We live in a digital world. And yet, the marketing plans of many accounting firms are still analog. They spend thousands of dollars on printed brochures and rely on referrals and word of mouth to scale and grow. Those methods have certainly been effective in the past. But what got you to where you are now won’t necessarily get you to where you want to go in the future.
According to Thomson Reuters, 85% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase — 60% when looking at accounting services alone. If your firm’s marketing plan doesn’t adapt to the digital world, you’re missing out on major growth opportunities.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Create a client-centric website
CPA firm websites tend to fall into one of two extremes: bare-bones sites with little more than contact information, or overloaded sites with more information than any prospective client needs, wants or can navigate with ease.
Work with a web designer, developer and your marketing team to create a website with an attractive layout and mobile-friendly design. Make sure current and prospective clients can easily find the information they’re looking for and schedule an appointment.
Become a trusted guide
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful marketing tool. Before anyone decides to engage your firm, they research your business online. This research helps validate their decision to work with you, so create valuable content and share it across your website and social media channels. This improves SEO and establishes your people as trusted guides who help their clients reach their goals.
Unfortunately, few busy professionals have the time to create valuable content regularly. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Hire a writer, work with a freelancer or partner with a company that can help you create fresh, original content each month.
Avoid using a newsletter service that provides the same stale articles to every firm. Sharing the same content as everyone else actually harms your SEO efforts and doesn’t do anything to help establish your expertise.
Leverage social media
According to Hootsuite, 44.8% of the world’s 4.2 billion social media users use social media to search for brand information.
Investing in social media marketing and managing your social media accounts effectively allows you to engage with clients and prospects and build social proof.
In a marketing context, social proof is evidence that other people know and trust your brand and have purchased and found value in the services you offer. You build social proof when you engage with social media followers and share client testimonials and other valuable content on your social media channels.
Create automated email marketing campaigns
Email marketing is an effective way to make existing clients aware of other services you offer and generate leads from your website.
Integrate lead magnets and drip campaigns into your digital marketing strategy. Lead magnets encourage website visitors to subscribe to your email list in exchange for a valuable piece of content, like white papers or checklists. Drip campaigns are a triggered sequence of automated emails sent on a predetermined schedule to target email subscribers. And according to Martech Zone, an effective drip campaign can generate 80% more sales than a single marketing email.
An email marketing platform can automate your email campaigns and analyze results to help you track the success of your efforts.
Digital marketing isn’t a differentiator — it’s a foundational pillar for any successful firm in today’s increasingly digital world. Incorporate these digital marketing tactics in your firm to become a trusted authority in the profession. As with any initiative, it takes time. But stay the course, and you will find many more opportunities with clients in need of accounting, tax and advisory services.
Jim Boomer is the CEO of Boomer Consulting, Inc.
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