I’m just back from the post office, and had to jump on a quick video to share why a trip to the post office will be good for you and your firm…
Today I’m going to share with you the three ways that my clients generate leads for their accounting practice.
The first way is through organic traffic. This is where you might write a few blogs, you post on social media, and you make sure that you are visible online so that you attract attention.
Organic traffic is great. You get a huge return on investment, eventually. It can take a while.
For the other two ways watch the video below .
When we live inside a bubble we tend to be concerned about our own pleasure and comfort. Being in the bubble stops us from feeling uncomfortable. It’s why many resist exercise and opt for the Chinese takeaway on a Friday night instead.
But living inside the bubble keeps us from being who we could be. We procrastinate, stick with the status quo and keep ourselves from feeling unsure.
If living in our bubble limits our experiences, what would stepping outside the bubble achieve?
By stepping outside the bubble we can learn new things and help more people.
By stepping outside the bubble we can tap into a greater purpose when we feel we might be losing momentum.
By stepping outside the bubble we can be proud of what we do and achieve because we have stretched ourselves.
When you find yourself eating doughnuts, watching mindless TV or are procrastinating you are stuck in the bubble.
It is your choice as to whether you are going to stretch yourself and step outside the bubble. But if you choose to try new things, opportunities arise and life is more fulfilling.
My mums cousin’s husband (yes a distant relative) is an architect. At the lunch table the other day we were discussing how he often refuses to design the big ugly buildings that may maximize his revenue, but doesn’t sit with his architectural values. He knows that raising the standard is his job, not just raising his bank balance.
As a marketer I am the same. I won’t produce a marketing campaign with spammy sales messages filled with tricks and NLP, because I know that relationships and truth are the key to integrity and business success.
There are plenty of people who will pander to their clients wants and give them what they ask for… but ultimately it does not do their industry nor their reputation any good.
It is therefore your responsibility to push back and not sell them what they want (for example agree to fiddle the books for your clients, turn the other cheek or make a promise you cannot keep).
It is your responsibility to stick to your values and attract the right people into your world.
The first step in achieving this… know what you stand for. It’s where you should always start.
One of my favourite tales that Jim Rohn tells is the Parable of the Sower. Now I’m definitely not doing the original justice but, in essence, it tells the story of a farmer and how, for each new season, he would go about planting seeds.
But the first handful of seeds he planted were always immediately snatched by birds. At first he would run after these birds, leaving his fields behind and trying to get their attention.
But unlike the farmer, your goal is not to chase them – “if you’re off chasing the birds, you’ve left the field”.
Chasing these birds will take you off your game, which likely makes them happy, but makes you miserable. This parable is an analogy for the naysayers in your life.
Which means your goal is to keep on sowing, “you’ll eventually sow more than the birds can get”. And you will succeed, in spite of those pesky birds.
Is this you?
You have 400 clients, and they pay your firm on average £600 – £1200 a year.
If your clients paid you significantly more your firm could:
- Give more of your time to each client
- Provide them with a far better level of service
- Get better results and be seen as more valued
- Be referred more because of the results generated
- Feel more fulfilled
- Have more freedom
And before long you will have high-value clients recommending, referring and doing a lot of your marketing for your firm.
There is another added benefit to charging more for your services – you position yourself in a part of the market that is less competitive. The mass market is highly competitive, the middle market is competitive and the elite market is less than 5% of the market.
So what is the plan? Mass/middle market, or is it time to up your prices, and provide more value?
A problem arises when you go to a local networking event.People at networking events tend to go because they want to sell to you, not buy from you. As an accountant, you are seen as someone who has a large network that others want access to. You are the prize in the room and the biggest influencer.
What does this mean? You need to find bigger influencers that you can network with. There is no point in networking with 20 people who are unable to get you in front of your ideal client.
The solution is simple. List 20 influencers in your niche market. Connect with them online, and hang out where they hang out. Speak with them, share their content, make yourself visible and build a relationship with them.
Influencers will have thousands of your ideal client in their network.
And another plus is you no longer have to eat copious amounts of fried breakfasts, or get up at 5am to travel to morning networking.
So stop wasting time at local networking events, and build relationships with industry influencers instead.
What opportunities do you think this will bring for your accounting firm? Who can you approach today who is an influencer in your niche market?
Reliable work is the accountant who bills a 12-hour day for compliance services.
Opportunity work is the accountant who studies their clients business, unearths an anomaly, see an opportunity and saves their client’s business from liquidation – in less than 10minutes.
Reliable work is found throughout history. From the agricultural age through to the industrial age reliable work has been there. For years you would do well when you performed reliable work. It was also somewhat comforting to have reliable work.
Opportunity work is the opposite. We try and find easier options because with opportunity comes some kind of risk. You can’t fail with reliable work, but you can with opportunity work.
It is worth noting that reliable work can set the stage for opportunity work. If you can be reliable and become a master at something and practice it enough, you put yourself in the position to attract opportunity work.
It seems that no matter who you are or how reliable you are, opportunity only arises when you decide to look look for one.
For social media to work you must understand why you’re doing it in the first place.
Most people stare at me blankly when I say that.
Today I’m going to share some actionable goals that give purpose to your social media marketing.
- Increase brand awareness. The average person spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media, so get their attention.
- Drive traffic to your website. You need to leverage social media to drive people to your website so you can help them along the customer journey.
- Lead generation. Social media is a great way to warm people to your accounting firm and get them on the path to choosing you as their supplier.
- Build a community. Facebook groups are great for building a community, which is important for relationship building.
