Accountants, remember the emotional side of marketing

The best marketing always taps into the emotions of the buyer.

Whether you’re selling a train ticket, a table lamp, tax planning services, or tickets to an event, what you’re really doing is engaging with your buyer on an emotional level.


As an accountant, you may think this is an area you’re not as familiar – or comfortable – with, but the fact is most of you actually are quite connected to the emotional element when dealing with your clients.

I’ve had accountants tell me that some days they wish they had gone through training as a counsellor or therapist when preparing to be an accountant.  Your clients talk to you about divorce, death, buying a home, moving countries, providing for their children, going back to university themselves…and you find you’re on the other end of some pretty powerful emotion.

That emotion is not restricted to the client meeting.

It’s there, in the hearts and minds of your prospects, and the best marketing addresses it head on.  As a matter of fact, if you don’t address it – if you try to simply state the service and provide the price and leave it at that – you’re missing out on a huge amount of new business.

Look at the emotion of your client success stories

These are just a few of the stories some of my accountant clients have shared with me in the past week:

  • Comerford Foley helped a farming client get a bank loan approved (that was previously rejected) enabling them to buy the neighbouring farm.
  • My Accountancy Place helped a digital creative client improve their profits by 500% in a six month period.
  • Woods Squared helped a business access £50,000 in funding to build their business (the owner and his business partner got £25k each).

I could go on for quite a long time.  But aside from the numbers and the financial side of things, think about this emotionally:

  • The farming client: Imagine the conversations around the table in the farm kitchen, after the cows have been milked and someone from the family has dropped in for a cup of tea. Imagine the difference between those conversations before and after. “The bank refused the loan – it looks like we can’t buy the farm after all.” – “Well, we’ll just have to figure out a way.” And then a few weeks or months later:  “Guess what – our accountants got us the funding today!”  – “That’s amazing! Let’s tell John!” and the phone calls are made and the plans are put into motion and lives are changed.
  • The digital creative client: Perhaps the business owner can now take some very well-earned time off.  Actually go on holiday with the family, or travel to that country they’ve been wishing to visit for years.  Perhaps they can buy those new 27” retina iMacs for the entire team, and buy new offices, and hire another graphic designer.  Imagine the buzz that the team feel when they have their Monday morning meeting in the swish new offices.  “These new Macs are so FAST!” – “Hey, look, we have Starbucks coffee now!”
  • The business with new funding: It’s not just money for a new business: it’s a dream realised. Most of us have more ideas than time: but for this client, they can now action just about all the ideas they have spinning around in their brains.

Craft your marketing around the emotional result

So what does this mean for your marketing?

It means you think about the emotional result, and you craft your marketing around that:

Instead of:

  • “Access funding for your agricultural business today”


  • “Struggling to buy that neighbouring farm?”

Instead of:

  • “Improve profits for your digital creative agency”


  • “How to get 27 inch retina iMacs for your whole team”

Instead of:

  • “Raise finance for your start-up business”


  • “Stop dreaming of new business ideas. See them on screen.”

Of course, those are just off the top of my head – you’ll want to give some strategic thought to it for your audience and their needs.

Remember, it’s not about copying other accountants or even borrowing the lines I’ve dashed off above. They might appeal to some of your clients, or it might not connect with them at all.

Remember, the more specific you are with your target or niche audience, the more specific you can be with your marketing. 

And the more specific your marketing, the more your prospects will feel, “This accountant really understands me. Really gets the problem that I have.”

Whether they put it into words (or even solidify it into thought) is neither here nor there.

I was at IKEA last week, and because I’m always thinking marketing and phrases and wording and marketing messages, I was struck by the words used in their magazine, on the hanging signs, everywhere.

What I noticed is that they didn’t say they sold furniture and items for the home: they said, “To bring the wonderful to the everyday, start here.”

Note those words:

  • Everyday
  • Wonderful
  • Start

I guarantee you there was a great deal of marketing brainpower that chose those words exactly.  Even the word ‘start’ conjures up the first line on a list of instructions, or the beginning of a race.  Rather than the word ‘begin’, which in my mind is more associated with exams.  “The time is now 9:00 – you may begin.”

How do you turn emotion into marketing words?

If you’re going to think about the emotional side of your accountancy services, the first place you can start is with a list of words that address that.

For example, when it comes to raising funding, you might consider words like:

  • Cash
  • Investment
  • Funds
  • Ideas
  • Start
  • Today
  • Dreams
  • Plans
  • Money
  • Achieve
  • Turn

Then choose a few of these words and combine them:

“Get the cash you need to turn your ideas into a business”

Next, consider alternatives for varying industries or people – and remember to think about the outcomes:

“Got a new app idea? Get the funds you need so the world can download it.”

You see how we’ve gone from the generic to the specific?  Granted, if you use the wording from our ‘app’ example, it’s not going to appeal to someone who wants to help provide clean energy, or buy a new warehouse.  But that’s why your marketing needs to target different audiences – so that the right people connect with you.

That way, they know right from the beginning that you understand not just the numbers and the finances and the practical side of things, but the emotions too – the excitement and enthusiasm and fear and pain.

And when they know that, they’re far more likely to do business with you, and to do it faster.