For those of you who attended Thriveal’s Deeper Weekend last week, you’ll have listened to Kendall’s talk about why goals matter so much for your marketing.
The message Kendall shared is a really powerful one for all accountants to listen to and so we’ve turned it into this week’s marketing tip! There’s also a video at the end if you’d prefer to listen to Kendall like a mini podcast, while you wash the dishes or feed the dog or get out for some fresh air.
Focusing solely on “getting marketing DONE” doesn’t work.
Marketing can seem like something you turn on and off. When you get busy, it’s the first thing you stop. And you don’t start again until you feel you’ve got time and space to do so. (You can read this blog for more on why marketing is not the thing to cut when you get busy).
You need to think about marketing as a part of running your business: it’s integrated into everything you do to help your clients. When you instead think of it as a stand-alone task, you risk putting your valuable time and energy towards things that may have results, but they’re either not the ones you want, or there are no results at all.
Your firm is your business and you deserve for it to serve a purpose for your life. Your time is precious. You need the time you’re putting towards marketing to have the same value and return for you that client work does.
So how do you ensure that the marketing you’re doing is actually going to bring you the type of clients you want, the type of work you want and the type of life you want? How do you ensure that the tasks you complete in marketing are ones that actually get the results you want?
- You connect your personal goals to your marketing
- You send some people away
- You keep going in one direction
Personal goals: they really do matter for your marketing.
When you start a business, you take on whoever you can. That brother of your client who is starting a little business? He’s money in the bank. Money in the bank is money in the bank. 20 clients is better than 18.
At a certain point, you don’t have to do that anymore. At a certain point you can start being more selective about the work that you do.
Here’s a story about one of our clients, Cindy. Cindy owns a practice in California. She has two team members and they work amazingly well together, and have been very busy helping clients and doing work they love to do. She had reached the point where she didn’t need to take on everyone anymore.
Cindy had known for a while that about half of the clients she was working with weren’t her favourites.
She had clients who were way over on the time she wanted to commit to them and they needed too much hand-holding. But it’s hard to say no to work when you have a team to support. It’s so hard to sack a client when you are keeping an eye on the bottom line.
And, when everyone is so busy it’s difficult to really spend time evaluating clients. You know the ones you have trouble with but don’t actually have the time to think about why they are such trouble? There’s never an easy time to decide to fire a client. To actually recognise and name why you want to fire a client. It never feels quite convenient.
Cindy then lost one of her team members.
So now she was faced with this decision: whether to push hiring quickly so she could manage all these clients that already needed a lot of hand-holding. To help her with this decision making, Cindy signed up for her Foundations workshop in March 2020 and had her first 1:1 session with the PF team – the goals session.
She didn’t have it all figured out before she started her workshop and so she came to us with all the questions.
From the very beginning, we dived into:
- What she wanted out of the firm
- What she wanted her team to look like
- What clients she liked
- What type of work she wanted to do
We asked her hard questions about what was really, really at the heart of what she loved about her favourite clients and what she didn’t love about those clients she’d been wanting to fire for some time. We helped Cindy document her goals as SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). There are always 8-10 really important goals that come out of these sessions but overall, a few of Cindy’s goals were to:
- Be working four days per week by Jan 2022
- Increase her per client revenue by $150/month by July
- Get all of her clients off of QuickBooks desktop within a year
So Cindy had these goals. But what do these personal goals mean for marketing? And why do they matter so much?
The marketing actions we came up with as part of Cindy’s marketing plan (the final session of the workshop) included:
- Changing her questionnaire on her contact page to include questions that would help her firm qualify clients before they even speak with them. This has helped Cindy to reduce the number of prospects she has to say no to because they’ve already qualified themselves before they even get in touch.
- Our design team created a video intro & outro which Cindy and her team can add onto their videos. It helps their videos to feel more polished and gives the professional feel online which matches the price point they want to reach. The brand consistency across videos helps build relationships with prospects quicker.
- It was through her goals session Cindy identified her construction clients were her favourites and so Cindy collaborated with our content team to rewrite her website content so it better appealed to this niche.
Although there were many other marketing tasks that would support Cindy’s goals, we chose to focus on these ones specifically as they would help her reach her most important personal goals, fastest.
As of July this year , this is where Cindy was at with her goals:
- She had reached and then surpassed her monthly revenue/client goal
- Reduced her number of clients
- Sold all her Quickbooks desktop clients
Her firm is now serving only the kind of clients she wants to work with, no one is overloaded and she can hire when she’s ready to. All her content is tailored towards her favourite niche (construction) and with her contact form further qualifying her clients, nearly all her leads are now clients she loves working with.
