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marketing flywheel

How a Marketing Flywheel Can Create Referral Momentum

Mar 18th 2019
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Your services and expertise speak volumes. Yet, you must exert energy to acquire referrals. By transferring some of this energy to delight your clients, you can create momentum where your clients are eager to promote your practice.

Confusion and uncertainty are at an all-time high with TCJA. The opportunity is not to save your client’s time and money. You have an opportunity to engage with your clients, to create a change in their lives for the better. The flywheel method removes the friction points in your client engagement practices to create a circular process where customers feed growth.

HubSpot, the originator of the flywheel method, successfully applied it rehabilitate their growth and, more importantly, to shift their culture from acquisition to client experience.

From a potter’s wheel to sharpening stones to Leonardo di Vinci conceiving one with variable inertia, flywheels have been used since antiquity. Made of metal and rotating on an axis, they are an efficient energy storage system. The amount of energy stored is equivalent to how fast it rotates, the amount of friction and the mass. You can find flywheels in trains, cars and spaceships.

The flywheel method changes your marketing mindset from client acquisition to the customer experience. Instead of fizzling out when a referral is signed, keep the momentum going to engage and delight your client to energize word-of-mouth.

How is a Flywheel a Growth Tool?

The first input is energy. In a referral marketing strategy, you apply energy to attract and acquire clients. This is in the form of attending networking events, asking friends and family, engaging your center of influence, and the awkward ask to your clients.

In the flywheel method, energy is also exerted on delighting your existing clients.

Identify and reduce friction points. Take a hard look at your organization, client touch points, services and communications. Are any of these causing clients to leave, be unhappy, create confusion or not feel special?

Building an accounting firm is all about doing one great thing for your ideal client. Go all in to own it. Start by removing client experience friction points.

The brilliance of a flywheel is you add energy to the most important part of the firm: your clients. With improved engagement comes reduced friction, and your wheel adds mass. A greater mass of happy clients to spread the word. Your flywheel will then produce sustainable growth.


Each stage builds upon the next.

1. Attract

Use your expertise to create content and communications that build a relationship with your ideal client.

2. Engage

As a CPA or bookkeeper, you are a guide. You know their concerns and problems. Stay ahead of their issues by proactively providing solutions and insights so they sleep well at night.

3. Delight

Delighting your clients starts with finding your own true authenticity and crafting a unique client experience. Building a long-term relationship is natural when you create a change in their lives for the better. They will become your promoters.

Mapping Your Flywheel Plan

  1. With your partners and associates, identify your commitments to each stage in the cycle.


  1. Identify the activities you will execute to achieve your commitments. If your firm has a separate personal financial planning department, you can create a second flywheel specific to that department and clientele.

Attract: At Gellerman & Son, we use content marketing to get our flywheel spinning. We invest in free content through our blog, guest posts, tutorials, and newsletters that speak directly to our SALT practice for e-commerce small businesses.

Engage: To reduce friction points, we have learned existing clients prefer receiving text messages over calls and prefer using online scheduling services over phone tag. We stay ahead of their needs by offering notifications and tutorials on the ever-changing state tax landscape.

Delight: We develop deeper relationships with our clients by meeting with our clients at their office, on their schedule. Based on the states our clients sell products, we offer articles and resources to anticipate their needs and concerns to their bottom line.

  1. Measure success with key performance indicators for each stage. By measuring your friction points, you can continue to work at reducing them so your flywheel picks up speed.

Attract: Our content marketing produces qualified leads. We measure the number of leads and conversions.

Engage: Gellerman & Son focuses on client retention and client feedback. We analyze positive and negative feedback from online comments, client surveys, and feedback from seminars.

Delight: We measure our client retention, and we run a survey bi-annually to measure if they are promoters or distractors.

Your activities in your flywheel should be to serve your clients’ needs. Delighting your clients will turn them into promoters, who will then feed your firm with the right prospects.

One way to accomplish this is to be the guide that you are as their accountant or bookkeeper. Share your authentic message and expertise through a newsletter, blog and website full of resources.

By following the steps above, you will transform your marketing culture from referrals to a circular process of where customers feed growth.

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