You’ve hired a marketing manager for your accounting firm. Exciting! Now it’s time to help them successfully market your firm.
Although I stayed in a marketing role when I joined PF, it was a change of industry for me and I saw first hand the differences that exist in marketing different industries. Both myself personally and PF as a company have felt the impact of me being coached in the industry I’m responsible for marketing and in the buyers of your services (in our case, a creative agency who works exclusively with accountants and bookkeepers who are willing and excited to invest in their own marketing).
Depending on what experience your marketing manager has they might not have marketed the services of an accounting firm before and/or marketed to the audience your firm works with. The best piece of advice I can give you is to invest in educating them in both your industry and your audience (starting with our marketing coaching group exclusive to accountants). Why? It will make a significant difference to the impact they’re able to have on your firm and their enjoyment of the role. Both of which will contribute to success in your marketing, and overall for your firm.
I’m going to draw from my experience and share with you some of the differences that exist between marketing accounting firms compared to other industries and how you can support your marketing manager to do the work possible for your firm.
Building relationships sits at the heart of marketing your accounting firm.
As an accountant, you’re offering a service, not selling a product. And even then, your messaging needs to focus less on the actual services you offer and more on the solutions you provide buyers. You’re helping business owners to thrive, achieve their goals and in some cases keep their businesses alive. You do this by relieving their burden of needing to understand complex finance rules and regulations and by helping them to understand their numbers and how they can manage them better.
Understanding your buyers is therefore essential to relationship marketing. It’s your responsibility to make sure your marketing manager has a thorough understanding of what challenges your buyers need help overcoming, and what success looks like for them. Only then can they present your firm as the guide who has the solution which will lead them to success. This understanding needs to be on a detailed level. It’s not enough to tell them “we work with creative businesses” and send them on their way. They need to understand your clients on a deeper level to be able to help you attract more of them:
- What motivates them?
- What frustrates them?
- What’s important to them?
- What do they specifically need help with?
- How do they make decisions?
- What does success look like for them?
- Are they in a specific industry?
- What size of business are they?
- Are they based in a specific location?
(Side note: if you aren’t sure of any of the answers to these questions about your audience, I’d encourage you to take a look at our coaching group for accountants!)
Relationship marketing takes a lot longer. This is because it delivers longer term relationships which are built on a foundation of trust. Rather than getting lots of quick wins and high client churn rates, which exist for other industries, your buyer cycle is much longer and you can’t rush things. You need time to show you’re the expert, the authority and you’re worth investing in. You can read more about building a process for your buyer cycle here.
Content marketing helps you to speed up the buying process. And this means your marketing manager needs to be clear on 1. How the buyers of accountancy services buy and 2. How you can impact this with marketing. As your buyers move through the stages of their buyer cycle, your marketing manager needs to understand exactly what’s happening at each point:
What content do they need to create for each stage?
How do they present your firm as the solution depending on what stage a buyer is at?
What’s missing which would help buyers to make their decision faster?
Here’s a free guide you can download to help get them started on these questions.
Your marketing manager needs support in applying their skills to the accounting industry.
You’ve hired your marketing manager because of the experience and skills they bring to your firm (and they’re a values fit too!). They can create engaging content, manage social media platforms and represent your firm at industry events. They have an understanding of website customer journeys, they value how core your brand identity is to your marketing and they know the difference between impactful and not-so-great design. These skills and experience are (part of) the reason they got hired!
They now need support in learning how to use these great skills to connect with the buyers of accounting firm services. They know what type of content to create (i.e. blog posts, social media posts, free PDF guides) but they need help understanding what topics would be most helpful to your ideal audience. They understand the ideal path you want a website visitor to take, but they need guidance on the patterns you see with your specific audience. They have experience in bringing brand identities into all the marketing they do, but they need to be crystal clear on who you want your brand to speak to and what message you want it to send. They know that the best marketing focuses on your client’s experiences of working with you and the stories they have to share. But they need help identifying which ones are going to be most valuable to your audience.
In simple terms: it’s like turning up to the ski slopes with all the gear but no actual idea of how to ski.
Marketing is so often the first impression that someone has of your firm, either connecting on social media or visiting your website or speaking to you at an event. This means the responsibility of that first impression often sits with your marketing manager. Investing in their learning and development will support them in making marketing the most successful it can be for you.
Accelerator helps your marketing manager to apply their skills to your industry.
You recognise your marketing manager has experience of the main principles of marketing. Our 12-week coaching group Accelerator has been crafted to show how these principles apply to the industry you’re in and to the buyers of accounting firm services.
They’ll start by working through your audience and their issues. What issues do you clients have? What are their accounting pain points? How do you provide the solution to these? And then move onto working through how brand, design, website, social media and how all the other marketing tools can be used to connect with your ideal audience by presenting your firm as the guide with the solution.
Throughout the live sessions, they’ll be shown loads of examples from other firms which will give them inspiration and ideas for your firm’s marketing and help them to see how the principles of marketing apply practically to accounting firms like yours.
Without this coaching and knowledge, you’re making it much more difficult for your marketing manager to successfully market your firm. The best marketing focuses on the solutions you provide your audience. It’s therefore critical your marketing manager is clear on who your audience are and how they buy your services.
They will get these answers in Accelerator and that’s why I’d encourage you to invest in the education of your marketing manager. You can sign them up as an individual, or you can have your whole team join the next group. Here’s all the details & the form to sign them up! I’m excited to help your marketing manager apply their incredible skills to your accounting firm and help you attract more of those great clients you love to work with!