In 2022, 60% of accountancy firms in the UK said they were struggling to secure new clients. The catch is that many of them simply haven’t harnessed the power of effective marketing. As an accountant, numbers are your forte, but understanding marketing can be a different ball game.
We’ve found the best and most proven strategies to help accounting firms like yours grow. Check out our 2023 marketing guide to discover our insights.
How to Make a Marketing Plan For Your Accounting Firm?
Creating a marketing plan may sound complex, but it’s really about understanding the strengths of your business and the customers you want to reach. Before you decide on a marketing strategy for your accounting firm, you must create a solid marketing plan.
- Assessing Where Your Firm Stands Now
Before you decide on a marketing strategy, it’s essential to understand where your firm stands. You can conduct a thorough current state review, or what many call a ‘situation analysis’ to analyse this. This means taking a close look at your firm’s strengths and weaknesses. What has worked well for you? Where are there gaps that need to be addressed?
You should also consider external opportunities and threats. Are there new trends in accounting that you can take advantage of? Or are there new regulations that could change the way you work? Knowing what is happening around you is always good to stay ahead.
Taking the time to analyse the current situation of your business thoroughly will give you the insights you need to develop your marketing journey.
- Identifying Your Ideal Clients
Knowing who you’re speaking to is essential for your marketing efforts to deliver. Some clients may bring in more, while others may fit seamlessly with your company’s specialities.
So, how do you find the right target audience? Start by making a profile of your ideal client.
You can ask yourself questions like:
- What size of business do they run?
- Which industry are they in?
- What accounting challenges do they face?
- What values resonate with them?
Once you have a clear picture of your target client, every marketing material will have a focused direction.
- Setting SMART Goals for Your Accounting Firm
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. It’s a framework that transforms vague intentions into concrete plans.
- Specific: Instead of saying, “I want more clients,” consider, “I aim to gain 10 new small business clients in the next quarter.”
- Measurable: Formulate your goals in such a way that you can easily track progress. For example, in your marketing strategies, you might aim to increase traffic to your website by 15%.
- Achievable: Ambition is great, but too much ambition can lead to burnout. You should analyse your resources and set realistic goals.
- Relevant: Align your goals with the mission and vision of your firm. For instance, if you specialise in tax services for freelancers, it probably makes more sense to target this group than large corporations.
- Time-bound: Give your goals a deadline. This gives you a sense of urgency and purpose.
Setting SMART goals provides clarity. Not only does it help you focus your efforts, but it also provides a benchmark against which you can measure your successes and learn from failures.
- Assessing the Competition
You need to know what your competitors are doing for your accounting firm to shine. First, you need to identify who your direct competitors are. Once you have identified them, you should look into their services in more detail.
- Services & Pricing: What services do they offer, and at what price? This can help you find gaps in the market or areas where you can provide more value.
- Marketing Channels: Which platforms are they using most? This can give you ideas on where to focus your marketing energy.
- Client Feedback: You should look at reviews and testimonials. This feedback can be helpful in improving your services.
- Unique Selling Points (USPs): What makes them stand out? Is it their brand, their technical tools or maybe their client approach? Once you understand this, you can define or refine your USPs.
- Setting Your Marketing Budget
When it comes to marketing, your budget is the cornerstone. But how do you allocate funds efficiently so that every pound works in your favour?
Typically, start-ups spend around 12-20% of their total revenue on marketing. On the other hand, established accounting firms that are already well-known spend about 6-12% of their turnover.
If you have neglected your marketing efforts in the past, your budget may need to be increased accordingly. When setting your budget, you must consider costs such as revamping your website or user testing. If your social media presence is lacking, you should invest part of your budget in social ads to attract the followers you want.
- Track, Assess, and Adjust
Finally, your marketing plan should provide opportunities to monitor your campaigns, see their performance, and make changes as needed. You should review your campaigns regularly and note any areas that need attention. You can also use different analytics tools to measure the success of your marketing strategies.
Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Accounting Firm
Every accountant worth their salt wants to help their clients, but how you present your firm makes the difference. Marketing is like the voice of your business – it helps people understand who you are and why they should choose you. Let’s look at simple and practical strategies to help you stand out and attract more clients.
- Building a Strong Online Presence
A solid online presence isn’t just an option – it’s essential. For accountants like you, this means more than just having a website. It’s about creating a space where potential clients can easily get to know you, trust you and use your services.
Imagine a potential client looking for accounting services in their area. What do they see? Your firm’s digital footprint is often their first impression. So make sure your website is not only professional but also user-friendly. There are countless firms with broken and outdated websites, which if you’re trying to get more clients online, is a big no-no.
You should update your content regularly, make sure load times are up to scratch, check for broken links on the site and provide helpful information. There are plenty of guides out there on how to build an accountancy website that are pretty straightforward and won’t break the bank.
But, you shouldn’t limit yourself to your website. As an accountant, you should expand your online reach by maintaining active profiles on relevant social media platforms. Share success stories, post helpful tips and interact with your audience.
We understand that the vast majority of accountants are too busy dealing with client’s finances to sit there and design an awesome website to generate more leads. Hence hundreds of accountants turn to lead generation companies like us, to handle all the marketing stuff and bring the clients right to them.
- Using Social Media for Growth
Social media provides an extensive platform to showcase your firm’s expertise in a relaxed and engaging manner. A well-timed post on tax saving tips just before tax season can establish your firm as a helpful guide.
Start by finding out what platforms your potential clients use. LinkedIn, for example, is a fantastic place to connect with other professionals and share insights. On the other hand, you can use Instagram to give an insight into your company’s culture and make it more relatable.
But it’s not enough to post; you need to engage. Reply to comments, participate in discussions or even host a Q&A session. You should also invest some of your marketing budget in paid advertising. With a targeted ad campaign, you can increase your reach and bring your services to the attention of those who could benefit from them.
- Reaching Out with Direct Marketing
Direct marketing, often referred to as outbound marketing, is about approaching potential customers directly rather than waiting for them to find you. It’s more of a proactive approach. Find out how you can use direct marketing to attract more customers:
- Email Campaigns: Building a list of potential and existing customers and sending them regular newsletters, updates and offers can work wonders. This will keep your firm on top of their mind.
- Cold Calls: It may sound old-fashioned, but with the right approach and objectives, a well-timed phone call can open doors. When making these calls, remember it’s about adding value and solutions to the person on the other end of the line.
- Direct Mail: A tangible postcard or letter can stand out in an increasingly digital age. You can offer special promotions, share success stories or provide valuable tax-saving tips.
- Events and Workshops: You can be an expert in your field by organising or participating in financial and accounting events. This puts you in direct contact with potential clients and allows you to showcase your expertise.
- Trade Shows and Conferences: Even if it’s only a virtual event, being present at a place where businesses meet can raise your company’s profile and generate leads.
- Boosting Your Online Visibility with SEO
Think of the internet as a bustling high street. You want your accounting firm to be front and centre among the myriad of shops and easily found by potential clients. This is where SEO comes in. This is done by tailoring the content of your website to what search engines and users are looking for.
Just like identifying the most essential items in a financial report, it’s crucial to determine the keywords your potential clients will use while searching for accounting services. You can use free SEO tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to identify these keywords. Then seamlessly integrate these keywords into your website content, blogs and meta descriptions. But SEO isn’t just about inserting keywords. The content should be helpful and engaging. We could write a whole blog on how to create a good accountancy blog so it’s important to do your research.
Besides good content and targeted keywords, you also need quality backlinks on your website. Backlinks are something like professional referrals. When reputable sites link to your site, search engines consider your content more credible. You can contact established websites or write guest posts to cultivate these valuable links.
