Time wasting marketing ideas for start-ups

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Mark Lee follows up his first article in this series with observations regarding popular ideas that may be more trouble than they are worth.

In an ideal world you would simply set yourself up as an accountant, tell a few people that’s what you are doing and then new clients would find you. But that’s just fanciful. Yet it’s clear from the repeated questions in Any Answers that some people have started in practice without thinking through how they are going to market themselves.

In the first part of this series I set out 14 marketing ideas that are likely to be the most fruitful and cost-effective for start-up accountancy practices.

In this follow-up article I am debunking some other popular suggestions and explaining why you probably won’t find them as worthy of your time and money as those on the first list. In my view the ideas below are typically overrated and distracting especially for start-up practices. I am sure plenty of marketing experts would want to disagree, but what matters are the experiences of start-up accountancy firms so do share these in the comments section below.

The final part of this series will...

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05th Sep 2013 18:15

marvellous article
Next one on established businesses

Thanks (1)
06th Sep 2013 15:41

I'll second that!

In fact if I could tactfully forward it to 20 or so of my non-accountancy clients I would!  Some people seem to love spending time on social media etc. which is fine so long as they have thriving businesses and are not kidding themselves that their time spent on social media is in some way building up their business.

So for any clients of any accountants who are reading this, if you are telling your accountant that you did not have time to prepare the VAT return until the 4th of September, but managed to post 20 blogs and 40 Twitter posts in August, just don't even bother with the excuses for your accountant.  Save it for someone gullible!

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13th Sep 2013 12:32

Social Media & SEO

Agreed re social media generally - highly time consuming.

However I hear that some are good for SEO (YouTube, Google+).

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13th Sep 2013 12:33

But Maybe, Just Maybe

Great list, Mark.

As with everything else to do with marketing (OK, to do with promotion and lead generation), no-one can say for certain what will and won't work well for a particular firm or business.  All that can be said is that some things are more likely to work well and others are less likely to do so.

The answer is to 'test and measure'.  Try things out on a small scale, ensure you can accurately measure the costs and results (i.e. tracked all the way to profits for you) of every individual activity, and look at the returns on investment at this micro-scale.

From these results you'll know what is loss-making and not to take further, and what is profitable and needs scaling up.  But don't just look to scale up the one best performing idea; scale up maybe the top 20% best performing ideas - Yes, this does mean you need to be testing several!

But testing and measuring doesn't stop there.  You need to keep on trying to improve the RoI on the things you've decided to scale up.  Split-test a new idea against the 'benchmark' existing idea and when you've got some statistically significant results, drop the worse performing of the two.  Then keep repeating the process.  Take the view that there aren't any marketing failures, only test results!  Just keep trying to improve your best performance.

So, if you disagree with any of Mark's assertions in either list, try it out on a small scale and come to your own conclusions.  None of these ideas are guaranteed to work or guaranteed to fail.

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13th Sep 2013 12:42


have you had a make over

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13th Sep 2013 12:52

There Is More Than One David Winch!

There's more than one David Winch!

I'm the Sales and Marketing Consultant from Cambridge, not the Forensic Accountant from the North-West.

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13th Sep 2013 17:12

You cannot have too many incarnations of David Winch

And there was I thinking that that the forensic David must be an even more incredibly prodigious worker than he actually is..

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13th Sep 2013 15:26

Cue chant from the football terraces

"There's only two David Winches, two David Winches....."

Sorry, but it is nearly the weekend and it has been a long week involving a business trip to and from Trinidad. Releasing the pressure valves.


Malcolm Greenbaum

Director, Greenbaum Training & Consultancy Limited


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08th Oct 2013 09:49
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