In this post, I’ll be outlining strategies your firm can take today for how to get accounting clients and land new business in a rapidly changing world.
I’ll be backing these strategies up with statistics gathered from a recent study titled “The Next Chapter for Small Business: How to Thrive in a Changed World” conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Xero, which surveyed 1,000+ small businesses and 1,000+ consumers around the world in June 2020 to tap into today’s purchasing behaviors.
Let’s take a deeper look at what these strategies are and how you can use them in finding accounting and bookkeeping clients.
Note: This post was sponsored by Xero. Everything discussed is my honest opinion based on personal experience.
The Basics of How to Get Accounting Clients
Before getting into the data and strategies you can use when finding potential clients for your business, it’s important to know that attracting new business involves marketing that centers around two very simple concepts:
1) Understanding Your Target Market
The most critical part of understanding your target niche market is figuring out what their top pain points are and what makes them tick to get your ideal clients. This is why I’m always reading reports like the one I’m referencing in this article to help tap into trends in consumer behavior which then drives my marketing and customer acquisition strategies.
Without a proper understanding of your target market, you’ll be relegated to generic forms of marketing that are largely ineffective. This can lead to missed opportunities and a lack of engagement, ultimately hindering your accounting or bookkeeping firm growth potential.
2) Crafting Messaging Around a Value Proposition that Resonates with Your Target Market
With a clear understanding of your target market, you’re able to put together a value proposition that gives your audience a compelling reason to sign up with your firm. And once you understand what that compelling reason is, you can sprinkle it everywhere on your social media marketing channels.
What we’re trying to do here is stimulate an emotional response that gets prospective clients to connect with your firm and want to do business with you. Including feedback and stories of success from past clients is also important to build trust with the people who might be interested.
Strategies on How to Get Accounting Clients Today
The rest of this article will focus on how you can leverage the above two basic marketing concepts along with the data in this study to help you acquire more business in today’s world.
Engage in Local SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which is the process of optimizing content and/or your website to be more easily found in Google’s search results when people search for relevant keywords.
And while many know about SEO, most don’t know about local SEO, which is essentially the process of optimizing your online presence to land more traffic in Google from local searches.
This is interesting because 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information!
For example, when I search Google for “accounting firm montreal”, I get this:
The firms showing up in the local search results are going to get the first eyeballs and therefore more web traffic.
And on a side note, I’m happy to see Xen Accounting pop up, which is the firm I scaled and sold in 2018 🙂
You can see that local SEO becomes a powerful strategy when you couple the above stat with findings from the study commissioned by Xero where 39% of consumers state their main reason to buy from small business is the contribution to their local community:
And while there is a ton of things you can do to optimize your firm’s local SEO, there’s one very simple strategy that drives most of it:
Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, something 56% of businesses haven’t done.
To do this, just Google your firm’s name and then click on “own this business?” and fill out the business’ profile:
Advertise Your Empathetic Actions
One of the most interesting stats from the study is that 93% of consumers surveyed indicated that they would be more likely to buy more from a business and/or refer more local businesses to a company that demonstrated empathy:
That’s likely because people understand that the world in general is undergoing difficult times. And as such, they want to buy from businesses that are helping others get through it.
Based on this, it might help to advertise some of the things that you’re doing through social media to assist your existing clients during the pandemic. Showcasing your empathetic actions through advertising may be helpful in connecting to more accounting clients.
For instance, leading online accounting firm, LiveCA, plaster this directly on their homepage:
The video does a good job of demonstrating empathy by showing a sense of understanding with businesses going through hard times and what their team is doing to further support their clients.
Adjust Your Productized Service Offerings
The basic gist of a productized service offering is when you take all forms of value that you’re providing to both current and prospective clients and turn it into a “product”, delivered in a systematic, repeatable fashion, usually offered on a subscription basis.
