We all like to think that our firm stands out in the right way, especially from our competition. But the truth can be hard to face. Do you think that your small accountancy firm stands out from the rest? What makes clients choose your firm over your competitors? You may think that your firm stands out in the niche markets for accounting that you specialise in, but your clients may not see a difference. This is why we asked Heather Townsend, author and founder of The Accountants Millionaires’ Club for 3 foolproof ways to make your firm stand out and all for the right reasons.
Why is it important to stand out?
We all know that niche marketing for accounting is vital. It’s important to stand out. In fact, as a small accountancy firm owner, you probably spend a lot of your time trying to do just that, but many don’t know how to or the actual consequences that it can have on your firm if you don’t.
Standing apart from your competitors ensures that clients come to you instead of you having to chase every single client lead down. It ensures that these clients or your other networking contacts think of you when asked for a referral. In short, standing out makes you memorable and being memorable means more referrals and business for you (Find out why relying on referrals is not the best way to grow a practice).
The worst moment of my former business partner’s life (and a prime example of not standing out)
Probably best if Jon tells you the story in his own words:
I was talking to my best friend’s wife and telling her that I don’t know where her husband is, other than he’s somewhere under the sea and I lost him while we were diving together. There was nothing else I could say or do but stand on the boat in my bright red diving suit (replete with fluorescent yellow stripes) frantically looking across the water. Fortunately, a few minutes later he re-surfaced and all was well (except he was well and truly put in his place by his wife).
When asking him what had happened, he simply said “I looked around for a moment and on looking back, I followed the wrong diver.” Now, you remember me saying I was wearing a bright red suit with fluorescent yellow? That’s so that I would stand out from the others. It turns out, although I thought I stood out from everybody else, to him I looked the same as everybody else, which in this case were other divers wearing red.
3 ways to stand out from your competition
Successful niche marketing for accounting isn’t easy. Standing out from your competitors is getting harder and harder, especially in this digital age, but it has also never been so important.
The chances are, YOU think that your firm is different, but your clients don’t. So how can you change this so that you’re the only one that’s fluorescent?
1. Know if you are standing out. Think about yourself as the client, of all the accountancy firms out there, would you choose you to give your business or pass a referral to? Do you stand out? If not, what will make you stand out and how can you appeal to your audience more? Seek as much feedback as you can from your clients and networking contacts, you’ll soon find whether you actually stand out or not.
2. Be memorable. Wearing a red suit might make you memorable, but not for the right reasons. Be memorable because you are clearer in the language you use about your clients and how you help them. Would you rather be remembered as the one in the strange suit or the one that can solve problems?
3. Specialise. With many niche markets for accounting (and many of your competitors residing in a lot of them), make your firm stand out by specialising in one or just a few areas. Highlighting your experience with the specific problems your target audience has, will help them know that you really understand their problems. This doesn’t cut down the number of leads you get, it actually helps to increase them. The Daily Mail doesn’t try to adjust it’s headlines so that Daily Mirror readers may want it, it makes them even more “Daily Mail specific” so that they get more sales from the clients that they actually want. An important aspect of specialising is that you become really appealing, to a smaller audience, rather than being seen as a Jack of all trades to a larger audience (Need to get better at converting leads?).
Early steps towards focusing on your niche
Expertise in a niche is one of the best ways to be different, so take a look at all the niche markets for accounting and choose what you want your accountancy firm to be sought out for.
Don’t worry that specialising may upset your existing clients or lose you potential business, it will actually do the opposite. Make your firm more appealing so that you can win bigger and better clients with these early steps to niching your practice:
- Change your words when networking
- Change where you network
- Change the pictures on your website to focus on the eventual target
- Include some specific pages on your website
- Ensure your expertise in your target market really stands out
- Outbound marketing campaigns that don’t get seen by everybody
By focusing on one or a few niche markets for accounting, you can be sure that you actually stand out from your competitors and for all the right reasons. This will result in bigger and better clients choosing to come to you for that particular service and more referrals as people think of you first.