Marketing is a lot less complicated than you may have been led to believe.
Essentially, marketing is:
- Identify your target market (those people who will value your expertise and skills, and of course those who can afford you)
- Discover the fears, frustrations, needs and wants of your target audience
- Develop a plan to get in front of them on a regular basis
And this is marketing. BUT you cannot stop here, you then need to:
- Convert them into paying clients by having an elegant sales process
- Have a way to continually follow up with those who are not ready to work with you
- Continue to position yourself as the authority in the market place
And finally, once you have a client, you need to be remembered and referred.
- The magic really happens when you get remembered and referred by people who are not even your target market, and they know you because you have positioned yourself as an authority with your marketing.
Over the next 10 series of articles I will be sharing with you 100 ways to market your accounting firm to your ideal prospects, elegantly convert them into clients and be remembered and referred.
So let’s dive into part one of how to market your accounting firm:
1) Create A Product/Service That Is Suitable For Your Clients, Not One That You Want To Deliver.
All too often I see accountants relying on commoditised services to grow their practice when really your clients want a Trusted Advisor. After surveying hundreds of small businesses, over 50% of them felt that they were not getting enough support from their accountant in terms of advice and help. So rather than create a service that you want to deliver, ask your clients what they need and want.
2) Don’t Sell To Everyone.
Your service may be suitable for everyone, but it will be perfect for a certain niche. Understanding what you excel at, and understanding how you can provide huge value for a certain subsection of the population, will make your marketing more focused. To be truly successful you need to focus on this subsection, and forget the rest.
3) Know What Factors Influence Your Clients Hiring Decisions.
Client’s will typically hire an accountant based one or all of the following factors:
- Your experience in their industry or business
- Overall cost or fees
- Experience in overcoming their problem
- Overall value of the service
- Written proposal
- Professional brochure
- Quality of the accountants website
- Reputation in the market place
- Buying experience
4) Clarity Of Your Marketing Message.
OK, so we know an accountant is an accountant. But why should we choose you? If you are wishy-washy and unclear on your message we don’t know why to choose you as our accountant, and it is difficult to distinguish your service from any other. Your marketing message needs to quickly and easily describe what you do, and position you as the go-to person to overcome their pains.
5) Find Under-Served Niches.
To succeed in a big way you need to find an under-served niche and position yourself as the authority in that. If you target a saturated and noisy market, you will find it hard to be heard above the noise, so be clever and do something different to what other accountants are doing.
6) Get Known In Your Niche.
Seek every opportunity to speak, write, and share your insights and knowledge with your target audience and position you/your business as the authority. The greater the “expert” profile you have with your chosen niche the more likely they are to do business with you.
7) Know Your Competition.
This is one of the most overlooked steps in marketing an accounting firm. Many practitioners don’t have any idea who their real competition is, and this leaves them competing on price and losing out on business. They also miss opportunities to fill the gaps that their competitors haven’t filled. When a prospect wants to know what you do better than the competition, you are left at a disadvantage if you do not know what differentiates you. Here are some key things you need to know about the competition:
- What is their service/products?
- What is their revenue?
- Have they grown or shrunk over the past 12 months, and over the past 5 years?
- What is their market share?
- Are they international service providers, national or local providers?
- What is their reputation with their clients?
- How do they keep their clients loyal?
- Do you provide better customer service/customer journey?
8) Be Specific About Your USP.
A USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is how you show the benefits of the service being marketed. It’s not enough to say “ We deliver the best service” or “we offer the best price”. That won’t set you apart from the competition and will keep you scrambling for the left over clients. You need to create a “hook” that motivates people to do business with you, rather than being bland and missing out on opportunities.
9) Don’t Wait For Referrals – Ask For Them.
A referral is someone doing your sales and marketing for you at no cost and because they want to. Their experience of your service was so positive that they want to share it with other people.
Referrals are the single fastest and easiest way for any accountant to build deep relationships, earn more money and enjoy the freedom they desire.
Before you ask for referrals be sure you have a clear niche, message and that you are delighting your clients, rather than merely pleasing them.
10) Use Speaking To Reach A Bigger Audience.
One of the best ways to create a lasting impression on a decision maker is to let them experience your expertise. They can’t do this until they hire you, so the second best way is to get in front of them through speaking opportunities. You can do this at a conference, seminar, presentation, or event, or even online via webinar. By listening to you speak or to your presentation they will see you are an authority and will form an impression on you and your firm. If you create a positive one, you will have more prospects than you can handle.
As we go through the 100 ways to market your business make sure you tick off the ones you do, and work on the points that you are not currently implementing. These first 10 marketing ideas should set you off on the right track.
If this has highlighted some gaps and you would like to asses your marketing and maximise your practice profit and growth I have a few spaces in my diary each month for complimentary Profitable Practice Audits, where I spend 60-90 minutes with you looking at where you are in your firm, where you would like to be and what is missing and needs implementing to reach your 12 month goals. At the end of this time together we will have created a plan for the next 3-12 months that you can either go away and implement yourself, or we can implement together if we are a good fit.