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Proven Marketing Strategies That Will Grow Your Accounting Firm

Create A Good Brand

Your brand will be the first impression your customers get about your company. It’s time to review your brand to appeal to a specific type of customer, to stand out from the competition and remove any existing perceptions about your brand. Your brand name, iconography, colours, brand personality and messaging should blend in together to create your exact business personality.

Improving Customer Experience

First, you need to understand the various touch points in your customer journey if you want to reach potential customers in order to cater to them. You need to know which of these touch points contain barriers and those that present opportunities.

Every business understands that your business is ultimately about improving customer experience. Competing on your services and products might not be enough, so you need to consider how you are delivering your customers’ needs and whether or not they are satisfied. You need to create a clear customer experience map and a good strategy to meet your customers expectations efficiently and effortlessly.

Create A Good Website

Your website needs to be doing all the work for you. It’s important to note that your customers will go through your website first before they make contact. On that note, if it is outdated, hard to find or just clunky, the customers will have a hard time trusting you. First impressions are vital.

You need to add new posts on your website regularly, make sure it is easy to navigate and add mobile responsiveness for the best results. You can always hire a digital marketing expert to check everything for you.

Content Driven Educational Marketing

Your customers will have an easy time making decisions if they understand what your business is actually about. You need to educate them and demonstrate your knowledge by using engaging and educational content on social media, newsletters and website. You can take advantage of infographics, videos, articles or webinars for the best results.

Create A Blog

You should demonstrate your authority in the niche by creating a blog about the latest trends, news and topics. With regular posts, your site will remain fresh and the first choice for many customers looking for answers. 

Search Engine Optimization
Your accounting business needs to be visible online. You need to invest in increasing your ranking on search engine results so your target customers can find you. With the right SEO strategy, the search engines will rank you accordingly and improve customer visits to your site.
Digital Advertising
Since it is highly targeted, it is highly cost-effective. You can try digital displays, Adwords and also social media advertising to get the right audience at the right time. The best thing about this form of advertising is that you only pay for the value that you receive (that means you only pay per-impression or per-click). Hire a digital expert and inquire about remarketing tactics and geo-targeting to get the most out of your PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns.
Facebook
You can use Facebook marketing to your advantage as an accountant but you need to do it correctly. Make sure your content is engaging and valuable for the best results. Additionally, you can use your Facebook presence to show your efforts with community support.
Cause Marketing
Although it’s often overlooked, cause marketing has a lot of perks. You can do your research to learn more about cause marketing and how much it can offer you as an accountant.
Events/Seminars

You should organise an event or seminar to reward your customers and offer them value. You can even swap client referrals by partnering with other businesses in the same industry to organise the event and sharing your guest list.

Referral Marketing
Just like anything else in the service industry, accountants thrive on referrals. Ask your happy and satisfied customers to advocate for your business and give out referrals. Even better, you can create numerous referral marketing ideas for the best results.
LinkedIn

It’s a perfect option for accountants because they can cultivate their presence online to improve their personal and company brand effortlessly.

PR Scouting (Authority)
You should look for opportunities to get your business in front of mass audiences without spending a lot of money on advertising. With the earned press, you can establish the credibility of your business. With online PR, you can drive traffic directly to your site thus increasing your search engine rankings.
Lead Generation Funnels

If you’re getting regular site visitors, but aren’t generating any leads, there is a problem. Use lead generation campaigns to get leads without any difficulties or barriers. If you combine the lead generation funnel with various lead magnet tactics, you can enjoy the best results.

Database Marketing

Your database is the biggest asset to help you communicate with the community and introduce new products or offers, as well as build good relationships with readers and customers. Your email list is definitely worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

E-Newsletters

Currently, your audience might value engaging relationships and content and will reward brands that offer this with a lot of referrals and loyalty. With E-newsletter marketing, you can keep your content valuable and avoid spamming your clients with any unwanted sales material.

