Whether your accounting business is just starting out, or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, marketing your business is a must. It’s crucial in good economic times and in bad. In fact, during an economic downturn, choosing the right CPA marketing channels for your business matters more than ever. Smart marketing can give you the edge you need to succeed—if you know where to spend your time and money!
Listed below are five CPA marketing channels sure to help grow your accounting business.
Along with huge accounting staffs, huge accounting firms have huge budgets. How can you compete, especially when it comes to direct mail? According to a study done by Marketing Sherpa, it’s a matter of trust. In the study researchers found consumers making a purchasing decision trusted direct mail ads more (76 percent) than social media embedded advertising (43 percent).
Since direct mail can require a significant budget commitment, make the most of your investment by carefully targeting your recipients. Your direct mail piece should clearly explain why a business or consumer should choose your small CPA firm instead of one of the major accounting firms. What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)? What are the benefits to the client (lower cost, more personal attention, faster service)? Use a few of your best client testimonials along with photos to make the direct mail piece visually appealing.
Americans are constantly checking their email. In fact, a whopping 89 percent of people check their email daily, according to a study by Fluent. So, marketing to your accounting customers by email is a must. Need more convincing? Check out these statistics:
- Seven in 10 internet users would rather have businesses communicate with them by email than any other method, reports MarketingSherpa.
- 53 percent of consumers have purchased something from a retailer after receiving an email about the product.
- For every $1 businesses spend on email marketing, there’s an average return on investment of $38.
What’s important to remember when it comes to email marketing is you need the person’s permission to send it to them. Whether they sign up to get emails on a clipboard at your office, on your website or by giving you an email address at a networking meeting, you must have explicit permission to market to them, or you’re in violation of CAN-SPAM laws.
Since most emails are opened on a mobile device, make sure your emails are optimized for mobile viewing (responsive design). Keep text, picture, and links to a minimum. Put your call to action near the top of the email; don’t make readers scroll down to get your message.
Finally, tap into the analytics tools your email marketing service provides. You’d be amazed at what you can find out—from who opened what email when, and what they clicked on, to which emails drove the most sales or generated the most engagement.
Organic and Paid Search
Have you checked your rankings lately? Type a few words to describe your accounting services into your favorite search engine and see where your business shows up. If you’re not happy with the results, it’s time to take a closer look at your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). You need to make the most of your CPA marketing, and proper SEO tactics will help you do just that.
Start by educating yourself about SEO. Constantly changing SEO trends and strategies can be complicated, but the basics are fairly simple—you need value-added content with the right mix of keywords. Current top keywords include income tax, audit, account and CPA.
Keywords change constantly, and search engines keep changing their algorithms. Unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands, the best way to handle SEO is to make an appointment with an expert who can advise you on your website. Better still, outsource the SEO and content so the responsibility is off your plate. You can also invest in a program like Advanced Web Ranking that keeps you on top of your ranking and offers advice daily.
You’ll also want to invest in paid search engine marketing, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC advertising is affordable and it’s easy to modify your ads based on what gets results. You can promote specific services or target certain customer profiles. Use keywords your typical clients use when searching for you, and be sure to monitor your results.
CPA marketing relies on convincing prospects you’ve got the expertise to handle their business. One way to build a reputation as an expert is with high-quality content. From blog posts and videos to infographics and white papers, creating and sharing content will help your accounting business attract more customers. You can start a blog on your website, guest blog on sites that your target customers visit, or even hire a freelance writer to handle your content creation.
What should your content cover? One good way to get ideas is by tapping into the top questions you get from clients or the biggest problems they have. Offer tips for solving those problems and share content that answers the questions (but also points out the ways your accounting firm can help). Be sure to include a call to action in each piece of content. Share the content you create on social media, your website, and via email to build word-of-mouth.
Social Media Marketing
One of your CPA marketing channels should be social media. Social networking not only helps you generate and nurture leads, it also helps you manage your reputation and build a name for your business in your local community. Plus, the more your content and your business name appear in social media, the better it is for your SEO.
Because social media is all about connections, make sure you are following and referencing your vendors, customers, peers and other local businesses. The more active you are on social media, the more you will build your brand and drive qualified traffic to your website.
To get attention in the increasingly crowded social media space, consider using paid social media advertising, too. All social media platforms provide paid advertising services that can get your message to your target market (and friends of your target market, and so on, and so on). Paid social media also lets you target users based on values such as location, interests, and behaviors.
Finally, don’t forget about online review sites, such as Yelp. One bad review could spread like wildfire if you don’t follow up and make amends, or at least address the issue. A positive referral could bring you tons of new business. Build up your reviews by sending follow-up emails to happy clients reminding them to review you online and share about your business on social media. Include links in your email to your Yelp, Facebook and LinkedIn pages to make it easy for your clients to leave comments and follow your pages.
By using these five marketing channels, you’ll put your accounting business on the road to continued growth and success.