Adding and retaining new clients remains a top priority for most CPAs and accountants. Niche marketing remains the most effective strategy to do so. This has become even more apparent since the pandemic. Clients in every industry have been impacted and need solutions from CPAs and accountants with specialized knowledge of their industries.
As a leader of a small CPA firm, you may ask yourself, “Will a niche marketing strategy work for my firm?” The answer is “yes” if you start with these three steps.
First, conduct a client analysis. Segment your clients by SIC or NAICS codes. Then, for each industry, calculate the gross fees, net fees, realization, average fees billed, average hours billed, average billing rate, and number of clients. Also, analyze your client base by sales volume, geographic location, and services provided.
Graph this information to give an accurate picture of your client base. This will show you in which industries you are spending the most time, earning high fees, experiencing high collection rates, offering a variety of services – all opportunities for niche market development. It will also show unprofitable industries, those you should avoid.
Second, identify your champion. Without a champion you do not have a niche. The champion must be a person with influence, but does not have to be a partner. One possibility is a manager who is interested in building her future in the industry and becoming a partner in the firm.
Third, create your marketing plan. The plan should start with your firm’s mission, vision, and core values. The mission statement is your firm’s basic purpose, why you do what you do. The vision for your firm is where you see your firm in the future, including net revenue, number of employees and offices, and new products and services. Core values are the essential and enduring beliefs of your firm.
The situation analysis includes:
- Description of niche
- Description of target markets
- Growth trends
- SWOT analysis
- Client analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Current services
- New service development
Then, your goals need to be be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. The marketing plan should include three-year goals for the firm, revised annually. Each niche area should have one-year goals, reviewed quarterly. Specific strategies are then identified to achieve your goals. Make sure your goals and strategies state the specific tasks, deadlines, and those responsible for making it happen.
Organize your niche marketing around:
- where you network,
- where you speak,
- where you exhibit,
- where you target your inbound marketing campaigns,
- who you invite to webinars,
- where you are an active member,
- where you advertise, and
- where you are published.
Finally, determine the budget necessary to implement your marketing plan and monitor it closely.
There is more involved with establishing and executing a niche marketing strategy for your small firm, but these three steps will get you started.
This blog post was originally published in the June 8, 2021 issue of CPA Practice Advisor online.