Lead Magnets

Here, you can offer people an incentive at specific touch points after signing up. It should add value, be relevant and also irresistible to the target clients. You should consider a lead magnet strategy that blends in with all the other database marketing strategies in place.

Affiliate Marketing

Align yourself with other service providers in the accounting niche such as financial advisors or legal firms for the best results.

Cultivate Testimony

Before choosing a particular accounting firm, a new client will check for reviews. Therefore, you should give your customers a chance to find out the value in your practice before contacting you. That’s why you need testimonials from previous customers and keep updating the content for the best results.

Networking
You need to stay connected to all the networks around you for the best results.

Building A Revenue-Driving Marketing Strategy For Your Accounting Firm

Could your accounting business use more clients? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Seven out of ten accounting firms struggle to maintain a solid client roster.

What if you tapped into a steady supply of new clients? An automated online marketing campaign can deliver exactly that. You can have sophisticated, effective tools constantly drumming up new business while you concentrate your attention on what you do best – delivering outstanding accounting services for your clients.

Sadly, a lot of accounting firms don’t realize how easy it would be to develop this sort of marketing asset. They’re too busy struggling along with marketing tactics that are 20 years out of date. Times have changed, and now is the time for you to change how you promote your business! 

The complete penetration of the internet into our personal and professional lives has revolutionised the process of connecting prospective clients with service providers. Clients that once settled for the nearest firm offering reasonable prices now have the ability to seek out specialists in a global marketplace. Online communications have levelled the playing field and dramatically expanded clients’ options.

It’s no longer practical to try and sell your firm as a “full service” shop that can handle every client in the same way. Pulling together a new website with some shiny new content isn’t enough to transform your business and boost the number of clients seeking you out.

The key to surviving (and thriving!) in the modern world is to identify the specialities that make your firm unique and then construct automated tools that attract the clients that need your specialised services.

There are four top priorities that you need to address if you're going to market your accounting firm successfully:

Distinctive Positioning

Does your firm have a market niche? What’s your speciality? What do you do better than any of your competitors?

Positioning has gone from a nice “extra” in your marketing strategy to a core necessity. The entire marketing process can and should be based on a realistic understanding of your firm’s strengths.

Trying to be all things to all clients – promoting yourself as a “full-service firm handling all sorts of accounting work” – limits you to attracting low-budget clients from your local community. Identifying and emphasizing more specific niche services increases your appeal dramatically and productively puts your firm on the national (or even international) market. Good niche marketing links you to clients seeking more specific services – and those clients often have much larger budgets for their accountants.

The modern prospect is seeking a firm that can provide a specific service at a superlative level, not a firm that does everything on a mediocre level. Aim higher than competing in the local marketplace based on your location and pricing. Your firm has unique expertise; recognize it and look further afield to find clients who will pay top dollar for it. Making this leap will, without exaggeration, transform the way you do business.

Want to learn more? Get the in-depth accounting firm positioning guide here.

Useful Content

The powerful role that content plays in online marketing is now well understood. While most firms are throwing content online, a lot of them are getting far less value than they should out of their efforts. Too many accounting firms are wasting time producing generic content that targets too many industries and covers too many services.

Once you’ve identified a target niche for your marketing plan, you have a much clearer idea of what your ideal clients look like and what sort of services you can provide for them. Your content should reflect that focus and speak with great specificity to your niche. This will give you a tremendous advantage over firms delivering more generic content and position your firm as an authority. Simple recognition as a knowledgeable expert in your field can do a tremendous amount to attract new clients.

In any specialised area of accounting, there are just a few firms with a solid online reputation as true experts. You can join this exclusive club by translating your expertise into genuinely insightful content.

A smart, effective content strategy can boost the search traffic headed to your website by as much as 300 per cent.

A workable content goal: Post at least 2,000 words of specific, useful content on your site every month.