SEO is an ongoing process. Search engine algorithms change, as does user behaviour so you must keep up with the latest trends and adapt your SEO marketing strategies accordingly.
- Utilising Lead Generation Platforms
It would help if you reached the right people to grow your accounting firm. This is where lead generation platforms can be beneficial. These specific platforms and tools help businesses like yours contact potential clients actively looking for your expertise. At Compare the Accountant we provide thousands of leads to accountants all over the UK to help grow their firms.
The benefit of contacting a lead from a lead generation site is that they’ve already shown intent and a need for accounting services. This makes these calls much more profitable and less time-consuming than dull, cold calls
You can target individuals or businesses looking for accounting services with these platforms. This tailored approach can significantly increase your conversion rates. From LinkedIn’s advertising solutions to platforms like LeadFeeder that track website visitors, there are various tools on the market.
Additionally, you must use lead generation platforms to filter and find leads matching your accounting firm’s offerings. Once you identify potential leads, it’s time for you to engage with them. You can do this by calling them directly, text messages, emailing or sending them an invitation to a webinar.
- Using Newsletters to Engage with Clients
Regular communication is necessary to build lasting client relationships. If you do it right, newsletters can be a great way to connect with your customers regularly. You should send a concise, engaging newsletter to your existing and potential clients every month or quarter.
The newsletter should contain a carefully compiled collection of insights, tax-saving tips or an overview of the latest financial regulations. A personalised newsletter is the key to increased engagement.
Whenever possible, you should customise your content to different client segments. This highlights your expertise and adds consistent value to your clients’ inboxes.
- Leveraging Client Feedback Online
In today’s digital age, it’s almost second nature for clients to look for reviews before choosing an accounting firm. Online reviews are more than just star ratings; they’re stories from people who have experienced your services first-hand.
When potential clients see positive feedback about your services, it builds trust. Plus, online reviews can even influence how search engines rank your website. Frequent and recent positive reviews can increase your visibility on platforms like Google.
So, how can you get more of your clients to leave feedback? Just ask them about a successful consultation or completed project. Most will be more than willing to do so if they’ve had a positive experience. Also, ensure you have profiles on popular review sites relevant to your industry.
- Joint Marketing Initiatives
You can reach twice as many potential customers with half the effort through joint marketing with another partner firm. Co-marketing allows you to tap into another company’s target audience and double your exposure. For example, if you work with a financial planner or law firm, their clients can benefit from your accounting expertise and vice versa.
In addition, by working together, you share costs, effort and even creative ideation. This can lead to more valuable and efficient campaigns. If your accounting firm is comparatively new, co-marketing can help you build credibility.
So, how do you find the right companies to work with? Start by finding firms that align with your ethos and have a client base that could benefit from your services. Then, approach them with a clear, mutually beneficial proposal. You should keep the lines of communication open and set clear goals.
- Hosting Webinars
Webinars are becoming increasingly popular, offering professionals a platform to share knowledge and expertise. As an accountant, you have a wealth of information that can benefit individuals and businesses.
By hosting a webinar, you can demonstrate your accounting expertise and gain participants’ confidence. You aren’t only presenting your skills but also providing a service. You can educate participants on complex topics by breaking them down so they can understand.
With the proper promotion, webinars can attract participants from different locations. Not only can you target local clients, but you also have the opportunity to go global. It also allows you to collect information about the participants. This data is invaluable for follow-up communication or tailored marketing efforts.
- Email Marketing
A well-crafted email is still an effective tool for marketing accounting firms. With emails, you directly address a person’s personal space, their inbox.
When you email your clients, ensure you don’t just send a generic message. Segment your email list according to the client’s needs or previous interactions. It would help if you always tried to provide valuable advice or insight in your email. A monthly overview of tax changes or some handy year-end accounting tips could help your clients. Try to make your emails catchy too. We often see boring walls of text which we click away from after a first glance. Try using email templates or custom designs that have a sense of humour or concise information.
