5 cost-effective ways to market your accountancy practice
Date Published: September 25, 2017
In this article we explain some practical and cost-effective ways to raise your practice’s visibility in its chosen market.
Make sure your website is friendly to mobile browsing and is kept fresh with content.
The good news is that the cost of websites has come down in recent years and so there’s no excuse not to be online. Potential clients and contacts will simply expect to find out about you via your website. If you have access to the website’s back end (its content management system) you can update information quickly and cheaply as things change. This helps to minimise costs in the long-term and enables your practice to look current and active.
One thing to bear in mind is that people’s behaviour in the way they search on the web is changing. Last year browsing the web via mobile phones overtook interaction by desktop (computer) for the first time. In the UK Google is still the dominant search engine and it’s important to note that, if people are searching on their mobiles for an accountant, in its search results Google will favour those websites which are mobile friendly. You can gauge how mobile friendly your site is via a simple test https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly .
Another thing to be aware of is, when people search on the web, they usually type what they’re looking for and either a territory or a sector in order to get more relevant search results. So for example Accountants Brighton or Accountants Retail. For territory searches make sure your site is listed on Google Places and has relevant references in your site’s content to match those search terms.
Talk to your website developer about the keywords in the site’s search engine optimisation. Similarly if you specialise in a particular sector, make sure that’s apparent on your site and try post up relevant insight or share sector-related news to demonstrate both to potential customers and the search engines that you are indeed a specialist.
The more fresh content you can add to your site, for example in the news or blog pages, the more you’ll impress Google. It will also signpost to potential clients and contacts that your firm is an ‘active’ one and very much open for business.
Over recent years, people have started to seek out reviews and testimonials as part of their buying process. This is happening amongst private client and business client groups alike. Wherever possible encourage your happy clients to give a testimonial or review, and ideally on-line. This helps to influence prospective clients to contact your firm over another accountancy practice in the area without reviews.
By all means feature testimonials on your own website, but do also consider asking clients to review you on sites such as Trust Pilot or Google. These are viewed as more impartial and again will be picked up by Google search results.
Word of mouth and client recommendations are a great source of new business for accountants and your happy clients are your greatest ambassadors. Don’t forget when you have helped a client with a particular issue to see if they have other contacts who may be in a similar position and need this assistance.
Be focused not broad in your marketing effort
No business will have an infinite marketing budget to draw on and so it is important to be very savvy with what you can afford. Think about your loyal clients – what media do they engage with? What territories are they based in? What groups or events do they participate in? Focus on these rather than trying to cover a very broad market. The idea being to attract more of the same of the clients you clearly serve so well.
Also bear in mind that people’s attention spans are shortening. We are bombarded around the clock with marketing messages which makes it difficult for your promotional efforts to be seen or heard. A one-off ad in a regional paper is unlikely to bring you a flood of enquiries, whereas a series of helpful articles in a local group’s newsletter is likely to imprint your firm more on potential clients’ minds.
Find cost-effective routes to reach small pockets of potential clients and contacts. Networking, contributing content, running seminars, actively supporting local causes etc will help to give your practice more visibility in a crowded market.
Many accountancy firms jumped on to the social media bandwagon only to become disappointed. Whilst it’s free to set up a social media account, that account then needs a lot of time and effort feeding it with fresh content. Also it’s only worth being on the social media channels your clients and potential clients actively use – so ask them.
Once you have selected your channel, you will need to keep it fresh with engaging content. This will help you to keep your firm visible. People interact with updates that interest them, so think about what issues clients come to you with, what questions they have, what opportunities you help them with, what new things they should be alert to etc. Give tips, insight and share news which link into all of these.
Track where enquiries come from
By monitoring which sources bring your firm enquiries, you can reapportion your limited marketing budget and resources to the most effective channels. It is likely people will come to you having interacted with several marketing channels, for example they heard your name from a friend, viewed your website and then checked out your reviews before getting in touch.
Try and encourage your team not just to ask new enquiries how they heard of your firm, but to centrally log the insight. Periodically review the sources as it will highlight areas where perhaps you could scale back on marketing investment (as they’re not as effective) in favour of others which are.
Marketing is an important activity for any accountancy practice which wants to grow. It needn’t however break the bank, but does rely on your firm doing great work and delivering a fantastic experience for clients so they keep coming back and referring others to you. Once you’ve identified the type of client you excel at supporting, then it’s fairly cost-effective to go and find more of the same. The tips we’ve shared here will hopefully help you to use your limited marketing resources wisely and start to make your firm more visible in its chosen market.
The marketing team at BTCSoftware