How do I market my bookkeeping business?
Marketing your business doesn’t have to involve expensive advertising campaigns. Your marketing plan should also be largely focused around on-going initiatives that are still manageable during your busy times, not just when things get quieter.
Here are 6 ideas you can add to your marketing plan to help you boost your bookkeeping business without massive monetary investment:
- Pro-bono work
Offer your services to help out a local community group or charity organisation. I know this might sound counter-productive, after all, you’re trying to make money, not give it away, right? However, offering your services pro-bono can have a flow-on effect as you build your networks and lift your profile in the community. You never know who else you can get your business in front of! Ask if your logo or current promotions can be included in community newsletters or if you can advertise with business cards or a poster in return for your services. Commit to at least 6 months and then re-evaluate to see if your business is getting anything out of the relationship – although you might find that simply giving back is benefit enough!
- Provide helpful free resources
Become known as a reliable source of expert, up-to-date knowledge around accounting, compliance, best practice, and business hacks.
These resources could include:
- regular blog articles on your website
- a monthly newsletter with advice and helpful links
- contribute guest posts on other blogs
- ‘How-to’ videos or demos
Make sure to capture email addresses through download forms or subscriber options, so that you can then continue to nurture the potential lead relationship through emails.
- Incentivise referrals
Make the most of your biggest fans – your existing customers. Ask them to refer your services to their own networks, and if necessary, incentivise this by offering them a ‘reward’ for any new leads, or new business won, such as an hour off their next fee, a voucher or a free lunch. Remember: give to get! Make sure you are also out there actively offering referrals to other businesses in your networks if you expect others to do the same.
- Face-to-face networking
Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face networking. Yes, it might seem like a lot of time investment, but building strategic relationships is the most critical part of marketing your business. Attending networking events is not just about finding new clients (although obviously that should also be your aim!), it’s also about meeting other business owners who may be great sources of continued referrals to your ideal clients. Consider joining a local networking group that meets fortnightly or monthly (they are usually around an hour and will often be held over breakfast, so won’t eat into your day), and take up opportunities to attend various industry events. However, make sure you do your research and consider whether other attendees are going to fit into your target customer before you invest time or money.
- Connect with others in your industry
One of the things that was evident to me at the recent Xerocon Auckland event was what a tight and supportive industry bookkeeping is. Bookkeepers are awesome at helping out others in their industry, rather than simply seeing them as competitors. Make the most of these alliances – when you do find you have too much work on your plate, you have a client that’s not quite right for you, or perhaps they want to work with someone a little closer to home, don’t be afraid to refer leads on to other bookkeepers – you’ll find that they will do the same! Be sure to network and connect with other bookkeepers, ask questions, offer advice, provide commentary on industry events and participate in online discussions.
- Online networking
A big part of connecting with other bookkeepers will likely revolve around online forums and communities. These present a great opportunity to build relationships, learn from others, and increase referral opportunities. Consider your target audience before you invest too much time in social networking. For example, if you’re targeting business owners, you’ll likely have the most success using LinkedIn to promote your services, rather than Facebook. Join groups and get involved in the discussions. Once you feel confident, start your own threads by posing questions and posting your blogs.
Don’t forget word of mouth
Ads, articles, social posts and speaking gigs are great – but there’s nothing like getting a recommendation. An endorsement from one business owner to another carries a lot of weight. Plus clients tend to recommend other business owners like themselves, so you know what you’re going to get. Your work is one of your biggest and best advertisements.
How to get the word out
- Check out these guides on promoting a bookkeeping or accounting practice.
- Build a professional website
- Perfect your elevator pitch
- Writing to promote your bookkeeping business
- Get referrals through word-of-mouth marketing
- Create an SEO strategy to help people find you
Have Various Marketing Strategies
How can your business possibly generate 6 figures in revenue if nobody knows who you are?
Unfortunately, solely word-of-mouth advertising won’t do the trick. You’ll need to have more additions to your marketing tool belt.
Introducing the 7×5 Marketing plan.
It features 7 different strategies, if used properly, that will get you at least 5 new clients per year. The methods are:
- Talking to people you know
- Mailing flyers or postcards,
- Approaching accountants,
- Utilizing referrals and
- Using your website & online.
Many bookkeepers don’t like marketing, but if you truly want a 6-figure business, you’ll need to do things outside of your comfort zone.
Think about it like this, if you commit right now to doing things your competitors don’t want to do, you’ll later be living the glorious life they won’t have because of your commitment to marketing and other uncomfortable actions which helped your bookkeeping business flourish.
Treat a No as a Future Yes
You read that right. In the world of bookkeeping, you never know what will happen. Therefore, treat each lost lead as a potential future lead. Once you learn they have gone with someone else or simply don’t want to work with you to try and learn why so you can learn from the experience. Moreover, ensure to send them a closing email thanking them for their valued time and offer them a free value-added gift such as a free 15-minute consultation, your top bookkeeping tips for business owners or whatever comes to your mind. This goodwill and business sense will help them remember you in the future if they are in the hunt for a new bookkeeper again.
What is Lead Generation?
Before you even start thinking about your follow-ups you need to first create a lead generation strategy. Lead generation is the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business; basically, it ties in with a Sales Strategy If you are looking to expand via marketing your bookkeeping business, you need to first understand that lead generation can be difficult and can take time but is always an ongoing process for businesses wanting to grow. In this digital age here are my top tricks for creating and implementing lead generation for your business.
Keep Clients Informed
You may only see many of your clients once a year at tax time, but you need to keep your name in front of them throughout the year so they don’t fall prey to a competitor’s marketing or go with an accountant referred by a friend. Use your vast knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping principles to keep your name in front of clients. Recruit new business by writing a weekly blog or monthly newsletter. Maintain a current email list and send out your informative articles as you create them. Post the information on your website and social media sites to provide fresh, useful content to your followers.
Network in Person
In addition to keeping up electronically, show up at local networking events to stay in touch with small-business owners looking for a new accountant or bookkeeper, as well as those contacts with whom you’ve already built relationships. Clients who’ve sent you business in the past are excellent sources of new referrals, especially when you’ve served their friends and associates well. Let them know about new services you may have added since you last spoke and find ways to send business their way in the spirit of reciprocity. Introduce yourself to other professionals and pass out cards and brochures at events put on by local groups such as the chamber of commerce. Peer groups that support accountants and bookkeepers also can provide useful connections, as many bookkeepers get more business than they can handle and need trustworthy, competent professionals to whom they can refer the overflow.