By now, you’ve probably heard of “content marketing,” even if you’re not sure what it is or why it’s being talked about in the accounting industry. It’s not just jargon thrown around by marketing professionals, and it definitely has a place in your firm. Simply put, content marketing is connecting with your clients without pushing your services on them.
Because content marketing allows you to provide information to clients outside of the benefits of your services, it also serves to establish you as a trusted expert in your field. When you provide real information that clients can relate to and use, it shows them that you are invested in them as people and not just someone you can sell to. Once they see that they can trust you, your relationship will grow stronger.
How do you provide quality information that’s also useful? The first step is to get to know your clients. For many accounting professionals, this is no problem as they have long-standing relationships with their clients. The connections you have with your clients will provide valuable insight into their fears, questions and goals – key items to consider when putting together content for them.
For example, instead of generating materials promoting your tax services during busy season, try providing clients with information that they will want to read, such as common tax time mistakes and deductions and credits they may qualify for. Perhaps there are several types of questions you receive often from clients. Use those questions as a guide to draft communications to address those questions and other related topics.
Truly knowing your clients will also help you determine the best way to reach them. If your clients primarily interact with you through your client portal and social media, you can go beyond traditional email with your content marketing.
Chances are, you interact with your clients in different ways at different times. Your content marketing efforts should reflect this. A well-planned strategy will push the content your clients want when they want it where they want it. As you interact with your clients regularly, you can continue to get new ideas for your content.
When you focus on topics and areas that are of high interest to your clients, your content won’t sound like a sales pitch for your services. The services you provide will be in these same interest areas, and when you provide useful information, you are establishing trust and rapport. Furthermore, you are subtly telling your clients they can trust your services as well. You have shown them that you not only understand their issues and you have demonstrated your expertise, but you also are showing that you care about what’s important to them. This is huge in establishing and strengthening your client relationships.
Connecting with clients on a personal level will be fairly simple for many accounting professionals. Most of your clients already come to you for their personal and financial affairs, and because of this you know them by name. Content marketing allows you to take this a step further. It allows you to create content that can then be sent to clients to follow up on previous conversations.
Content marketing is not a sales pitch. It’s carefully thought out material designed to add value to your clients’ lives. While it might seem like “one more thing to do” – and can even be a bit daunting if you dread writing (after all, you signed up for numbers, not words) – sharing content is essential to strengthening your client relationships. It not only positions you as a trustworthy source among your clients, but it also provides them with helpful information from someone they can trust.
Taija Jenkins is an assistant editor for CPA Practice Advisor.