Positioning the services of accounting firms
We’ve successfully helped hundreds of accountants and accountants, small business owners and accounting firms embark on their advisory journeys and advance their capabilities. But, it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. How you position your new way of working will impact how open your clients will be to taking up your accounting advisory services. It’s an exciting new journey so put that on full display.
Getting your marketing for accounting right will help you increase revenue, retention and improve the value of your services to your clients.
Read on to learn how to position your new advisory services to your clients, defining your brand, creating content, and our fail-safe tips for a social media member.
Positioning advisory the right way for your firm - good marketing for accountants
Pitching advisory isn’t like signing new clients and accounting professionals up for compliance and tax services. Advisory is something you need to introduce and demonstrate the benefits to your clients.
However, making advisory an integral part of your client acquisition discussions has a significant impact on both the success rate of new client wins and the speed with which they sign up.
What keeps your client awake at night? A dream of having more stores? The fear that they may not be able to pay this month’s bills? A shocking 69% of business owners are kept awake by cash flow concerns, for example. That’s why your clients need these services.
As an advisor, your role is to help your clients succeed and get the best from their business. Lift the lid on what it is that your client wants to achieve. Pique their curiosity with how you can help their business succeed and how they can become more successful business leaders, and worries subside.
Show them the worth of your services, and they won’t be able to say no.
Start with your brand
Your brand is the foundation of your marketing. Logos, brand colours, your website, social media and client-facing platforms all need to be synonymous. A seamless brand experience will tighten up your offering, showing that you’re professional and diligent.
If you’re still working these things out, that’s ok. If you head up or work in an established firm, this might have been done for you already. The important thing is to keep your brand unique, and consistent.
To carve out your brand, we’d recommend you establish the goals of your firm as your first step. Map out how they connect. Combine this with what you and your firm stand for and what sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand should be a representation of the people behind it, whether it's online or at industry events.
Cut the jargon
Getting your website up to date is a big job, but it’s an essential step.
In an ideal world, you’ll have the entire site reimagined to perfectly complement your offering. But at a minimum, create a section on your homepage to explain your services. Don’t forget to include images and visual prompts – they’re far more engaging than blocks of text.
Top tip: the names of your media files are read by Google and will increase your search position, so always name your images appropriately. Google won’t take a second look at image1.jpg.
Describe the value you can add to a business. Lead with the benefits and explain why each service you offer is so powerful for your clients.
You might want to write something along the lines of:
Our services look to the future, telling you where your business is going and how to best tackle upcoming challenges.
Whether you’re looking to improve the performance of your business, restructure your company or build a growth plan that minimises risk and maximizes potential, talk to our team today.
Then add in a contact button below to prompt action. Most business owners don’t know what the word ‘advisory’ means, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it or need it. Speak in your clients’ language and make it clear what you want them to do.
Find your own style and approach and make sure you and your team collaborate on it. Test out your writing skills by asking your team to proofread and suggest additions or amendments.
Share your expertise with others in accounting
Once you’ve mastered your website, you can start converting visitors into clients. It’s time to make some noise about your new way of working.
Include insightful blog posts on your site too. They’re engaging content for sharing on social media and can draw in prospective clients who weren’t even looking for your services. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways of hooking in people to your website, as well as showing your knowledge, so set aside a bit of time every month to get writing.
The more (and better) content you’re creating, the better your website will rate on search engines, too. Write your posts and pages with this in mind, and use the keywords related to the content and your industry as much as possible to improve your ranking.
If creating content isn’t going to fit in your schedule, try out a tool like BOMA. They specialise in content marketing for accountants that don’t have time to produce their own. They also offer a stock image library, plus email and social media services too.
The place to be: social media
Your target demographic, no matter the industry they’re in, also for accounting, is fast becoming the millennial generation. And this generation is used to convenience: ordering food, next day delivery, and instantaneous answers. Convenience and regular contact are becoming ever more important to your clients. The best place for this? Social media accounts.
It seems like a daunting task but, social media is easy to populate, once you’re in the habit. Including content from inside your company can encourage great engagement from your clients, and improve your brand’s image. Posting pictures from staff events and client meetings is a simple start.
We’ll cover the two primary categories of social media, organic and paid. Simply put, organic is free, paid is, well… paid.
Organic social media
Your first port of call is to decide which social networks you want to utilise. Rather than spread yourself too thin by trying to engage with all of them, pick two or three that are the most relevant to your business, industry and target audience.
To help you decide, we’ve outlined the main platforms below with their key features and audiences.
