Attracting new clients and nurturing existing ones
There is a lot of help and advice out there for small businesses to choose from, but smart marketing can help you stand out in the busy crowd and share your value as an advisor. Try a few different ways to share your story and see what works best for your practice – it might be through your website, on social media, or with live events.
Looking after your current clients will also help you when looking for new clients. Personal recommendations are a huge marketing tool, and your clients could have a whole network of people that they can refer to you.
Topics covered in this chapter:
- Social media
Hosting client events
Events allow you to connect with people on a level you can’t achieve online or over the phone. With a face-to-face interaction you can build a personal connection and really demonstrate that you’re invested in their success.
To kick-start your event:
Define the objective of your event. Understand what you want to get out of the event. Do you want to attract more clients or say thank you to your current ones?
Determine your budget. Work out the cost of your venue, food, drinks, the cost per head, and keep track of the details in a document or spreadsheet.
Invite people. Determine your guest list as early as you can. This will help understand your budget and numbers for catering - it will ensure you don’t blow your budget. Include an RSVP date in your invitations, and use a free tool like Google Forms or Eventbrite to easily capture details.
Set your agenda. Set the structure for your event, including who’ll be talking, what they’ll be talking about, and for how long. From there, you can build a presentation deck, if needed.
Get staff involved. Make sure your guests are welcomed when they arrive and have someone to talk to. Help introduce guests to other guests.
Follow up after the event. Ask your guests how they enjoyed the event, what they got out of it and if they’d like to schedule a follow-up meeting with you.
For help hosting your event, reach out to your Xero account manager. They’ll be able to give you pointers on how to host an event and the kind of content you might like to cover.
Check out the Xero store to stock up on some free brochures and posters. Bronze status partners and above can also pick up free wall and window decal stickers, while pull up banners are free for partners with a silver status or higher.
An email newsletter is one of the very best ways to keep in contact with your current clients as well as prospects, who are your potential clients in the future. Newsletters remind people that you’re there and that you’re an expert in your field, they can encourage upsell and demonstrate that you’re a one-stop source of useful information.
Here’s how to create an email newsletter that gets results:
1. Review your current contact list, clean up out-of-date details, and remove unnecessary people. It’s worth segmenting your list into existing clients and prospects so you can target your messaging a lot better. If you don’t have a list, email your current clients and ask if they’d like to receive your content.
2. There are heaps of great marketing tools that give you templates and easy-to-track open rates. Some are free or have cheaper options, including Boma, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Benchmark Email.
3. Tailor your content to your two audience groups. You could include linkings to your blog, talking about new services you’re offering, or giving tips and tricks for using Xero. Look through Xero’s small business guides for ideas about what targeted advice you could provide to clients.
4. Write your newsletter as if you’re talking to the client in person. Your clients will want to read useful information rather than just being sold to, but remember to include a call to action and a way they can contact you.
5. Consider your timing and don’t bombard your clients with email. An email a month is a good frequency, and you can always up the frequency if there’s demand for it.
6. Use your email marketing tool to track who’s opening your emails and what they’re clicking on. This is a great indicator as to what kind of information your audience is engaging with and will mean you can include similar content next time.
Every firm needs a website. Your customers and prospects expect to be able to find you online easily. An effective website will help you generate new business and keep existing clients engaged. So how do you make yours work for you?
Most people in need of accounting or bookkeeping services are likely to use a search engine to find what they're looking for. If you don't have an online presence, your firm won’t turn up in the search engine results pages, and you’ll lose out on business.
Start small and simple. Services such as Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and many others will let you quickly and easily build your own site without any programming knowledge. This will get you started quickly, and prices start from just a few dollars each month.
Once you have an account with one of these companies, you can start to build a site to suit your firm.
Register your domain name. Keep it professional and use your business name if it’s available. Domain names are cheap and they add value to your web presence.
Use a simple design. Web service companies give you a wide range of templates to choose from, so you can change the look of your site.
Include the important pages. Use the site to explain your firm's service, your unique selling proposition, and provide contact information.
Keep it up to date. As your firm changes, so should your website. Keep contact information current, add new services, and maintain staff profiles.
Example of a basic website sitemap
Improving your website performance
There are a few ways you can improve your website’s performance on Google:
- Check out our SEO guide for partners to help your page appear as high as possible in search engine results.
- Create a free listing for your business on Google – set it up on Google My Business and it will help with your search result in Google and potentially help in attracting new clients.
It's also important to check out the health of your website every now and again to make sure that its functioning well. Some easy things you can do to keep your website healthy are:
- communicate your value proposition up front
make it easy for people to contact you
make sure your website works well on mobile devices (Google prioritises websites based on their mobile friendliness)
keep details like prices and contact details up to date
add fresh content, by writing blogs or newsletters
if you need help with the technical side then reach out to a web developer
Using social media to promote your business
Social media is an extension of your website. It’s free marketing for your firm and puts you in direct contact with your clients. Handled properly, your social media followers will do a lot of your marketing for you and will let you:
share your positive experiences with others
keep your brand in the minds of your customers and prospects
talk to your customers about their needs and help you grow your business
expose your marketing messages to new prospects
Social media gives you direct, personal, two-way interactions with your clients and prospects, and in most cases it won't cost you much more than your time. To get started:
Whatever social platforms you're utilising, make sure you’re consistent and use the same logo, so people will be able to find you easily across multiple networks.
Determine your goals and strategy
For example you might use Facebook to promote special offers or team updates and you might use Instagram to share fun photos of events you’re hosting.
Make your posts interesting and relevant
It’s important to stay professional but don’t forget to show some personality – it’s good to show that there’s a human behind the posts. And remember less is sometimes more.
Define your measures of success
Keep an eye out for what people are most engaged with and learn from this.
More helpful resources
The golden rules of social media for business
Expanding into advisory services
Advisory is broad and comes in all different shapes and sizes, so remember to play to your strengths.