The top 3 Things You Don’t Have: Time, Content, and Engagement

One of the great blogs I read this week was on infographics, and one of the sentences just leaped out at me:

base 50“Studies show that the top three challenges facing marketers are:

  1. Time
  2. Producing enough content, and
  3. Producing content that engages.”

I’d say that’s pretty spot on for any accountant who wishes to improve their marketing.  From my conversations with many of you, those are exactly the problems you’ve got.

Here are my tips as to how to address these problems:

1. Time

In some ways, there’s not a lot I can do for you here.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day.  But you know as well as I do that you’ll spend your time not just on what is important to you, but what you feel will generate results.

I’ve known business owners who will put off a phone call about a new website for months, but then sign up for some advertising because they got a phone call one day and it sounded like a good deal.

I’ve also known accountants who can’t find an hour to write a blog post, but will spend two hours crafting the perfect email to a new prospect.

We resist those things that feel like a waste of our time.

So, here are my suggestions to make the most of the time you don’t have:

Outsource. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ll probably keep saying it every Friday until you’re sick of it.  Seriously – it’s ridiculous how much you can get done on your behalf while you’re working on other things.  Outsource some of your marketing.  It doesn’t have to be to us, although we’re happy to help.

Brainstorm.  I keep a list of potential marketing tip topics on my iphone.  Currently there are at least 25 topics I can choose from on any given Friday.  I’ve also got a note labelled “Profitable Firm” for great ideas that I come up with on the go.  There are at least 50 of  these.  I’m constantly completing them, but constantly actioning them, too.  If you have all your ideas ready, then when you DO have a spare hour, you don’t have to spend 45 minutes of it “getting ready”.

Record your time.  We’re using Workflow Max (now part of Xero’s Practice Manager) to record our time – and I tell you what, that is a fascinating exercise.  A little embarrassing, too.  You suddenly are faced with the cold hard facts about where your time goes, and you realise that you do have time. Lots of it. Tons of spare time.  Hours spent on writing emails, replying to requests and then replying four more times before the day is out.   So, first record your time, and then evaluate where you can snatch some from the mouth of the Time Snatchers (ie yourself).

2. Producing Enough Content

Once you address your time, and you have more of it, the key is NOT to start jumping in to creating content yourself.  It’s so tempting to realise you have even 2 spare hours, and then use those hours to create a PDF on your own computer.

“Content” is the watchword of online marketing, because it means that you are generating useful, helpful, interesting, relevant information for your clients and prospects.  It helps you get found (via Google and the search engines); it shows off your expertise; and it leads prospects down the garden path of doing business with you when they are ready.

If you’re going to churn out content for your accountancy firm, you’re going to need to use your time well so that you provide the basics, and then the content itself is produced for you.  This means that you provide things like:

  • Topics for blog posts
  • Titles of new landing pages
  • Ideas for free resources to provide
  • Seminar, webinar, or event topics
  • Bullet points for blog posts
  • Ideas for infographics
  • Shooting a very short video (1-2 minutes)


This kind of thing should take you 5 minutes.  Maybe a half hour tops.  And then you get somebody else to actually do the churning and the developing and the producing, such as:

  • Writing the content for a new landing page, blog post, presentation, download
  • Producing the landing page on your website
  • Designing the ebook or PDF
  • Creating a new slogan, brand, or identity for a marketing material or event
  • Editing the video so it’s professional and with consistent branding
  • Sharing the landing page, blog post, offer, event via social media

For help with this, choose an Outsourced Marketing package.  Or get someone on your team to do it (someone who is not in accounting or tax or compliance work).  Or hire a student, or a friend from Peru.  Whatever it takes.

3. Producing Content That Engages

Ah, here’s the really tough part.  You can brainstorm the ideas, get the free download created, run the webinar, hold the event.  But you have to engage with people to the point that they want to do business with you.

This one is actually, I find, the easiest of them all.

Because once you’ve sorted out your time issues and your ‘developing content’ issues, the next step is simply to try things.  Publish a free ebook.  Run a webinar.  Deliver podcasts.  Set up a networking event, online or offline.  Whatever it is that you do, pour all your and your marketing team’s time into it, and then evaluate the results.

If the results are good, do more of it.

If the results are not good, change a few things (the copy itself, the place you put it, the colours, the frequency) and try again.

If the results are still not good, switch to something else.

And have a great Friday!