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Attract New Clients With a Little Bit of Pixie Dust

Jun 9th 2016
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As bookkeepers, we are experts at helping our clients maintain their books and read financial statements, but marketing for us often does not come easy.

At a recent CPA conference class I attended, attendees were asked how many liked marketing. I was shocked that I was one of a tiny number in a room of 100 who raised their hands. I instantly tried to think of ways in which I could make marketing more fun for bookkeepers. Since I am a Dis-nerd, I decide that by adding a touch of Disney it might just do the trick.

My Dad used to say that if you want to be good at something, look at those who are the best at it and do what they do. When it comes to marketing, no one was better than Walt Disney.

Walt Disney was an American entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, and business mogul with a keen eye for marketing. Disney has continued to be one of the world’s most powerful brands even after Walt’s passing and there is a lot we can learn from this.

Walt Disney was a strong man with lots of opinions that many may not have agreed with. However, regardless of the naysayers he was confident in his own ability. He also had a clear vision for his business when creating the Magic Kingdom. He wanted a place where fairytale dreams come true for children of all ages, a place that families could visit together.

Before you can start marketing your business, you need to analyze your confidence level and determine who your ideal customer is. First, determine how confident you are in yourself. If you are not confident in yourself or your services then how can you expect new clients to be?

Start by making a list of your strengths. It may help if you talk to those around you, including some of your clients, to come up with a well-rounded list. You may be surprised at how others see you. Remember, each of us is unique so use this to your advantage.

Next, determine which products and services you want to offer to clients, as well as services you do not want to offer. What are your current services? Are there some new programs you’ve learned but perhaps have not been mentioning to clients? What type of industries do you prefer to work with?

The above lists will definitely evolve the longer you are in business. I have learned over the years that I prefer service-based businesses using QuickBooks Online and do not want to have anything to do with Inventory or Legal Services.

 I have also added additional services like payroll to my offerings. This has been a great way to get business owners to talk to me initially, and opens up the conversation to all the other services I offer.

To begin with, it’s all about perspective. Standing in Magic Kingdom at the end of Main Street, the turrets on Cinderella’s castle appear to be much higher than 189 feet. According to the book, The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, “imagineers” used a technique called forced perspective to give the castle a towering presence. They built the lower layers of the castle at 80 percent to scale and reduced it to 40 percent to scale as they went up to give the illusion of greater height.

You can do the same in your business by working to get your name a larger online presence. This could include updating your website by adding a blog or by working with a designer to make it look more professional. Or if you are happy with your website, increasing your social media presence will get you noticed. The more professional you look and the more often people see you online the larger your company will appear.

Another strategy is to enter some of the many different contests and awards available to bookkeepers. Just because you are a one man (or woman) show, don’t think that your business doesn’t qualify. Most of the time, if you put in that little extra effort to enter some of these contests the benefits can be huge. Remember, the idea is not to win but just to build a presence.

At the Magic Kingdom, they strive to keep you surprised no matter how many times you have visited. Part of the fun of returning again and again is to discover the changes they have made. Beyond just the magic and fun of visiting and riding the rides, they offer an afternoon parade with a fire-breathing dragon and a firework spectacular that lights up the sky each night. A new addition is “Celebrate the Magic,” a film extravaganza that is broadcast right in front of Cinderella’s castle. They are continually using new technologies to make your experience truly unique.

There may not be a place for fire-breathing dragons to promote your bookkeeping business, but the idea of offering something unexpected can be a way to hold on to your customers. I particularly like to surprise clients with cards and gifts.

I try to make the cards unique so that I stand out from their other vendors. I typically send out Fourth of July and Halloween cards instead of the more typical holiday cards. I also send clients brownies or other treats when they sign up, and then at random times as well. This extra touch of gratitude really makes a difference and clients appreciate being thought of throughout the year.

Some small steps you can take to improve your marketing strategy include analyzing how you are promoting yourself and your services, reviewing your online presence, and doing something unexpected for your clients. These are just some of the ways you can use ideas from Disney’s philosophy to make marketing your bookkeeping business a little more magical.

The original post appeared on the Sleeter Group blog. Cindy Schroeder will be speaking at Accountex 2016 (formerly SleeterCon). AccountingWEB and Accountex have partnered to bring you this content as we share a belief in the furtherment of the profession through greater insights.​

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