If you’re the marketing manager of an accountancy firm, one of your biggest struggles is getting the owner, the partners, the accountants in the firm to actually be involved in content.
You’re tasked with marketing actions, but in order to get blogs written, social media posts out, and videos created, you do need input from the others.
Unfortunately, it’s not seen as productive time, so client work always wins.
It’s also much less comfortable and familiar (if not absolutely terrifying), so often “any other task but this” wins. You’ve started to wonder if one of the partners is ducking out every time you come round.
You’re in a catch 22. You are responsible to “bring in new business via social media”, but you know that the most effective content comes with input from those working directly with the clients.
You are not alone. When I started the Profitable Firm, I sailed in to help accountants with marketing, not realising how much there was to train them in. I thought we could do the outsourced marketing for them, and they could carry on doing client work. Everyone had their tasks, and it was all separate.
Now, five years on, almost half of what we spend our time on is education. We run group training programmes and free webinars and write content (like this one) because no amount of outsourced work will help if the firm itself is not changing its attitude towards marketing.
So, this means that “teaching your boss Facebook and Instagram” is definitely a challenging task. Unless they’re willing to learn, I’d back up a step and apply these tips:
1. Gather all the data you can.
You need to be armed with the right information so you can show where leads actually come from. You know that it’s never a matter of sending one tweet and getting one piece of new business: because it’s a tweet and a website page and a blog post and three videos and an event and the fact that the person met the partner’s wife’s friend one time. That’s how marketing works.
If you can’t access all this data, it’s time to start. Create a simple analytics report showing, at a minimum:
- Website visitors
- Website pages created
- Blog posts written
- Videos created
- Social posts out
- Number of followers by social platform
- New prospects added to database (or total size of database)
- Quotes out
- Quotes accepted (amount and percentage)
- Number of clients
You can edit and adapt this as it suits your firm, but it’s a good start.
Then when you do have a success (a new lead, a new client), check the data and reinforce the message that it’s the combination of multiple factors.
2. Train yourself at a free or low-cost level.
If the partners don’t yet understand the value of high quality marketing training and aren’t willing to invest in it, there are still so many options available to you for free.
- Access our free social media training here
- Request a free 24 hour trial of ALL our social media training videos
3. Ask for a specific budget to try things.
You can do quite a lot with a small budget and a lot of ingenuity and DIY work. Even if it’s only a few hundred quid, here are a few things you can do with it (ideally on a monthly basis):
- Run some Facebook ads. Make sure you know what you’re doing – it’s going to be a big fail if you simply push a ‘free consultation’ on an unsuspecting audience. Familiarise yourself with the progression model (offer something free and helpful), or check out the Facebook Booster programme.
- Write blog posts – at least one a week. You may feel that you can’t write these because you don’t know enough about accounting or tax issues, but I assure you that your clients don’t want all the detailed answers. They don’t want tax tables or percentages or dull information about Making Tax Digital. If you have absolutely no idea where to begin, make it a habit of asking the accountants and partners how their last client meeting went. You’ll get some great topics and stories every time.
- Prepare content for emails. Depending on how much authority you have, preparing and sending some simple emails can help nurture existing prospects and draw them across the line. Or update emails to clients that are more interesting than “here are our three latest blog posts”. A good example would be a series of emails to go to those who have received a quote or proposal. Those emails don’t have to be salesy, asking if they’re ready to go ahead. Simply make them helpful: send tips and helpful resources and new ideas.
4. Be personally interested in your firm and clients.
Being a marketing manager, or even fitting in some marketing amongst your client work, is not a stand-alone job that sits outside of what the accounting firm actually does for your clients.
Remember that they are your clients, too, because you’re a valuable part of the firm. If you have the opportunity to greet clients when they come in, ask deeper questions than how they are doing today and how the family is doing. Ask about their business, any new products or services or employees, how sales are looking this month. Take notes. You’ll be surprised what you find out, and what topics are relevant to your clients.
This will also help to encourage your boss or manager or whoever you report to. It shows that you’re taking it seriously, and that you actually care about the success of the firm.
Finally, be patient. This is not going to change overnight. You can rest assured that you’re not alone, that nearly every other marketing manager of accounting firms has similar struggles to you. Believe me: I’ve heard from them.
On the positive side, this patience does pay off. Many owners and partners of accountancy firms have tried this marketing action and that marketing idea for many years, and become extremely frustrated with it all. They don’t want to be pressured into the latest marketing idea, or something that they feel could end up being a fad (and a waste of more time and money).
Show them that you’re committed to the success of the firm, and keep going.
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