marketing results

What marketing do I need to do to get results?

According to Mark W. Schaefer, it takes 30 months to start seeing results when doing content marketing. Most businesses who start the content marketing journey give up after six months to a year.

The ones who stick to it are those who are seeing results – they have more engagement on social media, more website traffic and consistent good leads trickling in. You want better leads, not necessarily more.

One of the most common marketing questions we get asked by accountants is ‘what sort of results can I expect and when?’

Before you can decide what marketing will help you get the results you want, you need to identify what success looks like for you. This will differ depending on our business and personal goals.

Results can be different for different people depending on your goals

Results don’t always mean ‘new clients’ and ‘more money’.

It can mean these things, and that is one way to measure it if your goal is to grow your business and your clients. Results can also mean:

  • Understanding your brand – knowing who you are and being able to share that with your ideal audience.
  • Connecting better with your audience – knowing who you are and who you serve helps you to better understand your audience and what your role is in the relationship.
  • Improving your confidence – once you are clear on who you are and who you serve, and you have a strong brand that reflects this, you’ll be more confident sharing your brand with the right audience.
  • Helping you get rid of clients you don’t like, who don’t respect or value you – once you know who you want to work with and what your values are, it’s much easier to say no to those clients who don’t fit into your ideal audience.
  • Having the opportunity to be the most authentic version of you – sometimes people lose this when working for bigger firms.  Being authentically you is one of your strongest assets: people buy from people who they trust and connect with.
  • Freedom to help the people you enjoy working with the most – you CAN work only with those you really want to work with. And great marketing gets you to this place.
  • Building your own team and giving them opportunities to grow and progress – your team is one of your most valuable assets. Encourage a culture where they feel happy and motivated and allow them to grow and progress at a pace that suits both them and you.

Your goals are often determined by what stage of the business lifecycle you are in, where you want to be and by what you want your business to give you i.e. more time, flexibility, connection with people.

If you are a reasonably new business, your main goal is likely awareness. You want people to know you exist. Your goal is to get new followers on social media, more views on your website and people signing up to your monthly newsletter.

If you are an established business, your main goal might be lead generation. You want people to buy from you. Your goal is to get people filling out diagnostics and booking a call.

Even with lead generation, you might have different goals to someone else who is also focusing on lead generation. They might be trying to attract 15 new leads a month, whilst you might only want 2 or 3.

Make sure you discuss your goals with your team and document them at least once a year. Ideally, we’d recommend revisiting your goal every 6 months.

When we talk about goals, we don’t just mean your marketing goals. We mean your:

Personal goals and how they connect to your marketing and business goals

  • What do you want more of in life that you don’t have right now?
  • How many hours a week do you want to spend working?
  • Do you have any sizable purchases/investments you’d like to make in the next few years?
  • What work do you want to do more of/less of?
  • What travel do you want to do over the next few years?

Client goals

  • How many clients do you want to have?
  • How many prospects do you get per month?
  • What is your conversion rate?
  • How do you rate the quality of the clients you currently have?

Finance goals

  • What would you like your average monthly revenue per client to be?
  • What would you like your annual revenue to be?
  • Do you have a profit goal?

Pricing goals

  • What software do you want to be using?
  • How often do you want to reprice?
  • Do you need to reprice any legacy clients?

Team and hiring goals

  • Do you want to hire?
  • What positions do you want to hire for?
  • Do you have a hiring process?

System goals

  • How would your clients rate your onboarding experience?
  • Where do you document your processes?

Look at the current status of your goal, your goal in one year, and your goal longer term.

We always start with a goals session at the beginning of every Foundations as it helps us to craft you a marketing plan that has purpose and is aligned with helping you achieve  those identified goals.

If you ever aren’t sure about a specific marketing action, ask yourself how it’ll help contribute towards achieving your goals. If it won’t, don’t spend valuable time on it and rather go back to your marketing plan.

These are the things you need to be doing to get results in your marketing

1. List out your goals

You need to know what you are aiming for before you plan how to get there. Have a goals session with the team to plan out what your short and long term goals are.

2. Create a marketing plan

If you haven’t got a plan linked back to your goals, it will be difficult to measure your success.

“The more you plan, the more you’ll get done and the better it will be.” Steph Coward

Create a marketing plan outlining the things you need to do to reach your outlined goals. Divide the plan into different categories (like blogs, website, email etc.) under each goal. Add who is in charge of getting each item done and include a deadline for each item so you have a date to work towards.

Refer to your marketing plan often and update it as your business and goals change. If you are unsure where to start when it comes to a marketing plan, consider starting with Foundations as one of the deliverables is a full actions list, prioritised according to your goals.

3. Create a strong brand reflecting who you are and who you want to attract

“The brand is the personality behind the business and how you deliver that service. It’s what sets you apart from all the other accountants out there.” Elaine Reid 

Branding is how your audience perceives your firm. It includes the logo, colours, imagery, style and tone of voice. If you don’t have a strong brand, it means you either don’t know who you are yet, or the brand doesn’t accurately reflect who you are.

Here’s why branding is so important for accountants. 

Before you start creating beautifully designed and helpful content, you need a strong brand reflecting who you are and who you want to attract. Here’s why.

4. Build a website that can serve as your hub and represent you well. 

Your website gives you the opportunity to take your ideal audience on a guided journey, for you to show them why working with you is the best decision they can make. Your website is your marketing hub. It’s where you send people to learn more about you and your firm. It’s a chance to show who you are, what makes you tick, and what makes you different from every other accountant out there.

Here are 5 things your website needs to clearly communicate.

5. Create helpful, useful content

Have a yearly TAYA (They Ask, You Answer) session with your team.

Write one blog post per week. You’ll have weeks where this feels easier than other weeks. In the weeks where you have time, keep writing and store your blogs to be scheduled in the future. In the weeks where this feels impossible, use your stored blogs so you still have content going out.

It’s so important to be consistent. When you are looking at a website and you see someone hasn’t posted for 6 months, it leaves a bad impression. Consistent posting means the firm is on the ball, organised, communicating regularly – all things you want in an accountant.

6. Be present on social media

Social media was created to form and maintain relationships and share news. You might be wondering whether it’s the right place to market your firm. Here’s why it’s important to be on social media as an accountant.

Choose a social media platform and be present there. What does being present look like? Engaging with other users, asking questions, sharing feedback and thoughts, posting useful and helpful content on social media.

  • Spend 1 hour per week engaging on social media
  • Create 3 posts on 1-2 chosen social media platforms per week.

7. Have regular meetings and reviews with your internal or outsourced team 

  • Have at least 1x monthly meeting with your Client Marketing Manager (CMM) at PF or your in-house marketing manager.
  • Be prompt when reviewing items and actioning homework with your CMM or internal marketing manager
  • Hold Action Sessions with your team to make sure you’re actually making progress towards your goals. Set aside 60-90 mins, share what action you will be working on and work alongside your team on zoom or in person. At the end of the session, share what you’ve worked on and what the next steps are.

8. Educate yourself

Keep up-to-date with industry changes that might affect your clients. Think about various resources you could create for Making Tax Digital for example.

9. Share stories of clients you’ve helped

So many clients we work with feel embarrassed to share stories about previous clients they’ve helped, because it feels to them like they are showing off. This is not the case.

People want to hear there are others out there with similar pain points and problems. They want to read success stories. They want to know you are able to help them and they want proof.

10. Involve your team

You don’t need to do everything alone. If you’ve got a team, use them. If you haven’t got a team, outsource to one who helps you with the marketing tasks that need more time or skills. Your team is a great source of knowledge as they are generally going to be the people working with your clients, hearing their issues and pain points.

Not all team members will want to get involved with marketing (here are some easy ways you can get them involved) because they might not feel confident in that area or feel like they weren’t hired to do marketing. Work to people’s strengths and get them to help with the areas of marketing they enjoy or feel confident in.

11. Show up and be visible

You don’t need to do extraordinary things to get noticed. You just need to be there and be top of mind. Continue to provide helpful, useful content to those who need it.

12. Stop feeling like you have to help everyone

Good marketing divides. It’s supposed to send people away – it attracts only the very best people for your brand and your firm and it sends everyone else away. Don’t try to help everyone. Focus only on those you do want to help. It’s impossible to help everyone and if you try, you’ll end up helping no-one.

Doing some marketing is better than doing nothing at all.

Many clients come to us needing a new brand and website. This takes time. At least 6 – 9 months. We understand the need to get stuff done. You want to start doing something so you can start seeing a change in your marketing and your firm. So what can you do while you are waiting?

1. First, work on your tone of voice so it’s consistent across online and offline communication. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it that matters. What words do you and your team use and not use?

2. Start creating blogs even if you haven’t finalised your brand or new website. This way, you’ll have a backlog of content to post when your site is ready. If you are in the middle of creating a brand new site, post them on your old site and move them across when the new site is ready. You can still be helping people while you are building your brand and website.

3. Begin thinking about your way and processes and how to display those to your clients and prospects. Examples of processes include:

  • Your ideal onboarding process
  • The way you work with your clients for the first 12 months – what meetings you have scheduled, what software you set up for them, how long the onboarding period is
  • A service offering schedule – when certain services will be applicable through the relationship.

4. Begin planning out the content to a guide or PDF around a topic that will be useful to your ideal audience. This often takes much longer than you expect and is worth starting so you have the content ready to go once your brand and website is developed.

Most accountants give up too early

One of the biggest challenges we see with accountants who want results from marketing is  they give up too early.

They make great strides in one marketing channel (like LinkedIn) but if they don’t see a return in the first few months, they change tact and put their efforts into another marketing channel because they believe whatever they are doing isn’t working.

The truth?

It’s just too soon to see results.

Combining your marketing efforts will mean faster results

“Those who are getting results from content marketing are seeing all the pieces fit together. They’re blogging consistently, and testing out Facebook ads, and recording video, and updating their website, and, and, and.

They’re using every tool in their marketing arsenal, combining them together and evaluating on the big picture, not one by one.

We’re back to the two-bucket principle of marketing. Combine all your marketing efforts, be consistent with them (for 30 months!), and stop looking to each individual item to bring you results. Look at the big picture. And keep going.” Karen Reyburn 

Results come in many different forms and depend hugely on what your goals are. What feels like success to one company could be completely different from another. Don’t stop marketing if you aren’t seeing results yet, it takes longer than you think. Finally, be consistent with your marketing efforts. The long way is the right way, after all. If you want to figure out what results look like for you, fill in our diagnostic and we’ll be in touch.