During tough times, one of the first things many firms do is trim their marketing budget. While marketing is undoubtedly an easier place to cut costs than payroll, it can have long-lasting and even harmful effects.
In fact, according to a study published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, the companies that bounce back strongest after a recession are the ones that don’t cut their marketing spending and, in some cases, actually increase it. Marketing connects your firm’s brand to current and potential clients. It’s your lifeline to growth and without it, you’re out of sight, out of mind.
Some budget cuts may be inevitable, but you don’t need to curtail all of your marketing strategies. Here are a few of my favorite tips for marketing your firm on a shoestring budget.
Invite guest to post on your firm’s blog
Most accounting firm have a blog. If you rely solely on your own team members or outside contractors to provide content, consider opening it up to guest posts.
Why? Allowing guest authors to contribute to your firm’s blog is a marketing strategy with enormous potential. For example, say many of your clients are concerned about security for their cloud accounting accounting data. If you happen to know a vendor that provides cloud accounting solutions, invite them to contribute a guest post. Most solution providers are happy to do it if you agree to include a backlink to their website.
In most cases, the vendor will be happy to participate and will also share the post on their own social media channels or in their newsletters. This extends your blog’s reach, potentially putting you in front of several potential new clients. It’s a win/win.
Leverage social media advertising
Many accounting firms have social media accounts, but few do more than share their own content firm news. Unfortunately, that’s no longer enough. You have to pay to play to reach new clients on social media.
Fortunately, social media advertising is inexpensive and highly effective. For the cost of running one traditional print ad, you can create a narrowly targeted ad for Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram that runs for weeks. It’s a perfect fit for firms that serve niche clients.
Speak at live or virtual events
Speaking at live or virtual events is a great way to market your services. Organizations are always looking for speakers on various financial and business topics, and CPAs have a wealth of expertise. The growth of virtual events brings even greater opportunity because you aren’t limited to speaking in your geographic area.
Send a one-page PDF explaining your expertise and potential topics to organizations in your niche. Once you land a speaking gig, collect questions from the group ahead of time so you can tailor your presentation to their needs.
Take care to not let your presentation become too self-promotional—that can be offputting. Instead, seek to be a resource. Most event organizers will share your contact details at the end of the webinar or in conference materials so potential clients can follow up with you later.
Share testimonials from existing clients
Who knows the value of your services better than your clients? After a good client meeting or successful engagement, ask your client to provide a testimonial and highlight it on your website, newsletters, blogs and social media posts.
Client testimonials might seem insignificant, but one survey from BrightLocal found that 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Marketing isn’t about how much money you spend. It’s about putting time and effort into connecting with clients and demonstrating the value you can provide. With the strategies above, you don’t need to spend a lot to generate new business and remain top-of-mind for your existing clients.
Do you want to fast-track your firm’s success in the areas of marketing and business development?
The Boomer Marketing & Business Development Circle is a peer group of top marketing and business development leaders in the accounting profession who are committed to aligning marketing and business development initiatives with firm strategy. Apply now to get plugged into the Circle and start growing your firm.
As the Marketing Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Heather’s primary focus is on developing the firm’s marketing strategy and brand awareness to help drive business results. She manages and executes marketing and business development initiatives, with daily oversight of the website, social media, and thought leadership content. In addition, as a part of the Business Development team, she provides leadership and strategic planning on marketing and communication practices for the firm.