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Where is the best place to invest my accounting firm’s marketing budget?

It’s easy to get a list of things you want to do to market your accounting firm. There are things you have learned will be the most effective and need to get done, and there are things you’re excited or curious about which you’d like to try.

But of all these marketing ideas, you want to know what is most important and which to tackle first. 

The answer is more simple than you expect. The most important task in marketing an accounting firm is…

…the task that solves your biggest business challenge.

Marketing is just a tool

Marketing isn’t the end-all-be-all. Your marketing is a tool you use to reach your business goals, to help you work more efficiently, and to get you the type of clients you love to work with, doing the work you want to do. 

When you think of marketing as a stand-alone task instead of as a part of running your business, you risk spinning your wheels and investing time and money into marketing that won’t have an impact. 

If you don’t know where to invest your time, energy, and money, take a step back and look at the big picture.

You need to identify your business challenges first. When we help accountants set their business goals, we look at five main areas: personal goals, financial goals, client goals, team goals, and systems goals. 

Personal goals are business goals

We look at personal goals first because as the owner of an accounting firm, your business exists to be what you want it to be. 

So, by the end of this year, what days, and how many hours per week, do you want to work? 

What type of work do you want to spend most of your time doing? 

Is there a place you want to travel or stuff you want to buy? 

Start here and document these goals, then use them to structure the marketing tasks you do. 

For example, your marketing might support your personal goals by focusing your services webpage on the services you actually want to provide. Or, you might need to change the way you set expectations for services so that you are more free to travel. If your personal goal is to spend less time on client work, that means you need to hire, which means you need to spend time on a careers page on your website, and content related to hiring. 

Your personal goals provide focus for all the work your business does.

Focus your work around your financial goals

But your business won’t last if profit isn’t a focus, right? 

So, where do you want to be with your accounting firm’s finances before the end of the year? 

  • What do you want your average monthly fee to be? 
  • What do you want your net profit % to be? Sales or turnover?  
  • Do you need or want to increase pricing?

Make sure you document these goals. Then, structure your marketing efforts around these goals. 

For example, do your brand and logo fully present the value you offer to justify an increase in pricing? Are there ways you need to qualify your prospects before you speak with them the first time so that you know they can afford a higher price point?

Market to get the type of clients you need

The next type of goal you need to review is related to the type of clients you want to have. How many clients do you want to have in total?

Where do you want them to be located?

Do you want them to be in a specific industry niche?

Do you want to spend less time qualifying prospects?

Make sure you document these goals and then consider how you can use your marketing as a tool to reach these goals. 

If you only want to work with creative agencies by the end of the year, for example, you’ll create blog posts which talk to creative agencies specifically. The same goes for your home page, or your creative agencies page. And are you sharing posts on social channels that are interesting for creative agency owners? Your most important marketing task for building a niche with creative agencies is to run an audit of sorts to make sure every part of your marketing is targeted to creative agencies. 

Use marketing to get you the best team

If you need to hire before the end of the year, you need to invest marketing budget in your hiring processes. 

Hiring the wrong people will cost you hand over fist, but investing up front in getting the right person will provide a better experience for your clients, save you time managing your team, and ultimately be the best marketing for your business.

So, if you’re hiring by the end of the year, one of your highest marketing priorities is to add a landing page that talks about your values or write a job description that presents your firm as the amazing workplace it is.

Here are a few specific marketing tasks our accountant clients have found successful in their own hiring: 

  • Careers page: Make sure it’s THEM focused. Follow the same approach you take with prospects. Your client is the hero, you are the guide. Similarly, for hiring, your new employee is the hero. They are the one the page is all about. Make sure they know what’s in it for them. 
  • Video: The more video you share, the better picture your future employees will get of your firm and what it’s truly like to work there. Remember, many employees have had bad employment experiences and are nervous about whether you are “for real”. Help them see you are. Share videos about each role. Share a video of your whole team. Give them a “feel” for the firm – not just words. 
  • Individual role description pages: Take the time to explain each role separately. What’s involved? What’s in it for them? What will they learn? How will they be supported? Consider a video on the role’s page to explain everything involved and help answer their questions. 
  • FAQs page: To save time on applicants who have the same questions, create a Hiring FAQs page which answers things for you, saving you (and them) time. Every time an applicant asks a question on the list, send them to the FAQs page. If the question isn’t on the list, add it. 
  • Social posts: Organic posts about the team, your values, what it’s like to work there, your clients, success stories, and a “feel” for the firm and the role will help future applicants feel more comfortable. You may also want to consider paid ads through Gohire or Indeed or LinkedIn, but remember to create custom content. Don’t just churn out a boring job role and expect everyone to come running.

The best marketing may be streamlining your systems

Your systems of onboarding clients, qualifying them, or pricing will impact how happy your clients are. You know happy clients are the best marketing. 

So, be honest with yourself:

  • How automated and thorough are your onboarding processes?
  • Other than automation, how do you manually keep tabs on your processes to include the human factor?
  • Do the prospects you speak with tend to be the kind of people you want to work with?
  • Does everyone on your team know how you price?

If there are holes here, your marketing efforts need to support this. You may need a landing page for onboarding, or edits to your content so your website weeds out people who aren’t your ideal clients. 

Your business goals are what determine the best use of your marketing budget. Focus on those goals and your marketing tasks will become clear. If you need help establishing your goals and determining a marketing plan that helps you reach them, our Foundations Workshop is just for you. Sign up on the waiting list to make sure you get the date you want before Christmas.

 

Where to start on marketing from We are PF on Vimeo.