How to attract new clients for your accountancy practice
If you’re finding it hard to attract new clients at present, you’re not alone. It’s a current problem faced not just by accountancy practices but by businesses of all types and sizes.
This could be down to a number of factors: the challenges of retaining the talent needed to bring new business on board, a change in buyer behaviour post-COVID, and the desire to bring more business practices and processes in-house as a result of the cost of living crisis.
Accountants are always needed, though – and our ten tips on how to attract new accounting clients could be just what you need to set yourself apart from your competitors.
1. Hone in on your target market
An accountancy practice that adopts a scattergun approach to new business is unlikely to be as successful as one with a clearly defined target market.
What type of business do you tend to attract? What type of business would you like to attract? By focusing on a specific niche you can work towards becoming the leading accounting practice in that field: the practice that clients think of and recommend when your specialised services are needed.
2. Utilise content marketing
Content marketing – creating and sharing online content – can help to position you as an expert in your field, but it needs a solid strategy behind it.
You’ll first need to research what your target market is searching for when looking for information about accountancy online. This will allow you to develop blog posts, landing pages and more that use the keywords and topics for which you want to stand out.
Regular, relevant content will not only improve your Google search rankings – it’ll also help to demonstrate your accountancy practice’s expertise to potential clients, helping them to find you more easily amongst the competition.
3. Check your website
When was the last time you checked the content of your website?
Is it as detailed and user-friendly as it can be?
Do you have a website at all?
The Internet is the starting point for the majority of purchasing decisions – and it’s no different for those looking for an accountancy practice.
Potential clients will want to research accountancy practices fully before they get in touch with the one(s) they potentially want to use. If your competitors have a strong web presence and you don’t, you may well be ignored.
Your website should clearly and concisely set out who you are and what you do, giving easy-to-find links to more information for those who need it. It should be intuitive to use: poor layout and design can easily put people off. Take a look at what your competitors are doing for inspiration – as well as to help you brainstorm how you could do things differently to stand out from the crowd.
4. Ask for reviews and testimonials
According to research, 84% of people trust customer reviews – far higher than the numbers trusting reviews from professional reviewers, brands or industry experts. 68% of the respondents to this survey said they would be likely to make a purchase after reading positive reviews left by other customers.
If you’re wondering how to attract new accounting clients, you can’t forget word of mouth. Consider making it standard practice to reach out to existing clients of your accounting practice for testimonials to use on your website and social media, as well as asking them to leave reviews on Google and Trustpilot.
Providing information about your services and expertise on your website is vital. Backing this information up with praise from real customers, though, gives you an incredible – and free – additional marketing tool.
5. Build an email database
Email marketing might seem “old-school” compared with tools like social media (more on this in our next point), but its effectiveness – when done right – can’t be ignored.
Building up your own email database and keeping it up-to-date means your accountancy practice can send out targeted emails to the right people at the right time, with the right message.
The challenge? Building this email list from scratch.
One great way to encourage both potential and existing clients to sign up for emails from you is to offer something in return. This may be an entry into a prize draw, or it could be a lead magnet: an enticing freebie that they’ll only have access to once they sign up.
This could be a free financial health check-up, a tax preparation checklist, a quiz that gives them a score on their accounting health, or an ebook on a subject that you know will appeal. The exact offering will depend on your target market and your areas of expertise but should be something that is too good for them not to sign up for.
6. Consider social media
To some, social media may not be the most obvious choice of marketing tool for an accounting practice. However, depending on your target audience and your areas of expertise, you could well find success on one or more channels.
Whether you’re posting short and snappy deadline reminders on Twitter, longer thought pieces on LinkedIn or useful infographics on Facebook or Instagram, social media can be a great way to enhance your presence, make your firm appear more personal, and help other social media users to build an affinity with your accountancy practice. It need not be overly time-consuming either: tools like Buffer can help you schedule posts, and it is easy to repurpose existing content for social media.
7. Introduce a referral scheme
We mentioned it early in the context of reviews, and we’ll stress it again: word of mouth is key for any accountancy practices looking to attract new clients. So, why not consider introducing a referral scheme?
Reach out to a few trusted clients to see what sort of incentive they would like to receive for introducing new clients to your accountancy practice. It may be a gift card or even free accountancy services: while there will be a cost involved, it’s likely to be far lower than you’d pay for “traditional” marketing methods and could win you some new long-term business.
8. Head to industry events
The event industry may have slumped during COVID, but it’s still an important tool in your networking armoury. Research events carefully to understand whether they’re likely to be places your target clients will gather: with so many events out there, you’ll want to focus on the ones that are most relevant to your accounting practice.
9. Free up your time with automation
A key consideration when both looking for and servicing new business is time. So, how can you free up more of your time to bring in more clients?
The answer could be automation. Conduct an audit of the tasks that are taking up the most of your time, and establish whether any of them could be lessened – or removed completely – with the use of software or other tools. This will free up your time to focus on growing – and maintaining – your business.
10. Consider forming partnerships
Those in need of an accountancy practice will often also need other professional services. Why not consider working with local, non-competing businesses to help each other with referrals?
These businesses could be anything from recruitment companies to legal firms to technology providers or repair firms. Creating a mini network where you cross-refer non-competing businesses between each other can be an effective – and free – method to attract new accounting clients. View our membership benefits and contact us for more information.
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