Content Marketing for Accountants: Steps to Get Started
Today, a majority of clients for accounting firms come through referrals. But if you are charting out a long-term growth strategy for your firm, you need to look beyond this. Unlike most other businesses, client acquisition for accounting firms involves long lead times and developing a relationship based on trust with prospects. Given the nature of client relationships in accounting, traditional forms of advertising might not work. Content marketing, on the other hand, is uniquely suited to the challenges and requirements of accounting firms. It can project your firm as a thought leader and nurture a strong relationship with prospects that can one day convert into clients.
Content marketing is a sustained, prolonged customer acquisition strategy, that might not deliver immediate results. But here’s why your accounting firm still cannot afford to ignore it.
Client acquisition for accounting firms can most often be grouped under three broad categories:
- Customer referrals
- Purchase from other firms
Each of these strategies has innate limitations that can affect the quality of your customer base. While customer referrals are cost-effective and produce qualified leads, they aren’t sustainable in the long run. Your firm can’t depend on existing customers alone, it needs to penetrate new markets and build a diverse client portfolio. Networking can solve this problem but is often too time-intensive and costly for firms to pursue. Valuable billable hours can get lost while networking. Purchasing clients from other firms is too expensive for most accounting firms to rely on and cannot be a long-term strategy.
Content marketing solves these problems, while also producing the best results. It can be used by firms of all sizes and budgets since it involves much lower costs than traditional advertising.
Today, most accounting firms actively seek out new clients, a process which can be long, expensive and might not always deliver results. But imagine if it was the other way around. What if potential customers immediately thought about your firm as soon as they had a need? It might sound too good to be true, but this is the ultimate goal of content marketing. Through optimising your content (such as blogs) for search engines, your firm’s results will show up when potential clients have a query. This will help your accounting firm get greater visibility and reach a wider audience than you would be able to through networking alone. Visibility across geographies is especially important today for accountants with strides in technology facilitating client relationships even if there is no actual face-to-face contact. Because of this, content marketing is the ideal solution for accountants looking for strategies to make their accounting firm future-proof.
Nurture prospective leads
Leads for accounting firms almost never convert immediately. Most firms today spend valuable time nurturing their prospects, either in person or over phone calls. This might be a viable plan in the short-term when the number of leads are still low. However, as your potential client base expands, it will not be possible for you to frequently meet each of them in person. This is particularly true for firms who are looking to acquire clients from beyond their immediate location. In this scenario, content is the most effective method to nurture leads throughout the lead cycle. Creating an in-depth blog, for example, is one of the best ways to engage with leads at the top of the funnel and create awareness of your firm. Email campaigns can push interested leads to convert. They can be personalised for each client and can be automated, requiring minimal effort from you.
Unsurprisingly, accountants go strictly by the numbers. To determine the viability of a strategy, the most important metric for you is the ROI you make from it. Offline forms of customer acquisition often cannot be tracked effectively, making calculating the cost-efficacy of it close to impossible. Content marketing, on the other hand, is completely online. You can calculate exactly how many people are reading your emails, how many views your blogs are getting, who is downloading your content and more. These numbers give you a clear picture of how your content is performing and whether it is delivering results. Since content marketing is a significantly low-investment undertaking, you can be certain that your ROI margin will be comparatively higher.
Getting started with content marketing
If you are venturing into content marketing for the first time, you might be unsure of exactly what it entails.The good part is, you’re already using content for your clients. Every email or message you send to potential clients is a form of lead nurturing through content. But for content to be most effective, you need to make it a systematic, planned strategy.
Here are the top ways accountants can use content marketing.
Blogs are the basis of content marketing. Your blog is a section on your firm’s website where you can write articles related to your services that will attract potential leads to your website. This can involve how-to guides, opinion pieces or even reports that your audience will find interesting. Optimising the content on your blog is crucial as it can increase your discoverability on search engines. You can loop in an SEO expert to help you optimise your blog and write content that will deliver results.
There are numerous websites and forums that your target audience is active on. To create awareness of your firm, you need to be visible to them on these platforms. As an accountant, you should look for websites which provide financial advice, since contributing to them will build your reputation as an expert. Once you identify these websites, you can contact the owners for an opportunity to post a guest blog. Sometimes the owners will specify what you need to write about, but most times, you can choose topics that you have expertise in. Guest blogging is also a great way to create awareness in a very short period since a new blog will take time to attract visitors.
Podcasts and webinars
In Australia, 1 in 4 people between the ages of 16-64 listens to podcasts. This means that a sizeable portion of your potential clients are regularly tuning in. For accounting firms looking to build a strong reputation, podcasts and webinars are excellent ways to accomplish this. They give you the chance to talk about topical issues that demonstrate your expertise in the field. The key to creating successful podcasts and webinars is consistency. Choose a specific time period for uploading new content so your audience can know when to expect a new episode. This will encourage them to subscribe and tune in regularly.
Social media posts
Social media isn’t just a place where you can create new content, it’s also a platform where you can share the various types of content you have already created. For professions like accounting, LinkedIn is the most important platform for you to be active on. Regularly updating your profile will help you start conversations with prospective clients. It will also help reassure them that you are knowledgeable about current trends in accounting and beyond.
Prospects are more likely to believe in your USPs if they come from an external unbiased source. Getting testimonials from your existing clients who are happy with your services is one of the most powerful ways to generate interest in your firm. You can get their testimonial in video or in writing and promote it on your website, blog and LinkedIn profile. This will build the credibility of your firm; a crucial deciding factor for prospects that are considering partnering with your firm.
These strategies are highly effective for firms of all sizes and budgets. Over time, content marketing will help you scale up your firm and generate highly-qualified leads with minimal investment.