The ‘better, not more’ marketing philosophy with Karen Reyburn from We are PF

  • Karen Reyburn, owner of We are PF, helps accounting firms optimize their marketing strategy to attract the most fitting clients. Her motto is ‘better, not more’, which emphasizes client quality over quantity.

  • Having a clear website that communicates your firm’s mission is half the battle of attracting the right kinds of clients. Weekly blog posts and video content are icing on the cake.

  • Instead of establishing a presence on every social media platform, Karen recommends isolating efforts to those where your firm’s preferred clients spend time. 

Karen Reyburn is living everyone else’s “what if?” The one where you go on vacation, fall in love with a place, and decide it’s where you really should be living.

About 21 years ago, Karen went on a charity trip to Scotland that was originally slated for two weeks. But she quickly realized that two weeks wasn’t enough. 

“I believe we can connect with countries without necessarily knowing why at first. If you asked me 20 years ago, I could have thrown around some things. ‘It's a beautiful country. I love the welcoming nature of the people. I love the highlands and the wide open spaces.’ But you wouldn't fully be able to understand it until many years [have] gone by,” Karen says of her decision to move to Scotland. 

Becoming a dual citizen isn’t the only transition Karen’s made in her adult life. She also went from a chartered accountant to a consultant to a leading voice in marketing for accountants. Now with her marketing firm of 18 creatives, We are PF, Karen helps accountants across the globe find their favorite clients and do the work that fulfills them the most. 

On episode 59 of the Accounting Leaders Podcast, host Stuart McLeod chats with Karen about all things marketing for accountants, including social media, attracting the kinds of clients you want to keep, and making a website that converts.

Better, not more

Karen wants to help accountants find the right kinds of clients, prioritizing quality over quantity. 

When you do your marketing right… you get to work with clients you love doing work [for]. You enjoy making money that fits the value of what you're delivering, which allows you to do what you want to do.
Karen Reyburn, We are PF

This is where the philosophy of ‘better, not more’ comes in. It’s about focusing on the specific efforts that attract clients whose values align with yours.

“The big appeal for all our clients is that they're not coming to us for the quick wins and the fast results, getting 10 new clients tomorrow. There are other people who help with the faster approach and the little things. That's not our bag,” Karen explains. “We do best with the organic content, the quality, intentional, consistent marketing that truly reflects the firm. Then the very best clients come and everybody else goes away.”

The case of the missing referrals

It might sound like a no-brainer, but Karen points out accountants could be leaving good clients behind without realizing it.

Say a potential client hears about a firm, maybe getting a warm email intro from a current client. What happens when the potential client checks out the firm’s website? Does it have what they’re looking for in an accountant? Does it tell them about who they might be working with? 

According to Karen, your website could either resonate with a new client or turn them off completely. 

So many accountants are so great at what they do, but their websites are not showing it. Their brand is kind of blah. And they know this, but it doesn't feel like a priority.
Karen Reyburn, We are PF

“A lot of what we do is education to help them understand that addressing these foundational things will help the right clients find them,” Karen explains.

Just like a good website can help the right clients match with the right accountants, it can also deter ill-fitting clients. All of that stems from clarity in your marketing strategy, from your logo to your website to your social media presence. 

Recommended reading: 4 ways to market your accounting firm by focusing on your ideal client

Authentically social

Social media is often a task that can easily fall to the bottom of the to-do list. So is it really important? 

According to Karen, it depends. 

The most important thing is to reach clients where they’re already spending their time. If the client base that’s most interesting for a practice spends time on Instagram, concentrate any social media efforts there. Trying to reach Gen Z businesses? Think about TikTok. 

But no matter which social media platform is chosen, make sure the content is authentic. 

“It's about that authenticity, and really showing who you actually are so that the potential client doesn't have to wonder.”

She gives an example of a firm that benefited from focusing on one social channel and saw great results.

“If you go to Starfish’s social accounts, [you’ll notice] they're present. They're real. They're themselves. If you go to their offices, you recognize it. This has helped them move clients away that weren’t right. And that changed their whole prospecting process as well,” she tells Stuart. “So now, they don't waste time on the leads that aren't a fit. And they're able to convert them faster.”

For any practice, Karen recommends boosting your firm’s marketing presence with weekly blog posts and videos on your website. It’s low-hanging fruit with big ROI.

The proof is in the pudding

Karen’s experienced many successful marketing turnarounds with We are PF’s clients. The common thread between them is the renewed focus on the target audience. 

For example, she worked with one firm that targets farmers. For its client base, a variety of strategies has been effective, including webinars, live instructional events, and a quarterly magazine with tips and tricks for bookkeeping.

Some firms engage We are PF from the beginning, choosing to invest in marketing from the start. 

“This particular firm owner realized who she wanted to work with and invested in her brand and website. She wanted to have 10 clients in the first three months. And she was at 29,” Karen says. 

With all of her clients, Karen focuses on a firm’s core identity and target audience. From there, she develops a fitting strategy so that the magic can begin, flourish and transform her clients’ firms forever.

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