How to market your accountancy firm

22nd Jan 2021
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Marketing success

Accountants who want to generate leads and win more clients will sooner or later realise that they can’t just wait for them to come along – they have to take action.

And that’s when they ask, “So, how do I market my accountancy firm, exactly?”

The short answer is:

  1. get an up-to-date website
  2. fill it with engaging, SEO-friendly copy targeted at your ideal clients
  3. produce regular helpful content on a blog
  4. post regularly on social media, and engage with other users.

Of course there’s plenty more you can do, from brand strategy to video, but if you’re not doing those basics above, you’re barely marketing yourself at all.

The more seriously you take marketing, and the more you invest in promoting your accountancy practice, the better the results will be.

PracticeWeb clients like UK Landlord Tax have seen startlingly good return on investment because their marketing was based on market research and a full programme of marketing strategy work.

But let’s assume you’ve done all of that – defined your ideal client, identified your niche, worked out what makes your accountancy firm unique – and now you want to get the message out there.

Let’s take the list above and expand on it asking, first, where should you start?

Digital marketing for accounting firms

When I first started working in communications and marketing, digital was a niche or a novelty.

Now, with 2021, digital comes first, and rightly so.

It’s more efficient, more flexible and more effective than any other medium.

That’s why, to put it plainly, your first priority – the hub of all your marketing activity – needs to be a smart, easy-to-use, up-to-date website.

Research shows that consumers and business-to-business (B2B) buyers research decisions online. Even if they’re acting on a referral, they’ll want to find out more and see evidence which, these days, means Googling your name.

Alternatively, they might just search Google for ‘accountants in Oxfordshire’ (location) or ‘accountants for startups’ (sector specialism) or some combination of the above.

Which links they choose to click will be based on search ranking, which I’ll get to shortly, but their first impressions of what they see if they choose to click through are vital.

Beyond first impressions, the information they find on your website should help them decide to buy from you by reassuring them that…

  1. You offer the services they need.
  2. You are qualified and experienced.
  3. You know their sector.
  4. They can afford you.

Correspondingly, your copy should include:

  • service pages – setting out what you do
  • case studies – testimonials and team profiles
  • sector pages – who you work with
  • fee or package pages – how and what you charge.

When it comes to convincing potential clients that you really know their sector and really know your stuff, your blog is also important.

How to market your practice with content

If you claim to love working with restaurants and cafes, for example, someone looking at the most recent posts on your firm’s blog should easily be able to pick out at least one post on that subject.

The headline should make them want to click through and when they read the post, it should leave them in no doubt of your commitment and sector expertise.

Content can also prove your commitment to a town, city or region. It can underline your brand identity – formal or informal, premium or good value, quirky or businesslike. And, most crucially, it should answer people’s questions and inspire them to action.

Content isn’t just about giving your website substance, though, or keeping it feeling fresh – it’s also the fuel for all sorts of other marketing activity.

How to market yourself with social media

Social media is appealing because the entry costs are low.

Accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are free and the content is bitesize and so, theoretically at least, quick and easy to produce.

Social media also has the benefit of being where the eyeballs are: the Digital 2020 report from We Are Social found that 3.8 billion people worldwide are active users of social media.

In 2021, an accountancy firm that isn’t engaging in social media marketing, with no presence on the biggest social networks, almost seems suspicious.
People will expect to find you there and see evidence that you’re active."

Some people have built entire businesses using only social media. For most of us, though, it’s just one part of the mix – a way of being seen and making connections, and of driving people towards the website and all that sweet, heavyweight content.

Marketing with search engine optimisation

Another important part of making your firm visible is getting found when people Google relevant terms.

Although SEO can feel like a technical job, it’s actually one part of what is known as search engine marketing (SEM) alongside pay-per-click advertising (PPC).

SEO is cheaper and generally offers better long-term results than PPC, but requires patience and the investment of time, energy and money in creating content for your website.

If you’re not sure how your firm is performing in search, we can carry out a free SEO audit for you. In the meantime, though, here’s a quick test.

  1. In your chosen web browser, select incognito or private mode.
  2. Search your firm’s name.
  3. Search your specialism, e.g. ‘accountants for construction’
  4. Search your region, e.g. ‘accountants in Chippenham’.
  5. Finally, search, e.g., ‘accountants for construction in Chippenham’.

If you’re not on the first page of results for some or all of those terms, your website might benefit from search engine optimisation.

Ten tips for marketing for your accounting firm

Define your proposition – be really clear about what your firm does and how it is different to the competition. Everyone is ‘professional, friendly and proactive, offering a tailored service’ so challenge yourself to be more specific than that. The question you’re answering is, effectively, ‘So what?’

Identify marketing goals – work out what you want your marketing activity to achieve. Is it to gain X new leads in 2021? To get more clients from sector Y and reduce your reliance on sector Z? Or to get higher value clients from sector Z?

Build a strategy and plan – how are you going to achieve your goals? Which activities do you need to undertake, when, to get results? Map out the year ahead with blog posts, social media campaigns and any PR or advertising you might decide to undertake.

Post regularly and stick at it – if you’ve decided content is key to marketing your accountancy firm, make time to produce that content and keep posting for at least several months. You won’t get an audience immediately but it will come with time.

Try new formats, vary the media – video, webinars, social media ‘stories’, TikTok, podcasting… This will keep things interesting for your followers and, crucially, for you. You might find that you’re much more comfortable speaking into a camera than writing and save yourself hours in the process.

Be present, active and sociable on social media – social media isn’t a broadcast medium. For every post you make, try to comment on someone else’s. Follow, connect, like and reshare as often as you can. Every time you do that, your name and face, or firm name and logo, will pop up in someone’s notifications, reminding them you exist.

Refresh your website – your beautiful up-to-date website won’t stay up to date forever. Schedule a regular review and budget for a tidy up once every year or two. Look at traffic data to work out which pages and blog posts are performing and which are not. Update old blog posts, add new service pages and make sure any informational content reflects the latest changes in tax and government policy.

Be methodical about SEO – making lots of haphazard changes, especially to page addresses or high value content, could cause you to dip in the search rankings. Make one change at a time and monitor the results using hard data, not guesswork.

Sort your Google My Business listing – the box that comes up when people search for your business is a key bit of free marketing collateral. Make sure you’ve claimed your own listing from Google and that the information is not only all up to date but also exactly the same as is listed on your website.

Encourage reviews – we all use customer reviews to decide what’s good or avoid disastrous purchases. Ask your clients to review you, when it feels natural to do so, to help other potential buyers decide if yours is the accountancy firm for them.

Get in touch for strategic marketing advice, a new website or hands-on help producing engaging content.

Editorial: Ray Newman, Head of content and insight, PracticeWeb