You’ll already be used to uncovering efficiencies in the figures for your clients when you are crunching their numbers.
While not needing to be decoded from numbers, there are many efficiencies which you yourself could introduce to your marketing function. Efficiencies which will make your life easier whilst delivering an improved return-on-investment for your practice.
As we specialise in marketing for accounting firms, we have established considerable experience in this area.
So here are a few ways in which you can make your marketing more efficient.
Content planning – One step back for three strides forward
One of the biggest obstacles to getting an effective marketing function going is knowing what content to create, or when, where to publish it… and how often. So many questions!
If you do not get a grip on your content planning, marketing will always be a struggle, always be inefficient.
Therefore, content planning is a crucial step which smart accountancy practices take to get their marketing moving slickly.
Let’s assume you have a good understanding of your target audience, your proposition and tone of voice. If not, check out this resource which will help you with these key marketing processes.
Now you want to develop a campaign of content that matches your key services to the needs of your target audience. If property tax advice is a niche for you, content around this. Or if you specialise in company formation and compliance, content around that answers key questions on these topics.
If you want an SEO slant, you can use Google search data to research content ideas. Alternatively, you could ask your current clients what they would most like to know. It is very important to make sure that your content will resonate with the right people. So a bit of rigour to your research will help, however you choose to do it.
Publishing a blog is a great way to underpin all other content marketing – say once or twice a month – addressing the key issues you have identified. Document three, six or twelve months’ worth of content ideas, along with publication dates and you have yourself a basic content calendar.
This may be a basic calendar, but it is something you can begin to leverage to create further marketing efficiency. For example, you could add a couple of social media posts to promote each blog as a simple next step to your calendar.
From there it becomes much easier to explore other types of content like: case studies, video and even physical or virtual events like webinars.
A key hack when it comes to marketing efficiency is repurposing content. This means creating content in one format and then, with just a little extra effort, slicing and dicing it into other media.
Workflow planning – benefit from adding process to your marketing
You almost certainly already have workflows for delivering your services to your clients, but have you gone as far as introducing such process to your marketing?
If not, this is a great way to make your marketing function more efficient. Take some time to understand the order in which things get done: where things are working well, and where improvement is needed.
It is not uncommon for bottlenecks to occur in marketing campaign production, particularly around sign-offs. If this is a problem, at the very least you can factor extra time into your workflow to recognise it. Or perhaps you can overcome the problem by training more people to take responsibility for sign-off.
This may become part of a wider exercise in ensuring that everyone involved in your marketing function has defined roles and is collaborating effectively. Think about who is your lead on marketing strategy, who is responsible for content creation, how marketing is technically checked.
Many accountancy practices will outsource some of the creative work to marketing agencies. If you do this, who briefs and liaises with them?
Creating clearly defined roles and instilling an emphasis on collaboration across your firm may unlock significant efficiencies. Involving some of your fee-earning staff on the marketing side is one idea to consider. For instance, they could have input on creating briefs, during technical sign-off or as the authoritative face of content. This works well for some firms. If it is right for you, it may help you to create more rounded roles, aiding your recruitment and retention.
As with other aspects of accounting, it can be beneficial to explore how automation can improve your workflow. One tried and tested technique here is to include chatbot functionality on your website to triage early interactions with visitors. Another is automated email sequences that warm up enquirers who have downloaded a free guide.
Software is your friend in formalising marketing workflow processes, with programs like Trello or Asana popular with marketers across many sectors.
Get the most from your CRM system
And speaking of software, is your CRM (customer relationship management) system fit for purpose? A good CRM system is a powerful tool and can bring many efficiencies, in fact we have even written a guide on this.
Systems are often sold on their potential to increase growth and profitability. This, of course, is the end benefit; but these systems achieve this through improving and streamlining your relationships with your clients.
They help you hold data coherently (and securely); data is interrogatable so you can gain better knowledge about your clients and segment them; you can use this knowledge to better anticipate the needs of clients.
This last point helps with client retention, as well as cross-selling and up-selling. So it is easy to see how profitability follows on.
But for a CRM system to be effective and efficient, it has to be used properly. Have you got it linked to your website to capture visitor information from the start of their journey with you? Is it integrated with other systems like invoicing? Are you keeping it updated, including integrating aspects, such as generating custom estimates using applications like Invoice Simple? This not only keeps your financial dealings transparent but also serves as a valuable data point when you’re drawing upon it to inform your marketing decisions.
These are all avenues through which you may be able to drive greater efficiencies for your accountancy practice.
Need more help?
We hope you find some quick wins in the above advice to get your marketing working harder for you. Your firm’s website should also be an efficient platform to communicate, showcase your brand, drive sales and should take centre stage. If it’s not as efficient as it should be then it won’t be engaging or attracting the right visitors.