The best time to start marketing your firm was 10 years ago. The next best time was yesterday. Perhaps it’s time to start tomorrow.
As the hangover from the end of the 2021/22 financial year sets in, now is the best time to start thinking about where your firm is headed in the next 12 months (if you haven’t already done so, of course).
What do the next 12 months look like for your firm? Does your strategy show growth in new client work? Perhaps building brand awareness is on the agenda. We’re willing to bet generating more work from existing clients is right up there.
Whatever the objectives, goals, and targets are, your marketing will be the vehicle to propel the firm in the right direction.
Before you jump on the social media bandwagon, send email newsletters, or pay an SEO specialist to boost your website rankings, focus on the areas of your marketing that will have the greatest impact on performance first.
Here are 4 marketing (and brand) things you should consider this financial year.
Client’s top priorities for the next 12 months
When was the last time you did some research on your clients to understand more about them and their priorities?
Your marketing will simply not work if you can’t talk directly to the needs and challenges of your ideal clients with data that is anecdotal at best.
Some firms have some significant disconnects when it comes to understanding the top challenges of their clients who are having a very different conversation in their heads than what many accountants may think.
Many of our clients’ customers are experiencing capacity issues and talent acquisition problems over things like cash flow problems, or strategy and planning issues.
If you ever heard, or have ever thought, that an email newsletter is a waste of time, it’s because the firm sending the newsletter has failed to understand their clients’ current challenges and priorities. As a result, the content within the newsletter is simply not relevant to the recipient which causes poor engagement, a heap of unsubscribes, and overall inferior marketing performance.
Talk to some of your top clients and find out what their top priorities are. This will help guide your content, your messaging, and overall marketing moving forward for the next 12 months.
The success of every marketing strategy depends on market insights to inform your strategy.
What is your meaningful perceived difference?
How are you different as a firm? What can you offer that very few can compete with?
Brand differentiation is more than just reputation, expertise, team size, and experience (which is where a majority of firms position themselves). A large percentage of firms lead with a variation of:
We’re an award-winning firm.
Australia’s leading accounting and consulting firm.
Accountants and consultants leading the way for over 65 years.
We give you financial clarity.
A team of trusted accountants and advisors who help you achieve your goals.
Not your average accountants.
Potential clients have heard all of these cliches before, and have simply stopped listening.
People who are looking for a new accountant are seeking something more meaningful in how a firm is uniquely different. And it’s these firms who find and communicate their unique brand essence that have more brand power and brand salience. This enables the firm to stand out online in a noisy digital landscape.
Accounting brand differentiation in practice
An excellent example of brand differentiation for an accounting firm comes from a small firm out of Sydney, Australia. This firm (we won’t name names) has taken the time to understand what their clients value the most in their lives, and has positioned their firm to those higher values.
The firm cleverly articulates how they are different by focusing on their reason for existence:
To make more nights in possible.
To make more time possible.
To make more fancy dinners possible.
To make more profit possible.
They identified that their clients value time for themselves, with their families, friends, and more time for the lifestyle they want to live. This is a clever way to demonstrate a meaningful difference instead of leading with reputation or expertise from the outset.
What’s your meaningful perceived difference?
It’s a hard question to answer without falling back into the usual cliches. But when you find it, it opens up so many possibilities for the future of your accounting brand.
Discover a process to help you uncover your unique brand difference.
New year, new website, new you?
A new accounting website can breathe new energy into the firm and kickstart the growth of your digital brand.
Perform an audit of your website. Does it demonstrate a clear message and articulate how you are truly different? Does it do a good job of showcasing ALL of your services? Does your messaging talk to the pain points of your clients? Or does it just talk about the firm and your expertise?
The main question you need to answer is: “Does my website depict a modern, professional, high-growth firm or is it outdated, old school, and just look like any other accounting firm?”
Consider a marketing niche
Notice we said ‘marketing’ to a niche. This doesn’t mean your entire firm needs to niche down to a specific industry. Your marketing can target specific industry segments with highly targeted messages that speak their language.
Different industries have different problems, priorities, and unique KPIs. Firms with an industry marketing focus appeal more to a smaller target audience and convert at a much higher rate.
Let’s say you already have a large client base in medical, construction, or eCommerce, but your website is more general in your messaging.
Consider publishing a page on your website for each of the industries you have particular expertise in. For example, “We work with many industries, but have specific expertise in construction.”
Publish great content to your website for specific industries. This gives search engines what they crave – highly valuable and targeted content that can be found by people searching for “Accountant for construction business”. It may surprise you how much business this can actually generate for your firm.
A niche marketing focus in practice
BusinessDEPOT, a multi-disciplinary firm in Brisbane, is a generalist firm with particular expertise in real estate businesses. Over the course of a decade, they have been publishing highly valuable and helpful content to their website and promoting it through social media, email, events, etc.
This niche marketing approach and long-term focus have seen their real estate database increase by the thousands, significant growth in their real estate client base, and a solid reputation as the go-to accountants and advisors for real estate businesses.
It’s much more lucrative to specialise in your marketing.
Just make it happen
Don’t let another year go by as you “um” and “ah” your way to put off another year of marketing your firm.
Picture where your firm is by this time next year. If your targets for the next 12 months involve growth in new client work, increasing capacity, building brand awareness, or even generating more work from existing clients, your marketing will be the vehicle to propel your firm in the right direction.
The best time to start marketing your accounting firm was 10 years ago. The next best time was yesterday. Make it happen tomorrow.
Don’t put it off another year. Your competitors aren’t!
Wrapping it up
If you’re putting some energy into your marketing this next financial year, focus on the things that will have the greatest impact on performance.
Your client research, unique brand message, accounting website, and a potential niche marketing focus will show a greater return for the time, energy and budget you put into marketing your accounting firm.
Start by talking to your clients and asking them what their priorities are for the next 12 months. You may just uncover some valuable insight that will guide your marketing decisions moving forward.
If you need any guidance on your brand differentiation, a new website, content production or even just on some general marketing ideas, book a 30-minute call with us to discover how we can help you.