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Marketing for accountants: strategies for smaller firms

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Many smaller accounting firms rely on word of mouth to get new clients — often with good results. According to NAB’s industry report, around one in two businesses found their accountant through recommendation or referral, making the word of mouth a powerful strategy.1

But imagine how much your practice can grow, if you can reach out to the businesses that look for an accountant differently.

That’s why marketing for accountants — with digital and face to face strategies appropriate for the scale of your practice — is so important.

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Where to start

It starts with knowing your target market. If you don’t know who your customers are, such as their life stage, interests and the things that keep them up at night, then it’s difficult to produce marketing material that’s relevant to them.

Since a dedicated marketing coordinator is often impractical and unaffordable for a smaller accounting firm, it’s a good idea for your team to put together a plan, so it’s clear when and how the business will be marketed.

Digital strategies

Standing out online is essential because that’s where your customers spend their time.

It’s not all about social networking though. Begin with managing your Google listing, then consider email marketing and LinkedIn or Facebook.

An accurate Google listing is essential because most web traffic comes from search engines.2 If you create a listing on Google My Business with correct contact details, then you’ll be found more easily. You can ask your customers to leave reviews and ratings too, and this will have similar effects as the word of mouth.

Next up is email marketing. It’s an effective way to engage your audience as statistically, around one in five subscribers will open your emails.3

But your content needs to be valuable and relevant to have an impact. For example, a round-up of the latest budget announcements and their likely effects would probably interest many people. The key takeaway is tailoring your communication to the target audience.

Social networks are undoubtedly powerful platforms to connect with others, but they are also time consuming. Whichever network you choose, you’ll need to use it regularly, monitor your account and respond to comments and feedback. That’s why it’s a good idea to focus your initial efforts on one platform only — probably Facebook or LinkedIn — depending on where you expect your customers to be. For more information, CPA Australia offers in-depth guidance and even sample posts.

Raising your profile face to face

Despite the growth of digital strategies, marketing for accountants involving face to face interactions remain pivotal. For example, attending and speaking at local events can raise your accounting firm’s profile amongst the community significantly. Running workshops establishes your practice as experts in the field. Additionally, regular quality conversations with clients and business partners can deepen relationships and generate additional sales.

Outsource or not?

There’s no escaping that marketing requires time and effort, but you risk being left behind with a haphazard approach. Many accounting firms lighten the load by outsourcing their digital and social media marketing, or buy ready-made email content.

Look, there’s no single approach to marketing for accountants — so just get started and see what works best!

1Key Insights into the Australian Accounting Industry“, NAB Professional Services, 2018

247 SEO Statistics That Will Absolutely Shock You in 2019“, Joel House Search Media, 2019

3Australian Email Benchmarks 2020: by Day and Industry“, Campaign Monitor, 2020

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