In the eat or be eaten business world out there, getting any traction can be challenging, no matter how great of an accounting firm you are. With digital becoming the air we breathe, dictating the ins and outs of powerful business presence, there’s very little space for anything but staying on-trend and applying those trends to your business.
And the competition? It’s an ever-worrying factor, for sure – especially if they know what they are doing. On that note, the question is no longer “are you good”, but “are you good enough to withstand the winds of constant change and stand out despite it”. So, are you?
Before we dig into that, let’s tackle some critical aspects of digital marketing that your accounting business will benefit from.
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
No digital marketing success exists without a proper digital marketing strategy. But, what’s a digital marketing strategy, anyway?
It is a blueprint of everything you want to achieve – from your general campaign goals and strategies to the audience you hope to reach and ways you’ll measure your success. When executed well, a digital marketing strategy makes for a perfect mixture of your experience and expertise blended with your unique perspective that’ll help you get some new clients and keep the old ones.
Does Every Business Need to Have a Unique Digital Marketing Strategy?
While there are some general pointers that are the base of any digital marketing strategy, every business requires a unique approach that’ll work for that business only. Plenty of strategizing depends on your firm’s ultimate goals, your budget, readiness, on how fast you need to achieve your goal and plenty of other different factors.
The tricky part is that there are plenty of faux marketing services out there selling the story that updating your social profiles and blogging a few times a month will get your business to shine, which is untrue. Although this approach does play a significant part in any company’s growth, it is not the only thing you need to succeed.
How’s This Related to Accounting?
As an accountant, your primary goal is to secure your client’s financial prosperity and advise in the direction that’s best for their overall budget and visibility. To be able to do that, that is, to get your clients to actually trust your advice, you need to lead by example.
What does that mean, exactly? It means you need to run your own business in a digitally optimized way, to have a good way of marketing your business and an image that goes for days. It is no secret that a shining reputation will get clients to knock on your door, but unless you maintain that reputation, it’s all short-lived.
What Does It Mean to Grow an Accounting Business in the Digital Age?
Like with any other business that’s looking to thrive, you need to have a robust online presence. Make no mistake, WOM (word of mouth marketing) is still not dead, but the new times have brought a different dynamic of communicating and getting what we want.
Essentially, when someone gets referred to you, they’ll immediately go online to check your business out and vet your online presence. In that sense, building a positive and strong impression is essential – not just for people who come to look for you online through recommendation but for everyone who’s browsing for accounting services and is looking to end up with a good firm.
Here are some tips you can use to get that visibility you need and use digital marketing to your advantage:
#1 Cover the Basics
Every good online presence starts with three things:
- Your firm’s website
- Quality content marketing
When that’s done properly comes paid search marketing (optional).
A good website is at the centre of your entire digital marketing strategy, as this is where you nurture and capture incoming leads. Other than looking great visually, the website needs to be user-friendly, easy to navigate, to capture the essence of your niche and offer answers to prospective clients.
The quality design calls for quality content, as the content is what keeps the clients interested in what you have to offer. Other than that, a well-optimized content (i.e., SEO friendly content) will help your website get positioned on Google, and therefore easier to find by potential clients. For all three, you need experts in their respective fields.
Once the first step of your digital marketing is done, you should focus on paid search marketing. In most cases, paid search marketing is optional and pretty much depends on your SEO expert’s preferences. However, it is still the most reliable way to get your marketing message in front of competent leads.
Investing in Google AdWords, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) advertising can get you far and help you start generating high quality leads. Again, this is something you should do in agreement with your SEO expert as they best know if and when the right time is for a business to turn to paid search marketing.
#2 Know Your Audience and Where to Find Them
Identifying your audience is just as important (if not even more important) than building an online presentation visually and content-wise. As an accounting firm, knowing who your audience is is directly proportional to the way you’ll be developing your marketing plan.
Make sure you know who you are targeting before you invest in any social media marketing.
#3 Paid Social Media Marketing
While traditional methods of advertising (flyers, business cards, etc.) are still around, they are not primary sources of good promotion. These days, people live on social media, and they choose platforms depending on their search needs. Creating a social media strategy is still the most affordable and most effective way to go about your advertising. In fact, it’s so powerful that people have been using it to win local elections!
Depending on your target audience, pick a network to start with and make it your focus group. The best professional platforms are LinkedIn and Facebook, but you can also use Instagram if that’s the direction you want to go in. If you are not experienced running social media platforms or are worried about how to build your connections on LinkedIn, hire a social media manager to help you out.
If your budget is too tight for such a commitment at this point, negotiate a part-time engagement or an engagement per project. An experienced social media manager will know exactly what to do to help you position your business online, just make sure you communicate your end goals and stay open for suggestions.
#4 Customer Insight & Predictive Analysis
Most accounting firms don’t have the answers to some of the basic industry questions. Queries like what accounting asset drives the most leads, what’s the industry’s average conversion rate, where their website conversion rate is, what next year’s trending investment events are, etc. tend to pose a problem. And while your accounting firm may be amazing at analyzing financial data, you need to dig into your own marketing analytics so you can stand against the competition.
There are plenty of great agencies to help you get this information and lead the way with your expertise and modern approach to business. FYI, measuring analytics is excellent for an additional thing – it makes measuring client behaviour much more manageable.
Not everyone’s a fan of the digital revolution, but everyone’s sure a part of it. If you use SEO for accountants in the right way, it can open up so much potential for your business and help you get the clients you deserve. Digital and social media marketing are allowing accountants to keep up to date with competitor activity, industry developments, and current and potential clients.