In order to break the cycle of not getting a return on your investment in marketing, you need to move away from checking off that list of tasks you think you need to do and instead, back up and start with thinking about and documenting your personal goals.
Start with questioning everything about your accounting business
Where do you start with your personal goals? Question everything. Question everything you’re thinking about your business. The purpose you started with 5, 10, 20 years ago is likely evolving. Those goals you accomplished last year don’t matter anymore. Where do you want to go from here? Clear your head and do this exercise once per year.
By way of example, let’s say your personal goal is that the business will function more without you (you want to spend more time doing the other things you love: being with your family, your hobbies). Your marketing needs to be focused on systems. And more specifically, creating systems and tools to support those systems. There are many different ways your marketing could support this goal and you could start with developing an onboarding process which supports team members onboarding new clients. This takes the burden of onboarding every new client off of your shoulders, and frees up some of your precious time.
Or maybe you’re sick of doing taxes-only. You only want to only do taxes for retainer clients who are paying monthly for tax planning. Your marketing could support your business goals by focusing your services page on your website around those services you actually WANT to provide.
When you come to writing down your SMART goal, question everything. For example, you want 335 clients by January 2022? But why? Is the goal 335 clients because you added 30 clients last year and you figure you can do twice that this year? Or is the goal 180 clients but with an average monthly transaction value of twice what you’re doing now?
The revenue per client conversation is an incredibly important conversation we have with every accountant during the Foundations workshop. And, 9 times out of 10, accountants need to be charging more for the services and help and support and guidance and advising that you’re giving.
So if your actual goal is to have a higher revenue per client by this time next year, that’s going to translate to your marketing efforts through client experience improvements. You may need an email campaign around the advisory work you’re doing, or a landing page regarding the new strategy call service you’re going to be offering, or you may need a new proposal template that displays a brand with the level of professionalism you want to begin charging for.
You start with your personal goals, and you’re going to find that the investment you put into your marketing is actually going to build your business in the way you want it to. That time, energy, and money you spent on marketing has an incredible return when it’s helping you achieve your goals.
Next, you send some people away.
Good marketing divides. Good marketing attracts the people you love working with and ONLY the people you love working with.
If you are trying to appeal to everyone with your services and in your marketing, in reality you’re really speaking to no one.
You want your ideal clients to come to your website and see themselves. You want them to say “YES.” “YES” that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking. That’s what makes them make the decision to purchase from you faster. When you really get your ideal client, when you specialise in them and show that you know EXACTLY how to solve their problems, they’re going to make the decision to buy faster.
A lot of times, setting your personal goals means identifying that you only want to work with small business owners who make over a certain revenue. Or that you really want to work with creatives. More often than not, what comes out of a discussion on your personal goals is a type of client you love working with. Good marketing appeals to only those clients that you love working with.
This study shows that 93% of communication is nonverbal. Your body language etc makes up 93% of what you communicate to someone.
What’s that “nonverbal” stuff in marketing? It’s your brand.
If your brand is attracting the clients you love to work with, how much easier does that make it to develop a relationship with them? If all your nonverbal cues are attractive, how much more likely is that client going to be to sign than if you aren’t communicating well with your nonverbal cues?
Once you know the type of clients you want, you have to start sending away the ones you don’t want. And now your marketing is much more effective because you aren’t wasting time appealing to people you don’t want to work with. And the time you spend on marketing is much more efficient because you know your messages and your brand and all you have to do is execute them.
Finally, keep going in the same direction.
You need to give your marketing some time. You stay the course in one direction and you patiently and consistently help the people that you love helping. You patiently and consistently speak in your marketing only to the people you love working with. You patiently and consistently learn more and more about how to help the people you’re passionate about helping. That means you commit to things that you can do consistently, time you can spend helping your clients which you can actually do consistently. You stick with one niche and don’t bounce back and forth between lots of them.
Creating and sharing branded materials that look professional becomes a walk in the park because you know exactly who you’re talking to and your images, logo, fonts all serve as attractive nonverbal communication with the clients you love.
Content that impacts your clients, makes them buy faster, and makes working with them easier is easily developed when you have a strong brand that represents you well and attracts the clients you know you want because you spent the time deeply analysing your personal goals for the type of clients you want.
When you start with your personal and business goals, your brand is more authentic, when your brand is more authentic and well thought out, it easily attracts the clients you want and all those little marketing tasks you need to check off? They practically check themselves off, and they actually give you the results you want. When you aren’t getting anywhere in marketing and you feel like you’re wasting your time or it’s not working, it’s probably because your goals and brand aren’t aligned. You need to set your personal goals, start sending some people away, and then keep going in the one direction.
When you’re ready to set your goals and dig into whether your brand is reflecting you and your ideal client, book your Foundations workshop with the team.