Practice barrier #3: marketing for growth
Growing your practice is all about attracting new and better clients. In this series we have already explored the best ways to acquire new clients, but if you want to take your growth to the next level you need to look at how your firm is marketed.
If your firm doesn’t put the necessary focus on your marketing activities, you will find that your growth will slow or even come to halt. Or like many other firms, you might find yourself investing a lot of time and effort into various initiatives, only to receive disappointing results.
Effective marketing for accounting firms is all about being strategic with how you educate prospective clients about the services you offer, and why you are a better choice than other firms.
How does it impact you?
Too many accounting firms can be seen taking a scattergun approach to their marketing—they throw lots of ideas in the air with the hope that one or two might hit the target. You are accountants not marketers, so you don’t have the time or resources to waste on strategies that aren’t going to work.
This is why you must be very careful that every marketing action you take—and every dollar you spend—is going to be worth your while.
If you do it well, marketing will bring your ideal clients right to you, reducing—or even removing—the need for you to spend time and money to go out and find new clients yourself.
What can you do about it?
Find your niche
For your marketing efforts to be a success, they need to hit the right target. You can’t do this if you don’t know who your target is.
If your firm hasn’t done so already, you should seriously think about finding a niche to focus on. There is no better way to simplify the broad market than by identifying a specialty so you can focus your energies on specific demographics and services. You will be able to set yourself apart as a specialist in that field, and knowing exactly who you are trying to reach is the first step in any effective marketing campaign.
The way in which you segment your firm is entirely up to you. Examples could be by geography, a vertical, or where a company is in its lifecycle. The goal here is to play to your strengths—pick a vertical you love, are passionate about, or have knowledge on.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a big impact. You’ll find there are clients everywhere waiting for an accountant that understands exactly what their industry needs.
Focus your efforts
You may not have the resources or know-how to run complex marketing campaigns, but this won’t matter if you focus your efforts intelligently. Knowing your clients is key to this, which will be made easier if you have identified your niche.
Having a unique selling proposition will enable you to focus your activities in the areas your clients can be found in. If you specialize in accounting for the hospitality industry, think about how you can reach hotel managers. Maybe you target SMBs in the small town your reside in—how can you specifically reach them?
You can join their industry associations (eg. Institute of Hotels Management) and network amongst that, you can directly target your audience with social media advertising, or you can attend, sponsor and speak at their industry conferences.
Whatever your niche, show that you’re the expert they are looking for by focusing all your efforts directly on them.
Be consistent in everything you do
In any of your marketing activities, consistency is key. Wherever you communicate your firm’s brand, always make sure you stick with the same message, tone and voice.
If your firm uses social media (tip: if your clients are using social media then your firm must too), make sure all your channels and online assets are updated to include the appropriate branding, logo and imagery.
Your firm must communicate your professionalism, values and what your business is about in any of the places that a prospect may first interact with you. This might be in person at a community event, on your LinkedIn page, or from a print advertisement. Any of the potential ways a client might find you should all deliver the same message, just in a different form.
If you are struggling to grow your firm, we challenge you to implement at least one of these ideas. If you do, we’d love to hear the progress and result. You can also reach out so one of our advisors can help you out.
Also, if your firm has implemented any other marketing strategies, we’d love to hear from you.