A Conversion-Focused Online Presence

How long has it been since your website was audited from a performance-based perspective? Is there a documented marketing strategy guiding your site’s design? Are changes made with a proper understanding of their marketing impact?

Lots of accounting firms pay for great web design work. However, all too many of them neglect the strategic focus that can turn their website into a powerful revenue-generating tool. One survey estimates that only 10 per cent of accounting firm websites offers anything unique to their visitors.

Too many accounting websites are operated with a complete divorce from the firm’s marketing team. A passively-supported website that remains static year after year is simply a waste of potential and will not be found online by anyone.

Rebuilding your website as a conversion tool demands the use of specific features:

* Content expressly created to work with your sales funnel
* Clear definition of your different service offerings
* Strong proof validating your claim to niche expertise (including testimonials and case studies)
* Offers that deliver significant value to interested visitors (e.g. useful downloadable content and tools)

You can easily build your website into a focused tool that delivers dozens (20-40) conversions every month.

Ready to get started? Use our mini audit tool to gauge your current website’s effectiveness.

Nurturing Contacts

All forms of online marketing share certain fundamentals. The importance of building and nurturing your contact list is one of them.

We consider a list with 3,000 contacts to be a viable minimum. If your website is only seeing 1,000 visitors a month and converting just one per cent of them into contacts, it would take you 25 years to generate the 3,000 contacts you need. We highly recommend giving your marketing campaign a strong initial boost by purchasing a prospect list if necessary.

The contact list you’ll be using for email marketing needs to be amply stocked with strong prospects, but the way you treat those prospects matters, too. When done properly, the return on investment you can see from nurturing your contacts is simply astonishing. Some estimates put nurturing’s ROI as high as 4,300 per cent. It’s amazing that so many accounting firms overlook this tremendous potential source of revenue building.

Marketing automation and smart lead scoring help you narrow your focus and identify your most valuable prospects. Your messages can then be tailored with laserlike precision to produce effective results on those specific prospects.

Aim to build a 3,000 contact list and target 2,000 visitors a month. 

Next Steps

How We Can Help Your Accounting Firm

A website is the core of your digital marketing strategy, and this is why you should start with this first. This is the place where you are going to nurture and capture the incoming leads. The website might look amazing, but there is a strategic focus that needs to be considered.

Having a strategy is what many accountants don’t consider, but it is important. Is the website of the firm outdated and needs refreshing? Are the changes being made to the website a directive of the leadership of the firm? Does your website align with your objectives? Are you interested in breaking to a new niche? What are some of the offers you are able to come up with that will be able to generate leads? Will the user have an easier time navigating the website and finding what they are looking for or is the sidebar of your website filled with large drop-down menus showing the same old boring accounting services? You should also consider how different calls to action will draw new clients.

The call to action should be mapped out on each page individually. There maybe some people visiting your website that are not interested in contacting your firm, but they may be okay receiving a monthly newsletter. Or, you may have someone interested in contacting the business but not getting a newsletter.

Once you have set a solid foundation for the site, you can now move on to the next step.

Content marketing is something that many firms know about, but  are very poor at when it comes to implementing it.

This means creating content for your accounting firm and using the content to attract more clients to your site. Content marketing is considered the second most important source of getting new business. We can make the argument that it is the leasing because referrals will often begin with your thought leadership before you reach out. Your content should go beyond the blog posts and include videos, email campaigns, tax guides, calculators and even FAQs.

There are many firms out there creating a lot of blog content but are not getting any results. This is because most of them are not creating the right type of content that has the right mix. What they spend their time doing is creating boring tax updates that don’t provide value to the audience. What your prospects are looking for is content that is thoughtful, insightful, and meaningful and is able to solve their problems and answer the questions they might have.

This is how it should be done;

Start by creating a cornerstone asset. This will the content that is going to serve as the main lead driver. This content should be at least 2,000 words and should be showcasing the expertise of your firm on any given topic. It will be the inspiration for the content strategy and will help in creating other content. Many firms have a problem when it comes to creating this content because there is nowhere they are drawing inspiration from. Having this content will be able to give you ideas for even more content for up to a year or more.

