Marketing after tax season
Marketing

How to Revive Your Marketing Efforts After Tax Season

If you’re like a lot of firms your marketing activities were placed on the back burner while you studied the TCJA and translated the new law for your clients this tax season. Take a breath – or a well-deserved vacation – and then dust off your marketing plan to update your goals and strategies.

According to Gear Up for Growth: The Marketing Trends Manual for Accountants three of the top marketing activities that firms plan to increase are:

  • Networking
  • Upgrading Website
  • Social Media

This is the perfect place to start reviving your marketing efforts.

Increase Your Networking Activities

Begin with your current referral sources. Prioritize your list and arrange breakfast and/or lunch meetings. While I recommend three meetings per week, establish a realistic goal that will work for you. One referral source meeting per week is better than none.

Depending upon the number of referral sources in your network you’ll need to add attendance at networking functions to your plan.

In The Sales Bible Jeffrey Gitomer recommends we ask ourselves:

  • Where do I network now?
  • Where should I network?
  • Where do my best clients network?
  • What are three organizations I should investigate and possibly join?
  • How many hours a week should I network?
  • Who are five prime people I want to meet?
  • What are my first-year networking goals?
  • Do I have the networking skills I need?
  • Do I have networking tools?
  • Who is great at networking that I can call and get help from?

Networking is a long-term marketing strategy. Done consistently it will result in increased visibility and new business leads.

Upgrade Your Website

According to research conducted by Greenfield Belser, 76 percent of survey respondents say they are likely to be influenced by the quality of professional service firm websites. Fifty percent put professionals on their short list based on the information included on the websites.

Clients, prospects, referral sources, employees and potential employees – basically everyone responsible for the success of your firm – are visiting your website. Here are seven suggestions for upgrades:

  1. Check for broken links and fix them. Broken links – the ones that bring you to a page that says “404 error” – are frustrating and impact search engine optimization (SEO), user experience, and conversion.
  2. Revise your text and use short sentences and short paragraphs. This makes your website easier to read.
  3. Add headshots of your team members to your bios. This will make your website more personal and help visitors put a face to a name.
  4. Optimize your website for mobile devices. Mobile browsing is becoming more common and this also helps with SEO.
  5. Optimize page speed. According to Google, 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
  6. Add landing pages to promote specific services, events or offers. A landing page is any page on the web on which one might land that 1) has a form and 2) exists solely to capture a visitor’s information through that form.
  7. Include a call-to-action on every page, including blog posts. A call-to-action is an image, button, or message that calls website visitors to take some sort of action.

This list is not comprehensive but provides a good start.

Boost Your Social Media Profile

When it comes to social media there are many options: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, you get the idea. It’s important to create a realistic social media strategy that supports your marketing goals and you are committed to updating.

Since LinkedIn is the most business-oriented social media platform let’s spend our time today focused on it. Here are five LinkedIn profile updates to make right now to enhance your business development efforts:

  1. Headshot and Custom Background: Your headshot needs to look professional with your face looking forward, making up about 75 percent of the frame. Replace your custom background with an image that reinforces what you want people to know about you. This image could promote your firm’s brand, a marketing campaign, or event, for example.
  2. Headline: Your headline needs to concisely communicate who you help and how you help them.
  3. Summary: Like your custom background, your summary needs to tell readers what you want them to know about you. Focus on your target markets, areas of specialty and write it in first-person.
  4. Custom URL: A custom URL will help to increase the overall visibility of your LinkedIn account and will make it easier for you to share how to find you on LinkedIn. For example, you can find me at www.linkedin.com/in/jeancaragher.
  5. Content: Include two to four pieces of content. This can include documents, photos, videos, presentations, and brochures.

Once you’ve updated your profile you can expand your LinkedIn presence by:

  • Writing posts on a consistent basis. CoSchedule recommends one LinkedIn post per day.
  • Writing articles.
  • Liking and sharing posts.
  • Joining and participating in groups.

Increasing your networking, upgrading your website, and boosting your social media profile, three solid ways to revive your marketing efforts after tax season. Don’t attempt to implement everything in this article at once. Rather, create a plan and execute one activity at a time.

* This article is adapted from the original published by CPA Practice Advisor on May 1, 2019.

Capstone Marketing Blog, Marketing

7 Accounting Marketing Lessons Learned from the Masters

Congratulations to Danny Willett, the first Englishman in 20 years to win the Masters. It’s been quite a two weeks for Willett, becoming a new father just 10 days ago.

Also, kudos and compassion to Jordan Spieth, who held the lead for seven consecutive rounds. In his own words, he stopped following his game plan and started playing too conservatively at #10. He lost six shots in three holes and ended up tied for second. At just 22 years of age Jordan is learning life lessons while the world is watching.

