15 easy marketing ideas for small accounting firms
It might cost a few thousand dollars to set up a functional website, but you'll probably recover those costs after a single tax season.
November 23 · 10 min read
Small accounting firms face many business challenges – staying in business at the top of the list.
Innovations in software and artificial intelligence threaten the livelihoods of many small accountancy firms. Some experts state most companies, small business owners, and personal taxpayers won’t require an accountant in the coming years.
Therefore, smaller firms must start building their client base. If you have a loyal client base, they’ll keep returning to you each year for assistance. Building a relationship with your clients helps you grow your business while others are contracting.
The secret to forming great client relationships and finding new prospects lies in the power of executing a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Most accountants try to avoid marketing. It’s understandable – it’s not your field, and you might feel out of your depth. However, there are a few actions you can take to help you market and grow your business, attracting a steady stream of new clients to your firm.
In this post, we’ll unpack 15 easy accounting marketing ideas to help you attract new leads and land potential clients.
#1 Leverage the experience and skills of professionals
If you’re struggling to come up with accounting marketing ideas, speak to a professional. Think about this example for a second. If a plumber needs his taxes done, do they try and do it themselves? No, they go to a CPA for assistance with handling their return.
Trying to do their taxes themselves could land them in hot water if they make an error, or it could minimize their rebate. Relying on your professional accounting service ensures they comply with tax law and optimize their refund.
Therefore, it makes sense to hire professionals to help you with a digital marketing plan. The reality is that the world is moving online. It would help if you had a web presence and an optimized website with an SEO and marketing strategy that drives traffic to your site and a steady flow of new clients to your books.
It might cost a few thousand dollars to set up a functional website, but you’ll probably recover those costs after a single tax season.
#2 Offer a freebie to drive traffic
When setting up your website, your web designers and marketing team will ask you to create a “lead magnet.” A lead magnet is a conversion tool designed to get prospects browsing your site to give you their email list.
Email marketing is all about building your prospect list. If you have no email list, you have no-one to market to, and your business is dead. With a list that continues to grow every day, you have a never-ending stream of leads entering your sales funnels.
A lead magnet consists of a value offer for your potential customers, designed to get them to hit your CTA and give you their email address.
You could offer a free video or e-book on bookkeeping basics, showing people how to complete a tax return or another useful accounting task, like how to set an operations budget.
#3 Sign up for speaking gigs at industry events
Finding innovative accounting marketing ideas is easier than you think. If you have an outgoing personality, why not use your extroversion to draw more clients to your firm? Look around for local industry events, and sign yourself up as a speaker.
Write a short 30-minute presentation on a topic where you have extensive knowledge. Make your presentation entertaining and informative, and design it to capture new leads and referrals at the event.
After finishing your talk, run a quick Q&A session to see what kind of problems your audience is facing – that’s valuable information for your marketing campaign. People will jump at the chance to get the advice of a CPA – at any event.
#4 Reach out to influencers
Every industry has influencers, even accounting. Search for “accounting” on Twitter or Instagram, and it will surprise you at how many accountants are operating on these platforms.
Influencers are people with large followings, preferably over 10,000-people. They don’t have to be accountants. Look for people involved in finance, and reach out to them on a DM.
For instance, you might find a financial advisor and DM them, asking if you can collaborate. Influencers might run a shout out of your firm to their followers for a certain fee.
#5 Take your appointment scheduling online
Many accounting services are moving online. If you’re a small firm, then you need to keep overheads low. Why hire a secretary when you can take your appointment schedule online?
With automated appointment scheduling, you avoid spending time on the phone answering questions when making an appointment with your client.
You save thousands of dollars of secretary salaries, and you get easy access to a dashboard for managing your appointments.
#6 Start an industry podcast
Podcasting is the new talk radio and an alternative to blogging. There are thousands of podcasts online, covering every topic imaginable – including accounting. Starting a podcast is a great brand-building exercise, and it boosts your professional reputation.
Podcasting is a trendy marketing tool, and it can bring you big results if you persist. Statistics show nearly 150-million Americans listened to podcasts in 2019, with that audience expecting to grow in 2020 and 2021, thanks to people spending more time indoors.
Finance podcasts are some of the most popular genres, and it’s a profitable monetization niche on YouTube.
#7 Market on YouTube
If you’re starting a podcast, you may as well go into promoting your business on YouTube and other social media outlets.
YouTube offers you a comprehensive ad manager tool, allowing you to structure ad campaigns tailored to your target audience for a few dollars.
YouTube offers you a method to target people in your area, looking for accounting services. As a result, every time a prospect watches a YouTube video, the platform plays your ad in the beginning before it starts.
