Many CPA firms’ marketing strategies have been based on tried-and-true elements like obtaining referrals and making the most out of a physical office location. They also promote practitioners’ skills through community involvement. The internet is rapidly changing the marketing paradigm. Many companies will need to rethink their strategies and emphasize digital methods such as social media, content, and online video.
Many professionals find digital marketing techniques impersonal and find it difficult to make changes to their marketing strategies daunting. The shift is vital in an age where many clients will find a company online and then evaluate its offerings.
Digital marketing can be used in some ways, the same way that CPAs use for client education, networking, relationship building, and other aspects of their business. Content marketing and social media can be used to complement referrals but not compete with them. They expand the potential client base.
Online presence is more attractive to prospects than firms that are not only well-known but also have an appealing online image that appeals to their target market. According to Hinge, over 80% of customers visit websites before speaking with a company.
Some firms resist digital marketing because they believe they can only get the business they need through referrals. Sarah Johnson Dobek is the president and founder of Inovautus Consulting. Referrals can only reach so many people, while digital marketing can reach a wider audience. She said that referrals could only reach one person at a given time, which can hinder your growth. Digital marketing allows you to reach a wider range of prospects, which you can convert into clients.
Dobek considers social media an “essential” tool for many reasons. She said that social media is a great way to build credibility, gain support, and network with others, especially if one understands how online communities work.
Which social media networks should you use? LinkedIn is often cited as being the most important. Barry MacQuarrie (CPA, consultant, IT director at KAF Braintree, Mass., and founder of SocialCPAs.com) said that LinkedIn could help you do many things: create leads, prospective research clients and stay current on accounting news. It keeps you visible to people and helps keep you relevant to clients. People keep telling me that the LinkedIn piece was fantastic! Thank you for sharing. Thank you for sharing.
Twitter is a better choice for people looking for information in real-time, such as answers and suggestions, or directing them to your website. Facebook is great for soft content that highlights the human side of your company, such as photos of holiday parties or mentions about volunteer work.
These are only guidelines. Your client base should dictate which social networks you use. Jason Blumer, CPA, is the founder and chief innovation officer at Blumer & Associates CPAs PC in Greenville, S.C. Because his clients, who are web designers, developers, and web companies, use Twitter more than LinkedIn, he focuses on Twitter.
SEC regulations restrict what financial planning firms can post on social networks. However, Dobek noted that these regulations had been relaxed recently.
She said that social media is not a panacea for all problems. Dobek stated, “You are not going to sell social media services.” It’s a way to connect with people and find opportunities.
Experts say content marketing is one of the most important marketing trends in accounting right now. It involves using original content like blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, and presentations to attract potential clients to your site and increase their engagement on social media. Dobek stated that content marketing had been adopted widely in recent years. “More firms are investing in content marketing, and it is something I’m trying to convince my clients to embrace.”
Dobek stated that content marketing is an excellent fit for accountants because clients buy CPAs knowledge and experience. Strong, useful content can build your credibility with clients and improve your rank on search engines. It also differentiates you from your competitors.
Lee Frederiksen (Ph.D.), a managing partner at Hinge, stated that having a lot of quality content can help you convert referrals to clients. He said, “Firms believe that all people who are referred to them are giving them business.” “But they don’t know that potential clients are contacting them to make referrals.”
Frederiksen stated that firms should provide consumer-education materials to their websites to assist prospects who come to them via search engines. He said, “Create content to help people with the problems they’re facing like retirement or tax preparation.” Write a guide, make a presentation or create a video to inform consumers what they need to know. Blumer uses a variety of media to educate his small client base, which includes videos, ebooks, and online courses on business strategy. He also has two podcasts, THRIVEcast, and The Businessology Show.
Content marketing, like social media, won’t make you a millionaire, but it can draw potential clients to your business. Sophia Bera, a founder, and CEO of Gen Y Planning explained. She said, “Clients discover me through Google search.” (Her marketing efforts have made her the top Google search result for “financial planning millennial” at the time of writing. They either read the publication in which I was quoted. They visit my website and sign up for my newsletter. If they feel I’m a good fit for them, we can schedule a prospect meeting.
Blumer warned that content marketing could be effective but not as effective as traditional referral marketing. Blumer stated that most of our leads are generated through our website. However, we don’t know how they came across us. It works best when it is part of a long-term strategy, he said. It won’t get clients right away. He said, “It’ll get clients next year.”
Building a Better Brand
Digital marketing can make your practice stronger and more focused if done right. You must understand your audience to market online. This includes what services they are looking for, their motivations, what concerns them, and what words and images appeal to them. You’ll be able to better understand your company by identifying your ideal clients (and not ideal ones).
Blumer’s website, content marketing materials, and blog are well-crafted to appeal to his core clients of web and design agencies. Blumer’s irreverent copy, such as calling the CPA a “rainbow colored force to be reckoned, yo”, won’t appeal all, but that’s precisely the point. He observed that “You cannot build a brand unless you know who you are.”. And that is, perhaps, the wisest thing concerning developing businesses.
Amanda is a talent marketing expert. She SPECIALIZE and has an EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE for managing the social media accounts ( Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram etc. ) and web presence of several brands.