As an accounting firm owner, making time for marketing is often a challenge and sometimes it feels like the only solution is to hire an army of marketing experts to do it for you.
However, depending on the stage you’re at with your business, this might not actually be an option right now. What you can do is use AI tools to support you in keeping your commitment to your marketing.
You’ll likely have seen lots of social posts, blog posts and reviews about all the shiny, new AI tools suddenly available to us. It’s both exciting (yay, there’s a tool to do this for me!) and overwhelming (but how do I use it?).
The danger is if you don’t fully understand how these tools help you deliver great marketing, then you could waste a lot of time and energy trying to use it instead of actually using it.
Let’s look at how AI can specifically help you be a more consistent marketer. Here are the four things you’ll learn below (click to jump to each one):
- Using AI for more marketing consistency
- When to bring AI into your marketing plan
- What tools you can use
- The drawbacks of AI
Using AI for more marketing consistency
1. Platforms like ChatGPT provide a solution to one of the biggest blockers we often face in marketing: ideas.
Even for those of you who are really clear on your ideal audience, and how your firm can help them build their businesses, coming up with ideas for content is really tough sometimes. It can feel like you’re doing really great work by delivering an excellent service to your existing clients, but taking your foot off the marketing gas will impact future sales (both with existing and new clients).
ChatGPT, in its own words, is, “an AI-based language model developed by OpenAI, specifically built for engaging in natural language conversations.”
Now, when I say “own words”, that’s not strictly true. ChatGPT doesn’t create original or unique content. It gathers from sources all over the internet to formulate its responses; this is why I don’t recommend you use it to create your unique marketing content.
Instead, the platform is brilliant for ideas.
When you’re feeling stuck on what blog to write next, or what to talk about in your next video, then ChatGPT is your best friend. Tell it what you’re stuck on (i.e. I want to record a video explaining the difference between revenue and profit to an audience who think they’re the same thing). You’ll get helpful ideas and direction of what to include in your video.
Then it’s up to you to fit those ideas in your firm’s tone of voice and style to authentically reflect you, your prospects and your clients. Use this guide to learn how to use ChatGPT for your firm.
2. It gives you more time to spend with clients and work on (not in) your firm
Not having “enough” time to pour your creativity and energy into marketing is a common problem for many business owners. This is where AI sweeps in as our hero.
There are loads of AI tools which are brilliant for repetitive marketing tasks like idea generation, video editing, social media scheduling…you name it, there’s probably a tool to help you out with the task (you’ll find suggestions for some of these below).
Aside from the joy in not having to do every detail of a marketing task manually (video editing being my nemesis at times), the true gift is the opportunity AI gives you to use your time better.
Now you can spend it on other marketing priorities which do require your input:
- Your clients. Gathering feedback to keep improving their experience
- Your team. Gathering feedback to keep shaping and guiding your firm’s culture
- Your systems and processes. Audit and make changes so you’re continuously improving the efficiency and output of your firm
- Networking. Attending events with others in your industry and making new connections
- Service reviews. Reviewing your service offering and consider opportunities for scaling
3. It improves the experience your audience has with your firm
As consumers, we’re becoming more and more demanding. We want everything yesterday.
And while I wouldn’t encourage this to be a reality you create for your clients, you can use AI to make yourself more available to the people you want to reach: your ideal audience.
Add a FAQ chat box to your website.
This saves you so much time. It will help pre-qualify website visitors faster and with less effort from your end. You can pre-populate the chat box with questions you often get asked in the prospect stage. Questions like:
- What size of business do you work with?
- Can you do my bookkeeping for me?
- Do you offer monthly packages?
Now you don’t need to speak to people who might not be the best fit for your firm, and it helps them get their questions answered quickly. Depending on the answers they get, they’ll either follow the steps to get in touch, or they’ll leave because you aren’t the right accountant for them. Good marketing divides!
Send out a feedback form to clients
It’s tempting to feel like everything is great with a client when you feel really good about it. But how often do you check they’re happy with the service they’re getting? We often focus so much on delivering our actual services, we forget to check how they’re feeling about the work you do for them.
Set up a feedback form that automatically goes out to clients every 3 months (for example) and get the feedback you need to continue delighting your clients.
Use an AI note taker in meetings
It can be difficult to give the focus and concentration your clients deserve when you’re also trying to take note of everything they’re saying. Use a tool which automatically takes notes in meetings (suggestion below). It means you’ll be fully present and give them the thing they need most: your time and focus.
