Effective marketing is key to the growth of any business. In data-driven sectors such as accounting, it can be challenging to find creative ways to convey a compelling message. The good news, according to Maureen Schwartz, Executive Director of BKR International, is that a savvy marketing campaign doesn’t necessarily require a big budget. Schwartz says the most successful accounting firms give careful consideration to the strategy behind their annual marketing spend. Here are four of the most popular trends in accounting marketing.
Play the SEO Stock Market
Few things are more important than the strength of a company’s online presence when it comes to attracting new clients. The American Institute of CPAs found that 81 percent of prospective buyers performed online research before choosing a professional services partner. Without a solid SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, even the best accounting company risks getting buried in the pile of search results.
So what kind of ROI can an organization expect from SEO? As Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers explains, that’s the wrong question to ask. Like the stock market, DeMers says SEO is a long-term investment. It requires constant fine-tuning, and while some tactics will yield better results than others, the commitment will pay off over time.
Explore a New Kind of Analytics
SEO strategies are important, but so is your ability to measure their results. Accounting professionals are accustomed to analyzing data. Brian Swanson of Flashpoint Marketing suggests that firms use that number-crunching experience to find what works in their marketing plans. Web analytics provide insight into data like which pages on a company’s site are converting successfully, and which web sources are driving the most (and least) traffic. The next generation of accounting professionals can use these metrics as a guide for honing current and future strategies.
Embrace Content as King
Like SEO and analytics, content marketing has been all the rage in recent years. However, the accounting sector has proved a bit slow to make it a priority. Writing for Accounting Today, Sarah Johnson Dobek hypothesizes that top firms “tend to struggle to produce what they want because their key people get sidelined with client work.” Dobek suggests that companies look outside their existing staff for help creating blog, social media, and email content that can help them establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry.
Turn Relationships Into Referrals
Content marketing means less without the personal touch. Relationship development is not a new idea in the world of accounting marketing, but companies are finding new value in leveraging those relationships. Digital marketing expert Phil Rogers recommends that firms formalize their referral strategy to make the most of the intersection between traditional and digital relationship marketing. Tools like social media and email can help engender loyalty among current clients, and drive powerful referrals that help companies connect with new prospects who already think highly of their work.
To stay competitive, accounting organizations need to continually seek out innovative ways to connect with customers. Trend-watchers believe these strategies represent the next wave of creative, effective accounting marketing. By following the lead of some of the industry’s top-performing firms, even a small company can maximize the impact of its marketing investment and see results.