- A fast-growing network, with over 500 million users
- A business-focused social network
- Professional audience across many industries and disciplines
- Good for B2B interactions
- Not great for B2C engagement
- 60% of LinkedIn users are on mobile
- Images use a lot of mobile screen space – great for catching attention
- The largest social network with 1.7 billion users
- Great for engaging Generation X and Baby Boomers
- Highest reach to interactions ratio (people tend to have the most connections on Facebook vs other platforms)
- Good organic reach for B2B
- Notably more effective with a paid budget
- Best platform for click-through engagement. Thus, good for promoting your website and blog
- Funny, insightful and informative posts get the most engagement
- Tweets with video attract 10x more interaction
- Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement of those without. That being said, Tweets with three or more hashtags see a 17% drop in engagement
- Asking questions and running polls is a great way to increase interactions and gauge opinion from your audience
- Highly visual network
- Great for photos and video
- Not optimum for driving website traffic (you can’t include links in your posts)
- Instagram’s algorithm is driven by engagement stats – increased engagement improves your position on a user’s feed
- Interacting with others’ posts encourages reciprocation
- Including questions can drive engagement
- The video social network
- Highly engaged audience
- A video is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google than a regular website page.
- Requires significant time and monetary investment to regularly produce video content
- Pages that host video content attract 3 times more inbound links than those without video
- Including a subtitle file in your upload can increase your search engine position.
Organic social is perfect for firms trying to increase their branded presence and engagement with their current client profile. However, in the past few years, social media sites have been remodelling their algorithms to show users the content they think they care most about. This has made it harder for brands to reach new audiences, and cut through the noise.
This doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great results without a budget, but if you can find a budget for paid social advertising, you’ll likely see even better results.
Paid social media
The major advantage of paid social media is that it allows audience targeting. With so many individuals and institutions clamouring to be heard, getting your posts in front of the right people at the right time is increasingly tricky without spending a buck or two.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have different demographics and ways of targeting. Whether you want to focus on an audience with a specific set of interests, a particular age group, or region in the world, paid social gives you the ability to really hone in on particular segments.
Another big benefit of paying to promote posts is that your content will reach a much wider audience than just your current followers. This is important if one of your campaign goals is to generate new client leads or increase your brand awareness.
Before getting started with Facebook advertising, you’ll need a Facebook page set up (you’ll also need this for organic). Then, creating a Facebook Ads Manager Account allows you to set up and monitor your ad campaign. Set an objective for your campaign and decide from a variety of options including increasing your leads, traffic, or engagement.
It’s up to you whether you want to specify where your ads will display (Facebook newsfeed, Instagram, in-stream video, etc) or if you’re happy to let Facebook decide where it feels they’ll perform best.
Set your campaign budget and your bid limit – this is how much you want to pay for each ad. Paid social is scalable so it can accommodate even modest budgets (this is especially true with boosting organic posts).
You can create new ads, or use your existing posts. Upload a single image, multiple images, a video, or slideshow. Consider what visual medium best serves your ad, target audience and campaign goals. Facebook penalises images that include a lot of text – so keep graphics simple and let the visuals do the talking.
Alternatively, you can boost organic posts with a budget to reach a wider audience, outside of your following. You’ll occasionally receive notifications if an organic post is doing especially well, with the option to boost – this should tell you what kind of content your audience wants to see and what’s worth boosting.
Decision number one: decide if you want to promote your tweets or your profile.
- Promoting your tweets will showcase specific bits of content in users’ Twitter feeds or search results, this is a good option for generating leads.
- Promoting your profile will showcase your page in the ‘Who to Follow’ section, this best serves aims like growing your online following.
Twitter’s targeting varies from the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn. As user’s store little personal information on their Twitter, targeting is based on what their interests are, keywords they’re searching for, or a popular profile they’re following. You can also specify the location of the users you want to target, so think about where your firm is based and the geographic area that your current client base covers.
Your budget defines how much you’re willing to pay for a new follower or click-through to your website. Surprisingly, you can do a lot with a little!
Create a Campaign Manager account in LinkedIn to manage advertising – it’s quick and simple to set up.
LinkedIn supports in feed ads, or if you want to personalise your advertising, consider sponsored InMail, which sends content straight to a user’s LinkedIn inbox. Otherwise, you can promote an existing post from your company’s LinkedIn page, or you can create new content to put some money behind with Campaign Manager.
Your budget can be set daily, or determined for an overall time period. With the ability to amend as you go, you can make your budget go further.
Our top paid social tips:
- Always ensure your tweet copy clearly communicates what you want the user to do. Examples of strong call-to-action are “try today”, “sign up”, “give us a call now”, etc.
- Create multiple versions of an ad to see which one performs best. After a few weeks, stop running the less successful ads, refining your campaign and saving money.
- Avoid constant tinkering, as it will affect your ads’ rating. Let ads run for a week, and then review, make any edits and then let them work their magic.
- Keep your post/ad copy short and succinct, your visuals eye-catching and always include a call to action.
You could create an ad campaign to directly promote your advisory services. But you don’t always need to go in for the hard sell. Creating ads around a unique piece of content – an ebook, for example – can be a great way to generate new leads. Users will have to sign up with their email address to access the free piece of content, and voila – you’re building your contact list!
Combining a number of marketing strategies across multiple platforms will enhance your reach and ensure that both your current, and prospective customers can engage with your firm, and see the best in your services.