Introduction to your marketing strategy

Marketing your products and services is one of the most important things you can do for your accounting practice. There are many people in this industry that are great at running the day to day aspects of their business but not good at digital marketing strategies. In the business world today, it is important to have some sort of digital marketing strategy. Many companies hire out help in this area for maximize effectiveness. Looking at the accountancy practice growth is vital to determining your digital marketing needs. Here are several ways to increase your revenue by taking on marketing strategies for accountancy firms

What is Digital Marketing?  How does it help my firm? 

Digital marketing is any form of advertising that is in digital form. This is obviously a huge field of business, and when many people think of marketing for accountants they do not think of the digital aspect.  Their minds often gravitate towards ideas such as print adverts, leaflets, or radio. However, as partners of your firm (or the marketing team within the practice) you need to make sure your marketing budgets are yielding effective results - and digital marketing is one of the most effective and transparent for KPI reporting.

Many accountancy firms will work with a professional marketing agency to come up with a strategy. Although each agency may have a different strategy, at the end of the day the goal is to drive customers and revenue to the firm. 

How to select your marketing agency

One of the most important aspects when developing your online strategy is choosing a professional agency to work with. There are many different criteria to look at when choosing your marketing partner.

- Always look for a professional firm that has many years of experience in the field.
- Request references from past clients, or look up the reviews of the business.
- Find a company that has specialist knowledge of the accountancy sector, and understands trends and client behaviour
- Does the agency specialise in digital marketing, or are they a full services agency (pros and cons with this)
- Do you get along with them?  If you are looking to work alongside this agency for some time, you need to ensure you can work together in harmony.
- Don't find "yes" people.  An experienced agency will advise you on what to do, not blindly nod heads and pander to the client requirements - sadly the customer is NOT always right.

Marketing for accountants is a specialist area and can be difficult.  It is always best to bring in professional help when needed, so take some time to find the best partner.

Best Digital Marketing Services for Accountancy Firms

The digital marketing services adopted should lead to the growth of your accountancy practice over the long term. Let's have a look at the most common areas which will have an impact on your firm's visibility and performance.

Websites for Accountants

Your website is often the first impression a client will have of your firm.  They will research you and read through your website before committing to any form of enquiry, let alone a purchase order.  Your website needs to reflect the image of your company persona whether it's looking to attract larger corporate clients, or provide a more intimate service to individuals.

In today's digital sphere, the need for a responsive or mobile-friendly website is paramount.  With Google's Mobilegeddon update announced last year (2015), any websites not meeting the standards will see a drop in performance.

Your website is the foundation for your digital marketing building blocks, upon which the strategy is built.  If the foundations (i.e. the website) is built poorly, then there are limitations on how well your digital marketing campaigns will perform.

Rebuild your accountancy website if you have to.  It is worth taking a step back to move ahead quicker.

Search Engine Marketing for Accountants

Once you have established a strong website presence, next you can look to market it effectively.  Search engine marketing is the method of gaining visibility for your accounting firm, in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo (to name a few).

The two main ways for this are SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click).

SEO for Accountants

SEO for Accountants is the method of optimising your website so that it will rank organically in search results, relevant to what your potential customers are looking for.  e.g. if your firm provides Auditing services, then you will want to appear high in Google's list when a potential client is searching for Auditing companies in their area. 

The method of optimising your accountancy website via SEO can be broken down into 3 core areas: 
1) On Page SEO - focusing a lot on the content element of your site, 2) the Off Page SEO - focusing on your backlink profile, and 3) Technical SEO - focusing on the code "behind the scenes".  Combined, these 3 areas of SEO will help and enhance your company's visibility.  The methodology behind SEO is complex and time consuming, with many changes regularly dictated by Google.  It is advisable to partner with a specialist SEO agency.

PPC for Accounting firms

In a similar fashion to SEO, PPC aims to increase your visibility in search engines.  However unlike SEO which relies on organic growth and relevancy determined by Google, PPC follows a more traditional approach to marketing - i.e. you pay a premium for your advert to be displayed.  How much of a premium is determined by a number of factors.  Whilst more expensive than SEO, PPC allows for more tactical advertising and can be delivered instantly, often with adverts live within the same day.

Social Media Marketing

Once your firm has secured these first 2 levels (website and search marketing activities) then we can move onto Social Media Marketing for Accountants.  Social Media marketing looks to develop your relationship and brand awareness through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Whilst LinkedIn is the preferred choice for the professional sector, don't overlook Facebook and Twitter (the 2nd and 3rd most used websites in the world). 

Many people in the accounting industry do not have a lot of knowledge around social media. This makes the services provided by a digital marketing agency even more important. Social media should be a part of marketing strategies for accountancy firms, no matter how large or small the business is, but must be handled professionally.  Poorly placed comments and personal opinions or statements can actually have a negative impact of your business instead - so bear this in mind.

Email Marketing

Another great form of digital advertising is through an email list (read more on our previous article entitled "How to utilise email marketing for improved client retention").  In today's world, an email list can be a great thing to monetize for a company.  Any marketing strategies for accountancy firms should include some form of email marketing to their client list. Over time, this will help to generate traffic to the website and increase sales for the company. 

Conclusion 

Digital marketing for accountants is a more cost-effective method of promotion when compared to traditional off-line alternatives.  However, it should ideally be operated by experienced marketing professionals and tied in with an agreed goal or objective for your company.  Lastly, the approach to your digital marketing should be linear - starting with the website, building out the search engine marketing, then expanding to social and email marketing.  Many companies approach us and ask to do social marketing.  When questioned why they say "I've heard that social is something we ought to be doing".  Whilst this comment is correct, upon further investigation we find that they haven't underpinned that activity with the fundamentals such as a strong website or search engine campaign. Any time spent on Social Media marketing will be less effective and possibly fruitless.  So ensure you do things in the right order as well.

Contact Accountancy Marketing Professionals - Whitefish Marketing

Find out more from Whitefish Marketing, based in Folkestone, Kent.  Let us show you how we can help improve your online visibility and to generate more clients for your accounting practice.  Contact us today on 01303 720 288 and let's have a chat.


About Chris Surridge

Chris Surridge is an experienced Digital Marketing Director with a wealth of knowledge on Search Marketing Strategies and Conversion Analysis. His value is in strategic planning for client accounts, and his consultative services.