Why is it that accountants and bookkeepers, or professional services in general, tend to struggle with marketing? We’re creative with numbers, but it’s not always the same with words or imagery. Tip number one: that’s irrelevant. As an accountant or bookkeeper, you don’t need to be.
What you do need is a genuine understanding of why marketing is so important, and the areas of focus that will take your firm to the next level. Once you know that, implementing a marketing strategy can be left to the experts.
In our experience, the best results come from a team effort between us and the people we outsource to or collaborate with. Leaving your head in the sand and handing it all over to someone else won’t do your business any favours. Take the time to educate yourself on the basics and it’ll make for smoother sailing.
Here are the key marketing areas we focus on, and how they’ve helped build our business at a rapid pace.
Get a top-notch website
What comes to mind when most people think of accountants? Boring. Dull. You’ve all copped jokes about it before. Take a look at your website. Is it boring and dull? Probably. Are you boring and dull? Probably not. Why don’t the two align?
Your website, and your marketing collateral in general, should clearly communicate the personality and values of your business. Why are you different to other firms? Where do your strengths lie? I don’t mean in tax returns or superannuation, I mean on a personal level. You might be incredibly approachable and friendly and have a client-first philosophy that sets you apart from many other firms. But can your readers see that at a glance?
There are two key areas to focus on here: copywriting and design. The first step is to find contractors who absolutely nail these specialties. RBK uses Victoria and Jess. Next, have a think about what you want your website to communicate. Yes, you can do tax returns and financial planning. But so can a million other firms. What can you tell people that will actually engage and interest them?
The About Us section of the RBK website uses humour and a down-to-earth tone to speak candidly about how RBK Advisory came about. We landed one of our bigger clients when they came across this page and read about how two blokes put their heads together and came up with a bloody great idea. Man With A Van had very similar beginnings. It sparked their interest enough for them to give us a call. That’s a huge win from a few lines of copywriting.
Your social media matters
Mention Facebook for business in accounting circles and you’ll often be rewarded with some groans and eye rolls. You might not be keen because you think it’s full of Gen Y kids posting about their food and Kim Kardashian, but take another look. If you aren’t on social media, you’re missing a big opportunity. It’s as simple as that.
Social media allows you to step away from the informative style of a website and into a sphere where you can showcase your personality. If your brand were a person, what would they be like? This isn’t something you have to nail – your specialist team can help. But once you know, you can make your social media channels shine.
For this, I have two words: original content. Aim to create (or ask your marketing agency to create) blog posts, photos and/or videos that can’t be found anywhere else. And more than that, deliver value. Social media is about giving your followers something for nothing. Free advice, a laugh … whatever you think your target market is after. Structure your content around this.
Social media posts have inspired people to contact us and it’s a way to keep our existing clients up to date with what’s going on, or deliver extra advice via blog posts. There are nearly 1000 people on Facebook alone regularly seeing RBK’s content. Why would you pass up that opportunity?
The online word of mouth
Most people find the term search engine optimisation (SEO) intimidating… because it often is. There are a few ways to organically improve your SEO without paying an agency to do so. But content is king (as always) so if your website has got the goods, you’ve got an important step nailed. Posting blogs on your website is another great way to keep that ranking up because original content is highly rated by Google. Videos and hyperlinks to other credible sources can have the same impact.
Another simple tip is to ask your clients to review your business on social media and Google. Positive reviews go a long way to getting you to page one. Online word of mouth is every bit as important as the traditional sense.
What has SEO done for us? Type in “Tax Accountant Richmond” and have a look. Now try Hampton and Narre Warren. We’ve reached page one for all three of our locations without paying a cent for SEO services. When you consider how many accounting firms there are, that’s a pretty impressive result. And we don’t need to explain the value of being easily found on a Google search.
And the most important tip to leave you with? All three of the above areas should align and work together to give you the most impactful marketing strategy. One will not work nearly as well without the others, so don’t be half hearted. Put time and effort into all three, and you’ll be thanking yourself (and us) later. Good luck!
Written by Jason Robinson (on the left in the photo), CPA and Director of RBK Advisory