Accountants looking to expand their business need a growth-orientated marketing strategy in place, but many are struggling because they still rely on word of mouth. That’s the view of Meagan Wood, Intuit’s advisor product marketing manager, who tells Acuity that devising a marketing plan means firms can test and learn what works for them.
“Many accountants tell me their marketing strategy is simply referrals”, she reveals. “Beyond having a website, many don’t actually have a strategy. If that works for you, then great. However, those wanting to actively grow their client base, need a plan that includes a solid mix of online and offline activities.
“Many accountants tell me the only way they attempt to attract new clients is through referrals or word of mouth.”
“When you consider that normal attrition will mean a practice will lose clients over time, even if the firm doesn’t want to grow, they still need to win new clients to keep the status quo.”
Wood has identified six marketing methods that practices can take to either build up a new practice or grow an existing one.
1. Formalise your referral process
If word of mouth referrals is the preferred marketing strategy, why not formalise the process? “Your clients already know you’re great at what you do,” she says, “so putting a process around how you ask for a referral, like at the end of a job, can create a more consistent opportunity for new clients.”
2. Partner with other professionals
Developing mutually beneficial relationships with other small business professionals such as financial planners, insurance agents, bankers and lawyers can not only extend the services provided, but can also lead to valuable cross-referral opportunities.
Beyond working the room at industry events, accountants could consider joining groups or clubs they have an interest in. Whether that’s the local football, gardening or driving club, building relationships and friendships – while likely being asked to take up the role of treasurer - provides an organic way to boost a client base.
4. Create a professional website
A website is an absolute prerequisite these days, even for the smallest of firms. It needn’t be complicated; however,it needs to clearly outline the services provided and how to get in touch. And to improve search results, they should consider writing regular, relevant blogs to showcase their knowledge and how they help clients.
5. Leverage your social networks
Having a presence on popular social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook provides opportunities to broaden reach of potential new clients. “Creating interesting posts that link back to a blog article on your website, for example, is a great way to showcase your skills as well as the services the practice provides. You may even find your content being shared and further extending your reach.”
6. Create a QuickBooks profile
“The QuickBooks Find-a-ProAdvisor directory is used by tens of thousands of small businesses looking for a new accountant or bookkeeper who’s proficient at using QuickBooks Online,” Wood says. “Once you’ve completed Core certification, you can add your profile to the listing free of charge.”
Find out more:
Click here to visit the QuickBooks growth hub for free guides and resources to help find more clients, add new revenue sources and build a future-fit business.