10 Ways An Accounting Firm Can Market Themselves
If you have an accountancy business, you are one of many. It’s a good career to get into, and it’s one of the most popular ways to earn a living for yourself while enjoying being self-employed. Therefore, it’s essential that you know how to market yourself most effectively, to give your business the best chance of not only surviving but thriving.
Here are ten tried and tested ways that an accounting firm can market themselves and be successful.
Before you do anything else, it’s essential that you have a clear marketing plan. Without one, you will potentially lose a lot of money trying random ideas out that maybe will, but possibly won’t, work. There must be achievable goals, action to take, and you should reward yourself at each step. If you don’t plan, then your marketing could come across as poorly thought out, and put people off, rather than engaging them. Depending on your specific accounting niche (assuming you have one), you can use a variety of different marketing methods, but what you should remember is that you don’t have to, and nor should you, use them all.
One of the easiest and cheapest (it’s often free) ways to market your business is networking. Attending networking events such as business breakfasts is not something that everyone enjoys. However, you will need to step outside of your comfort zone and instead focus on what is best for your business. Make sure that you take plenty of business cards with you, and, if you have them, brochures, and even other promotional products such as pens. All businesses need accountants, so the best networking events to attend are those specifically for startups because these are the businesses that may not yet have hired anyone to do the job. You can attend other kinds of networking events as well, but remember that long-established companies will probably have been using the same accountant for many years, and it will be much harder to persuade them to use someone new than it would be to engage a business with no accountant at all. Once you have secured a number of new clients this way, you can start looking at working with more established companies.
Running workshops is another form of networking, but this time with a more of a focus, set by you. Start locally and branch out when you have secured more business. You can run each workshop on a specific theme including tax, how to save money in your business, and how to employ people. Local business people will be keen to attend, because it is these things that can be confusing, and, with the right clarification, your workshops could become invaluable. You will foster a sense of trust, and when the people attending need an accountant, they will immediately turn to you. Not only will they know that you know what you’re talking about, but your name is likely to be the first one that they think of.
A good brand will make your presence known and will keep you in the minds of those who will hopefully one day need to use your services. It all starts with a logo, and even firms using the most professional tax software will need to have one. Your logo is the way that people will know it’s you; it’s something that people will recognize on other marketing material. Hopefully, when done right, you won’t need anything but your logo, but that will take time, and until that happens, you will need to work on the rest of your branding. It’s important not to rush the design of this, as using the wrong color or the wrong font can send out a poor impression of you; sometimes this is obvious, but sometimes it can feed into the public’s subconscious. Either way, you can easily lose sales with poorly thought out branding that runs across all of your company including your vehicles, your paperwork, and your website.
A blog is an essential tool when it comes to marketing. It works in a number of ways. Firstly, if you want to rank highly on search engines, and be found on the first page, then a blog will help you. Google likes changing content, and if you write a blog on a regular basis, then your web content will indeed be changing. It’s far easier than trying to think of ways to change the home page, or the about us page every week or so. Secondly, you can use your blog to engage potential clients. Write about interesting topics, and make sure you do your research. Establish yourself as an authority on specific accountancy matters, and use networking and social media to build up a following. Again, this will keep you in the mind of those looking for an accountant, even if they’re not going to hire one right now. Marketing can sometimes be a long-term planning exercise, but if you keep at it, it will pay dividends in the end.
Invest In Apps
In today’s technological world, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t use apps in one way or another. Investing in creating your own app can make you stand apart from the crowd, and entice people into using your services over those of your nearest competitor. People love to be able to work on the go, so an accounting app that lets them do that, something connected to the cloud for security and real-time access to their accounts, is ideal. Making your clients’ lives that much easier is always a good idea, but these apps will also help to establish your firm as a modern, forward-thinking company. Having an app will give potential clients confidence that you will be around for a long time to come, and that you will always stay up to date with the latest accounting technology and software.
If you have an existing customer database, then you should have a long list of emails that you can utilize in your marketing campaign. Newsletters sent via email are extremely useful. You can reiterate what you have written on your blog, update your clients with any new tech that you might be using, and let them know specific contact details or opening times. You can even run competitions, or offer discounts to those who are signed up to receive your newsletters. Although it may take a little while to set up initially, you can then use an automated mailing system to ensure that your newsletters go out on time. Newsletters provide you with the perfect opportunity to grow your relationships with your clients, which is all part of the battle when it comes to marketing an accounting firm.
A Reminder System
Something that can work alongside your email newsletter is a reminder system. There are a variety of important dates during the year that relates to accounting and tax, and reminding your customers that they are approaching could push them into getting in touch and asking for help. It’s a simple thing, but it can easily increase your customer base and therefore your turnover. If you have the right system (and this is something that you should invest in), then your emails will be automated, and you won’t even have to think about it. Once the emails go out, it is likely that at least some of the people targeted will contact you, and the more emails you can send out, the more people will be in touch.
More and more companies are using social media to spread the word about their business. It is no longer just for friends and family to keep in touch, and for a business not to have at least one social media account (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on) is unusual. Social media is the ideal way to engage with your clients. Creating good, shareable content is the key, but if you’re already writing a blog, then you can use that as a good basis for your social media content. Remember that whatever you share or post must reflect the ethos and passions of your company, and anything off-message could turn people away rather than bring them to you.
It’s important that your potential clients understand that you’re not just looking to make money out of them. If they know that you are willing to help them and steer them in the right direction, then they will be happier to use you. You can use your website to provide useful, free information for customers and non-customers alike. Free tools like tax calculators and resources such as eBooks that can be downloaded will always work well. You could even include videos that show people exactly who you are and what you do. In those videos, you can show that you are a real person, and tell stories about other real people in the same situations are those watching. Free resources can go a long way and can bring in a good amount of revenue in the end.
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