Paid social can be enticing. The promise of leads, bought and paid for delivered to your website is attractive for sure but if done prematurely it can be a drain on your time and money with little to no results. So when as an accounting firm are you REALLY ready to take the plunge?
Paid social ads are exciting, if you have a deep knowledge of your audience
If you look at the PF marketing map there’s a reason paid social is the very last block. We like to safeguard our clients’ time and money and if you jump too soon into paid ads it can be detrimental. To try and make things simple here’s a checklist you can go through to make sure you’re ready.
In order to be ready you should have:
- A brand that speaks directly to your target audience
Think of your brand like a shop front. It creates a subliminal first impression, then on entering the shop your prospects begin to fill in the rest of the story based on what else they see.
First impressions matter. Without the right one you’re already battling those preconceptions.
That is why a brand that speaks to your target audience is so important. The use of colour, fonts, lines and shape all conspire to create this impression. For example, clean and neutral blacks and whites are often used to give a sense of luxury, something PF put to good use when working on the website for Black Sheep Accounting.
On the other hand bright colours are playful and adventurous. This worked really well for Complete Accountancy, where we needed something that represented the ambitious clients founder Andy Sullivan wanted to attract.
These sites are very different, almost two ends of the spectrum, and yet both have served well to set the tone for what these firms’ prospects are going to encounter as they continue their journey. This is key to our next step: how to TALK to the prospect.
- A message that motivates the user to buy
Brand goes beyond just how you look. Your messaging is just as important when trying to clearly share what you’re selling. This encompasses not only your website but everything you post online, on a blog or really anything you write anywhere. The right messaging will:
- Sound like you
- Represent your values
- Create a narrative drawing the buyer in
- Show them how life could be better with you in it
- Warn them what it might be like without you
- State SIMPLY exactly what you’re selling
One thing you can do right now is ‘The caveman test’. It’s pretty simple: head over to your website and just by looking at the top of the homepage ask yourself this question:
“Could a caveman repeat back to me exactly what I’m selling by looking at this?”
If the answer is no, then your messaging isn’t clear enough. Here’s a little blog about attracting clients on your home page to help more.
- A host of supporting content
Whilst as an accountant your website is certainly your most important marketing asset, it’s far from the whole picture. Back to our shop, your website is like the window display: people will walk in if they see something they like, but they’ll walk straight out again if the rest of the shop is empty.
Your content is like the stock. Prospects aren’t going to commit until they feel they know your business and have a good idea of what it is you offer, particularly when it comes to key business decisions like engaging a new accountant.
They’ll stalk you a little first, check out your facebook page, maybe read a couple of blogs, even attend an event. Then weave all this together and build up the tapestry describing who you are. If they arrive at your twitter and nothing has been posted in months, or your last blog was in 2015, it’s going to make your business feel a little lifeless.
Your content builds trust with the prospect. It should allow them to warm to you as a character, position you as an authority on the subject matter and answer any questions they may have. All this puts them at ease.
- A clear call to action
People rarely buy unless you ask them to. One of the most common mistakes made when designing materials for marketing is failing to challenge the prospect to act. The word challenge is particularly important here too. You don’t want to politely suggest they take up your services: the prospect needs to feel a sense of urgency. If they miss this opportunity to work with you their life will continue to be difficult, their problem will still haunt them.
When you’ve nailed the above and your page clearly states what you’re selling and compels the prospect to solve a problem, the call to action is really the icing on the cake. You want only one primary call to action to avoid confusion, with one or two supplementary options to help prospects delve a little deeper into your story if they need to. We call these transitional calls to action.
If you look at the PF site our main call to action is clearly placed in the centre of the homepage and challenges the user to not just ‘start one day’ but start today. If they’re not ready to start today, however, we’ve got a bunch of free stuff you can get through at your own pace, which also helps to further qualify the leads and ensure the accountant is a fit for us (and us for them).
So what next? You do your research.
If I’ve done my job correctly, then this tip has given you a lot to think about, but what next?
Everything we’ve covered so far is very much foundational. You could say just the ‘tip’ of the iceberg (thanks, I’m here all week). Next, you’ll need to ascertain the potential for success and refine your knowledge of your target audience. This is an additional safeguard to ensure that your marketing budget is being invested based on what you can actually measure, rather than just a hunch.
In short, you need to do your research.
You’ll want your research to include:
- Volume (How often keywords are searched or in the case of Facebook the level of competition for a particular audience)
- Audience (How large is the audience that your proposing to target and can it sustain continued usage?)
- Trends (Are these keywords/audiences being used more or less over time)
- Cost per click (The expected price per link click)
At PF we’ve tackled this by encouraging the production of a ‘PPC analysis report’ before we take on any paid social projects (We’ll think of a cooler name later I’m sure). That way you can enter into a paid campaign safe in the knowledge that we’ve done all we can to protect your time and money. If you’re interested in having one of these reports produced, speak with you CMM or just drop us a line.
Finally, to come back to the core of my message. Paid social and Google ads are attractive but without proper planning and guidance you’re at risk of losing your hard earned cash. So take a step back, use this checklist to ensure your foundations are solid, and then do your research.
As after all, your ‘shop’ deserves only the best chance of success.