From a complete beginner in marketing, to 28 ideal clients in three months: how Accelerator helped Karen identify and attract the right audience.
Karen Kennedy is an accountant who has always loved living in the Scottish Highlands. She feels uniquely connected to the small village of Ardelve where she’s raising her two children and spends Saturdays cheering on the local shinty team. After almost a decade of working in the accounting world and qualifying as a CA, Karen realised she had a unique opportunity to support the community she loves so much.
In 2020, she founded her accountancy firm in order to help local business owners make a real contribution to the place they call home. She reached out to a friend to help create her logo and named her business Kennedy Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services, or KABS for short.
Within a month of founding KABS, Karen knew marketing would be one of her first hurdles.
There are so many things to do when you first start a business. Karen felt pulled in a million different directions and it was hard to know what to prioritise. She heard from other business owners marketing was an important first step, but she wasn’t sure when would be the right time to think about it.
“There’s a temptation to focus on everything else (besides marketing) that’s involved when you start up a firm. It’s a long list.”
But then she got some valuable input from a trusted mentor who had experience in starting a small business, and he helped Karen see the process of marketing would help her build the business she wanted. Once Karen understood who she is, who she’s speaking to, and what her firm’s purpose is, everything else on her long to-do list would come quicker, easier, and better.
That same mentor, Will Farnell of Farnell Clarke, told Karen about PF. Karen did her due diligence, and spent time looking through PF’s website and social media. She felt instantly connected to the values guiding PF’s work and was already getting enormous benefit from the content and education provided free for accountants.
“PF has very similar values to me; they’re kind and honest and not a hard sell. The majority of their content isn’t ‘buy this, buy that,’ it’s genuinely helpful, and this really sparked my interest.”
Karen absorbed and learned from this content for some time, reading blogs and watching videos and (in her words) “stalking you on social!” This connection with the content eventually became the push for Karen to get help from PF with the marketing questions she had. She was confident figuring out a marketing strategy would be crucial to her budding business. Less than a month after she started KABS, Karen signed up for our Accelerator to learn the 12 steps of content marketing and how she could apply the principles to KABS.
Karen was a complete beginner in marketing before she started working with PF.
Accelerator is a 12-week live coaching programme and each week, you’re taught one of the 12 steps of content marketing, from identifying your audience all the way to building a campaign. You’re also part of a private Slack channel with the other members of Accelerator and the PF team, where you can share wins, questions, challenges, and build community with other accountants.
Karen didn’t have any experience with marketing before she started her business and joined Accelerator. And yet in week one, Karen was pleased to discover she had already thought about one of the first, and most important, steps of content marketing: identifying your audience.
Every piece of marketing you create will be centred around who you’re speaking to. It’s not only what industry you want to work with, or the size of business – it’s also the type of person behind the business. Your client is the hero of the story you’re telling, so the best type of marketing will speak to their unique values and characteristics. For example, at PF our audience is ambitious accountants who want to be involved in their marketing journey and connect with the pillars that uphold our work.
Karen’s drive for starting KABS was supporting local businesses in her community. Her audience is the small business owners who have the same motivations in running their business that Karen does: they want to uplift and give back to their home while providing for and spending time with their families. But even with this audience identified, Karen didn’t have any means of connecting and communicating with them.
“I didn’t even have social media for my business. No Instagram, no Facebook. Nothing.”
A few weeks later, in the Social Media session of Accelerator, Karen learned the importance of being visible to both current clients and prospective ones. She especially connected to PF’s method of an 80/20 split between non promotional and promotional content. From the day she first found PF, she loved that not everything was about selling. Sharing things on social media is about forging a better relationship with your clients, and that means letting them see some of the more personal and fun sides of you as a business owner or a team, not just pushing a new product or service.
Karen realised her ideal client was on social media platforms and they would expect, and love, their accountant to be there too.
Karen decided that Instagram would be her primary platform for connecting with her clients. It’s a popular platform for small businesses in her community because it’s a great way to highlight the two values they commonly hold: home and family. Sharing gorgeous shots of a sunset over the Highlands or pictures from a family photo shoot – alongside a shout out to the local photographer who had taken them – helped people see Karen the human alongside the business she was running.
She also started sharing some quick, helpful tips for small business owners like about self assessment tax returns and Covid-19 support funding.
“When I started posting on social media, I got traction right away. People were noticing and telling me how helpful it was.”
A few months after starting KABS, Karen pushed herself even further outside of her comfort zone and joined PF’s 100 Days Video Challenge. The goal of this challenge was for accountants to consistently record and post videos on the platform of their choosing to help them build confidence on camera. Despite her nerves, Karen showed up every day, posting short videos on her instagram feed or story. From cute clips of her kids to accounting advice and shots of her daily walks through the gorgeous highland scenery, Karen’s videos got an amazing response.
“I saw a massive boost in my business from making these videos. It helped me connect to the clients I already had and put me on the radar of potential clients. They could go back and re-watch my videos when they needed extra advice and reach out when they were ready.”
By the end of Accelerator, Karen had gained 28 new clients in three months.
Karen couldn’t believe the growth she was seeing after just a few months of content marketing. Not only was she getting more clients – 28 in three months – but she was getting the type of clients she loved working with. They would share funny stories about their kids, or bump into each other at the shinty pitch on Saturdays.
Best of all, Karen was achieving her goal of giving back to the community. Whether it was becoming more profitable, saving on tax, or having more time to spend with their family, Karen was helping small business owners like herself live up to their own definitions of success. She was building a business that not only supported her family, but that made her feel incredibly fulfilled, happy, and proud.
Accelerator teaches you how to attract the very best clients possible for your business. To learn how to get not just more leads but better leads, sign up for Accelerator today.
The three months of Accelerator was only the beginning of Karen’s marketing journey. She then signed up for Foundations, the next step in the PF Marketing Map, because she wanted to work on her website and build a marketing plan. Karen had no intention of changing the brand that a friend designed for her at the very beginning of her business, but through foundations she discovered she wasn’t as certain about what she wanted – or needed – as she thought.