Email correspondence should be regular but not too extensive. Regular communication will ensure your client doesn’t forget you, but if you bombard them with daily emails, they will reach for the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
Using email marketing platforms like MailChimp, you can monitor your emails’ open rates, click-through rates and responses. You can include similar content in your next email campaign if a specific content or subject line is more popular.
- Using Client Referral Programmes
People are four times more likely to choose a business if it is recommended by someone they trust. A structured referral programme could be your ticket to capitalising on your organic growth.
Simply put, a referral programme is a structured approach to incentivising your existing customers to recommend your services to others. These incentives can take the form of discounted services or free consultations.
Referral programmes bring in new clients and build loyalty among your existing clients. It gives them a reason to talk about you, consider your services and actively engage in your growth.
Your referral programmes should be easy to use and mutually beneficial. You can regularly remind your clients about your referral programmes via email, during consultations or on your website.
- Building Credibility through an Online Learning Platform
People constantly seek ways to improve their financial skills and broaden their horizons. As an accountant, you can help people understand the complexities of finance and increase your credibility. Your audience will likely trust you and have great potential to convert into clients.
When you set up an online learning platform, you aren’t only promoting your business, you’re also providing a valuable resource. You must provide them with quality content and ensure the information is accurate, up-to-date and easy to understand. From bite-sized tutorials on financial software to comprehensive modules on tax laws, the content options are many.
It would help if you also tried to engage your learners. You can build a community by offering quizzes, downloadable resources, or even a discussion forum. This will make your accounting firm a hub for all things accounting.
- Using Charitable Acts to Get Your Firm Noticed
The reputation of your business plays a vital role if you want access to new clients. By getting involved with charitable causes, you can make a difference in your community and have a unique opportunity to show your company’s values and commitment to the good of society.
You can offer free financial literacy workshops for underprivileged communities or host a charity event. Such actions will win the goodwill of those you’re directly helping. If you do it right, they can make waves and attract potential clients who value businesses with a heart.
But how can you incorporate charity into your marketing plan without seeming disingenuous? It starts with choosing a project close to your firm’s heart or aligning with your professional values. If financial literacy is your passion, workshops or online webinars for the less fortunate are a good place to start.
A single charity event may attract some attention, but ongoing efforts cement your company’s reputation for being truly committed to the cause. It’s a win-win – your firm gets the attention, and the community benefits from your expertise and generosity.
Tips for Marketing Your Accounting Firm
Marketing may sound complicated, but breaking it down is about getting the right people to notice your accounting firm. Here are a few tips to remember, no matter your marketing strategies.
- Clarify your marketing objectives: Before you start, think about what you want. Is it more clients? Or perhaps a stronger online presence? If you set clear goals, you’ll have a better orientation for your efforts.
- Plan your strategy: Like in accounting, planning is crucial in marketing. Make a list of what you need to do – from sending emails to creating content – and how often you want to do it. This will be your guide.
- Maintain consistency: It’s not enough to send an email or post once on social media. The most important thing is that you do it regularly. Whether it’s newsletters, social media updates or webinars, stay active. Over time, people will notice your firm more.
- Diversify Your Content: Just as you wouldn’t eat the same thing daily, you shouldn’t use just one type of content. Try different things – a short video here an infographic there. This way, you can appeal to different kinds of customers.
- Be active on social media: Having a social media account is good, but being active is even better. Answer questions, join accountant groups and chat with others. This way, your business will be seen as friendly and approachable.
- Update your website: Your website is something like the online home of your business. Update it from time to time. Update its look or add new information so visitors always see your firm’s best version.
As an accountant, you already know the importance of numbers, precision and consistency. When you apply these principles to marketing your business, magic happens.
From setting clear goals and carefully planning your strategies to adapting to different media formats and having an inviting online presence, you have a blueprint for success. With the right marketing strategies, you can make sure your firm is seen, heard and chosen.