There are over 5.9 million private businesses currently operating in the UK, and almost every single one of them requires the services of an accountant. With this extensive market, many may wonder why an accountant would need to market themselves at all. In fact, smaller accounting firms are able to gain around 50% of their new clients through word of mouth alone. But what about the other 50% that don’t use referrals?
Sarah Kauter, MD of the PR and Marketing Agency, VerriBerri, has provided her professional insight on how you can benefit from a solid marketing strategy that promotes your vision for your business. Ultimately helping you to reach more potential clients and gain their custom.
Where to start?
First of all, it is essential that you define your business. Whilst you may be an accountant, labelling yourself as this alone will do you no favours if trying to effectively market your company. Instead, you should identify your key customer markets and determine what you specialise in – particular industries or specific business sizes, for example.
There are three steps that can help you focus in on this:
- Make an inventory of your skills
- Identify your customers needs
- Focus on what makes you stand out against others in the same market
By making an inventory of your skills, you can define exactly what you can offer your clients, which will ensure any marketing strategies you implement are as successful as can be. Perhaps you specialise in payroll, year end, or maybe non-profit accounting? Use this information to pinpoint your largest source of income and then aim to specialise in that field. Alternatively, you could use this information as a jumping off point when deciding which parts of your business you would like to grow.
Every single business out there needs to constantly ask themselves what it is their customers need. The inventory of skills you have developed will help you to identify the needs that your individual customers have, ultimately allowing you to determine whether or not you are offering the right services. This may seem obvious, but it might also become apparent that you are only offering a partial service to some customers, and not covering all of their requirements.
When the primary services you offer are very similar to others in this crowded market, it can be very difficult to stand out. Focusing on marketing your differences is vital in helping you gain your desired client base.
What are your options?
Unsurprisingly, the web is the most effective marketing tool when looking to reach the largest possible audience. Considering the majority of your prospective customers will be spending over 3 hours per day on the internet (4+ since lockdown), this is certainly a good thing. In fact, it’s estimated that internet users spend upwards of 28 hours per week online – making online marketing incredibly beneficial to your business.
One of the best marketing tips for any business, accountants included, is to feature organically at the top of the first page of Google. Above the first results you will always find the sites that are utilizing paid advertisements, which most search engine users scroll over. It is critical to aim for the top spot amongst the organic results, just below the advertisements, as these results gain the majority of SERP (search engine results page) web traffic. The ultimate way to achieve this goal is by using SEO (search engine optimisation). You need to constantly invest your time and resources into maintaining your SEO value in order to see genuine results. This is one of the leading reasons many businesses turn to specialised marketing firms for assistance.
A second thing that shouldn’t be overlooked, but also takes a considerable investment of time to maintain, is social media. You should prioritise the social network on which you can expect most of your potential customers to be. When used effectively, you will find that online marketing is an integral tool in connecting you with potential clients. Closely monitoring your social media feed and providing quick responses to any client messages is critical in generating loyalty to your brand.
Repeat business is the lifeblood of accountancy, so do all you can to build a loyal client base.