Like any business owner, you will go through different stages as you manage your accountancy practice. From your original start-up mode to consolidation; sometimes you will have to deal with adversity, and sometimes your mindset is all-out growth.
That last one is a really exciting place to be; you’re full of energy and ideas, you’re bringing your team along with you, and maybe already thinking about new hires. But wait! There are plenty of obstacles that could derail your plans, wasting that valuable enthusiasm – and your budget too.
As we’ve worked with hundreds of accountancy firms across the UK, we have encountered all kinds of marketing situations before we are hired: good and bad. Learning from the mistakes of others can be so helpful.
So here is our rundown of five of the most common marketing missteps we see when accountants are in growth mode.
You don’t have a clear USP
Your unique selling point is that one reason why your target clients should choose you over the competition. Every business should have at least one (it’s fine to have several), and be communicating it in their marketing. But it involves some introspection, planning and market research to identify what you are best at compared to everyone else.
As your background is in numbers, it’s understandable that you may not have consciously gone through this process. But go through it you should, and use it in all your marketing to deliver a consistent message to your clients and prospects.
Do note that, although the “U” is for “unique”, an absolute term, you don’t have to have a monopoly on the selling point – just be genuinely good at it. That could be a particular sector expertise, or an express service or a low cost for example, or a combination of attributes.
You are a “master of no trades” by trying to do everything
One of the benefits of spending time defining your USPs is that you can get to know what you are really good at doing – not just for your clients, but also what is most profitable for you.
While it is tempting to go after all available work, practices which say they can do anything for anyone may end up missing out on the best clients. Instead, these clients could opt to use a specialist for certain plum jobs, maybe paying a premium to do so because they can see the extra value they’ll get.
This leaves the “Jack of all trades” practice doing bits and pieces, not as efficient as the competition and with mixed marketing messages that hinder growth.
Thinking that a one-page website or your old website will power your growth
You’ll already know that pretty much every business now needs a website, and we could write a book on the optimum approach to this, indeed we have. One thing to avoid, which we do see frequently happen, is to think a simple one-page website is sufficient when you are trying to grow.
A one-pager may be an apparently cheap solution but there are two ways that it will hold you back.
First, it will make it difficult for you to engage with your target market. You simply won’t have enough of a platform to get your messaging across when compared to your competition.
And second, it will seriously hamper your efforts to be found on search engines as again you will be out-gunned by competitors who have more content.
And what about relying on your old website? Well, it has got you so far, but if you want to grow to the next level, you may well need something extra. Moreover, technology and trends move quickly, so if your website has not been reviewed in the last two years, you may find that much more can be achieved.
Investing in PPC and social media in the first instance
When it comes to digital marketing there are over 20 broad approaches which can be taken, each having a place depending on your business and the market you are trying to reach.
It’s because if you are to do either of PPC or social media well, it really relies on your first having created a good digital architecture – a modern, properly functioning website, keyword research for search engine optimisation, and the right content to appeal to your target audience.
The good news is these are not merely a means to an end for social media and PPC, they are beneficial in themselves. They help you gain organically better visibility over the long term on search engines and deliver a good user experience to visitors on your website. These are important in their own right but also help you get superior results via PPC and social media when the time is right to pursue them.
You do not have a proper, nurturing sales funnel in place
A sales funnel is the result of a properly thought-out sales and marketing plan. It guides your potential clients on a structured journey towards signing up with you.
From identifying who you want to attract, to the messaging and channels you will use, how you may collect data along the way, and how you follow up to conversion; it gives you a structure for success. Without such a funnel, winning new business will be haphazard. You can still grow, but not as efficiently as you might.
Ready for growth?
It’s all very well avoiding these pitfalls when on the path for growth, but you still need to execute your plan well to achieve success. At PracticeWeb, we specialise in helping accountancy practices grow through digital marketing.
If you would like help designing and implementing a marketing growth plan, you can draw on our huge experience and expertise to get it right first time. Contact us for an initial discussion.