Marketing your firm’s services can be challenging, especially when you have a small budget. The good news is that marketing doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars.
Here are seven ways you can market your firm with little or no money:
1. Get Creative With Hashtags
Hashtags are everywhere these days: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook. In case you aren’t familiar, hashtags are a word or group of works after the # sign (like #tax or #accountinghumor). Using the # turns the word or words into a searchable link, allowing people to track discussion topics based on those keywords. For example, if you want to see what people were saying about this year’s Boomer Technology Circles Summit, you can search for #BTCSummit2017 or click on a hashtag to see all of the posts that mention the subject in real time.
When you post social media content, use relevant hashtags to describe the content further and extend its reach. And while we recommend you get creative with hashtags, don’t get too creative. You may feel like the hashtag #ourfirmisthegreatestbecauseweloveourclients is accurate, but it’s too long and probably isn’t something your potential clients are likely to search for. Instead, look online for lists of popular hashtags by subject, like this one from RiteTag.
Also, don’t go overboard with hashtags. Using too many seems a little spammy. Posts with dozens of hashtags may get a lot of likes, but many of those users won’t be a fit with your firm. One to three hashtags per post is a good number.
2. Invite Guest Authors to Post on Your Blog
Most firms these days have a blog and rely on staff or outside contractors to write the majority of the posts. However, inviting guest authors to post on your blog is a marketing strategy with enormous potential. Guest posts can enhance your reputation as a trustworthy source, highlight a specialization and give you greater social visibility.
How does it work? Say you know that many of your clients are concerned about the security of their accounting data in the cloud. You also know a vendor that provides cloud solutions to clients or a client who has successfully transitioned to a cloud-based accounting program.
You can invite the vendor or client to contribute a guest post on your blog with a link back to their own website. Your guest author will probably be happy to share the post on their own social media channels, which will extend your blog’s reach. It’s a win/win.
3. Attend Community Events
Local events, from fundraisers to networking luncheons, outdoor concerts and social mixers are a great way to meet members of your community and introduce them to your business. Do some research before you go and select events that are likely to be attended by the kind of client you’re trying to reach.
Then, just get out there and start getting to know people. Marketing at events takes time and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any accountant can have.
4. Use Social Media Advertising
Many firms have social media accounts, but setting up a free Facebook business page or Twitter account is no longer enough. To reach the kind of clients you want to reach, you need to pay to play. The good news is that social media advertising is cheap and effective.
For the cost of running one traditional ad, you can have a Facebook ad that runs daily for weeks and get it in front of exactly the clients you want. That’s perfect for firms with a tight budget and a niche audience.
With Facebook, you even self-purchase and create an ad. To find out how just follow their walk-through. You can make it even easier by simply paying to boost existing posts by clicking the “boost post” option.
5. Speak at Events
If you have a knack for public speaking, this can be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to promote your services. Companies and organizations all over your city are looking for speakers.
They may offer lunchtime educational sessions or need to train specific departments on your subject matter. They may hold retreats or staff meetings. Reach out to a few businesses or organizations to tell them about your expertise and how you can help them.
Once you’ve landed the speaking engagement, get to know your audience. What do they already know about your topic? How will your presentation help them?
Consider collecting questions from the group in advance so you can tailor your presentation to address their needs. At the event, promote yourself by showing more interest in others than in yourself.
Don’t turn your presentation into one long commercial. Just be a resource to people and make sure you bring business cards so they can find you later.
6. Give Away Intellectual Capital
Much of the value you provide to your clients is your intellectual capital—the thoughts, ideas, and knowledge that may be captured in tangible form in your presentations, blogs, and articles. While you could make this available only to clients who are willing to pay, giving it away illustrates your expertise and ensures that potential clients see you as a leader in the profession.
Some people worry that giving intellectual capital away will devalue that information or provide potential clients with the ability to DIY rather than pay for services. But most professionals who do provide information freely find the opposite to be true.
Giving away often leads to sales. It’s an important way to demonstrate value and earn the trust of prospects who might become clients eventually.
7. Post Reviews From Current Customers
No one is better equipped to narrate your success story than your satisfied clients. A consumer review survey from BrightLocal found that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and 74% of consumers say that a positive review makes them trust a local business more.
How can a firm leverage online reviews? After a particularly good client meeting or once your deliverables have been met with delight by your client, ask them to review you on Facebook or Google. Highlight client testimonials on your website and social media posts.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on marketing to generate new business. Getting potential clients to notice you is an ongoing battle, but pick a new idea every week or two and implement it. Before long, your efforts will pay off.
The original post appeared on the Boomer Bulletin blog.
About Heather Robinson
Heather Robinson is the marketing manager at Boomer Consulting Inc.