By Sally Glick - We have spent some time pondering what small and mid-size firms can do for developing and sustaining a brand in the business community, with or without a full time marketing professional on board. Whether it is social networking, connecting to the local media, or leveraging the web and other tools, there is much that can be done.
But having a consistent approach that does not "fall through the cracks" when you get busy means having a plan in place. Most firms do not have the time to do much planning, and they jump into implementation.
Instead of trying to build your firm's name in the broader community, why not start the process by focusing just on the business owners who know and trust you - who refer new clients to you - in short, your existing clients! Perhaps you can try stepping back for a moment and think about a few key points regarding your "A" clients, such as:
1. Who are your 20 best clients?
2. What have you done for them this year to help keep them out of danger - or to help them grow and profit?
3. How often have you contacted them with relevant, value-added information that they did not request?
4. How often do you proactively call clients - not in response to their calling you?
5. When did you last invite a client out to lunch and talk about where they see themselves in one year? In five years?
These are painless marketing initiatives because they are targeted at clients you enjoy being with and clients who already believe that you are their trusted advisor. When you work closely with clients, spending more consistent time with them, they will think of you more often.
Did you know that when the Association of Accounting Marketing asked business owners what they want from their CPA, they responded, "To be treated as well now that we are clients as we were when we were prospects." The single most frequent reason given for clients leaving a firm was "not enough attention." Do not let that happen to you!
Any good ideas for excellent client care?
Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.