‘The Queen of Profit’ Gloria Murray tells Richard Sergeant how her firm uses digital marketing to support relationships with a clearly defined client, and how marketing and business, both online and off, can work together.
Since starting her own accountancy practice in 1997, Murray has built relationships with a clear sense of the ideal client.
“Our whole focus now is on small and micro business clients, with turnover between £30k to £200k,” she explains. “A lot come from the hair and beauty industry, and professionals like psychotherapy or professional coaches. Generally they are women. They have to be open minded, and to have a business that they are keen to do more with”.
Murray believes there are wider benefits to connecting with these sectors. “I see my role as helping businesses develop so they can employ more people and help the local economy. 90% of the money generated by local businesses stays local.”
Facebook versus other channels
Murray has found that relationships with clients happen in specific environments: “The people I am trying to attract are more than likely on Facebook and not LinkedIn or the golf course.”
“A real eye opener was when one of my clients would ignore my emails but jump on the Facebook comments. It made me realise that younger people communicate less through emails and more on Facebook”.
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Facebook enables Murray to hear what her clients want: “It allows you to listen, and understand where they are coming from. I want to use it to reflect a little more about how they communicate, so I can understand and reflect back to them.”
Digital marketing is like gardening – the role of content
For Murray, content marketing mirrors her love of gardening: “If you’re trying to attract bees and butterflies you plant plants that will attract them rather than catch them. You might have a butterfly come in taking some nectar and leaving, and then you’ll get more regular visitors. Hopefully it will be a good place for clients to stay and we can help nurture them too.”
The ‘nectar’ in this scenario is content clients will love to read. “Each week I sit down and work out some blogs. Some of these I’ll write or I’ll take something interesting and add my own spin to it”
Facebook is the primary channel for posts: “I put them on our firm and the ‘Queen of Profit’ pages, making sure I stagger them. Things are posted into the Facebook groups first before going to other channels. We also have a private group, ‘Knowing your numbers’. It’s a group where business owners can ask questions without feeling intimidated, and we also run online workshops with the aim of attracting people into the group.”
Organising marketing – the plan
Murray’s marketing is organised around the firm’s quarterly calendar. “I see what we have planned and make sure it is well supported with content. So, it might be looking at an event we are running, and we’ll try and blogs before and after.”
Other channels are planned around their relative effectiveness. “The use of LinkedIn and Twitter is about keeping my presence up. I don't have a specific agenda or strategy. I do have a few clients on LinkedIn, but I don’t tend to have a lot of real engagement.”
“We do use marketing emails, although the trend is to have less. If we’re trying to get people to events it can work well. However, we tried to use them to push to videos and it wasn’t as successful. We also create a printed magazine which goes down really well.”
Online leads to offline
Ultimately, activity on social media leads offline. “Nothing beats meeting people face to face – that’s why we run events – so the digital marketing can be a great way of getting awareness out there and signing people up. Events are on business topics like pricing, or how to understand your KPIs and we record them and put highlights online. They tend to get good feedback.”
Role of cloud accounting
“We generally have quarterly meetings built into what we offer,and we get to know clients very well.”
However, for Murray it is also important to liberate their time by taking on core financial responsibilities and by moving reports and insight into the cloud, where they can be easily accessed:
“We give QBO as standard, and 2 hours free training. We encourage them to let us do their bookkeeping. We want them to be looking at the reports and higher elements, not doing the data entry.“
The future – developing Facebook groups to the next level
For Murray, her approach to digital marketing has already sown seeds for the future. “At some point I’d like to get a membership site where there is a certain amount of free content and then different level of subscribers.”
Video will be a big part of this: “Twenty minute chunks on things like “How to read a P&L and balance sheet”. Geography is becoming less important, I’d like to get more clients in different areas. Digital is where the local can become national.”
About Richard Sergeant
Specialist insight and business development support for accountants and their vendors. Cloud advocate with a pragmatist eye.