Once you have the cornerstone asset, you will be able to come up with smaller pieces of content and they will then link back to the asset. The content should be posts, webinars, FAQs, infographics, emails, in-depth articles, and more. You should create at least 2,000 words every month.

If you follow the guideline, you can expect the plan to look like this;

A new cornerstone asset every six months

Three to five blog posts each month

Thirty to sixty social media posts each month

One infographic each month

One to two webinars each quarter

One to two case studies per quarter

This seems like a lot of commitment, but once you have completed the cornerstone asset, the rest will be easy and will take less time to create. Don’t see it as being worth your time? Firms that do this are able to see a 200% increase in visibility. What’s more, they are taking your prospective customers away from you because they are taking action!

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has become an important part of any marketing campaign. Yet, most of what you have been told about it is probably not correct.

You will still need to think about the keywords you are interested in ranking for and also the ideas you want to put in the head of your client.

SEO begins with best practices:

The page titles should be rich in keywords because it will tell Google what it is you want to rank for and also encourage prospective clients to click on the page when they are on the search engine results page.

It is important to have custom URLs containing the keywords because of rankings, but it also helps the users decide whether they are going to click on the link.

The page should have an <h1> tag at the top so that it informs Google and visitors what the page is about.

Your content should be interlinked by use of anchor text that has a buried link.

The content should always be related to the <h1> tag and page title.

The goal is to tell Google as much as you possibly can about the page. The search engines will then have an easier time understanding what each of the pages is about and the keywords you want the page to be associated with.

The strategy should also focus on topic ideas you are interested in owning. You can have a great strategy, but the most important thing is to restructure the approach you take when it comes to SEO.

Let us say the topic you are interested in is “business transitions”. In the past approach, you would have been forced to create individual pages for:

Transfer business to insiders

Business ownership transfers

Business transition process

Minimization of business transfer taxes

Family business transition

Business transition process

Just because you have created these pages, it does not necessarily mean that you are an authority on the topic. Google has continued to be smarter on how users are searching and seeing the results, and want every result to be as relevant as possible. So why can’t a person create a page covering all the topics?

Instead of having many different pages, you should be creating one that is centred on “business transactions”. This is going to be the topic page that you should be working on ranking for, and then you can start creating sub-topic pages that are going to link back to this page.The subtopics can then be:

Succession planning

Third party selling

Pre-sale transition

Business transition planning

Business valuation

Pre-sale transition

Selling a business

Business transition process

Best practices for selling a business

How to get started:

Come up with three to five topics that you want your client to have in their head.

From there, you can buildout the core topic page and then create supporting content for each of the core topic pages.

Optimising the content based on the practices covered above.

Monitoring the results and refining.

When restructuring the approach in this manner, you will be sending a signal to Google that the main page is related to the sub-pages. Google favours pages structured in this manner because they look like authorities on a given topic.

Email marketing or marketing automation is not something new, but there are many firms out there that have not been able to properly leverage it. It has started getting more attention recently. How can you take full advantage of automated marketing software?

You can get started with your current clients by looking for opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell. Marketing to your current client base is one of the best ways to get started.

Progressive form filling. One of the things many people online don’t like doing is filling in the same information twice. You can automate the process so visitors will only be filling in the data once.

Email marketing. There is some automation software that can be used in creating forms and landing pages, but what is working right now is how they are being used in creating and distributing email. You will need to hire a great copywriter so you don’t lose any human touch in your content.

Social media marketing. Automation programs can help in managing the social media profile by targeting specific followers and also posting regularly.

Some of the common marketing automation platforms are Eloqua, Pardot, ActOn, Marketo, and HubSpot. If the firm is large, then you will need to choose Eloqua, Pardot, and Marketo or look for something similar. Smaller firms will have to look at their budget and choose the right option for them.

