We know accountants are not marketing experts, which is why this was such a powerful topic for so many on our weekly tweetchat a few weeks ago. When you think of the stereotypical accountant, you think of someone that is shy and reserved. This is usually because most accountants are introverts. So, when you start talking about marketing, a lot of accountants would much rather put their heads back in the numbers.
Marketing your services can be hard, so we started this conversation to get some advice from our #QBOchat community.
Q1: What are your most common marketing issues that you face?
The biggest hurdle that many accountants have is finding the time. This might be because they are trying to avoid putting themselves out there or they don’t know where to start. Many suggested getting a marketing plan in place so that you can streamline your processes and focus on what makes you different.
@damiengreathead “A marketing plan doesn’t need to be elaborate, just a set of consistent activities.”
For many accountants getting visibility in the market can be difficult. The type of visibility can differ from accountant to accountant, firm to firm, but some brand recognition is needed so that clients even know that you are out there.
@megsquito “Getting your name out there is definitely the hardest and biggest first step, but never give up and always keep trying!”
Remember when getting your name out there, that you want to focus on what message you are trying to get across. This is why it is important to know your value proposition and your differentiators.
One other issue is that there are so many avenues to market your services that it is hard to know what creates the best results. If you do have a marketing plan in place, this can help you focus your efforts. And remember to always clearly define your expectations and measure your results to see if you are marketing in the right place and right way.
Q2: What are some ways you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
So many people said that it is important to have a niche and this is a great way to focus your marketing. If you become known in the industry as the “Go To” accountant, that can be a way to get new clients. Accountants can use different platforms to help get their name out there as an industry expert. Our community recommended by just starting on different community forums answering questions and simply having your information included in your signature line.
@receipts_john “Twitter = free marketing and just the first step to getting you name out there as a firm and an ‘influencer'”.
Another way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to show how you can outshine them with your customer service. Selling yourself to a client doesn’t stop when they sign up as a client. You constantly have to remind them why it was such a great decision to choose you as their accountant. Demonstrate outstanding customer service with turnaround time, same day return calls, etc.
Q3: How/where do you find business leads?
Our #QBOchat community had a wide range of answers to this questions. Remember, your marketing plan should embrace where you are currently finding clients and new avenues to explore. Here are the examples our audience gave us:
- Social Media
- Word of Mouth
- ProAdvisor Website
- Current Customers
- Google Local Listing
- Joining Online Conversations
- Other Pro Programs
- Strategic Partnerships (Tax firms, Consultants, etc)
Q4: What tips and tricks do you have for accountants marketing their business?
@austinnexus “Be specific and intentional – market yourself and your unique services to types of clients you really want to serve.”
We got a lot of tips relating to accountants’ web presence and how to incorporate that into your marketing plan.
@fitintuit “I see so many folks struggle with building a great website, and then updating it. Websites aren’t meant to be a finished product!”
Make sure you are looking at your website and determine if it is attracting your preferred audience. Do you have a clear value proposition at the top of your site? Are you attracting millennials and younger clients? Are you creating content that people are interested in reading and sharing? Is your site easy to read and navigate? There are so many questions that accountants should be asking themselves.
@getclockshark “If you have an existing website, make sure it’s optimized for mobile. Google has started penalizing sites that are not.”
Of course it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything you need to stay on top of, so don’t be afraid to hire a professional when you need help. There are many businesses out there that are ready to help you with your marketing just like you are ready to help all those businesses with their accounting.
@jarrettdubya “Be conscious of the laws surrounding email marketing. Especially in other countries.”
Q5: How do you utilize social media to market your business?
Social media is still a fairly new marketing forum for accountants and many are still trying to figure out its best use. It is important to be open minded to the different platforms and look for a place where you and your firm are the best fit.
@abacus “Try to be relevant. It’s a conversation, don’t jump in unless you want to listen and participate.”
Using social media is a great way to share your knowledge with others, but remember that it is supposed to be social. That means that you are trying to create a conversation (or engagement) with your audience. Don’t spend all your time yelling the same content to them, try to find ways to get people to respond to you.
@IQBoxy “Use social media as a tool to help people solve their pains which indirectly markets your service.”
And, that wraps up our recap of our #QBOchat on Marketing Tips & Tricks for Accountants. You can read the full transcript here. We would love to hear your comments! Share them below or tweet us using the #QBOchat hashtag. Your comments might spark a great conversation!