One of the things I want you to do as an accountant this year is to begin to plan what business events you’re going to go to. And not only you: but your team, as well.
I take the education and inspiration of accountants very seriously: and I’m proud to see so many accountants learning from what we have to share here at PF.
But we’re not the only ones who can inspire you.
If you’re going to act less like an accountant and more like a business owner, it’s time to start attending the events that the high growth, high energy, supremely motivated, and very profitable business owners are attending.
You likely go to a lot of conferences already as an accountant. Seminars. Workshops. Trainings. Exhibitions. Consultancy sessions. (That’s not including the webinars and online trainings and mastermind groups.)
But when was the last time you went to a business event that was so good you forgot you were at a “conference” and simply…learned? And were inspired and encouraged and fired up?
For most accountants, the closest you’ll come is Xerocon – which is an absolutely excellent event and I highly recommend it.
But who else is there?
People who work with accountants.
Consultants and strategists and apps and tech companies and businesses who sell to accountants.
You need to get yourself into places where there are other people besides accountants.
Where you’re surrounded by businesses and speakers and authors and vloggers who will inspire you. Fire you up. Make you laugh. And yes, probably challenge you and push you a little bit.
Because if all you’ve got in the space of 12 months is one great event amongst the same old hotels and bad coffee and tax updates, your content marketing is going to suffer.
Actually, your marketing of any kind is going to suffer. And so is your accounting business.
(Side note: Like the term “cloud”, which is now outdated and of no use to us, “content marketing” is beginning to simply mean…marketing. We’re not used car salesmen, or annoying website pop-ups: we’re human beings who are authentic about what we do and how we do it. Okay, end side note, back to my point.)
Here are my tips for preparing to attend these kind of events.
And, as a huge bonus, I’ve got links at the end to the top 5 marketing events I’d like you to consider, and the top one I would recommend.
Embrace the “not an accountant but a business owner” mindset
We’ve covered this before. My friend James Ashford is a huge fan of helping you think like a business owner when it comes to your sales, your marketing, your business approach…your entire accounting business.
We feel the same at PF. People already know you’re an accountant, and they have a pretty decent idea of what an accountant does. (Okay, they’re probably missing a few things, but you can educate them about that once you win them over and they become a client.)
You do not need to tell people that you are an accountant.
You do not need to tell the world what an accountant does.
You do not need the 45, or 110, pages on your website detailing every single service you offer. (Please delete most of them. They’re useless and confusing.)
What you need to do is be human. Be real. Be authentic. Use Instagram and video and VR. Send thank you notes and gifts. Read great books.
And attend great events.
You need to bring (or send) members of your team to these marketing events.
One of the patterns I’m seeing is that the firms who are absolutely nailing it when it comes to content marketing is that they are involving their team in content marketing.
For those of you interested in ROI, ‘nailing it’ in this case is on the level of doubling profits (like Emma from Fresh Financials).
Or being able to turn away almost 70% of prospective clients so they can choose the absolute best ones that fit their business and will love them (like Paul from My Accountancy Place).
And the reason their content marketing is becoming so powerful is that these firms are involving their team in marketing.
They are encouraging their team members to write blogs – even if they’re not perfect ones.
To record video. Use social media. Learn and use tools like GoProposal, so the team are selling as well as the firm owner. To be involved in the firm’s marketing on a personal level.
They are investing in content training and coaching and marketing help so their team can be better and better at it….in some cases, even better than the firm owner themselves.
That’s what you want. Because it means you are not the sole salesperson for the firm.
(Oh, and your team will LOVE it. They will be thrilled to attend these kinds of events…and if they’re not, you’ve got some education to do, or they’re not the right team member for your firm.)
Attend marketing events that are more about “people” than about “business”.
At the event I attended this week, CMA Live (not to be confused with the Country Music Awards in America…hashtag war on twitter…), one of the speakers was Mark Schaefer.
Mark has written a book called ‘Known’, about personal branding. You may not have heard of him, and that’s okay. (One of the points he made was that being ‘known’ is not the same as being ‘famous’.)
But one of the points Mark made is that the most important thing you can do is ensure that your brand – your business, your firm – focuses on people.
Not more business.
Not more sales.
Not more turnover or leads or even profit.
Focus on what Mark calls P2P – “People to People”.
“The best brands are no longer B2B or B2C, they’re P2P?—?connecting their people with consumers who need them. Despite the amazing new technology we have to connect with people directly, most brands have fallen into the same bad habits of using social media content to advertise, sell, and promote.” – Mark Schaefer
CMA Live was unequivocally about people. There were hugs. A lot of laughter. Deep conversations. A few inside jokes. Mockery.
Oh, and swearing.
Swearing isn’t really our thing at PF in terms of our brand, and our tone, but you have to admit that some of the session titles at CMA give you a little insight into the type of event you’re coming to. (Specifically check out Doug Kessler and Erika Napoletano.)
Being real and human is the key. One of Doug’s points in his talk was that you don’t have to swear, but you do have to surprise people, resonate with the like minded, and be authentic.
Go to events that are all about people. It will enhance your marketing more than any stuffy “Ultimate B2B Marketing Expo” you could ever attend. (I just made that name up, but I bet it exists.)
Go to events where you can be part of a community.
Attending an event is a great thing. But even the best events will fade – not only in your memory, but in your marketing actions – if you aren’t part of a community that will keep it alive after you get home.
This is why I believe Xerocon is so powerful for accountants: because we’re already part of the Xero community. There’s a huge build up, and then the explosion of learning and connection and ideas and support, and then afterwards we keep it going.
CMA was the same. There’s a Slack group that is so interactive I felt like I knew at least half of the 167 attendees before I got there. People would come up to me with comments about my business or my marketing or my comments in the forums – and I would do the same to them – even though we’d never met “in person”.
You have to connect yourself not only with a marketing event, but with a community. It will give you the accountability to get things done. (And of course PF is here to help you do that when it comes to your marketing.)
So those are my tips.
Now, as promised, here’s the link to the top 5 marketing events for accountants to consider attending
….and the one that you must attend, no question, is this: