When it comes to marketing, most accounting firm owners and managers tend to gravitate toward proven outbound marketing methods.
However, running ads in newspapers, on local radio/TV, billboards and other traditional marketing channels will no longer suffice. The time has come for accounting firms to take the digital marketing plunge. Shift some or all of your marketing efforts to the digital realm and you will enjoy a steady influx of new clients in the months and years ahead.
When done properly, digital marketing for accounting firms is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Digital Marketing Services for Accounting Firms
- Online Marketing Methods to Boost Your Brand: Content Marketing
Digital Marketing Services for Accounting Firms
There is a common misconception that digital marketing services are exclusive to relatively new products/services or businesses that strictly sell their value offering on the web.
In reality, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses such as accounting firms can greatly benefit from the prudent use of digital marketing services. Today’s digital marketing services can be specifically tailored to the needs of your unique accounting firm. Fail to implement such modern marketing tactics and you will inevitably fall behind the competition.
After all, the majority of people now turn to the internet when they need a service or product.
Ideally, your digital marketing tactics will help you reach the first couple search results when people sleuth for accounting service providers in your location. Fail to take the digital marketing plunge and this incredibly valuable online real estate will be dominated by the competition, putting your accounting firm at a considerable competitive disadvantage.
Perhaps the best part about digital marketing services is they are fully customizable for each unique business.
Digital marketing services for accounting firms helps with:
- Connecting with specific clients in your geographic area
- Generating important inroads at a specific time of the year (tax season, etc.)
- Achieving nuanced marketing goals
- Making a lasting impression on your target audience
As an example, online banner ads can be placed on specific websites at certain times of the year to maximize exposure to your target audience. Alternatively, if your marketing team decides to focus on online content, the use of strategic keywords and key phrases will help your target audience find the content in online searches.
Even the subtleties of your social media marketing can be fine-tuned with your accounting firm’s unique goals and merits in mind. In the end, the prudent use of digital marketing for accounting firms really will help you connect with those whom you would like to sell your services to in a surprisingly affordable and efficient manner.
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Online Marketing Methods to Boost Your Brand: Content Marketing
It is often said that content is king when it comes to digital marketing.
This axiom still holds true decades after it was first stated. However, merely flooding your accounting firm’s blog, homepage and other parts of your website with content will not suffice. The content you post to the web should be targeted toward your specific audience. Ideally, your accounting firm’s online content will help your target clients solve problems, become aware of industry developments or educate them.
When it comes to content marketing, the key is to be informative. Give your audience a reason to read or at least skim your online content and they will be back for more. The best case scenario is a steady stream of online content that helps your audience while simultaneously reinforcing your authority on the subject matter. Think of your online content as an opportunity to flex your intellectual muscle, put your industry knowledge on display and prove the worth of your value offering to your target audience.
If you are not confident in your writing ability, outsource the work to a SEO (search engine optimization) writer to craft compelling content on your behalf.
The best case scenario is the generation of intriguing online content that goes viral through sharing with friends, family and others in social and professional circles. Above all, the online content you create must be laden with keywords and key phrases your target audience is most likely to search for. The inclusion of these keywords and key phrases really will help your website move up the online search engine rankings that much faster.
Even if your website does not crack the top 10 search results or show up on the first page of those results, there is the potential for your content to catapult your website up the rankings in the weeks, months and years to follow.
Social media has become ground zero for online advertising.
Some businesses use overt social media ads while others rely on covert marketing methods to reach their target audience through the many different social media channels. If you are concerned creating a profile on social media platforms will not lead to a meaningful online following, it might be best to use a mix of overt and covert social media marketing.
Take the overt route and you can pay for ads promoting your business on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. However, most audiences respond best to covert ads that provide some sort of tips, insight or other assistance. As an example, simply tweeting updates relevant to the accounting industry on Twitter or posting links regarding industry updates on Facebook will raise awareness of your industry’s inherent value.
If you take the social media route, be mindful of the frequency at which you post. Do not rattle off one social media post after another. Give your audience some time to digest your social media content. Provide a steady stream of updates, links and other helpful information on your various social media channels and your audience will gradually expand.
Alternatively, if you were to inundate your audience with several posts per day, it would only be a matter of time until they tune out your words or unfollow you.
