Managing Director PracticeWeb
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How to market your accountancy firm part 3: Execute

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With a strategy and plan agreed, it’s time to get down to business and start marketing your accountancy firm. Mike Crook, managing director of PracticeWEB, shares his expert knowledge in the third instalment of our Market Your Firm series.

23rd Nov 2021
Managing Director PracticeWeb
In association with
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To get started you'll need to build a platform for your marketing campaigns – the means a website, social presence, email newsletter, and so on – using the right tools.

Then, once you start rolling your plan out, it’s about keeping it alive, staying on track and meeting your milestones.

You need to be patient and give your work time to take effect… or not. After three, six or twelve months, review and refresh your strategy and plans.

That’s the in-brief version. Let’s dig into the details.

Tools, platforms and presence

In 2021, most marketing happens online, which means you need a strong online presence. The cornerstone of that should be your website – as a shopfront, content hub and contact centre, all in one. It’s the one bit of real estate you can really own.

You should also set up social media accounts on the main platforms, or at least those where you believe your ideal clients hang out. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are probably essential.

Instagram, Clubhouse, TikTok and other platforms are probably still in the ‘nice-to-have’ territory, for now – although some accountants are starting to gain serious traction on those platforms.

Even if you don’t plan to use social media actively, claim those accounts. Make sure they have up-to-date contact information and all point back to your website.

Another important online space to claim is your Google My Business listing. That’s the box that pops up in search results when someone searches your firm’s name. You can take a certain amount of control over it and should ensure it has the correct contact info, as a bare minimum.

You’ll also want some kind of system for sending out targeted emails to clients. A customer relationship management (CRM) system tied to an email management tool such as Campaign Monitor or MailChimp will probably work well – and make complying with data protection rules a lot easier.

The power of content

With your platform in place, you need to start producing content in line with the content plan I talked about in part two of this series.

Content marketing is about generating interest in your firm, and connecting with prospects, by providing information that they’ll find genuinely interesting and useful.

We’ve all come across content for the sake of content, sometimes in the form of so-called ‘clickbait’. It lures you in with the promise of an answer to your question or new information only to disappoint with thin, pointless waffle. That’s what you want to avoid.

Equally, if you and your colleagues are going to spend time producing it, or spend money commissioning it from specialist writers, it needs to work hard for you. Every piece of content should do at least one job, and ideally several, so that it can deliver real value.

Blogging is a good place to start. A decent blog will help your firm rank in Google’s search results, as part of your search engine optimisation (SEO) plan.

Those blog posts can also support client conversations, saving you time. Instead of answering the same questions over and over again, you can simply share a link to your definitive explainer.

Finally, an active, frequently-updated blog brings your website to life and demonstrates your knowledge. Think of a client landing there having come across your firm on social media, or hearing your name from one of their peers. It’s all about making them feel that you know your stuff and are the experts they’re looking for.

Blogging isn’t the only option, of course. There’s also social media posts, for example, which might vary from quick, informal tips to the kind of personal or fun material that might not feel quite right on the website.

There’s also video, webinars, eBooks, podcasting… Each has its own benefits and you’ll probably get the best results from doing a bit of each.

In practice, that might mean livening up your blog posts with video, summarising and promoting your blog posts on social, or using polls on social media to make webinars more interesting.

Review, maintain and refresh

Whatever you decide to do, stick at it for at least a while, even if the results aren’t immediately obvious. I’ve seen too many people drop marketing plans because they don’t see a surge in traffic after a fortnight, or chopping and changing because a new idea has come along.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule but, broadly speaking, I’d say three months is about the right amount of time to let your marketing activity run before judging its effectiveness.

If it’s not working – if the dials aren’t moving on those metrics I talked about in part two – don’t stop dead. Tweak your approach.

That might mean sharing links at different times, on different social media platforms. It could be about making your headlines more compelling – people love ‘How to’ and ‘Seven tips for...’ type headings.

If you’re not getting conversions, have a look at your website and make sure it’s easy for potential clients to get in touch or register their interest.

Or maybe your plan has slipped off course and content isn’t being produced as regularly as intended.

If you can see improvements, or that certain items of content are performing better, double down on what’s achieving those results.

At six months, or towards year-end, conduct a more thorough review of all the stats and KPIs, ready to start the process all over again with a refreshed marketing strategy.

In conclusion

Marketing is a process, not an event. Like any other aspect of running a business, it requires careful thought upfront; careful planning; and determination in execution.

Get it right and you’ll generate a constant flow of new business without spending more time or money than necessary.

 

Mike Crook is managing director of PracticeWeb, a specialist marketing agency for accountants. In this series, he sets out how your firm can market itself more effectively, from strategy to execution.

You can read more of Mike’s advice in our new book, The Digital Marketing Manual for Accountants, you can get a free copy by attending one of Mike's talks at AccountingWEB Live Expo. Come and visit us on stand G15 at AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December, for your chance to pick up a copy of the new book.

Mike will be speaking at AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December 2021 alongside such guests as Rebecca Benneyworth, Peter Rayney, Paul Aplin, Anita Monteith, Carl Reader, Steve Collings, Reza Hooda plus representatives from HMRC. PracticeWeb will also be exhibiting at stand G15.

AccountingWEB Live Expo takes place on 1-2 December 2021 at Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry. Registration is now open. The full content programme is now available enabling you to register for specific sessions. Please visit the AccountingWEB Live Expo website for full details and to sign up for our newsletter.

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