Accountancy is an interesting business (bear with me!) in terms of how its marketing works. Like law and dentistry, it is one of only a few services people buy on an essential and often legally required basis, rather than by desire. People buy to avoid pain and problems, rather than for enjoyment (although there is much to be enjoyed in reducing tax!). Trust is very important. These circumstances lead to specific marketing opportunities.
The Essential Purchase and its Opportunities
Customers seek accountancy because they have a problem to solve, and at a personal level, it involves skill and knowledge that they do not have and cannot easily develop themselves.
Why does the recognition of a ‘grudge’ or essential purchase affect your marketing? Simple; because whilst customers know they HAVE to have this service – and the specialist expertise and knowledge – they want to minimise the cost and spend only what is essential. This is hugely different, for example, from buying a car where many people are looking for the broadest value at their maximum available budget.
Benefits of Being Pro-active
With the need for accountancy services already identified, understood and re-enforced by government messages, potential customers ask friends for a recommendation or enquire with you directly. This is very different from companies such as kitchen installers, where the enquiry often needs to be prompted with some pro-active and outbound advertising.
It could be easy when your phone rings relatively often to find yourself getting a little complacent about the need for marketing. After all, why buy what you already have? But gaining new customer leads is just one small aspect of marketing. Marketing involves all “actions which develop the initial and ongoing demand for products and services”. If you are not taking advantage of the broader opportunities when dealing with these leads, you will not be getting the best possible business results.
Setting your Practice Apart
With a refined mix of activity, and targeting your messages beyond your customers initial compliance, you can improve all the following areas:
- Having people recognise the value of all your services
- Maximise the number of people contacting you
- Be favoured over the competition
- Turn more enquiries into sales
- Increase the range of services that customers use
- Keep your existing customers happy and increase repeat business
- Drive the full potential of testimonies, endorsements and referrals to get new business
Take time to consider the customers you would really like to have. Focus on particular audiences, and get to understand what they are looking for. Your communications don’t all have to be aimed at everyone. Targeted communications with specific groups can be much more effective.
On your website show don’t tell. Use case studies and testimonials to show and quantify your work. Make it about your customers not just about you. Show people what problems you can help them solve – cashflow, profitability, etc. As people tend to seek you out as a specific need arises, make sure your site design is responsive to mobiles and tablets. Ensure your tone and content is simple and accessible as first impressions are crucial.
Building Trust & Authority
In an industry where trust is really important, it’s great to show your expertise and authority. This is true for customers old and new and for developing your reputation in the local area. Accountancy is an on-going need and keeping in contact with your customers will keep you front of mind for repeat business and for recommendations. It also allows you to remind people of the other services you can provide. Depending on the message and business goal, this can be done via content marketing on social media, emails or online articles and blogs.
Considering your Options for the Best Opportunities
A huge amount of money and business is being left on the table by most accountancy businesses – in a way that is relatively easily fixed.
So how can you make the most of the opportunities for your company? If your company is big enough you may be able to hire an in-house marketing person. But in many cases a marketing agency offers the best and most cost and time efficient solution, giving you with the breadth of a fully skilled marketing team, strategic experience, and with no day-to-day management requirements.
I hope this article has given you some interesting aspects to work at, and of course, if you have direct questions or a requirement for support that you would like to speak with me about, I’ll be happy to hear from you. I can be reached at 01444 810531 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org