An accounting business is nothing without clients. A good accounting firm – no matter its size – needs to have a number (no pun intended) of clients in order to keep things running. These clients, both personal ones, and businesses, pay fees for everything that your business does for them. This can include keeping your accountants on retainer should they need help or advice when doing their books, to having them handle quarterly tax returns and payments. Many people don’t realize that there are so many different things that an accountant can do to keep a business running. The key word here is “people.” You need them as clients. In order to bring in these new clients, you need to develop a useful and adaptable marketing plan. Let’s go over what that entails.
Marketing Your Accounting Firm
The first step in coming up with a good marketing plan requires you to sit down with a group of your employees and answer a few different questions. The answers will determine the directions that your marketing plan will head in. You can’t place advertising without knowing who constitutes your target market. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money, since your potential customers will not see it. Your advertising should be targeted and trackable. This means that you can trace it to determine whether or not people have seen it. You should know which of your new clients signed up because of those ads.
Start with a basic question that anyone in your firm should be able to handle – what type of accounting do you do? Many larger firms can’t really answer that since they have individuals who specialize in certain types and take on all sorts of clients. Smaller companies can state outright that they handle the books and tax returns for other small companies or private individuals who need additional help. The second question: personal or business-related bookkeeping, related directly to this. If you specialize in one or the other, then obviously you’ll need to place ads effect only those groups.
The third question is actually a combination of two different ones: who are your current clients and why do you want to expand? This is what will really help you develop a marketing plan. Your current clients chose you for a reason. Why? Also, understanding why you want to expand your business (maybe you need new clients to replace some that you’ve lost or just want to take on more business in general) will determine your next course of action.
What You Need To Put Into Place
After answering those questions and coming up with a general plan, you need to develop a new logo. The logo should be serious and make it clear that you’re running an accounting firm. You don’t want to scare off potential clients with a silly font or set of cartoons. Instead, stick with dark colors, like forest green, navy or dark blue, and brown. You can use the standard black, white, and gray, but keep them as accent colors. They’ll go well with the staid dark shades. The font that you choose should be serious as well. You can go with either serif or sans-serif font, but again, make sure that it’s not like Comic Sans. The standards, such as Ariel or Times New Roman will suit you well. Finally, if you choose to have an image in your logo, go with one that is equally serious. A set of books (as in accounting books) or something that makes it clear that you’re running an accounting firm will work nicely.
Now, why is the logo important? This sets the tone for all of the marketing materials that you’re going to develop as a part of your advertising plan and helps you develop your new website, which should include the logo and reflect some of the elements in it. By now, you already know who’s in your target market, so you should have no problem coming up with a list of publications and media outlets to send your press releases and advertisements to. You’ll need to write all of this down, as you’ll have to track which ones have received this information and have done something with it. It’s always a good idea to note these things, as you’ll know who to send them to next time.
Finding New Clients
It’s time to find those new clients. You can start by sharing your expertise on a blog connected to your website. This makes your business look as though it’s staffed by experts in your field (because it is, of course.) On top of that, a blog makes for good SEO or search engine optimization. If you set it up properly, when someone in your area looks for an accountant, your company will appear high in the search results. You’re more likely to get clients this way. On top of that, you can pay for local advertising, such as in newspapers and on television and the radio. If your business is large enough and your ad budget is high, then consider sponsoring a local sports team. There are plenty of little league baseball and pee wee football teams out there that need sponsors. They’ll be willing to put your company’s name on the backs of their jerseys. This breeds local goodwill and helps give your business some exposure. Also, you should consider joining a local business group. These companies provide some good exposure as well. The other members might just end up becoming your clients.
A marketing plan is a multi-prong effort to spread the word about your business and get you some new clients. If you handle your advertising correctly, then your clients will fit your existing mold. That is to say; they’ll be individuals or other businesses, whichever ones that your company prefers to handle. The best part of coming up with one of these plans is charting your success. Hopefully, your plan works out perfectly.