As technology continues to evolve and software providers cast a wider net and offer a broader array of subscription services, rumblings that computers will replace humans grow ever louder. But how does all this affect accounting? Is there any risk that Siri, Alexa, and Cortana will form an accounting firm and balance everyone’s books in real time? Probably not.
Even if things aren't that extreme, it’s good to be aware of and reactive to technology and industry changes. Making a point to know what competitors are advertising to your current clients will help you differentiate yourself. It will also help your firm continually prove its worth as an worthy ongoing business investment.
To effectively market your firm and retain clients, you also need to be aware of modern consumer behaviors. Knowing how your clients search for accountants and understanding their decision-making process is essential to your success.
Keep reading to learn how technology and consumer behavior are impacting your business, and what you can do now to ensure a prosperous future.
The good news is, as long as there are books to be balanced, businesses to be run, and taxes to be filed, your services will always be in demand. But how do you reach modern consumers?
Today’s consumer is inundated by nonstop ads.
Eventually, it all just becomes noise. So the real question is, how do you advertise to people who are burnt out on ads? Simple. Make sure you have a rock solid web presence and help them instead of selling to them. Here’s why it works.
Regardless of what consumers are looking for, search engine queries are nearly always the go-to starting point. This is true when a Googler wants DIY instructions on how to tackle an accounting task and when they're seeking a service provider for hire. Publishing well-written educational content for leads in your area is a great way to introduce your company as a helpful resource on a crowded internet.
Once a consumer identifies a problem and confirms that they can exchange money for a solution, they are likely to ask friends and family for referrals. This is especially true when seeking out a service. Positive experience referrals from friends and family generally get ranked higher on the consideration list than options found elsewhere. Asking clients to refer you to their network on a semi-regular basis can help you take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing.
Thanks to online shopping, people have developed a habit of researching, narrowing to two to four options, and comparing their options to make a final decision. This stands true for products and services alike. Being able to explain why you’re better than known competitors is extremely valuable, so make an effort to differentiate yourself. One of the best ways to do this is by creating client case studies and using real data and success stories to help potential clients see your value.
To earn the trust of strangers, it's essential to make sure your firm is well represented on popular review sites and that you have great testimonials on your website. It's equally as important to be responsive to negative reviews. This shows potential clients that your firm pays attention to customer feedback and takes it seriously. When responding, just be sure to keep it respectful, even if the reviewer isn’t fully honest about what happened. The way you react says a lot about how you do business.
Do you like being inundated with a dozen emails from one company? How about getting ten sales calls in a two-day time span? Chances are, the answer is no. Today’s consumer likes to be in control of when and how they talk to a person on the phone. Aggressive tactics, like asking for tons of information up front and beating down the door with limited-time offers are not nearly as effective as they used to be. Be mindful of today's empowered consumer before you start implementing old-school marketing techniques.
So how do you turn the above information into marketing that will help you attract new clients to your accounting firm?
Social media marketing, when done well, can generate qualified leads that convert; especially if your efforts are executed in tandem with well-thought content marketing.
Here are a few techniques you can use:
Hopefully, this post got you thinking about the best way to market your business to today’s savvy consumers and gave you some actionable ideas on how to get started today.