Online or Offline Marketing?

Here at the Profitable Firm, we put all our attention and resources into online marketing.  As long as it has to do with being connected to the “world wide web”, we’re into it.

But what about ‘offline marketing’? Things like:

  • Telemarketing
  • Cold calling
  • Referrals from clients
  • Networking
  • Live events
  • Customer service
  • Signs, billboards
  • Leaflets and handouts
  • Newspaper and magazine advertising
  • Radio ads, TV ads

And of course there are more than these.  Many accountants used to rely entirely on this kind of marketing. Perhaps your firm still does rely on it.

But as you’re considering online marketing, the question many accountants are asking is, “Which one should I focus on?”

The answer, for most firms out there, is ‘both’.

Even if you are a new and modern firm that is proclaiming yourself as 100% online (some of our clients are doing this), there are still some offline marketing elements you will do, probably without even realising it.  But for most accountancy firms, a good marketing mix includes both online and offline marketing.

schematic-400x300The reason is that your website should be your marketing hub.  All the networking or phone calling in the world is not going to benefit you if people don’t get in touch somehow, and the best way for them to do that is to connect with you on your website.  And no matter what you do with email and social media, the goal is still to direct visitors to sign up, register, talk to you, ask a question.

Here are a few tips for merging your online and offline marketing:

Create freebies.

Create a few free items that people are willing to provide their name and email address (and perhaps more information than that) in order to obtain.  An ebook, a detailed infographic, a study, an interview.

Create unique landing pages.

For whatever is on offer, have a unique landing page on your website that you can easily provide – in a handout, on a leaflet, on signs and billboards. Keep it short – is easy to find and remember.

Make it easy to sign up to your email lists.

If you’ve got a simple signup form, your telemarketers can ask those they are speaking to if they’d like to get free/helpful information. Remember, be specific. It’s not about asking people to “sign up for email updates”, it’s offering them something of value, like a free ebook on property ownership.

Plan follow up to a networking event.

Even before you attend, prepare that ‘freebie’ we mentioned, or a call to action of some kind, so you can direct people there afterwards.

Create event information pages.

If you’re running a seminar or event, create an event information page on your website so that all those interested must go through your ‘hub’.

Create event resources pages.

Include video, handouts, and downloads, so that after you have delivered your seminar or event, you can share a specific URL to those who attended.

Create unique business cards.

Get business cards with a unique website URL on the back to encourage those you meet to add themselves to your database (“Get our free credit control ebook at www….”).

Use social media for customer service.

I’ve mentioned before, and you know yourself that this is a 24-7 world. Your clients expect instant responses.  Be available on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, wherever your clients are, so that you can connect with them in a timely way.

Create a referral information sheet.

Make sure those who might refer business to you know what kind of referrals you want.  Create a downloadable referral information PDF, and then put it on a landing page that you can share.  Smart Center in the States has a really brilliant “Ideal Client Worksheet” that we recommend. Download it here.

Both online and offline marketing should work hand in hand, or is it hand and glove? Arm in arm? Tongue in cheek?

No matter what, it’s good teamwork.