Success comes when people clearly understand what your expertise is.
The clearer you are about the one thing you want to be known for, the easier it is for others to understand.
By being a specialist, you will be the chosen supplier because it is clear that you are the expert/authority on a subject.
To use what I do as an example is I am known as the Marketing For Accounting Firm’s gal. I don’t try and be a master of pricing, MTD, or the onboarding platforms you should use.
You only have a finite amount of time.
You don’t have time to be a jack of all trades. You only have time to master one thing at one time.
The world is moving at a rapid rate and you will never know everything.
Remember – there is something very comforting when you choose a supplier that is a specialist. Which is why people like to work with an accountant that specialises in their business type and understands their pains fully.
When you talk about more than your expertise you are watering down your message. If you chose to do this your competitors who are more focused, will be rubbing their hands together and getting clients because they are seen as the expert and you are a jack-of-all-trades.
If you’ve young children, you have probably been asked for a piggyback. Not only are you lifting your children up on your shoulders for fun, but you’re also elevating them so they are taller.
This piggybacking enables them to take advantage of your already tall stance, and quickly be on the same level as you.
Just like your children, you and your accounting firm can be elevated by someone/something else’s stature.
I’m talking about piggyback blogging.
Piggyback blogging is where you piggyback on someone else’s fame.
It’s not a complicated strategy, but it is highly effective.
It’s about connecting with people who have more authority in your niche than you do.
For example, all of you will have someone who markets to your “hunting niche”. One or two of these people/businesses will have a strong following and are in front of your ideal client daily.
Therefore the aim of your piggyback blog is to mention them within it. Be it a quote, a reference to their business, a link to their website.
Once you have included them in your blog, you then let them know you have mentioned them.
They will share your content, you’ll align yourself with them, and you’ll elevate your authority and your stature.
One of the most powerful ways to get continued support from people is to use the magic words that are so underutilised.
These two words are Thank You.
You’ll have people who like your social media updates, comment on a regular basis and share your information. You may not know these people, you have never met them, but they’re there for you.
Unfortunately, these people often get taken for granted. Every day you are ignoring them. You don’t acknowledge that they are spending time on your social media updates, and not on someone else’s.
Think for a moment. Have you ever sent them a message to say thank you, or even publicly thanked them for their likes/comments?
The key here is to remember you are not posting on social media to get likes. You are not posting on social media to get shares. You are posting on social media to build relationships.
And every good relationship is about give and take. Every time someone likes or comments on your posts, you are taking and they are giving. Remember to give back and say thank you once in a while.
Your gold is, of course, the valuable information that you share with your audience.
Your boat is LinkedIn, Pay Per Click, Telesales, Referral Marketing… any of these mediums.
If you choose to use just one, your practice will one day sink to the bottom of the ocean. The focus on just one will limit your impact, your gold will not reach your audience in the four corners of the world, and the boat you use might just sink without prior warning.
If you choose many boats upon which to share your gold your business will float, and the gold will spread far and wide for all to benefit from. There will be a ripple effect and you will see more success.Sharing your gold in more ways, with more people, is bound to bring in more opportunities.
It is so obvious, yet a huge percentage of accountants and bookkeepers are sending emails and newsletters that, if you received them in your inbox, you would never read.
When you send your monthly newsletter or an email to your database do you take the litmus test with it? Do you read it and ask yourself “if this ended up in my inbox would I spend time reading it?”
The other question you need to ask yourself is “Is this really useful for my prospect/client?”
I often get asked how many times should you send a newsletter out to your database. In fact, if it was helpful, you could send one every day of the year.
The problem with emails is that they are free to send, and therefore not much thought is given to the messages within them.
The solution is to imagine your email is a direct mail letter and then see whether it is a valuable piece of content…
If you would send that email as a letter, and you felt that it was worth the printing, the stamp and the envelope, then it’s worth sending as an email.
If you wouldn’t spend money to send it, then it probably isn’t a valuable piece of information.
This week Pound World went into receivership.
It suffered from decreasing footfall, weaker consumer confidence and an increasingly competitive discount market.
Having them go into receivership might seem surprising. We can almost understand why other high street stores might suffer, but Pound World?
They are cheap they must have a flood of people wanting to buy from them…
Many accounting firms make the same mistake, thinking if they’re the cheapest it will guarantee a flood of clients and keep people coming back.
But people don’t value cheap.
Cheap doesn’t bring loyalty or make you recession proof. Instead, a savvy accounting practice needs to market themselves as John Lewis.
Marketing as John Lewis will attract people who see you as valuable and pay a fair price for great customer service. Clients are loyal, and enjoy the experience of working with you.
An accounting practice that positions itself as John Lewis positions themselves on the high street, will be more recession-proof than a Pound World.
So if you think that providing the cheapest service is the way forward, think again.
It will not serve you in the long term, and you’ll unlikely survive a recession.
I see it happen all the time.
A marketer tells you that you need to niche your accounting practice.
They are wrong! This advice can leave you scared because you live in fear of having to turn people away, and that you won’t get enough business.
In my 12-month marketing programme The Pioneering Practice my clients and I brainstorm on having what I call a HUNTING niche. A hunting niche is where you niche your marketing, not your practice as a whole.
The Wow Company are a great example of a firm that has embraced a hunting niche. If you go to their website it looks like they are a generalist firm, helping small businesses. Then when you dive deeper (look at their website footer) you can see that they have a hunting niche of Agencies.