If anyone responds to your social media posts, recognize the effort. Either “like” the response, provide a response of your own or retweet the response to draw attention to the feedback. Furthermore, if a follower responds to your social media posts with a question, respond to it as quickly as possible. A delayed response or the lack of a response will create the impression that you do not care about your clients or potential clients.
If necessary, hire a part-time or full-time inbound marketing specialist or social media manager to handle social media posts, interactions with clients on these platforms and other similar duties.
Put yourself in the position of a business owner or manager who receives an email from an accounting services provider.
Even if you have an in-house accountant, you would be inclined to open and read an email message as opposed to a traditional piece of mail sent through the United States Postal Service. Furthermore, if the email messages were personalized for your unique business, you would be that much more inclined to at least scan through the email.
This is precisely why so many accounting firms and other businesses are using email marketing to connect with new clients and reconnect with former clients.
Nowadays, email marketing can be automated so you do not have to invest countless hours in crafting messages for each individual client. Let the automated program do the work on your behalf and you will minimize the time necessary to reach your target audience through email. However, it is a mistake to simply send the same email marketing message to all of your clients in one fell swoop.
If the email is not at least somewhat tailored to your target audience, the message will not resonate.
People are gradually getting better at deciphering truly personalized email marketing messages from those designed to appeal to as large of an audience as possible. So don’t send out a mass emailing to every single former client and prospective prospects assuming it will make a widespread positive impact.
The moral of the story is an email marketing message that is not tailored to the needs of specific clients, it is that much more likely to be ignored.
Be particularly careful when selecting the audience for your email marketing campaign.
It is a mistake to send these messages to those who do not need or are uninterested in your accounting services. Furthermore, sending emails to parties who need your services yet have not touched base with your company could turn them away from your business, sending them in the direction of your competitors. Be sure to include an email subscription form on your website and other marketing materials.
This way, interested parties will be able to add their email address to your email list with ease, making it easy for you to touch base in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Those who have been highlighted as leads yet have not converted should also be included on your email list.
Those who have paid for your accounting services in the past should also be on the list as well. This way, they will receive a convenient reminder about your value offering every once in a while through a promotional yet informative email.
The content of your email messages is just as important as the people it is transmitted to. Do not use overt sales language in these emails. Use your email marketing campaign as an opportunity to communicate the value of your accounting services, provide industry updates and help clients solve problems.
If you plan on offering any discounted services, promote them in your emails to raise awareness.
Be sure to include a polite request in your emails to remind satisfied clients to leave a positive review of your accounting firm on one of the many online review directories. Plant this seed in the minds of your clients and they just might be inspired to write a flattering review of your services in an online post that might be seen by hundreds if not thousands or even tens of thousands of prospective clients.
Paid Advertising on the Web
Nowadays, it often makes more sense to pay for advertising on the web than in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and other conventional outbound channels. There are numerous ways to market your accounting services on the web:
- Banner ads
- Social media ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Ads placed on search engine results pages (SERPs)
The best part about paid online advertising is it is typically much more affordable than the cost of traditional ads on conventional outbound channels. Examples of popular cost models for such advertisements include cost per click (commonly referred to as CPC), cost per action (CPA for short) and cost per thousand impressions, also known as CPM. Opt for a cost per click or cost per impression model and you will only pay for the number of clicks/views the ad triggers.
Your paid ads can appear on search engines, related websites and/or social media.
Google paid ads are especially popular. This platform empowers business owners and managers to place classified style ads on easily visible portions of search engine results pages, commonly referred to with the acronym of SERPs. Such ads are displayed when an individual searches the web for similar keywords used in your paid online ads. Shell out more money for this marketing method and your ad will be top-ranked, boosting its visibility on SERPS for maximum exposure.
Digital Marketing for Accounting Firms Just Might be the Missing Piece to Your Advertising Puzzle
If you have only dipped your toes in the digital marketing waters or if you have avoided digital marketing altogether, it is time to embrace this form of marketing in a head-on manner. Invest your time, effort and resources in digital marketing and the results will show in due time. In fact, online content has the potential to bring in new clients well beyond the date at which it was posted to your website, social media platforms, blog or other components of your online footprint. However, patience is key.
It will take some time for your digital marketing efforts to bear fruit.
Stay the course, continue to improve your digital marketing efforts as time progresses and you really will generate that many more inroads with clients in need of accounting services.