Before you can fully invest in marketing automation, you need to ensure there is a minimum of 5,000 active contacts in your database.

If there are less than 5,000 active contacts, then you should consider choosing solutions such as MailChimp. Seeing a meaningful ROI is harder when you have a smaller contact list.

Some of the most reliable ways of getting leads are Google AdWords, PPC, and CPA.

However, it is unfortunate that many firms do not invest their resources into trying out paid searches. This is a significant missed opportunity.

In the way of using paid searches, you can begin to generate leads of high-quality, right from inside your company’s sweet spot. What is even better, you are able to start today. AdWords is often complex to learn, with a host of advanced capabilities which can drive you over the edge. We are here to break it all down for you, so that you too can get started with increasing your revenue.

To begin with choose a service that is focused around the niche you are interested in focusing on. This can assist you in saving money in the way of making sure things stay focused.

Build your landing page using a tool like Unbounce or LandingLion. It is important not to skimp on this! Many firms make the mistake of just sending prospects to a homepage or generic service pages. You have to spend time customising your landing page to take a worthwhile advantage of the incoming traffic.

Create custom offers. You should be looking for a way to entice visitors to take the next step. You should be thinking beyond consultation and think about anything else that your company can offer. This can include a Free bookkeeping-review or a company-benchmark.

Start your bidding low and make sure you start to slowly bid up when you start to see results. In order to appear on a site like AdWords, you have to ensure you are bidding on each of your keywords each time a person conducts a search. Either your bid will win, or it won’t. If the bid failed to win, start raising the bid gradually until you begin to notice impressions. We would like to keep this budget low.

Analyse, monitor and test. AdWords is not about Set-It and Forget-It advertising. It requires watching the results, testing landing-page changes, testing new ads, as well as testing the new calls-to-action consistently to ensure better results.

Paid search happens to be the ideal method to attract instant leads if your company is hungry. It will also provide opportunities for your company to experiment more with an investment that is minimal. Are you interested in testing a new service or niche? Create a new landing page and implement some PPC to assess whether there is any type of interest. This can assist you in deciding if there is a need that is exists and whether your company should be thinking about investing further.

Many of the accounting companies are not good at leveraging social-media correctly. For example, SocialCPAs and Inovautus Consulting worked together on an important study that discovered that only around 20% of the companies used social media, while only around 50% of these firms tracked leads which were generated through the social media platforms.

Audiences of today, spend a lot of their time on the different social media platforms, and they commonly use the platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. One of the main reasons why these platforms do so well is the opportunity to create ads that are hyper-targeted that is impossible on the other types of advertising channels.

Think about creating ads which target the sweet spot of your firm, which not only includes industry, but also your location, income, revenue and company size. This is all possible through social-media marketing.

Social media advertising at this stage is still a very cheap channel. The leads costs cents compared to the other forms of paid avenues. This is ideal when it comes to your own bottom dollar, yet this lucrative opportunity will not last forever. Over time more of the companies will start to catch on, which means the costs for each advertisement will start to increase. Here are a few tips on what to do right now in order to make the most from buyer’s markets:

– Choose one network to begin with, we highly recommend Facebook or LinkedIn.

– Define an audience followed by making this as small as you possibly can. Many firms make the mistake of targeting audiences to reach 10,000 or more prospects, we do not recommend this approach. The smaller you are able to make it the better. This will mean your ads are far more targeted. You should be aiming at reaching 1,000 to 2,000 prospects.

– Take advantage of lead-capture available on social-media. This means you won’t need to create a customised landing page or sending prospects to your site but rather capture this information directly from social media.

The next step involves creating your customised email campaign, which is initiated as soon as a person completes the form from your advertisements. Nurture your prospects immediately and work on bringing these leads to a state that is sales ready.

If you are not yet advertising through the social media channels, you really are missing out on a massive audience at prices that are extremely cheap. In addition, you are also missing out on any opportunities to deal with complaints, to answer questions along with finding out what your customers really need from you.

