Whether you’ve been offering accountancy services to individuals and businesses for decades or you’re new to the trade, you’ll know that finding new clients can be a challenge.
In today’s digital-first times, consumers are increasingly taking to software such as Sage and QuickBooks, making it harder for qualified accountants to grow their client base. However, with the right personal branding strategy, it’s still possible to win over new customers and take your business to the next level. Below, we’ve rounded up some top marketing advice…
1. Make social media a priority
Whether you’re part of an accounting practice or you’re freelance, don’t underestimate the value of social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn for building your personal brand and finding new clients. With more than 750 million members around the world, LinkedIn is considered the most trusted social networking platform, whilst 66% of people have found a new business on Twitter. Utilising both platforms will not only help you to maintain a consistent presence and stay in the minds of future leads, but also introduce you to new audiences, allow you get involved in discussions and debates, and flex your expertise. It’s true that building an audience takes time, and posting content may not come naturally to you at first, but it can pay dividends and change the fortunes of your brand with the right strategy.
From Twitter hours, where professionals come together to catch up on a particular industry or subject, to LinkedIn Groups, where you can become an “insider” and answer questions from small business owners, there are lots of ways that you can stand out and spread the word about your services. Focus on providing valuable information and content - reminders on tax deadlines, advice on expenses, changes to legislation - and sprinkle in the occasional promotional post where you outline your services. The 90:10 rule works best in this case.
2. Display your professional accreditations
It doesn’t matter whether you’re targeting local business owners or expat professionals who need advice on transitioning their businesses to a new country - professional accreditations can boost your credibility and build trust with potential leads. There are a number of courses and certifications you can achieve in the United Arab Emirates - from becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Management Accountant to joining the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and earning an International Certificate in Wealth and Investment Management. Although it takes time - and investment - to secure accreditations and memberships, it is a great way to stand out from other firms and demonstrate to your clientele that you mean business. Many accountants earn these such qualifications over time - don’t assume that you need to spend thousands proving your worth in your startup years.
Once you’ve achieved awards or accreditations, make sure they’re proudly displayed on your website and mentioned on your personal LinkedIn profile. Posing for a photograph with your latest diploma or certificate is another great personal branding opportunity, too.
3. Create quality, value-led content
As an expert accountant, you know more than most on how to run a business in the most tax-efficient manner. As we’ve already touched upon, offering your expertise to followers and readers for free is a great way to position yourself as an authority in your niche, and naturally encourage potential clients to step forward. Maintaining a blog on accounting requires time and persistence, but it can drive endless traffic back to your website, and make it easier to find leads. Create rich, informative content on your website and add a call to action at the bottom of each blog post, sharing your phone number or a special introductory offer, like a month of free accounting or a free business review. Interested parties will take you up on it.
With so many accountants competing for the same customers and website traffic, the key is to find a way to stand out. Perhaps you could target a particular demographic like expats, or find a way to create informative guides in a more digestible format, like via YouTube videos? At first, you’ll feel like you’re giving away your knowledge for free, but you’ll soon realise the potential of content marketing. 72% of SMEs say content increases their number of leads.
4. Become a Profezo expert
Professional networks such as Profezo can help you unlock an additional revenue stream and identify new long-term customers. Consumers are increasingly cautious and now turn to trusted sources for professional services such as financial advice and accountancy, so signing up to a platform like ours can put you in front of thousands of new leads. To be listed on our website, you’ll need to be licensed and not tied to any product providers, and we’ll conduct regular checks to ensure you’re properly qualified for the role. From a customer’s perspective, it offers peace of mind and security, and for pros, it helps you build a business. Click here to find out more about Profezo for professionals and sign up for an account today.
5. Piggyback off groups and networks
Back to social media for a minute. There are more than two million LinkedIn Groups and 620 million Facebook Groups, each home to highly-concentrated audiences that you could tap into to grow your business. For example, if you’re offering accountancy services in Dubai, you could join the Dubai Business Group U.A.E. Facebook group which has more than 23,000 members. If you’re consistent and strategic, you can use it to boost your personal brand and find new clients. Remember: focus on offering value before you start promoting.
It’s also possible to take this strategy offline. Attending networking events where you can chat to like-minded entrepreneurs can help introduce you to new contacts, and over time, reward you with referrals and enquiries. The key is to adopt a slow and steady approach - don’t expect to show up to one networking brunch and suddenly find dozens of new clients.
6. Get clients to vouch for you
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of reviews and recommendations for your business. According to one study, 93% of people say online reviews impact their buying decisions, and 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Speak to your current clients and ask them whether they’ll leave you a testimonial on your Google My Business profile - the more five-star reviews you achieve, the more attractive you’ll become to potential clients. According to the IMC Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center, displaying reviews on your company website can increase conversions by up to 270%!
Another way to utilise your current client base to grow your business is to introduce a refer a friend scheme. Offer clients a month of free accountancy services for every new customer they introduce you to, and you’ll soon build your business organically, letting your customers do the work for you. It’s a great way to incentivise the word-of-mouth marketing model.
Do you have any other marketing strategies for accountants? Let us know on LinkedIn check back to the blog soon for more tips and tricks on taking your business to the next level.