Many modern firms are advertising their productized offerings on their website and a very simple example of a productized offering is something like this:
What I’m suggesting is to consider adding one, some or all of the following services to your advertised plans:
- Cash flow planning services or accounting advisory services
- Government assistance services
- Services that assist with cost-cutting (ex: applying further levels of automation or regular check-ups with an accountant to engage in cost trimming analysis)
I’m suggesting adding these kinds of services because data seems to back up that these are major needs and would solve highly ranked pain points for many small businesses:
- 25% of those surveyed are looking to streamline operations to reduce costs
- 74% are leveraging or planning to leverage government support
- 79% are doing worse than before while 38% are struggling
- The second-highest challenge remains cost management:
Examine your accounting business carefully to find ways you can adjust your service packages. Make sure they match what your clients need as things change, all while keeping their value in mind.
If you believe your target market values any of the services I mentioned above, then you should be blatant about including these services as line items in your plans to broadcast them to your audience. Being blatant works.
Assemble Your Partners for Virtual Events
It is evident that strategic business alliances play a crucial role in enhancing the resilience and growth of small businesses amidst changing circumstances.
The study found that 62% of small businesses have opted to leverage some form of support from partners or communities to help them through what’s taking place in the world. The study also noted that more clients showed an “increased interest in using virtual communities to engage with small businesses”.
This data suggests there’s an opportunity for your firm when it comes to how to get accounting clients today.
If you want an easy strategy, select 2 or 3 of your most favorite referral partners (ex: lawyer, banker, etc) and organize a webinar event with a common theme around helping on some of the challenges I mentioned above (cash flow, cost reduction, customer engagement, government subsidies, etc).
Set a date for the event and each partner invites all their current clients and prospects to increase the audience size.
At the end of the webinar, you can include a very simple yes or no polling question that asks:
“Do you want us to get in touch with you regarding help with anything discussed today?”
If you put on a good, helpful presentation, I guarantee at least some will say yes, making it an effective way for how to get accounting and bookkeeping clients.
A Simple, Proven Email Marketing Tactic
The study noted that the top strategy employed by small businesses to survive and thrive during the pandemic was to increase online marketing efforts.
The study then indicated that 23% of small businesses were using email marketing to deepen customer relationships.
Email marketing is one of my favorite online marketing strategies for a few reasons, mostly because it’s easy, cheap, and doesn’t take you a ton of time to spin up.
Email marketing is one of my favorite online marketing strategies for a few reasons, mostly because it’s easy, cheap, and doesn’t take you a ton of time to spin up. It’s also recommended for local business owners.
Your newsletters are most effective when you’re not overtly pitching anything, however.
In fact, my weekly newsletter is 99% useful content (in my opinion!).
But this is how I end my newsletter each and every time:
Believe it or not, adding a P.S. at the end works.
Week in, week out, I get people responding asking for help.
Week in, week out, I get people responding asking for help on how to find new clients and provide better bookkeeping or accounting services.
You can do the same in your newsletter as well and I bet it will work.
In North America, only 20% of small businesses consulted their accountants to help them make decisions during the pandemic:
One of the reasons for this is because most accounting firms aren’t top of mind with their prospective clients.
A weekly newsletter with a gentle P.S. reminder at the bottom of each one would help you stay top of mind and land more business.
Personalizing content based on individual preferences is also a simple and proven email tactic to enhance open rates, engagement and distinguish your brand from others.
Include Your Values in Your Sales Presentations
A theme throughout the study was that many buyers were looking to develop an emotional connection with the small business they were buying from.
Findings also showed that 41% of US adults buy from companies that align with their values, which is consistent with the stats globally:
Recently, I felt the power of this when a web development agency was presenting me with their offer. One of the first pages of their proposal showed their values, which I immediately connected with.
Buyers aim for emotional connections with small businesses, which can be reinforced by showcasing your values, especially in networking events.
Based on my personal experience and the data in this study, I believe that broadcasting your values during a sales presentation can be an effective strategy to build an emotional connection with your firm and increase the chance of landing more business.
How to Get Accounting Clients is Changing
Hopefully, you found this article on how to get accounting clients in a changing world helpful.
Are there any other accounting practice strategies that you think would be effective based on the world we’re living in today?
Let me know by dropping a comment below!