What accounting marketing lessons can we learn from the masters of golf? Here are seven to get us started.

1. Keep your eye on the ball.

You can hit the ball well when you can clearly see the ball at every point in your swing from start to finish. The second your gaze shifts from the ball during any part of the swing problems occur. So, from the top of your swing until you hit the ball keep your eye on the ball.

Your marketing program needs the same kind of focus. Create your accounting firm marketing plan. Capitalize on your niche specialties. Write your marketing goals and strategies so it’s clear who is responsible for doing what by when.

2. Be consistent in your follow through.

According to PGA pro Pete Styles a nice-looking, balanced follow through in your golf swing isn’t just for show. It has a very important role, linking the start position and the finish position together so that your body can train itself to run that same sequence every time. If you start at position “A” every time and finish in position “C” every time, you’re probably going to go through position “B” (i.e., the impact position) every time. If your follow through position is out of balance and inconsistent, then what happens before that is likely to be out of balance and inconsistent, too.

Your accounting firm marketing program requires the same consistency. Your marketing plan should include a timetable or calendar, providing a snapshot of your marketing programs throughout the year. Also, follow up with those you meet at firm mixers or networking events. Call the prospects who indicated interest in your firm but weren’t ready to meet you. Contact the leads generated by your inbound marketing campaigns. Consistent execution and follow through will result in strong relationships and referrals, while a start-and-stop marketing program is difficult and ineffective.

3. Execute your plan.

Every golfer must manage the course and execute a plan for each hole. The length of the fairway; the locations of the bunkers, trees, and water; the wind, and the hole placement on the green must all be taken into account.

I am a Phil Mickelson fan so I am biased. Phil is a fun player to watch because you never know what will happen! He makes decisions on the course many other golfers would not. He has one of the best short games in golf. He can control the trajectory and spin of the ball depending on whether he wants the ball to spin back or run up to the hole. He’s willing to take risks.

Have you gathered the information necessary to create your marketing plan? Your client analysis? Competitive analysis? SWOT analysis? Growth trends? Have you determined the goals of your plan and the action steps necessary to achieve each goal? Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable in order to achieve uncommon results?

4. Bring the right clubs.

According to the USGA, a golfer is allowed to have 14 clubs in his bag. This may include three woods, eight irons, and putter. These are the standard 12 clubs in many golf bags. The last two clubs are the choice of the golfer and depend on the golf course. You may want a hybrid driver for use on the fairway and a wedge for the short game. Or you may choose to use two wedges, which can include a lob wedge or sand wedge. The lob wedge provides better lift, while the sand wedge may help with bunker shots. You need the right clubs – or tools – to help you shoot a low round.

You need to consider a variety of marketing tools to execute your plan. You may want to send an enewsletter to communicate with all of your clients and contacts – and you may want to create separate enewsletters for your target markets (niches). You may want to have your team attending networking events in your marketplace – and you may want to host smaller mixers to further those relationships. Don’t forget about the importance of your website, thought leadership, and social media.

5. Keep an accurate score.

Players are responsible for making sure the scores are correct before signing their scorecard. Not doing so has consequences as Colin Montgomerie experienced at the 83rd PGA championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. He was disqualified for having signed for a last-round 71 when he had had a 72.

Your scorecard is your pipeline, which tracks leads, proposals, sources of referrals, estimated fees, wins and losses. This will keep you focused on what needs to happen to close the deal. It enables you to thank your referral sources. It allows you to recognize the efforts of your team. Your pipeline – your scorecard – is vital to manage your firm’s growth.

6. Seek advice.

Caddies do a lot more than carry the golf bag and clean the golf balls. They help their players assess yardage, select clubs, and determine the lie on the putting green. They are a voice to help their players make smart decisions on the course.

Players are also known to spend time with the sport’s greats like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. These legends can provide advice not just on the technical side of the game but the mental side, as well.

Which accounting firm marketing programs do you admire? Who are the famous people in your niche markets? Who is in your network that you need to spend more time with? And, don’t forget those in your accounting firm association, state society, PCPS, Association for Accounting Marketing and other organizations.

7. Enjoy the 19th hole.

The newest generation of golfers – Spieth, Fowler, and Day – are friends. They cheer for each other and offer congratulations for victories.

Do the same. Celebrate your successes with your team. Recognize their efforts. Communicate information about new clients. Share how a new client was obtained, a referral received, or a speaking engagement was secured. Remember, your accounting firm marketing program is ongoing and will evolve as your growth, goals, and skills develop. Celebrating your successes will enhance education, motivation and morale.