How to Express Your Firm’s ‘Why’ Through Marketingby
“People don’t buy ‘what’ you do; they buy ‘why’ you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” -- Simon Sinek
When I first heard these words my brain nearly exploded with the thought of what impact this statement might do to a passion-stagnant industry like Public Accounting.
My journey in trying to figure how to sell our ‘why’ (and measuring said results) in a very different way that accounting has never seen before through “Conversional Marketing” also began after hearing Sinek speak. Conversational marketing or conversation marketing is a one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle during advertising, learn more about their customers in the midst of conversation and creates a more “human” buying experience that we all naturally enjoy.
Whether you realize it or not, when you stand face-to-face with someone and they ask you what you do for a living, what do the two of you do? You have a ‘conversation’ about what the two of you are passionate about. There’s no hard ‘selling’ going on or gimmicky one-liners trying to convince the other person to work with you if you end up talking about that.
What’s happening is that you are naturally representing your “why” during a simple two-way conversation that leads the other person to feel more comfortable about the “whats” you actually do sell. And therein lies the key to better marketing, have a conversation like a human in every aspect of your business especially during marketing.
When I founded my accounting practice I took a step back and realized that the way we’ve been marketing ourselves as trusted advisors is broken. It’s been a perpetual cycle of hard selling our ‘whats’ (I’m the best tax preparer, bookkeeper, etc.) with no ‘whys’ in sight for the customer.
We’ve become obsessed with tracking and measuring those ‘whats’ in every metric imaginable when it came to the human buying experience: website hits, landing page clicks, email open rates, cold call answers and so on. As a result, the ‘human’ buying experience most companies provide has become cold and impersonal. Not only is it a terrible experience for potential customers, but it’s also bad for business. We need to make business personal again.
5 Best Practices
In general, there are five distinguishing best practices of conversation marketing that you should be aware of and track at all times. By doing this you will revolutionize your clients’ buying experience. Conversional marketing best practices are:
- happening in real-time
- focused on deep human engagement
- built with a feedback loop
First, your marketing needs to happen in real-time. Instead of forcing people to fill out static lead forms on your website and wait for follow-ups (that might never come) or be subjected to reading your hard-impersonal sells pitch through email blasts, focus on engaging people in a genuine, real-time way through chatbots or chat boxes.
Answer their questions first through that chat box on your website or provide ways to submit their business concerns from your email blasts that will connect them to a person immediately. Then, measure the results through a short survey during the conversation as we such as, “how well do you feel that we understand your needs during your conversation with us?”
Second, your marketing needs to be scalable. Before the rise of real-time instant messaging, having conversations was a very hard nut to crack.
Why? Having a one-to-one conversation just doesn’t scale. But with the rise of instant messaging, a single employee has gained the ability to manage multiple, concurrent one-to-one conversations. So, consider rolling out chatbots with very personalized responses to help scale conversations that are happening in real-time at all hours of the day.
Third, your marketing needs to focus on engagement. When you have a conversation the focus shifts from passively collecting contact information to actively engaging people in conversation. Wherever there’s a conversation with a potential customer to be had, you should be having it.
Consider implementing technology that allows the person receiving your email blast to click on a link within the email to have a real-time conversation with someone on your team. By doing this you are giving them the opportunity to start a real-time conversation if they want to. The key here is remembering that whoever gets to the customer first with a focus on deep engagement will almost always win the business.
Fourth, your marketing needs to be personalized. With conversational marketing, every interaction you have with a prospective client has context and should be approached with a personalized touch.
For example, when a prospective client lands on your pricing page, implement tech where you can have a simple welcome message automatically appear (based on their IP address) at the top that says, “Hey, looks like you are from [their location], very cool! While you are checking out our pricing, if you have any questions let us know we’d love to have a conversation about your business passions.” The goal is to grab their attention with your personalized approach and convince them that you’re worth having a conversation with.
Finally, your marketing should have a natural built-in feedback loop. Unfortunately, a lot of accounting firms still take a Mad Men approach to marketing. Crazy enough, they sit in closed rooms, cut off from customers and dream up ideas for how they can attract new prospective clients.
It’s an entirely company-driven process rather than a customer-experience-driven process. With conversation marketing, the customer feedback loop is naturally built in because, with every interaction, you’re giving leads and customers the opportunity to share their thoughts in real-time.
As you’re marketing yourself and trying to figure out ways to promote your trusted advisor practice, consider keeping the heart of conversational marketing in every method of marketing you use. Regardless of the medium, from email blasts to online videos, with conversational marketing you’re not just blasting your messaging outward or forcing people to take an action, you are answering peoples questions, listening to their feedback and then uncovering new ways to help them through a partnership together.
In other words, you’re having an actual conversation that will build a great relationship!