Our podcast series in partnership with ACCA looks at how to grow your practice through data driven marketing.
We dive into five podcasts on how to use marketing to win the business you want, whether you should become a specialist firm with a niche focus, how to create a marketing strategy and plan for your practice, how marketing can help overcome the price objection, and how to market your firm on a budget.
This week we look at the last episode in the series on how how to market your accounting firm on a budget, listen to the podcast here.
You’re here because you know how marketing can help your accountancy firm grow. You know that branding and getting your website right is key to your success and what things like email marketing campaigns can do for you.
But you would be forgiven for feeling quite lost on where specifically to start, especially if you’re being pressured to stay within a strict budget by your boss – or out of sheer necessity.
Don’t fret. Even if your budget is tight, you’re not completely locked out from some of the most powerful marketing tools and strategies.
We’ll take you through some of these in this guide to marketing your accounting firm on a budget.
How much should I be spending?
This is a great question and one that is probably at the forefront of your mind. At least, it should be.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to give a blanket answer to the question because it depends entirely on the context a firm finds itself in.
It’s annoying to get a “How long is a piece of string?” answer, though, isn’t it? So, as a rule of thumb, we would recommend that you spend around 7-10% of your overall turnover on marketing.
What’s your plan?
Not only is creating a marketing plan free but if you tick all the boxes early on, you’ll be able to stay within your budget that much easier, so let’s start here.
There’s lots to think about. How will I engage my clients and keep them happy? How will I make myself visible in the market?
Well, before you get to the ‘hows’, you first need to ask yourself some fundamental questions about your firm and your clients, including:
- Who is your ideal client and what do they look like?
- What industries do you want to specialise in?
- Who have you helped already?
- What services are your ideal clients looking for?
Identify how many clients you need and how much you need each of them to spend to reach your goals too.
Then, you’ll see what your marketing needs to accomplish, allowing you to arrange an appropriate spending plan.
Marketing for startups
If your firm is new to the game, there are some basics you need to make room for in your budget. Without them, you can count yourself out before you begin.
First, a website. Not only will this act as a window into who you are and your values, but it’s also the platform clients will use to purchase your services. For that reason, your website needs to both function well and look good.
Next, a logo – the visual encapsulation of your business and your brand. Many business owners are looking for accountants who are up to date and can evolve with the times. A fresh, modern logo will subtly signal that you’re what they are looking for.
Then, get your business on social media, even if you’re not in a position quite yet to be posting regular content. It’s about establishing a presence as much as anything.
LinkedIn and Facebook can be particularly effective for drawing attention and with 18% of people finding their accountant on social media, according to our research, you can’t afford to ignore getting on a free online platform.
Low cost marketing tools
Next, you need to get traffic directed to your website. For that, invest in search engine marketing (SEM).
There are two types of SEM. First, there’s paid search advertising, which are the sponsored ads that appear at the top of and on the side of search engine results pages. It can be costly, however, but it is time efficient.
Then, there’s search engine optimisation (SEO), which is all about getting you at the top of a search engine’s results page organically, without payment.
This is done by optimising your website’s copy and headings, otherwise known as H tags, to include the keywords your clients are searching for.
We can’t recommend looking into SEO enough, as it can bring a great return on investment.
Indeed, our own clients consistently notice a significant increase in leads within just three months once a plan is put into action. You can hear more about this from our MD, Mike Crook, on a recent episode of our podcast with the ACCA.
Next, start with the free-to-use Google Analytics tool to track traffic to your website and view data including your most and least popular sections.
The ‘our services’ section should be one of the most popular, if your website is set up right.
Regular monitoring with this free service can go a long way for minimum effort.
Then, start a blog on your website. Not only does it give your website life and personality, but can position you as a true expert in your field by picking topics to which your clients want to know the answers.
If you use SEO to hone each blog post, it will also act as yet another way to create even more leads. Make sure to post them on your social media pages too.
Keep all the email addresses of clients and prospective clients you get, too. That way, with their permission to send marketing emails, you can run email campaigns – a very cost-effective method for boosting awareness of your brand.
Consider, too, our website health check, to analyse things like your website performance and technical performance. Did I mention that it’s completely free? Well, it is.
Purchase your Autumn Statement report
Help clients understand exactly what impact fiscal plans will have on them in a language they can understand.
Should I outsource my marketing if I’m on a budget?
We know that everything we’ve discussed so far can be a challenge to sort out all by yourself, especially when you’ve got your services to worry about, which is why a lot of accounting firms outsource their digital marketing.
But if you’re on a budget, we understand why you might be reluctant to do that, at least for now, with the low-cost and free tools at your disposal.
Just know that exactly as your clients end up saving money in the long-run by using your accounting services, the exact same is true for digital marketing agencies.
It doesn’t even have to be an expensive initial investment either, as we explored in a previous blog.
Get in touch with us on 0117 915 0420 to discuss how we can help with your accountancy firm’s marketing.