The best bit, you’ll have all the notes (and comprehensive ones at that) saved and stored to refer back to ahead of the next conversation.
When to bring AI into your marketing plan
It’s likely you already use multiple systems in your firm to help you run your business. Before you decided which systems to use (i.e. Xero vs. Quickbooks or Dext vs. Expensify), you’ll have identified how you’re going to use the system i.e. “I want to help clients be more independent in their bookkeeping” or “I want clients to be able to upload their receipts easier.” Then you’ll have chosen the system to best fit with this purpose.
It’s the same process when it comes to choosing which AI tools will help you with your marketing. You first need to be clear on what the marketing plan is so you can decide what tools are going to help you with that plan.
Let’s say one of your marketing goals is to win 6 new sole trader clients in the next 3 months.
To help you get in front of other sole traders, you’ll need to create video content that shares experiences other sole traders have had working with your firm. This will help prospects to say, “Hey, that’s me!I have the same problems as they do!” and they’ll be able to make a quick connection with your firm.
Let’s take a look at what tools you can use to achieve that goal through your marketing.
What tools will help you with your marketing plan
Start by setting up an online interview with an existing sole trader client who is happy to be used as a case study. Use an AI note taker tool like Fathom to record, transcribe and summarise your meeting. This means you can give your full attention to your client, and get as much from them as possible about their experience of working with you. You’ll still have your notes to refer back to after the session, but you won’t have had to focus on writing all that marketing gold dust down.
So now you’ve got a recorded conversation with a client. Good job! Now it’s time to edit your video: remove the “umms” and “ahs” and the “can you see me ok’s?” so you can create high-quality video content to share on your social media platforms.
You can upload the full length recording to Vimeo or YouTube but you’ll want shorter clips to share across your social platforms. Using a tool like Munch will help you create these a lot faster. Munch will transcribe your video, and create multiple shorter clips by focusing on specific key words said in your videos.
Side note: I used Munch to edit my video in this blog!
It will then present you with multiple options ranked in order of performance potential for each social platform so you can choose which videos to use depending on what platform your sole trader clients spend time on social media. Pretty cool, eh?
Now you’ve got some brilliant video content to share on your social media.
A social media scheduling tool like Buffer is going to help you get your content out there faster and with less reliance on you.
Buffer’s AI assistant provides caption suggestions and recommends hashtags for better engagement with your posts, saving you time in coming up with caption content. You can also use A/B testing to measure the performance of different versions of your content to see what best connects with sole traders.
Once you’ve got your posts ready, use Buffer’s scheduling tool so your videos are published across a set period of time without needing to post manually.
Now you can see how AI can be used when it comes to delegating repetitive (but important) marketing tasks. While there’s lots to appreciate and enjoy about using AI in your marketing, there’s limitations too.
What are the drawbacks of AI?
It just cannot replace relationships
Relationships sit at the heart of marketing. People buy from people and this is especially true for you as an accountant. You build trust and authority with a prospect, and this forms the foundations of your relationship. AI cannot replace the relationships you have with your clients.
It lacks human skills like judgement and interpretation
As impressive as many AI tools now are, there are still human skills which AI can’t replicate (yet!).
They lack the real-time judgement and experience you practise every day. Like when you get a panicked call from a client and you reassure them with a clear explanation that gives new understanding and relief. You’re getting to the heart of what they really need. THAT level of judgement is currently lacking in AI.
It also lacks the emotional depth required for storytelling in your marketing. It can understand the concept of a story, but it can’t replicate the emotions and feelings which make for the best stories. And stories are what marketing IS.
There’s a lot of choice and the choices change all the time
Experimenting with AI is not about adding more and more things to your list. The point is the opposite: it’s meant to save you time.
I recommend you start with one or two tools which will integrate well with the work you’re already doing.
If you’re in the habit of recording videos every week, choose a tool to help you with the editing. If you’re in the flow of writing a blog post every month, start using ChatGPT to help you plan out your ideas and structure.
While an AI tool can’t replace you or the relationships you have with your clients, you can use many different tools to help you be more consistent and keep you true to your marketing goals.
To prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed or unsure about what tools to use, bring it back to your marketing plan and choose the tasks that will help you with a habit or system you’ve already created in your marketing.
If you’re unsure about your existing marketing plan, or you need help building your own, fill out our discovery form and book a chat with one of our creative team!