How to use today’s news to market & sell advisory services

Last week we delved into ‘How to use today’s news to market & sell advisory services’ as part of the Cloud Advisor’s Panel webinar with CrunchBoards.  Karen was the expert on how to market your advisory services, so we’ve taken the key points from the session, so we can share with you some fresh ideas.

What is “today’s news” for your clients?

The starting point in the webinar was how (and whether) you can take everyday news that’s relevant to your clients, and use this in your marketing to become a stronger business advisor.

The key is that the ‘news’ really comes down to your client’s day to day business worries. Even though the Olympics may have been of interest (or, in some now-long-ago-world, Brexit), their key concern is how they’ll pay their bills, how their business issues can be worked out and how to seize future opportunities.  This is  where your advice is so powerful.  Your job is to stay relevant, because they can get real-time global news everywhere.

To do this you have to change the way you’re engaging with your clients. You’ve been trained to look backwards, but you need to prepare them for what’s ahead in their business before it happens.  If you don’t jump on it quickly, it’s old news!

Where do you start with marketing to build you up as their expert?

Segment your clients (actually do it!)

We all know that segmenting clients is a must-do.  The old A, B, C, D categories. But how have you – or could you –  segment your clients? Perhaps by niche, cloud accounting, Xero, geography?  The more specific you can be in your marketing, the better results you’ll see and the more relevant your news is to each client.

Karen also talked about our “Love, Like, Move Up, and Move Out” categorisation process (read the blog here).

“Having a niche makes your marketing easy.  You know who and where to target.”- Karen Reyburn

Be ready to respond

You’re the advisor, so your clients will pick up the phone to you or contact you with questions. But rather than waiting for them, you need to be ahead of the game and ready to respond or you’ll miss their business.  

We’re in a no-wait generation.  Clients want a response super quickly, it doesn’t need to be perfect, but does need to be real and quick.  If it’s personal and relevant people will connect with you, and being prepared makes it easy to respond promptly.

“Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.” Karen Reyburn

You need to be in it for the long run and bring a combination of things together.

Be ready to respond quickly by building the right foundation

You need to build a foundation so that you are fully prepared to share news – any news, whether it’s worldwide or personal or directly related to their business financials!

Karen shared 6 key steps in building that foundation:

1.Have a good email system

Once you have segmented your data (an essential point), use an email system to get your message out.  It’s not about using Outlook or Gmail: these are not systems.  It can be as simple as MailChimp or as complex as Infusionsoft or HubSpot. Either way, once you’ve set it up and automation is ready, it makes it easy for you to engage with each client quickly.  Or, if appropriate, with all your clients at once, or clients in a particular niche.

2.Have access to your website

The best place to hold all your content, your marketing hub, is your website.  As Karen said, we’ve lost track of the number of accountants who don’t have access to their own website. You need to have access to the site so you can upload to it or make changes –  or at least know who does.  If you don’t want to do it, find someone on your team who does or outsource the work.  (You can of course get help from us if you have no access to your website at all, and we’ll set it all up on a new WordPress or Rocketspark platform.) 

3.Be clear on your branding

You need to be clear on your brand! Know your font, colours and types of images that work for your firm.  Your brand is so important in saying who you are to your clients – and it forms the basis of all future marketing that you do.  

“If I could recommend anything to accountants as a first step in marketing, it would be to invest a serious amount of money and time into clarifying your brand.”  – Karen Reyburn

4.Have a designer on hand

You need a designer on hand, so you can custom design clever graphics that respond to today’s news. Whether it’s someone in-house, an app like Canva, a professional designer, or a company like Design Pickle!  (Use code tpf25 to get 25% off your first month’s membership). They’ll help create images and graphics, or make  tweaks to existing marketing to get your message across.  A fast turnaround time is key.  

“Surround yourself with the right people who can support you to do this.  It doesn’t need to cost the earth.” Karen Reyburn

5.Be ready to write and record

At least someone on the team needs to be able to record or write your content.  It doesn’t need to be perfect but does need to get done.  If you’d like to get more comfortable with this, think about a coaching programme like the Content Marketer. 

6.Prepare your social media channels

Make sure all your social channels are ready – are the background images consistent?  Are they clear? Do they have key details?  Have at least Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles ready to push your news.  Once you’re all set you need to be comfortable enough to post across all the channels.  If you need to hone your skills, the Social Marketer is a perfect starting point.

Turn clients back into prospects…

“It has never been easier to leave your accountant. Whatever is relevant  to your clients is their NEWS! They are going to hear about it. Make sure they hear about it from you.” Amy Harris, CrunchBoards.

You’ll continually have to fight to keep business so value add is a huge consideration. Think about every time you communicate or meet with a client (which needs to  be on a regular basis).

To make your meetings more valuable, find out what’s important to them and craft your marketing and meetings around this.  Think about your clients as new prospects, and treat them as such.

As Amy shared on the webinar, a fantastic place to start in making your business meetings more relevant is by using CrunchBoards.  You can use the  KPI library to identify KPI’s relevant to your client and industry; set up news alerts including Google alerts; and display all the ‘news’ about each client to them in a personalised way.  It’s like a Facebook for clients: all the news about their business shown in  one simple news feed.   

Preparation is key to making all your marketing flow (and flow quickly!)

Karen summarised the webinar by encouraging accountants to do all the preparation so you’re ready to act.  Know your niche. Segment your database. Get those 6 foundation points in place.  You’ll then be ready to craft a process for each client to push your advisory services, and be seen as their expert business advisor. 

Thank you to CrunchBoards

Huge thank you to Amy and the team at CrunchBoards for running the #cloudadvisor panel  and having us on-board.  We both have a huge commitment to working with accountants globally!