- Customer service. Social media is not just for getting a sale, you can use it to nurture your clients and deliver excellent customer service. Being available on social media means you are present where they spend most of their time.
- Attract PR Opportunities. If you want to be noticed by the press and influencers then you need to be visible.
Why are you on social media – are you clear and have you set goals?
The biggest companies in the world have strong brands. Without a strong brand you will not be remembered.
Apple has its white angelic colour scheme and simplicity.
Google has the 4 strong colours blue, red, yellow and green. When we see these colours together we think of Google.
Easyjet has Easyjet Orange (yes in the branding world this is what we call it).
Closer to home we know that Xero is blue and Quickbooks is green.
Without strong branding colours you will not evoke feelings. Colours can evoke any emotion and change a persons feelings about whatever they’re looking at.
You need to choose a colour that reflects your firm, your values and the emotion you want people to feel.
Once you have that colour be consistent with it.
How do you want people to feel when they visit your website, social media and look at your brochure.
And whilst you might want to opt for dependable and trusting blue, remember that another factor in choosing colour is to make sure you stand out.
Today I was working with a lovely couple who are relocating from London to South Africa. They are not accountants, they are transformation specialists that help people with weight-loss.
Whilst creating their brand for a strong launch in January, an exercise we ran was the “love and hate list”. Choosing words they want to represent their brand, and words they never want associated with their brand.
They had a long list of words like Vegan, Plantbased, “healthy mind healthy body”, lowfat and balance all on their “must never use” list. And words like structure, science and opinionated on their “words they love” list.
After 20 minutes of brain dumping it was very clear what the new company stood for, and what it truly did and did not believe in.
If I hadn’t carried out this exercise with them, they’d have fallen into the trap of wishy-washy and not standing in the power of who they were, their values, and their image.
So if you want to attract your ideal client I suggest you too carry out this exercise. List 10 words that you love, and 10 words that must never be associated with your brand.
This clarity will ensure you attract your ideal client, and make writing for your marketing easier.
Now you might be thinking that this doesn’t sound like me. You might be think Mrs Watts, why are you being so pessimistic.
But I actually think this is a highly liberating way of thinking about things. The reason why is because everything you do in life involves some kind of sacrifice in one way or another. Your ultimate job is to decide what kind of sacrifices you are willing and going to make.
If you want to have a 7-figure accounting firm and have exponential growth, but you don’t see marketing or sales as something you are willing to invest in, then you will ultimately fail.
If you want to be a triathlon winner, but you are not willing to give up booze and pizza you will ultimately fail.
If you want to be a hot-shot lawyer but don’t want to work 80 hour weeks, then it’s bad news for you.
Which leaves the question, what are you willing to suck up, even though you don’t like it or don’t want to do it?
Anyone who achieves anything has to do something they don’t want to do.
I had a meeting this afternoon with a couple of my consulting clients and we were discussing them using Instagram.
Initial thoughts were that they wouldn’t use it. It wasn’t a priority and they would stick to Facebook and LinkedIn.
Then we got to the subject of getting support. Because they are so busy in their accounting firm, maybe they could get some support from a VA or digital admin person.
This then lead them to think, if a 24 year old was helping run their marketing, maybe they could do Instagram.
What I want you to think about here is that there are things you need to be doing in your accounting firm that maybe you are not, simply because you think you can’t.
There will be opportunities that come your way that you are missing, just because you think it all depends on you.
Sometimes the solution is to get someone else to help you. Someone who knows better than you.
To run a business successfully you have to get off the tools. As the owner or Partner you should not be running your Facebook or Instagram account, you should be leveraging talent.
You will save time, money and get better results. Your job is to stick to strategy and tactics.
I’m sure that you have been told to be clever with your email marketing subject lines.
Marketers tell you that you need to be intriguing, have funny subject lines and be clever.
Hubspot even has an article of funny subject lines begging to be opened:
- Need a day at the beach?
- Pairs nicely with spread sheets.
- Don’t invite Steve to that meeting, he will dress as a ghost.
- Swipe right on us.
But I see a problem. And that problem is that people don’t need more “funny, clever or intriguing”. In fact it has been proven within our business that the subject line which actually says what the email includes, is the email that gets opened and not deleted.
- Details of the Event
- Join Our Programme
- Visit Us At Accountex 2018
All of these emails had great open rates and results. Moreover, we built trust because we were transparent.
So there is no need to be a clever dick, just be honest and tone down your marketing. You will be surprised at the results it gets you.
Every day I write a MTOTD. They’re not planned, contrived or researched. Each tip comes from a conversation I’ve had with an accounting firm that day.
The tip’s late today.
- Because I’ve been in meetings/on the road all day, and
- Because until 5 mins ago I hadn’t been inspired.
But here it is… do you know who your ideal referral is? I was just chatting with Vishal from QXLtd via LinkedIn messenger. I’d reached out to say thank you for the great blog write up on my book that one of his team wrote last week. I hadn’t heard of his company before the write up, so asked him who his ideal client was – his ideal referral.
It made me think, most people I ask this question to, find it difficult to be concise. They say anyone or everyone. Vishal hasn’t yet responded to that question, but I am hoping that he is totally clear on.
- Who they are (industry)
- What their 3 dominant pains are
- How his business helps them overcome the pains
When an accounting firm knows the answers to these questions it becomes easy to refer clients. And when it’s easy to refer your ideal client to you, it happens more often.
So if you want more referrals, you need to be clear on who your ideal referral is, and then let others know so they can refer.