Even if you're running a small accounting business, you should allocate a certain portion of your resources towards marketing your services. And that doesn’t even mean money – marketing doesn't have to cost much, but it takes some time to develop a strategy that works. Some investment will be necessary – you cannot make money without putting in some first.
Here are 7 smart marketing and PR tactics for small accounting firms that want to capture market share and attract new clients.
1. Rock your LinkedIn profile
You probably have a profile on LinkedIn, but when was the last time you updated it? That's right, it's probably been ages. This is a serious mistake since LinkedIn is considered the most popular professional network out there. All content on LinkedIn is searchable, so in order to be found by potential business prospects, your profile needs to be optimized.
Make sure to create a great headline that includes keywords describing your work. It needs to be interesting and catchy – after all, it's displayed right next to your name. Make sure that your profile photo is current and professional. Write a summary and paste it into the bio or resume section of your profile, ensuring that it's on point and well-written. Include links to all your social media profiles in the contact info section. Ask colleagues and clients for recommendations.
2. Participate on social media
Social media are the best platforms to start your marketing activities. A profile on LinkedIn isn't enough, so have a look around to see which networks are popular in your niche. Widen your presence by setting up profiles and actively participating in the life of the community. Make sure to update your status on a regular basis, offer helpful advice in online conversations and share your expertise.
If you've set your eyes on Twitter, you should establish a certain tweeting routine – it's best to use a social management suite to preschedule your tweets. Tweeting will help you to build a community of followers. All content in your posts is searchable, so use relevant keywords in order to be found.
Facebook might be a good fit for you, but before you create a profile, make sure that you're ok with sharing personal information. In order to create a business page, you'll need a personal profile first. You'll also need time to update the page – you can do it through your social media management tool.
Pinterest is an interesting option. Today the network is a giant in the making, gaining more and more popularity among different audiences. The content is completely searchable, so use it to pin some of your best content like blog posts, Slideshare presentations or guest posts.
Ever considered setting up an account on YouTube? You probably don't know it, but YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. Producing your own videos with a smartphone or a video-editing tool, you'll easily create your own channel to promote your expertise in content of various forms.
3. Ask your current clients for referrals
It's a great idea to ask people and businesses with whom you're currently collaborating to recommend you to a friend or colleague. If you've had a great collaboration, this should be something they'll be wiling to do for you – asking them won't cost you money or effort.
If you've got a returning client, consider giving them a discount. You can also offer promotions for clients who bring in new customers – for instance, take 10% off the monthly retainer.
4. Network with people in your sector
Even if accounting professionals are not your typical extrovert types, they can get by just fine with their people. You cannot hide in your office and just expect the phone to ring. These days most accounting professionals like to be active in their niche and network with business prospects in this area.
If you like working with fashion designers and other creatives, you should have a look on the web to find local meetups for people in this sector and attend these meetings to get to know more people in the industry. Mixing up with this lot will take some time, but your effort will be repaid once you network new clients into your services.
5. Share success stories and case studies
Forge and cultivate relationships with your clients – this will give you some great opportunities for gathering stories about accounting challenges businesses face day to day. Sharing them together with solutions which you proposed and implemented will act as case studies and success stories in one, demonstrating your expertise.
Of course, the names of your clients cannot be disclosed in such discussions, but these problems can become the foundation of helpful blog posts which you can then share on social media. This is easily the best basis for your content marketing. Interesting challenges and unusual solutions will show everyone your knowledge and capabilities.
6. Create a great company website
If you think that a simple website is enough, you're making a huge mistake. When was the last time you added new content to your website? If you haven’t updated it for a while, you cannot expect it to score high in search engine rankings. Here's how to revamp your website to attract new clients and offer an engaging experience to visitors.
Make sure to add contact information in a spot which is easily recognizable on your site. Include links to your social media profiles. It's best to keep basic content short, 2 or 3 paragraphs at the most. Use a design which inspires trust in people – a template website is alright, but only as long as you warm it up with customized content.
If you don't want to spend resources on professional webmasters and developers, just use WordPress. It's a user-friendly platform that allows to change every single aspect of your website in a matter of minutes.
7. Develop a marketing strategy
Finally, every accounting professional needs a solid marketing plan in place. You need to develop a road map to success and establish basic rules about communicating with prospective clients. This kind of plan will help you to create client profiles and gather lots of valuable information for further marketing efforts.
It's clear that without a plan and defined marketing process you won't be able to track and measure your success and ROI. And this is something every accounting professional likes to know. You need a reliable mechanism for judging success and a marketing strategy will act as your best source of information.
Accounting businesses are often considered one of the boring industries which have nothing to offer in content marketing and no potential ways to engage business prospects. But this is simply not true. There are many breeds of accounting professionals who want to be tied to specific industries – marketing your services to a target audience will help you to specialize and get known in these circles as a professional with high qualifications and considerable expertise.
About the author: Carol Williams a team member at Honeybells - fruit shipping company from Florida. She is a seasoned marketing specialist and a passionate writer who likes to share her knowledge with others.