Like any other business, accounting firms need to have a solid marketing strategy to attract new clients. Referrals are great, but without a marketing plan for accounting services, you may struggle to keep a steady flow of leads coming through your door. Even worse, you may not reach your full potential.
Creating a marketing plan isn’t easy, but these five tips can help:
5 Tips to Create a Practical Marketing Plan for Accounting Services
1. Marketing for Accounting Firms 101: Understand Your Goals, Budget and Timeline
A successful marketing plan is thorough and detailed. It’s important to cover all bases to make the execution of your plan as smooth and stress-free as possible.
How do you ensure that your plan is thorough? Make sure that you understand your:
Marketing Plan Goals
What do you want to achieve with your marketing? The answer may seem obvious, but it’s important to write it down. Along with increasing your client base (and ultimately, your bottom line), you may also want your marketing to build brand awareness and help establish yourself as an authority.
Identifying and understanding your goals is important. Goals give you direction, but they also give you something to measure. Without goals, you have no way of knowing whether your plan is working.
When creating goals, I recommend having SMART Goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and anchored within a Time Frame.
Marketing Plan Budget
How much can you invest in marketing? Your budget will determine the approach you take to reach your goals, but it will also affect your timeline. The bigger your budget, the easier it will be to reach your goals more quickly.
How much should you be investing in marketing? While every accounting firm is different (and you should consider consulting with a professional), a general rule of thumb is:
- 12-20% of gross revenue for new businesses
- 6-12% of gross revenue for established businesses
You may want to invest more or less than these recommended percentages. Again, it will depend on your goals. However, it’s still important to settle on a figure so that you know exactly how much you can spend on marketing.
Don’t forget to consider time into your budget. A lot of people think to create a monetary-based marketing budget, but you’ll also need to spend time on your marketing. Even if you outsource your marketing, you’ll likely still need to be involved in the approval process and have some sort of recurring meeting with your marketing agency.
Marketing Plan Timeline
When do you hope to reach your goals? In an ideal world, you’d reach your goals tomorrow, but it takes time to see results with marketing in the real world. So be realistic about your timeline.
Timelines, along with your goals, are an essential metric in measuring the success of your marketing plan.
A thorough marketing plan will also outline the responsibilities of everyone involved. For example, who will be in charge of what? What goals must each team member meet? How will the plan be implemented? Will you have an agency handle all or part of it?
When everyone is on the same page, it’s much easier to reach your goals and put your plan into action.
2. Identify Your Target Market and the Problems You Solve
A successful marketing plan targets the right people with the right message.
- Who are your clients?
- What problems do your services solve?
Understanding who you want to reach and the problems you can solve will allow you to take a more targeted and personalized approach to marketing. Because when you know your clients, you can speak to them directly and in a way that appeals to them.
And if you’re interested in niche marketing, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your market and how to reach them.
Creating buyer personas is a helpful way to understand your target market’s pain points and goals. Personas also help you better communicate with clients in a language they understand.
3. Identify the Best Marketing Channels
Now that you understand your goals, budget, timeline and clients, you can determine the best marketing channels to reach your target market. Your buyer personas can help you figure out where your clients are, but you may also need to do some additional research to find optimal marketing channels.
On the digital marketing front, most accounting firms find that three channels offer the best results:
Email marketing produces an impressive 4,200% ROI. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you generate $42 in return.
Newsletters, transactional emails and promotional campaigns are just a few of the ways you can use email marketing to your advantage.
Why is email marketing so effective? Because it allows you to target potential clients in a personalized way. When leads sign up for your newsletter, they’re already expressing an interest in what you have to offer.
We did a blog all about why email marketing isn’t dead and how you can use it. You can check it out here.
Most firms can benefit from social media marketing. There’s a good chance that your ideal client is on social media somewhere. Twitter and LinkedIn are both great channels for accounting services to focus on, but YouTube and Facebook can’t be ignored either.
Why is social media so important?
- 84% of corporate decision-makers use social media to help make their purchasing decisions.
- 73% of Americans have at least one social media account.
Being active on social media and engaging with your followers can help drive results while establishing yourself as an authority in your field.
Active blogging and outreach can help provide valuable information to clients, drive traffic to your site and build brand awareness. You have a wealth of knowledge to share, and your expertise can drive more clients to your doorstep.
4. Measure and Monitor Your Results
Every marketing plan should include a strategy for measuring and monitoring results. Without a way to analyze your progress, you have no way of knowing whether your marketing strategy is working.
Analytical tools can help you track engagement and client behavior to see if your efforts are paying off.
Of course, what you measure will depend upon your marketing strategy.
5. Adjust as Needed
Digital channels give you the unique opportunity to collect and analyze data, so you can see what’s working and what isn’t. With this information in hand, you can adjust your marketing plan as needed.
Strategies that aren’t driving results can be tweaked or removed entirely. Conversely, strategies that are working can be improved and expanded.
Creating a marketing plan for accounting services takes time, but it’s worth the effort to expand your client base and your bottom line.
If you’re struggling to develop a solid plan, we’re here to help.