Five marketing tips for accountants2nd August 2017
Making your accountancy practice stand out from the crowd is no mean feat, especially in today’s increasingly-competitive marketplace where the decision to choose one firm over another is often made on price alone. However, if you want to increase your client base, or generate more revenue from existing clients, then you’ll need to work on your marketing.
If you’re a small business, you won’t have a marketing team in place to help get your name out there, but there are steps you can take to make sure your business development initiatives deliver positive results.
- Have a written plan in place
Firstly, you need to have a clear idea of what you want your marketing effort to achieve, and be able to answer the simple question: “What does success looks like?” To achieve your aims, you’ll need to have a plan. This is, of course, a statement of the blatantly obvious, but if you don’t have a written plan in place that sets out what your goals are, and what actions you need to take to make them a reality, then your marketing will be haphazard at best.
Ideally, every individual accountant and/or partner needs to develop their own marketing plan that identifies the messages they want to get out to clients and prospects, and this should include the steps they will be taking to make this happen. These individual plans need in turn to feed into a composite plan that covers the whole practice, so that everyone can sign up to what’s proposed. Reviewing the plan on, say, a quarterly basis will help everyone keep on track and provide an opportunity to review progress firm-wide.
- Create some good content
Creating interesting and relevant content for your website or to use as handouts is a great way to interact with your marketplace. Simplifying complex financial rules, providing commentary on news and current issues that directly affect your readers, and making complex legislation accessible to the average reader are all hugely positive activities that can make you stand out from the crowd, and position you as the go-to firm for help and advice.
- Make good use of networks like LinkedIn
Ensuring your firm and individual profiles are regularly updated makes good business sense. Keeping those you network with abreast of what’s happening in your firm, giving your view on financial news and industry developments can be a timely reminder of your firm’s capabilities. It also shows that you have an interest in wider business issues, are approachable and keen to be of service.
- Remember to keep in regular contact
Email marketing helps to keep your name out there, and provides a good way of nurturing prospects. Research has shown that regularly reminding clients, new and old, of your services cements relationships and converts to real business opportunities. Segmenting your mailing list will mean that the messages you send will be more targeted. So, this could mean sending individual clients tax-saving tips, or sending timely year-end reminders to business clients.
- Brush up your sales pitch
When you meet new prospects, do you find it easy to encapsulate in a meaningful way what your firm does? What do existing clients say they like about what you do? The chances are, there will be some key themes that will come out of their replies which you can use to develop further business.
What do you think the key industry issues are? How can you help businesses address the challenges they face? How can you help people plan their finances more tax-effectively? Weaving your response to these issues into your sales pitch will help you build a strong and differentiated brand proposition.
Making more of your marketing
No matter how far you’ve got with your firm’s marketing, there are always things you need to think about improving. The list will vary from firm to firm, but could include:
- Improved branding – is it time for an updated look that better reflects your firm and its values?
- A more modern website – do you need to offer visitors more information and better functionality?
- Improved newsletters – can you provide clients with useful and interesting articles they’ll really want to read?
- A more proactive approach – can you highlight areas where clients might need advice in the future, and flag these now?
- More effective networking – are you creating enough of the right new business opportunities to meet your needs?
By Margaret Emmens