Below you’ll find a series of news articles and industry insights about marketing for UK accountants.
Every article has been written to make you think and take action. Action to help your accountancy firm become MORE successful at creating MORE high-value leads MORE often.
I would love your feedback, observations and/or questions related to these news articles.
To see the comments for all of the posts below simply click the link and you’ll be taken to the discussion on your chosen subject.
The Business Owners Success Summit gives you and your business owner clients access to 12 leading business experts and their ‘how to… strategies for business success’ – all free of charge.
I’m one of the speakers! But I’d argue that the most exciting opportunity is listening to Charlie Mullins the multi-millionaire Founder and CEO of Pimlico Plumbers. Charlie will be sharing his own thoughts and advice about how to achieve entrepreneurial success.
A lot it seems.
Before you read on though ask yourself this:
“Is accounts production more or less complex than building a car?”
I would suggest building a car is far more complex, has many more processes, many more parts, many more variables than a set of accounts. Or at the very least is no more complex.
In January I finished three fascinating business books, they made me think about the strategic options facing the accountancy firms we consult with!
Chances are this is relevant to your accountancy firm too.
By suggesting just four strategic options, I know I’m simplifying the complex. But see if this helps your thinking, and helps you plan for 2015…
- Do compliance work fast and well
- Provide useful management information in a timely way
- Help reduce tax bills
- Provide business growth guidance
A new year can and should prompt new thinking and a new approach. This post is about a new way of looking at customer care, and the positive impact customer care has on the marketing results your accountancy firm achieves this year.
If you’ve met me, seen me present or connected with me in any way you know it’s not long before I mention my swimming exploits – as modest as they are! Beating Adrian Moorhouse in the Manchester open-water 1-mile swim is my highlight but he was an Olympic gold medal breaststroker who hasn’t swum for 2 decades while I swim 2 or 3 times a week! I’m a swimmer.
Word of mouth marketing should be your firm’s best friend.
Word of mouth is a friend that mostly gets ignored whilst other marketing activities receive often-unwarranted attention. And yet the results word-of-mouth marketing can achieve are mind blowing.
Movember is a classic and worthy example of successful word-of-mouth marketing:
Melbourne Australia 2003. A few blokes with a few beers were pondering about 1970’s and 1980’s fashion when one of the few spouted out:
You’d expect accountants to be remarkably good at using KPI’s to predict future performance in their firm…
How do you best predict your future results?
If your accountancy firm lost major money for three months, one after the other, you’d be stressed. So stressed you’d be ready to do something about it. And you’d probably do something fast!
But such losses and such emotions should never happen in an accountancy firm, if you’re on top of the right KPIs.
In the 12 years we’ve been working exclusively with accountants we’ve collected KPI’s from almost every firm we’ve worked with.
Almost every partner/director/manager of an accountancy firm we work with complains at the sheer number of demands on their time.
They despair about time swiftly slipping through their fingers.
So if time is so short! Why would any right-minded accountant waste 80% of their working week generating just 20% of their profits?
Here’s how accountants avoid this one-way ticket to disaster in their firm and turn it to their advantage
Yes this sounds a bit melodramatic, please forgive me, and please hear me out…
Every accountant’s one-way ticket to disaster is to reduce the number of conversations with business owner clients.
Let’s look at TWO EXTREMES:
109 firms of accountants shared their marketing results recently.
The results clearly show what works best at generating converted new clients for accountancy firms. The top five sources of converted new clients were:
1. Referrals from clients
2. Referrals from introducers
It’s funny how accountants (KPI experts) pay such little attention to such jugular marketing KPI’s at your disposal – CLV
The big challenge with CLV you could easily dismiss it as old news, and even roll your eyes at it too…
Old news making a come-back:
Remember those plate sized black vinyl discs we used to play on record players? Or if you were a hi-fi snob, like I was, you’d call it a turntable!
What accountant (who is serious about helping their business owner clients improve their results) hasn’t read this book?
You shouldn’t care that I read a lot of business books.
One a month, occasionally two a month and sometimes more.
But perhaps, because I’ve been committed to helping accountants achieve remarkable results for over 12 years, you should care about the few books that totally enthrall me?
This one has more highlighter pen than most of the books I’ve read – and I refer back to it often.
