How do you take that extra step to enter a new phase of growth?
You’ve built your firm from the ground up, established a good reputation, and have a steady stream of work from a reliable client base. But how do you take that extra step to enter the next phase of growth?
At this point, it’s time to start thinking bigger, working on your long-term business goals, streamlining your internal processes, and looking at ways to attract new or higher-value clients.
In this age of online connectivity and remote working, the key to that final point is digital marketing.
Gone are the days when location was the deciding factor in choosing an accountant – when a business owner would simply look to their local high street to find someone to manage their finances.
Remote, digital accounting has opened up more choice for clients, which means more competition for accountants.
Often, a major barrier to accountancy firms’ growth is their reliance on local networks, and their lack of visibility beyond that. Your current clients might already be convinced of your expertise, but how can you demonstrate it to people across the country who are looking for services like yours?
For various reasons, digital marketing starts with your website. It’s the one bit of digital real estate you can really own.
As a central point of information about your firm online, this should be easy to find, clear to navigate, and reflective of your core values.
With strategies like content creation and SEO optimisation, you can then drive visitors towards your website.
Social media is also a powerful tool to build your online presence – in fact, our research suggests this is one of the most common ways for SME owners to find an accountant, second only to personal recommendations.
Remember that your social media efforts need to be well thought out and sustained to really be effective. Setting up a Twitter account that you only update once in a while just won’t cut it.
Events, both digital and in-person, are another way to take your marketing efforts to the next level and get yourself known among new audiences.
And if you’re already comfortable with content creation through your website’s blog, broadening your output to more specialist, long-form pieces could give you an edge.
Producing eBooks or white papers, for example, can help you to focus on a client niche, answer questions that are important to them, and establish your position as an expert in their field.
Some accountants worry about giving away too much information for free, but the idea behind all of this content isn’t to teach your clients to do your job for you.
Perhaps you’ve already been writing the odd bit of content for your blog or putting client newsletters together during quiet moments. Or maybe a junior member of staff is managing your web presence alongside their main job.
This might make sense for new firms that don’t have the resources for a comprehensive digital marketing campaign.
But once you’ve reached a certain level of growth, it makes sense to think about how the time you’re spending on those tasks could put to better use.
In most cases, if you want more than one marketing service, the best-value option is to engage the services of a specialist agency.
Just as you would urge a business owner to come to you with their accounts rather than figuring it out themselves, it makes sense to rely on the experts when it comes to digital marketing.
And when you weigh up the cost of those services versus the value you get from the time you spend on your own client work, you might find that outsourcing isn’t nearly as expensive as you think.
Plus, when it comes to return on investment on marketing, the data speaks for itself. Based on our own data, we’ve found that accountants who have a website along with a blogging or SEO service have 167% more website visits and 85% more conversions than our client average.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should go with the first agency or marketer you see. It’s important to spend some time researching different agencies, looking at their customer reviews and previous work, and talking with them to ensure they’re a good fit.
Come to these conversations prepared with a clear idea of what you need, what your budget is, and which questions you want to ask.
A good agency will be open and communicative, receptive to your questions and clear about what they’re offering you. They’ll work with you to understand your goals and requirements, before shaping a project around those needs.
We’re in the business of helping accountancy firms grow through data-driven marketing.
Our new eBook, How to attract higher fee clients and grow your firm, is a practical ‘how-to guide’ packed with ideas and processes for growing your firm through winning higher fee-paying clients and is available for download.
ACCA has partnered with PracticeWeb on a series of bite-size podcasts that will put you in control of how you grow your practice. The introductory podcast is now available and we'll dive into five further podcasts on how to use marketing to win the business you want, whether you should become a specialist firm with a niche focus, how to create a marketing strategy and plan for your practice, how marketing can help overcome the price objection, and how to market your firm on a budget.
Subscribe on your preferred platform to get notifications when each new podcast drops.
Mike Crook – managing director, PracticeWeb