When CPAs talk about 'marketing' it is usually synonymous with 'new business development.' As a result, the firm's focus is typically on a pipeline of opportuntities and much effort is devoted to converting these leads into new clients. That is critical because every firm needs a continuous flow of new business to be successful. But in the midst of all this, it is equally as important to remember that good marketing can, and should be, directed to existing clients as well. While 'retention rates' do not have the sizzle of 'lead generation rates,' firms that do not maintain loyal clients will not flourish.
In addition, the firm's reputation for attracting new clients is in part based on it's ability to keep long standing, existing clients happy. The word on the street, with business owners and centers of influence, should demonstrate the firm'commitment to its clients and the clients' commitment to the firm. The longer the clients remain, the more services they use, the more referrals they make, and the less likely they are to leave.
The next time you are launching an e-mail campaign, adding content to your website, or hosting a seminar, think about the impact on your current clients first. Draw them into the discussion, listen to their ideas, ask advice, and address their concerns through your marketing initiatives. Existing clients are your best advocates - never forget it!