Probably the most valuable book in the world – if you’re an accountant…
If you do less marketing than you should for your accountancy firm, it’s because you aren’t delegating enough
Have you ever got frustrated because you gave a simple job to your team and wished you’d done it yourself?
Read the latest edition of Business Bitesize and discover how to get your most challenging team member to do a better job than you can.
This month’s 4-page bitesize business breakthrough is about smarter delegation of work and tasks. And not necessarily marketing tasks.
Certainty, confidence and comfort are three things you, your fellow partners and fellow managers need to develop to help ensure you charge correctly for the services you provide.
So how do you and your colleagues consistently, systematically, habitually respond to the predictable question:
“How much does it cost to work with your accountancy firm?”
The number one source of converted leads for accountancy firms, according to the 109 firms contributing to our recent Marketing Audit Report, is referrals from clients.
In fact the survey suggests client referrals are 100% more effective at generating converted leads than any other form of marketing.
So the biggest question you can ask all the managers and partners in your firm is:
“Are we doing enough to maximise the number of client referrals we get?”
Are you in favour of showing prices on your website or do you think it should be left till later when you’ve met a prospect?
There’s some big, challenging questions around this issue for your accountancy firm.
If you go hunting for a solicitor or an estate agent or an architect or a private doctor do you expect to see prices on their website. Would it be a refreshing change if they did?
Would such pricing transparency prompt you to take them more or less seriously?
Goal setting is generally accepted as good practice in sport.
Goal setting is also accepted as good practice in business too – especially in sales.
So what’s your accountancy firm’s lead generation goal for 2014? How many prospects do you want to meet with in 2014? What about your lead conversion goal?
And are you on target for quarter 1 (January to March)?
However, the question I really want you to answer is:
Is your lead generation goal ambitious enough?
How does your accountancy firm stack up against the 109 firms who completed the Marketing Audit For Accountants survey
Here’s your chance to compare your firm’s lead generation performance with the results from 109 accountancy firms sharing their marketing statistics.
What’s fantastic, we think, is these 109 firms generously shared their numbers across 26 different questions. Every question designed to extract what works at generating converted leads for accountancy practices like yours. The report seeks out the links between questions, reaches some valuable conclusions and makes recommendations based on the results.
Is it possible email marketing is dying?
McKinsey’s iConsumer survey reported a 20% decline in email usage between 2008-2012, as the medium surrendered ground to social networks, IM, and mobile messaging apps.
However email continues to account for a far greater share of acquired customers than social media – nearly 40x that of Facebook and Twitter combined. The article below puts a very strong case for not ignoring email marketing.
Yesterday I was with a sole practitioner, his fees had been flat-lining for 3 years at about £360,000. He then improved a few little things…
…and grew to £396,000 and then grew to £434,000.
Then he hired a couple of really good people and billed £545,000.
Now your firm is on the other side of the tax return deadline you can breathe again and look at what 2014 holds for you and your accountancy firm.
Thing is, you’ve probably missed a huge marketing opportunity for your firm. An opportunity you can capitalise on next year if you do something about it now.
In my view the best marketing book for accountancy firms that I read is well worth you reading, Contagious by Jonah Berger.
It’s an awesome book on word-of-mouth marketing because it connects with the most powerful aspect of marketing accountancy firm – referrals.
Cross-selling additional services is notoriously difficult for accountancy practices, could this help?
Only this week I was discussing the cross-selling results with a highly successful sole-practitioner. He was complaining how difficult it has been to get consistent cross-selling results.
Is this the cross-selling skills of the customer facing team, the lack of value in the services offered, the lack of focus on cross-selling or some other fatal flaw? Chances are it’s a blend but I’d value your thoughts.
Our recent marketing audit of 102 firms’ marketing activity showed direct mail to be one of the two worst sources of converted leads.
You’d think, therefore, you should never use direct mail? Thing is you might just be wrong.
Clearly it’s worth looking into given the success, the dominance and now the longevity of the Amazon story.
‘The Everything Store’, which traces Amazon’s rise, was named Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year for 2013. Partly, in the words of one judge, because of its management lessons.
It’s disappointing, disheartening and discouraging when you get a warm prospect for your firm and they don’t buy. Even more so when you know your firm’s accountancy services are right for them!
When you ask prospective customers smarter questions in a smarter way you improve your sales results.
According to Seth Godin it can be.