Unfortunately, you are unable to escape the attention on social media, so you might as well take advantage of it.

You have done a lot of marketing work and you have a lot of prospects that land on the site, yet these people are not ready to start buying. What are you able to do?

You are able to target what is known as “sneaky visitors”!

To begin with you can choose to run a remarketing campaign in Facebook and AdWords. This targets prospects that have previously visited your site yet have not yet converted. Think about nurturing the prospects that do not visit your site with whitepapers, blog content, new offers or even consultations.

Account Based Marketing

To take this one step further, many of the automation tools allow for a way to find out which companies visit your website. You can also get one of the free plugin tools like VisitorTrack This will pull the IPs that visited the site, which associated them with actual companies.

You can now review these companies lists against your own niche or niches and search for any potential accounts that you can target. You will arrive at targeted company lists in your company’s sweet spot which have already shown an interest.

Now take your revised company-list and make use of programs such as ListenLoop to send targeted ads to these companies. You may also want to use Hoovers which is a program that enriches these company lists and begin sending these firms targeted emails.

Now combine all these elements together:

– Remarket to target the sneaky visitors through Facebook and AdWords

– Use VisitorTrack to locate the high-value targets which never converted

– Use ListenLoop to send the account-based ads to the high-value targets

– Use LimeLeads or Hoovers to email and nurture these prospects

– Implement in physical mails for an added touchpoint

At this stage you will be spending marketing dollars with the firms within your niche, who already know about your specific brand. Now all you need to do is incorporate a couple of touchpoints which will convert then into clients. When combining ListenLoop with physical email and email marketing you will start to notice increases in the engagement rates across all avenues as these prospective clients are already aware of your brand and your company.

If one of your partners had to ask you which of the assets is driving leads the most, would you be able to answer? Do you know about conversion rates on your website? Are you achieving a minimum 2% conversion rate (the industry average)? Are you aware of which of the events you should invest in next year? The answers for many of the accounting companies is NO.

Your company may be good at examining financial data, yet you should be using your critical thinking to start going further into your marketing analytics. You can choose to work alongside an agency such as ours to assist in benchmarking your company against your immediate competitors, to assess how your existing marketing stacks up. If you are unable to answer these questions stated above, we can assist you in determining the type of information that prospects will be more interested in along with which of your offers create the very best leads. On the other hand, we can also assist in determining what offers you should be doing away with. We will then use all this data in order to arrive at an attack plan in regard to what you need to focus on next when it comes to your own digital-marketing strategy.

In the way of measuring analytics, you will find it easier to predict client behaviour. You will also be able to find the software developed specifically for the CPA companies that offer insights into customers, which includes this Feedback Program from Client Opinions.

It is unwise to ignore mobile-marketing. Today just about every person owns a Smartphone, and currently a lot more searches happen on the mobile devices when compared to desktops. This is why mobile optimisation happens to be very important, when you are in the process of trying to win over the local businesses. According to a number of studies 89% of the Smartphone owners will look-up a local business weekly, while 58% of these look up local businesses every day.

Many accounting companies do not attribute a lot when it comes to mobile. Yet when the prospects are in the process of making a decision which is often conducted in a board meeting, many executive’s conduct research through their mobile device. Is your site optimised for mobile to take full advantage of decision makers that are in search of a firm?

Mobile marketing extends beyond just building a website that is mobile responsive. You should also be thinking about mobile advertising along with interactive content such as tax calculators which make for fantastic apps.

One of the best ways to get your brand out there, particularly when you are already fully engaged in content-marketing involves teaming up with brands that are respected and well known that are backed by a significant following. One of these examples might include commissioning a study which involves the expertise areas of your firm. You can also choose to collaborate on videos or podcasts which will teach the users about basics associated with DIY taxes.

If you are interested in targeting clients

at each phase of the buying cycle register for a free strategy session.
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