on hold due to social distancing measures, switching to online versions of these events will do too.
When we’re talking about networking, one of the most important tactics is updating your LinkedIn profile. Both your prospective clients and people from the industry will look you up on this social media platform for professionals, and not having an optimized profile will hurt your reputation.
To avoid this:
- Use a high-quality photo of yourself but make sure that it’s professional-looking too.
- Complete and optimize the About section. Don’t hesitate to show off your personality as that will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Update your experience and explain what services you offer and whom you can help.
- Interact with others by engaging in discussions and sharing your opinions.
Putting These Marketing Strategies for Accountants Into Action
Now that you have a clear idea of how to market your accounting business and attract new leads, it’s time to get down to work. Make a digital marketing plan and implement every practice we discussed in this guide. Just bear in mind that it will take some time before you start generating high-quality leads and experiencing substantial growth, so persistence is key.