Those marketing initiatives seem to end up on the bottom of that long To Do list, when really they should be near the top of your action list.
Why bother with marketing at all?
If word of mouth is key to bringing on board new clients, why spend time on marketing at all? Some of the accountants we talk with just find the whole idea of 'selling' their services and products quite daunting. We hear comments like:
- "I don't have the time"
- "I'm good at numbers, not words"
- "I tried for a few months, but nothing really happened"
Marketing is about communication - communicating the value of your brand, your products and services. It's also about communicating your passion for who you are and what you do. Industry leaders are also generous with sharing their expertise, giving rise to the catchphrase "education is the new marketing." If you can write a regular blog post about a subject of interest to you, or industry trends, that can be a really good place to start. Find your voice.
Email marketing - making it easy for you
As you start to build your database, consider ways you can add value to your current clients on a regular basis. We recommend integrating with Xero Practice Manager for automatic synchronisation of your contacts. You can set up market segmentation to get targeted email content to different industries. Take a look at our email marketing module here for more information on how to use your website CRM to best advantage. We also offer a regular monthly content subscription if you'd like to get started, but are just completely stuck on what to write about.
I don't know where to start with social media
Many accountants we speak with are just beginning to explore social media options to find out what works best. (Note: if you're a social media whiz, keep doing what you're doing!) There are lots of great marketing experts giving advice, and there are workshops and webinars if you need to upskill. It's generally agreed the first place to start is with LinkedIn. As a professional network it's hard to beat. Set up both your personal profile and a company page; you can also join relevant groups and contribute to discussions. When you write that blog post on your website, you can then send the link to the blog post out on Linkedin. It's a great way to connect with your network and start to build your reputation as an industry expert.
Give Twitter a go - before you know it you'll be hooked. The very best thing about Twitter is the hashtag, which connects you to a topic. If you are at an industry event for example, you can have an instant connection to all participants, connected by the #hashtag. Take a look at #Xerocon and you'll see some interesting conversations! Using a hashtag in your Tweet can also get your comments out to a wider audience; link back to your website to that blog post you wrote and you'll start to see the power of social media.
A Facebook company page can work well, especially if you encourage current clients to 'Like' your page. In a recent marketing webinar with Wayne Schmidt from Addon Success, Steph Hinds from Growthwise discussed how commenting on Facebook in real time as the recent AU budget unfolded gained 11 new enquiries and 6 new clients. Some strategy around targeting this content is important too.
You can get down with Google Plus and get your teeth into many more social channels if you have the time. The key is to commit time each week
to some social media activity. Then set up Dlvr.It or similar for automatic posting of your content straight out
to your chosen channels.
Test and measure as you go to see what works best for your accountancy practice. Start with Google Analytics, and if you really want to dig deep you can set up custom URLs for each social media channel. Analytics are freely available, either directly for each channel, or as an overview if you use Hootsuite or similar for bulk scheduling and posting. It can be very interesting to see your most effective blog post titles, or most popular tweets. And that gives you confidence to focus your efforts.
Persistence is key
Before you begin take stock of your online presence. Make sure your website showcases your brand to best advantage, and that you can easily capture leads for new clients making enquiries. Consider how effective the 'Call to Actions' on your Homepage are.
Then make a start on actively marketing your business, and persevere! The short summary:
- Step one: Write a blog post from your perspective on something that inspires you.
- Step two: Use this content in your monthly email newsletter
- Step three: Post a link to your blog post out across your chosen social media channels
- Step four: Test and measure
- Step five: Rinse and repeat
There are many marketing gurus who can also help you get underway - we recommend the marketing webinars Addon Success offer for great tips.
If you're not spending time on marketing your competitors certainly are. Contact us here for a free website review.