The good news for even the smallest firms is that your marketing budget doesn’t need to be huge to have a big impact. Here are five ways to market your services on a small or limited budget:
1. Utilize Hashtags in Social Media Posts
All of the major social media platforms use hashtags: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and even LinkedIn. In case you aren’t familiar with hashtags, they’re a word or group of words after a pound sign (like #taxpro or #accountinghumor). Using the pound sign before the words turns them into a searchable link and allows people to follow a discussion topic.
For example, if you want to see what people said about this year’s Boomer Technology Circles Summit, you can search for #BTCSummit2019 on Twitter or click on a hashtag to see all of the posts that mention the subject in real-time.
When you post on social media, use relevant hashtags to describe the material further, and extend its reach. Feel free to get creative, but try to use hashtags that other people are using. A quick Google search can help you find popular hashtags by subject. For example, searching for “best hashtags for CPA firms” brings up hashtags such as #accountant, #tax, #smallbusiness, #bookkeeping, and #taxseason.
Don’t go overboard with hashtags, as using too many can come across as spammy. The ideal number of hashtags varies by platform. According to Hootsuite, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, just one or two hashtags are ideal, whereas, on Instagram, you can get away with using anywhere from nine to 15 hashtags.
2. Allow Guest Contributors to Your Blog or Newsletters
Most accounting firms have a blog or firm newsletter. If you’ve relied on your staff to provide the majority of content, try inviting guest authors to post on your site.
For example, say many of your clients are concerned about the security of their accounting data in the cloud. If you have a vendor that provides cloud solutions to clients, you can invite the vendor to contribute a guest post on your blog with a link back to their website.
Allowing guest contributors is a marketing strategy with enormous potential. It can enhance your reputation as a subject matter expert, highlight a niche or specialization, and if your guest author shares the post on their own social media channels, it will extend your blog’s reach.
3. Become a Guest Speaker
Accountants with a knack for public speaking can take advantage of a very inexpensive yet powerful method for promoting their services. Companies and organizations all over your city, state and even the country need speakers for lunchtime educational sessions, departmental trainings, staff meetings, retreats and other events. If you know of a few that could benefit from your expertise, reach out to offer your services as a guest speaker.
Once you land a speaking engagement, get to know your audience by collecting questions in advance so you can tailor your presentation to address their needs. At the event, the best way to promote yourself is to show interest in helping others. Be a resource to attendees and pass out business cards so people can get in touch with you later.
4. Share Your Knowledge
Much of the value you offer current and potential clients is your intellectual capital—the thoughts, ideas, and knowledge captured in presentations, blogs and articles. If you currently make this available only to paying clients, consider giving it away. Sharing your knowledge freely demonstrates your expertise and helps to establish you as a thought leader.
You need not worry that giving your intellectual capital away will devalue your knowledge or offer potential clients the ability to DIY rather than pay for your services. Most professionals share their knowledge freely actually find the opposite to be true: giving it away leads to sales.
5. Share Customer Testimonials
Who better to narrate your success story than a satisfied client? Reach out to existing clients for testimonials that you can share on your website, social media channels and marketing materials. We’ve found that the best way to gather meaningful testimonials is to write them yourself! Ask your clients a series of questions, then use their responses to craft an accurate testimonial.
A few questions to consider include:
What led you to seek out our services?
How has working with our firm benefitted you/your business?
Do you have any before and after metrics you can share?
What advice would you give a colleague who is considering engaging our firm?
Once you’ve developed the testimonial, send it to your client for approval. This method will generate much better results than simply asking for a testimonial, which often gets generic, one-sentence responses like, “A&B is a wonderful accounting firm,” or “Great customer service.”
You don’t need to have a big marketing budget to generate new business. Get potential clients to notice you by picking a new idea each month and implementing it. Before long, your efforts will pay off.
The original article appeared in the Boomer Bulletin blog.
I’m the Marketing Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc, a consulting firm that guides accounting firms to increased performance and profitability by providing unique consulting services, peer-led communities and industry-leading intellectual capital. My primary focus is on developing the firm’s marketing strategy and brand awareness to help drive...