So should we be challenging the fixation the accountancy profession seems to have with social media?
I believe so.
There’s a valuable distinction between ‘real relationships’ and ‘fake relationships’. One is valuable to both parties (you and your clients) the other is not. Real relationships require more than digital ‘followers’, ‘friends’ and ‘likes’.
With the end of the year hurtling towards you, it’s understandable if your thoughts turn to 2014 and how you make a step forward for your accountancy practice.
Considering big picture issues rarely gets airtime because of more pressing deadlines and problems. Thinking strategically at this time is healthy, despite the looming tax return deadlines. What you could and should be changing in order to improve the profitability and capital value and sustainable success of your firm next year deserves your attention. To help…
In a recent conference discussion with one of the top people at CCH, he suggested an accountancy firm’s practice management process can help win new clients and generate cross-sales too!
He did suggest this would only happen after your practice management process/system delivered on two fundamental issues:
As an accountant you have limited time and limited resources to invest in marketing your firm. So it pays to spend your time, money and effort on marketing that works for your firm.
You want the biggest ROI for your marketing spend don’t you? With the never-ending deluge of social media platforms and apps and messages it would be easy for accountancy firms to dismiss the value of face-to-face conversations.
Could this be the most innovative, capable and stunningly attractive accountancy website on the planet
If you don’t think so then share links to other accountants web sites you think are as good or better (even if it’s yours!!!).
Have look here http://5waysgroup.com.au/
What can you learn from their site you’d like to apply to yours? What strikes you as the best bit about this site?
See what you need to do to grow your firm’s fees and profits
Compare your firm’s marketing performance with other accountancy firms
You may have already completed our free marketing audit survey, if this is the case thank you! We really appreciate the time that you have taken to fill in our survey.
You are in complete control of the care you personally deliver to your clients over the phone, face-to-face and in your letters and emails.
You have less control over your people.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could achieve more sales for the same marketing time, same marketing effort and same marketing spend?
Increase the sales revenues from your existing marketing and your accountancy firm grows without it costing you a penny more!
At Remarkable Practice we’re currently testing blanket email marketing to a freezing cold list we’ve bought (with email permission included).
We realise this is a long shot (you might call it a lottery ticket) but we have a theory we’re testing. The theory is if we send out a series of high-value and relevant communications we’ll get a more positive response. Unsubscribe rates will be lower and we’ll build credibility with the list.
The best testimonials do not talk about what you and your accountancy firm did for a business.
The best testimonials talk about the value your firm delivered. Or rather the value your client received because they worked with you.
The most profitable firm I work with (£360,000+ per partner profits) focuses on one niche.
The fastest growing firm I work with (expecting £250,000+ in new fees this year – 25% of fee growth) focuses on one niche.
This four-page report on ‘proof’ has been written for business owners who want more sales, it is aimed squarely at accountancy firms too.
Here’s why this report is relevant to accountancy firms:
I’m always surprised about how little accountancy firms use proof to build their credibility and trustworthiness with prospects and introducers.
Let’s be more accurate here…
One firm we work with has categorically stated they never want to interrupt a prospect with their marketing.
They have challenged us to help them develop a permission based marketing only approach to new-business.
We’ve just been finishing off a 4-page Business Bitesize report on the power of proof.
It’s as relevant to accountants as it is to your business owner clients.
If prospective clients doubt your firm and your abilities, they are unlikely to use you as their accountant.
Make the marketing message about your accountancy firm complicated and you won’t win more clients!
Make the marketing message about your accountancy firm complicated and you won’t win more clients!
The article below, about your marketing message, is a powerful one. It shows us how important delivering a simple, coherent, easy-to-understand marketing message really is.
However if your simple message is the same as every other accountant you’re also lost. If it’s the same or similar it won’t cut through the clutter every business owner faces on an hourly/daily basis.
Simple is good. Simple and Profound is better.
Marketing your accountancy firm requires change just to keep up with the speed of change in today’s business world – but change is tough!
However, Jerry Sternin clearly proves change is possible anywhere, including your business!
What Jerry achieved with Save The …
Carolyn Everson is one of the worlds most influential social media people – she’s head of global marketing at Facebook.
Your accountancy firm’s customer experience determines your firm’s profits, capital value and growth
Yet again a meeting with the partners of an accountancy firm prove the power of good process – in this case good meeting habits.