According to Companies House data, around 600 new UK accountancy firms are starting up every month.
What does this mean for your firm? Essentially, the market is becoming rapidly crowded, emphasising the need to make your firm stand out amongst the crowd.
While you may offer unbeatable services, customer support and prices, if no one is aware of your firm, it’s all for nothing.
As part of our Accountants’ Club – the free online community for accountants – we ran a session with Bev Flanagan, Founder of Mind Your Assets Accounts, and Callum Macrae, Senior Marketing Manager at IRIS, to cover what accountants can do to advertise their services in an incredibly competitive sector.
Compiling information from that recent session, I’ve highlighted three great ways to easily market your firm.
What is marketing?
Marketing is the activities conducted to create awareness and build your brand, resulting in a pipeline of potential leads that eventually become sales.
What challenges do accountants face with marketing?
For many, the bottom line is that they’re accountants, not marketing professionals.
Add to that a lack of resources, budget and time – suddenly, it’s clear why marketing is a challenge for many accountants.
However, there are a few initial steps you can take to help separate yourself from the crowd, which are relatively low cost, if not free.
Three ways to market your firm
There’s an old aphorism in marketing that says people need to interact with your brand seven times before making a purchase.
In our Accountants’ Club session, Bev explained: “there’s no excuse to not be doing marketing in our industry. To start your marketing journey, there are no major costs, just a little bit of time.”
But with so many various options to choose from when considering marketing, it can seem daunting – to help, below are three actions you can take to start promoting your business.
1) Create an eye-catching website
When people look for something, they typically search on Google, meaning your website is the first thing most people see regarding your firm.
Like meeting someone for the first time, that initial impression can make or break peoples’ opinions of you, meaning you need to be enticing and memorable from the get-go.
Web development is a skill of its own, but there are a variety of services you can utilise – such as Squarespace – to create a stand-out website.
Alternatively, outsource the website build to an agency, entrusting it to a group of skilled professionals. Ideally, look for an agency that offers both web development and copywriting so you can have your website built and all the content written in one place.
By entrusting your content writing to an agency – with guidance from yourself on the tone and messaging – you can ensure everything on the website is Search Engine Optimised (SEO) in addition to being visually appealing.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website – both the content and performance – to increase its reach.
2) Focus on social media
Social media management platform, Hootsuite, recently published some extraordinary statistics, such as there are currently over 4.62 billion people across the world using social media, nearly 75% of the world’s population aged 13+ use social media and over 93% of regular internet users log into social media.
What do these statistics mean for accountants? Essentially, if you’re not promoting your firm on social media, you’re missing out on reaching a huge number of people.
What social media platforms should accountants use?
Determining which social platform is right for you depends on two things: where are your ideal prospects showing up and where do you feel you could add the most value? However, for many, this isn’t clear when starting out.
“Every social media platform has a different audience; some platforms may have audiences completely irrelevant to your brand, but I think that a try-and-test model is so important because each firm will see success in various areas – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.” – Callum Macrae, Senior Marketing Manager, IRIS
So, when starting on social media, I highly encourage that you initially utilise all the major networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram – and once you’ve been on social media for a while, you can determine which network works best for you and focus your efforts there.
Should you be using TikTok?
TikTok is arguably the hottest social platform, with eight new users joining every second; however, TikTok is also the most daunting as it requires you to primarily post videos rather than words and pictures.
Bev commented on TikTok, saying that while she hasn’t had as many clients from the platform when compared to Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s been great exposure, with one of her videos going viral.
So, if you’re up for making videos, definitely consider using TikTok, but if you prefer written content, I’d advise Twitter, and if you prefer engaging with images, then Instagram may work better.
How often should you post on each social network?
While that may seem like a daunting number of posts at first, it’s manageable after some initial time investment. Bev advises after you’ve been regularly posting for a little while, you can recycle topics and posts, reducing the overall time-drain.
3) Update customers via email
How often do you communicate with customers? Do you let them know every time you start offering a new service?
Since the pandemic, the world has become increasingly digital, meaning most accountants have less contact with their clients resulting in less opportunity to build relations and provide service updates.
By sending regular emails to your customer base, you can update them on news, stay at the forefront of their mind and cross-sell your services.
How to send mass emails?
It’s inefficient to send each customer an individual email when looking to put across a mass message.