Their blogs, social media and other content is all about attracting their hunting niche. You would not realise this at first glance though, and they still attract businesses other than their hunting niche.
Which is why the answer isn’t about going all in with niching.
This is where you are being misadvised.
The answer is niching your marketing, not your practice.
Simon Sinek tells us to ‘know your why’. Knowing your ‘why’ is meant to motivate us to achieve greatness.
But one day I realised it wasn’t enough. One day I woke up stressed and ready to jack in my entire business. I decided it was time to get a job.
For a while I stopped caring about making a difference to the world. It seemed like too much work.
But then when I started job hunting I realised I would have to work 8 hours a day and not be around for my children. I realised my ‘why’ wasn’t just about making a difference to the world, but also making a difference to my small family.
In fact that was when I realised business owners need 2 ‘why’s. Just in case one day one of them isn’t enough to motivate you to get out of bed.
You need a Global ‘why’ which is all about the big impact you want to make on the world or an industry.
And then you need a personal ‘why’. The ‘why’ that keeps you going when the Global ‘why’ just isn’t doing it for you.
And this is why having a ‘why’ is not the key to success. Because one day it will not be enough.
This is where most people stop and decide that now is not the right time to start.
Imagine if you did start though.
You didn’t know what you would create as you wrote, but you would create something.
And that is the point.
You can’t create something from nothing, but the moment you have something you can work on improving it.
Marketing is the same. If you do no marketing, you don’t know where to start. There is nothing.
But if you have started marketing, no matter how small a step you take, you can work on taking bigger strides.
So the moral is start, and then you can improve.
It’s 1 January. You have eaten all the mince pies, drunk all the sherry and spent too long with most of your family.
New Years Eve has come and gone and you have set some resolutions.
Fast-forward two weeks. It’s 14 Jan, you have failed to keep your resolutions. The year will be no different to previous years.
But wait. You hear about a solution to ensure you stick to your resolutions. You hear about “theming”.
Theming is where you decide on “one word” to keep you focused. Your year is themed and the one word will ensure that you stay on track to achieve your personal and business dreams.
In 2017 my one word was Freedom. In 2018 my one word is Relationships. You will see my themes show up regularly in my marketing.
The joy of theming is that when opportunities present themselves you can decide if they are a yes, or a no. Yesterday I had the opportunity to take on a £20k client. My “one word” focus meant that I had to decline. It’s liberating.
It doesn’t matter what time of year you decide your theme, just do it. The focus it brings you will help you thrive.
What is going to be your one word, starting today?
I understand the irony of what I’m about to say, but I find all the negative social media updates drive me batty.
A negative, whingey or antagonistic post often attracts others who love to join in and have a good whinge with them.
Conversely, you have the positive. Positive posts that inspire others to do better, be better, have more and do more. These posts tend to attract a positive audience who believe that opportunity is everywhere.
Whilst the negative updates and antagonistic posts might get traction, it is key to note that the audience who comment and thrive on negativity are often living a negative existence.
We are drawn to those whom we believe will approve of our thinking and us.
We look for common traits, ideas and interests.
When we see a post on social media it will either resonate with us or repel us.
It is also true that you are the sum of the people you hang around with most. If you consume/post negative content, you will attract negativity.
If you surround yourself with positivity you will attract greater opportunities.
Yep that’s right, if you are not getting the results that you want for your accounting practice you are just not good enough
If you are not getting referrals either your work, your service, your team or your referral marketing system isn’t good enough
If you are not getting any traction with social media it is because you are not good enough at it
If you are not making enough money, it’s because you are not good enough at getting clients, pricing your work, or you are spending too much…
If you are not getting what you want it is because you are not good enough
But knowing this is priceless. Because when you start to take responsibility for the situation you are in, you can do something about it.
When you stop blaming the economy, technology, the profession, and decide to learn how to overcome your problems, guess what? You become good enough.
To can fix anything, you just need to put the hours in.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about 10,000 hours of mastery. This is 5 years of hard work. If you master something for 10,000 hours you will be good enough.
That networking meeting you went to last month, do the attendees remember you?
How about that amazing blog you wrote 6 months ago that got lots of shares and likes? Will your readers remember you?
That LinkedIn update from last week that people commented on, are you still in their thoughts?
The answer to the above is “I doubt it”.
One thing that you need to remember is that if you are not showing up regularly and consistently, you are unlikely to be remembered.
There is so much noise online, and so many people trying to be heard offline, that if you are not creating and implementing a “Front Of Mind Plan” then the chances are you will be neither remembered or recommended.
If you think you are doing enough, think again. Double your visibility, and double your sales.
Those who read, can often not watch. Those who watch do not necessarily listen and those who listen do not necessary do. Or any combination of these.
There are four kinds of information you can create/consume.
- Read (blogs, articles)
- Watch (videos, webinars)
- Listen (podcasts)
- Do (scorecards, quizzes etc.)
The magic comes when you understand your audience enough to know which kind of information they enjoy and consume the most.
The problem becomes time-consuming when there is no clear front-runner, and a mixture of information assets are needed.
Your job as a professional service firm is to ensure that you make it easy for your audience to consume information and educate themselves.
The more you choose a single way of communication, the more you limit your opportunities.
What kind of information does your audience like to consume? If you don’t know the answer to this you really are limiting your opportunities.