If you run an accounting firm you’ll most probably need a steady stream of new clients each year to keep your business healthy and replace any existing clients who decide to leave. However, with most accounting firm owners busy focusing on the day job of running the business itself, it can leave little time left over to focus on new business activities.
In addition to this, new client acquisition will often involve a cost, either to fund marketing activity and/or additional internal or external resources, such as a specialist agency. The amount of time and money you put into finding new clients will likely depend upon the current client churn rate as well as any plans for the future, such as a desire to expand.
Below we have outlined some basic advice which points accounting firm owners in the right direction and should allow for a better-informed choice about what resources to put behind new business activities.
1) Improve Your Website
Your website is the face of your business. If you want to win (and retain) more clients, you need to make your website as professional, helpful and attractive as possible.
For those with a very limited budget, there are platforms such as WordPress which are free to access and can help you build professional-looking templates, which are device responsive and, search engine friendly. In addition to a professional template, you should make sure pages aren’t too cluttered with confusing or non-relevant information. Additionally, you should add a clear call to action (CTA) on all of your pages, such as ‘book a consultation’ or ‘contact us’.
One way to really make your website stand out is to include positive reviews and testimonials. By reading the positive experiences of your current clients, prospective clients will be encouraged to learn more about your accounting firm. If you include an ‘about us’ section as well, these prospective clients will get to know you a bit more and view you as more trustworthy. Finally make sure the site loads quickly, ideally in under two seconds, as slow loading sites are proven to increase the bounce rate.,
2) Use Software Tools to Improve Your Efficiency
It’s no secret that prospective clients want to work with an accounting firm that completes tasks accurately, efficiently and in a timely manner. So, if you want to win more clients, you need to show potential clients that you adhere to these basic principles. Moreover, potential clients will also be much more likely to work with an accounting firm that can help them automate tasks and increase productivity.
For example, creating a portal that clients can log into and self-serve will not only save you time it is also more efficient and convenient for a client. In addition, being able to partner with a reputable cloud based accounting software provider (s) will mean your clients can access their data 24/7 from any location. The aggregate result of being more efficient is that you will have more time to focus on new business opportunities whilst potential clients will be able to see the benefits of working with you.
3) Focus on Digital Marketing
Boosting your online presence is one of the most important and effective ways to acquire more clients. However, the options on how to do this are vast, so you need to make sure you have a coherent plan on what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. This again will be dictated by your goals and also your budget.
For those who just want to dip their toes in the water, there are low-cost activities you can try such as writing helpful, knowledgeable content on your blog. Done well, this can position your accounting firm as a leading voice in the industry, which will greatly increase your reputation and help you attract more clients (check out this blog for tips)
Another low-cost option is to look at social media and ensure that your firm has a presence on all relevant social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter and in particular LinkedIn). Try to post regularly to maintain engagement and reach new audiences. Posting your articles on social media is a great way to build your business’s identity and reputation.
4) Obtain Referrals
Despite the undeniable influence of marketing, many clients will still prefer to find an accounting firm through recommendations from friends, family members, suppliers or business associates etc. Moreover, you will normally find referrals are easier to “close” as new a client because they have been directly recommended by someone they know and trust.
If you are a good business that delivers an excellent service then you should over time pick up referrals organically. However, you may want to encourage this process by attending networking events, some of which are specifically designed for business referrals such as the BNI.
5) Target High-Value Clients
When it comes to winning more clients for your accounting firm, sometimes quality really is better than quantity. Rather than acquiring a plethora of new clients who don’t bring much monetary value individually, you may instead prefer to focus on winning a few high-value clients who are likely to stick around long-term.
To win these high-value clients, it may help to clearly define your niche and what your firm truly specialises in. Once you do this, you’ll likely have a much better idea of which clients would be the best long-term fit for your accounting firm, and you can then start tailoring your marketing strategy towards these prospects in particular. This guide here has some further great tips on how to win higher-value clients.
As mentioned in the introduction most small business owners prefer working on the day job, rather than marketing and new business. However it’s also true that neglecting these two activities for too long may eventually put your accounting firm in mortal danger, so it’s important to make sure there is a plan in place based on what you want to achieve.
This doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of pounds on more staff, advertising or agency fees as there are several lower-cost activities to help you get started, as outlined above. If these do not yield the volume of new clients you need (or the wrong size client for your business) there is always the option to invest more resources to try and achieve the goals you have set out.
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