As accountancy business owners you want to be as confident as possible that every penny you’re investing is being put to work, whether it’s making the most of office space or getting marketing done.
On a recent call with an accounting firm , Karen and I were asked more specifically about old media. The firm in question had been spending significant amounts of money every year on sponsoring a local business awards ceremony and whilst they knew that they had won SOME business as a result, they weren’t completely confident that they were getting a return on their investment.
Whilst this is a tempting way to think, marketing ROI can’t be measured on a case by case basis… “i spent x on this email and got 3 replies so email is good; I spent x on Twitter and got nothing so twitter is bad”. Successful marketing instead is the culmination of many small touch points.
Is ‘old media’ dead?
Yes, we can confidently say that the global trend is heading towards a more digital brand of marketing as opposed to a more traditional, physical approach (Letter, print ads etc). Consumers are spending more and more time online and as a result more businesses are advertising their services there. You can read more on buying decisions in this blog “How much of the buying decision is made before my prospect gets in touch with me?”.
First, how well do you know your target market? Do they make their buying decisions online? and if so, on which platform are they spending most of their time?? This is where we encounter our first solution.
1. Understand the basics of your own brand.
Even more important than the platform that you choose to market on is the content that you choose to include.
You could know exactly who your audience is and where they hang out but if your messaging isn’t connecting with them then it’s not going to convert.
For example, say you’re a progressive and tech savvy accounting firm that uses Xero at the core of a suite of applications to deliver efficiency savings for your clients and then you’re sending out physical letters to potential prospects, this form of media isn’t really matching up with the image that you’re trying to project.
This is why on the PF marketing map the first foundational area we cover with accountancy firms is branding.
This allows you to make sure you’re focused and clear on the personality of your firm and its values. From that point everything you do in marketing can then fully reflect the brand.
2. Track your metrics
Next you need to make a concerted effort to understand, as best you can, how each of your marketing engines impacts your potential to generate leads.
Whilst some of this will be intangible (for example the number of touch points a prospect might have before making the decision to contact you) more information is generally a good thing. It can be overwhelming at times but when harnessed properly by someone with experience more is more when it comes to data.
Having this information will help you to make strategic decisions on where to focus your marketing efforts, and where to allocate your budget.
At PF, we begin a relationship with any new retainer client by implementing the Co-pilot & Tracking report. This allows you to assess the lay of the land and get feedback on what seems to be working and what doesn’t. It could be seeing if a certain kind of blog content you’ve publishing has a good or bad bounce rate or tracking the conversion rate of your contact page. All of those little bits of info all you to make more confident marketing decisions.
What can be tracked:
- Visits to your site
- The conversion rate of your contact page
- Your users interests
- The success of your proposals
- How many users social media sends to your site
What is much more difficult to track:
- The wider awareness of your brand. Do people recognise your logo? Are you a local name?
- Conversations people have in ‘real life’ about your firm. Away from the prying eyes of the internet.
- The impact that your team has on marketing and how well they represent the brand personally.
Marketing is just one cog within the wider machine but the first step to spending money in the right places is having the information you need to make informed decisions.
The buyer cycle for accounting firms is much longer than say, a pair of trainers. So commiting to harnessing this information over the long term is key. It’s for this reason that when you work with us on co pilot & tracking, we start by doing this for 12 months in order to make sure you’re seeing the patterns that you need to.
3. Use this knowledge and stand out from the crowd
Now you have a handle on your brand and the information to make informed decisions you can start putting that marketing budget to work. There’s always going to be a degree of trial and error with marketing but one thing that’s just as important as where you spend your money is how.
For example, getting the attention of your prospects may come down to something as simple as going against the grain. As an accounting firm, tweeting about your new advisory service may not be particularly original… but hand delivering a wax sealed letter to every client telling them about it may do! Dare to be a bit creative.
The inverse can also be true. My background is in music and I remember a particularly interesting story (that I can’t find online) about an artist that got signed to a label by sending out letters in gold envelopes.
Record companies would receive hundreds of parcels a day with demos from aspiring artists and most would go in the bin, but this small change and little bit of extra effort allowed the artist to stand out just enough to get noticed.
In summary, old media CAN work… so I wouldn’t completely write it off just yet. However, the decision to use it needs to be well informed and the result of some original thinking. Whilst no-one can ever be 100% sure that every penny is used with complete efficiency, if you consider the points laid out in this tip you will at least be able to commit to marketing spend with some confidence.
Thanks for reading guys.