#8 Implement a CRM for digital workflows and client management
Implementing CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a great way to track your clients’ lifetime value and manage your content marketing campaigns. A CRM lets you input all the relevant client details, helping you track previous engagements with clients.
Wouldn’t it be handy to review file notes on your clients before they arrive for a meeting? A CRM offers your firm so much functionality when it comes to managing all the new business generated by your website – you’ll be growing at an exponential rate.
Some CRM portals offer you a free trial of the software to see if you like it before purchasing. A CRM revolutionizes the way you handle client data, streamlining your appointments, marketing processes, and client management.
#9 Optimize your site for mobile
According to research, more than 50% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. If someone is viewing your site on a mobile device like their phone, your template design needs mobile compatibility.
Non-compatible templates require the user to scroll around the screen to see what they want. That’s frustrating for mobile users, and they’ll end up bouncing from your site without clicking on any of your CTAs.
It would be best if you maximize every opportunity you have to gain leads for your firm. By implementing mobile-friendly templates, you keep your users on the site.
Google also emphasizes ranking mobile-compatible sites. Therefore, if you want your business to do better with search engine results, you’ll need a mobile-compatible website.
#10 Co-sponsor industry events in your local area
Is there any accounting or financial, or networking events in your local area? Take to Facebook and search for speaking events, seminars, and other places where you can build your brand.
If you have money in your marketing budget, consider sponsoring a local event. You don’t need to blow thousands of dollars on the exercise to make it work for you.
Offering free services or products in exchange for sponsorship can work for many events. Ask your clients if they attend or sponsor any events and get a table next to them. If they get any clients asking for an accountant, they can point at you as their recommended CPA, and you’re right next door.
This strategy gives you instant credibility and social proof. You’ll find it surprising how much business CPA firms pick up using unconventional accounting marketing ideas.
#11 Try LinkedIn for innovative marketing
LinkedIn is the best professional online resource for making industry contacts.
You can use LinkedIn to boost your marketing efforts and build your reputation online. With LinkedIn, you can connect to professionals and companies, building your reputation in the market.
LinkedIn also allows you to post content in blog format, presenting value to the people using the platform. If a prospect wanders across your article and finds value in it, they might check out your profile and decide to hire you.
#12 Host a financial planning seminar
Everyone wants to learn about how to manage their finances successfully. Money makes the world go round, and it’s the reason why we work. Therefore, it’s at the top of everyone’s values list.
Consider hosting a financial planning event or seminar. You could link up with other local firms you find on LinkedIn and ask them to send a speaker to the event.
Team up with financial advisors, wealth management strategists, and business consultants to create a two or three-hour seminar that adds value to your clients and prospects.
To promote your seminar, create an ad on Facebook, and target local prospects with an invitation.
After the workshop, arrange a meet-and-greet to engage with people, pass out your business card, and start building your prospect list. It’s a great strategy for finding new business and making industry contacts.
#13 Partner with a reputable financial advisor
As a fiduciary, it’s your responsibility to act in the best interest of your client. Many wealth management strategists and financial planners are nothing more than glorified salespeople. Partnering with one of them is a great idea to grow your business, but you need to find the right advisor.
Get on Facebook, and search for the top financial advisors in your area. Ask them for a brief interview, and represent yourself as a client looking for their services. Check which advisors are strong with follow-up, and avoid those that have sales language in their presentation.
If you find the right advisor, it adds value to your business. You can send the advisor your clients in full faith, knowing they are offering the best deal possible. The advisor can repay the favor and send you any clients asking for accounting services.
#14 Request testimonials from your clients (and ask for a headshot)
Testimonials are a valuable marketing resource for your business. However, like every other marketing tactic, marketers ruined the impression of testimonials to many prospects viewing any site. There are so many fake reviews going around online that it’s challenging to discern a genuine review from a fake one.
However, it’s worth placing customer testimonials on your site for social proof. To give them more authenticity with your prospects, ask your customers if they would mind if you display a headshot next to their testimonial.
Take it a step further, and ask them if you can leave their LinkedIn profile under the testimonial. This strategy benefits your clients and you. Place a link to their LinkedIn profile next to their headshot. People browsing your site might find their services useful and reach out to them to do business.
#15 Build an online learning portal
CPAs should consider starting an online learning platform as a means to draw in new prospects and clients. By adding an online learning portal to your site, you can drive traffic to your course offers.
Free lessons on managing your finances and basic accounting tips and tricks will help you build an audience.
While they’re on your site, they’re likely to check out your services. Considering they don’t have any accounting experience, they’re likely to hire you to help them out with their accounting needs.
Suppose you eventually build your learning portal into an authority. In that case, you could benefit from a brand-building exercise that takes you to the top of people’s minds when thinking of hiring an accounting service.