small marketing budget

How can I start attracting ideal clients for my accounting firm with a small marketing budget?

If you’ve recently started your accounting firm, you likely want to win some clients before committing to a marketing budget. Or maybe you’ve been running your firm for years and have dipped in and out of marketing, but are yet to set a proper marketing budget. Either way, you recognise you need some sort of marketing budget in order to attract the best clients to your firm.

When you hear the words “marketing budget”, your first thought is likely “how much do I need to invest?” As an accountant, numbers are your thing so it’s no surprise you’ll be wondering what the actual marketing spend might look like for your firm. Instead of jumping straight to the numbers, start by thinking about what you want your marketing to deliver for your firm. What results do you want to see? What are your goals for your firm? Do you want to grow your team? Have fewer clients paying higher monthly fees? Specialise in an area you’re not already working in? Whatever your goals are for your firm, you need to connect your marketing actions to these goals. This starts with adjusting the mindset that “investing” in marketing is only about money. It isn’t just about the money, it’s also an investment of your time. And you’ll want to work on finding the right balance between investing money and time in your marketing budget and how you can use each one in the best way possible for your firm.

Start by setting a marketing budget now – even the smallest one you can possibly afford – and commit to increasing it every time you get a new client. To help you with this, let’s dig into practical things you can do to get some marketing done within your budget and win some more of those ideal clients.

Marketing actions you can take when starting off with a small budget

Make small tweaks to your website: your website is your marketing hub and that means it will be in constant evolution. Small tweaks may include:

  • Rewriting some of the content to align it better with your firm’s tone of voice
  • Improving and updating your imagery and team profile photos
  • Creating a stronger pre-qualifying form (so only the BEST prospects get in touch with you)
  • Work on your main call to action and transitional call to actions so it’s clear and encourages your website visitors to take action faster

Document your existing process and systems and start making adjustments:

  • Are you clear on the journey your client’s take with you? Do you have this documented and do you communicate it to clients?
  • Do you have a pricing methodology and if yes, where are you sharing it?
  • Do you have pre-qualifying and onboarding processes in place?

Create free resources: those you can share with your audience to show your expertise and experience in working with clients like them. Here’s an example from Myers Clark on what things you can create as a free resource.

Create custom content: use the common questions clients ask you to address their pain points by creating content which helps them get to know you, and see how you can offer them the solution they need. Just like this one from Fearless Financials.

Be present on social media and start sharing content to raise awareness about your brand, you can use these guides to help you get started.

Connect with others in your community: join online groups and attend networking events for your ideal audience would be likely to attend and get value from.

Get clear on your firm’s tone of voice: set up a definition for this so your team are aligned when communicating on behalf of your firm. (You can learn more about tone of voice here).

Check your budget against your marketing goals: do they connect? Are you being realistic about what you want to achieve with the budget you’ve set?

Review previous marketing spend: have you ever had a budget before? What results did you see? What positive results did you get? What results did you not get which you expected to see?

Review your existing clients: are there any who aren’t a values match to your firm? Or you no longer want to offer the service they’re using? Are there any you’d like to get rid off because they’re a drain on your time, your money and your team? Of yes, here’s what to do when you want to fire a client so you and your time can better use your time and expertise.

Set dedicated marketing time aside each week (and stick to it!): build a plan which connects back to your goals and create habits to help you stay focused and consistent.

Track your marketing numbers: this will help you to take more informed decisions and see the impact of your marketing (i.e. website metrics, social media insights, quality of leads you’re attracting, spend per client).

Getting the right balance in your marketing budget can help you get closer to your goals

Building a marketing plan with a small budget can be challenging and at times, you might struggle to recognise how marketing is a required investment which is as important as your team, your systems, software, equipment, office space etc. Being willing to invest in marketing comes from recognising the reason why you created your business in the first place, your mission and vision and then understanding how to communicate this to those ideal clients you’re best suited to help.

When you put too much focus on your budget being “small”, you limit yourself to what you might be able to achieve. Adjust the story you’re telling yourself to “I’m excited to accomplish my goals” or “I want to get in front of my ideal audience who I know I can do good work for” to help take this barrier away and move you towards building a marketing plan that fits with the investment you’re able to make at this stage.

Finding the balance between money and time is crucial in helping you make good decisions for your firm. For example, would you rather spend 5 hours of your own time writing a blog, or spend 1 hour sharing key points with an outsourced marketing expert, who will relieve the burden AND give you 4 hours back to invest in a different priority? I’m presuming the answer is option 2.

Getting comfortable with building and using a marketing budget is similar to what you advise your client to do with their finances. You encourage them to invest in bringing you in, as the expert, to do the more complex financial work so they can have financial confidence. There are smaller tasks you can teach them to do themselves while their budget is small and then as their business grows, their budget for your services grows with it. The same goes for marketing.

Start by investing in your marketing education and understanding your brand foundations

You might already be spending some of your marketing money (and time) in the wrong places. That’s okay and this is your opportunity to change that. Investing in understanding the structure of marketing for accountants, and the foundations of your firm’s marketing, are the two best places you can start with your marketing budget. Both prevent you from doing random marketing actions here and there, and then feeling frustrated when you don’t see the ROI you had expected. Take a look at our marketing coaching group, which has been crafted to help you understand how marketing works specifically for accountants.

Investing in your own marketing knowledge (again, both time and money) will support you in marketing your firm yourself so you can win more clients and commit to investing more and more in your marketing.

There are marketing actions you can take when you have a small marketing budget and both are a balance of time and money. If you’d like to chat with us about where the best place for you to invest your marketing budget is, even if it’s small, fill out our discovery diagnostic and book a chat with one of our creative team.