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How to Market an Accounting Firm Responsibly
Lucas HamonMay 2, 2017 5:29:39 PM7 min read

How to Market an Accounting Firm Responsibly

It needs to add up

The formula for sales success seems pretty easy to most... Just do more of what's working.... right?

Well, at least that's how most of the folks I talk to think. But what I'm finding with my CPA firms is that there isn't a whole lot that is working anymore.

What's missing from your existing growth plan?

My money is on marketing... I have a feeling that it was too "loosey goosey" for you in the past when it came to reporting ROI, so your investments were less about the long play, and more about what was right in front of you, and supplementing your individual efforts.

I imagine you have fliers, a few white papers, and maybe even a handful of blog posts on your website. However, if I'm looking into my crystal ball, I'm seeing that there is no synergy between any of them; there's certainly no consistency, and you're definitely not receiving closeable leads from your website to pass over to your rainmaker.

But it's time to grow

Let's get to the brass tax. Your industry is stuck in the dark ages. Your websites all look the same. Your playbook for growth is exactly the same as every other CPA firm out there, and every one of you are losing market share to a new brand of tax & audit professionals.

You know which ones I'm talking about... the virtual businesses popping up everywhere, led by former partners and managers of your firm... some of your best rising talent abandoned you during their shit years when they were being groomed for bigger things, and they now work from home, taking on bookkeeping services today, tax and audit services tomorrow.

Millennials aren't interested in your insecurities. And you need them. They're turning 40 soon, and if you're not playing on their terms, you're going to watch this dwindling trend continue. The new blood understands your market, and they're putting themselves where their customers want to find them.

Not to mention, you're going to lose some of the dinosaurs too! Not every old dog has a problem learning new tricks - particularly the successful ones. 

The foundation

Good news, because I'm going to show you how to market an accounting firm responsibly. So responsible, in fact, that there's an actual formula with measurable milestones... something that the loosey goosey stuff was never very good at.

I'm mainly going to be highlighting how to market your accounting firm with the inbound marketing methodology. Check out this simple guide to getting started with inbound for CPA firms if you're interested in learning more about how and why inbound works.

What to look for

There are THREE important factors to consider when trying to determine the best way to market your accounting firm:

  1. Methodology - Are you pushing or pulling? Both have their pros and cons, and you should be aware of them before making any definitive decisions.

    My agency, Orange Pegs Media, is an inbound agency (here's a CPA firm's guide to getting started if you're interested), so I'm going to highlight some of the pros and cons for inbound (click here for comparisons between inbound & outbound):
      1. Success is compounding
      2. Own your marketing
      3. Generate leads 24/7/365
      4. Learn a LOT about your prospects
      5. Formulaic approach
      6. Leads are 60% of the way closed 
      7. No cold calling
      1. Ramp-up period could take a 6 - 12 months
      2. Requires ability to write well
      3. Requires consistency
      4. Costs associated with software
      5. Very diverse skill-set needed
      6. Can feel overwhelming based on how many different tactics are involved

  2. Delivery - Whether inbound or outbound, you need good tools for delivery. If you're considering working with a marketing agency, I suggest you ask about these. By "tools," I'm referring to anything used to organize planning and execution.

    We use Hubspot to deliver, which is nice, because it's an all-in-one, and it removes the need to have any other software for delivery. We use Basecamp 3 to manage tasks, Trello for the creative process, and Google Drive to house everything.

    But the best part is how we organize them. Our templates were built around efficiencies and building GREAT customer experiences. Anybody with a great delivery system should be able to describe it to you, so I suggest asking this important question!
  3. Talent - You obviously need talented marketers to carry out your vision, but I think it takes more than strong writing, project management, or multi-tasking skills to be successful. How do YOU make a responsible decision with regards to the talent that's going to be speaking to the world on your behalf?

    Consider the following:
    1. Industry experience beyond marketing - I am famously quoted by my teams saying, "I'm not a marketer..." because marketing is not my background. I was in b2b sales for ten years, working in staffing and corporate advisory services.

      It turns out, THAT experience is what carries me as a marketer for Orange Pegs. When I write blogs, I'm just telling stories based on my experiences and rolling them into a carefully thought-out inbound marketing strategy. 

      One of my best project leads is actually a local hero in her town thanks to her amazing culinary skills. SHE heads up our barley client's project. She creates recipes (that she feeds her family for dinner), and she's already connected to other chefs and even influencers who want to see her succeed. It's the perfect match!! It also doesn't hurt that she's a talented and capable marketer and strategist.

      Our software clients get software veterans - working in or FOR the industry. Same goes for our staffing clients. And, of course, same goes for our CPA firms.

      Industry knowledge is important, and so is perspective.

    2. US Residents - You can hire writers in India for a tenth of what you'll pay out there. Or you can get ten times the output for the same investment.

      The obvious drawback is the language barrier, but even if you are able to find somebody who understands how to write and speak like Americans, have you thought about the following:
      1. They don't actually know what it's like to work in or for an American business
      2. Little to no recourse for bad delivery
      3. You're feeding the beast that's also impacting your industry

    3. People with actual experience - I find it somewhat amusing how out of touch some businesses can be when it comes to hiring the right talent to carry out this important endeavor.

      The immediate gut reaction from most I encounter is - "let's hire some kid out of college to get us relevant on social media and blogging - they know about that kind of stuff."

      Sound familiar?

      But how does a fresh college grad with no real-world experience write about something they've never experienced - or even come close to experiencing? How, exactly, do you think they're going to represent your firm? Does it scare you that they might put emojis or "lol" out there?

      It should. They might. The thing is, people don't know what they don't know, and for somebody with zero experience to be given such a public-facing role - well, that's just asking for trouble. Not only do you risk embarrassing yourself, but how on earth do they contribute to making a responsible decision? What is their plan, and how does it translate to customers...., exactly?

      I know you're trying to solve the "Millennial Conundrum," but experience still matters. When was the last time you read a GOOD article about "how to be a successful CEO like Steve Jobs" written by somebody with ZERO experience or success for that matter?

Go after meaningful goals - then measure them:

Once you settle on a methodology and the group to carry out your vision, it's important to define your goals, and make sure they lead to the promised land - SALES.

With inbound, we focus on three major metrics:

  1. Website visitors
  2. Leads generated through the website
  3. Customers

To help put definition to YOUR inbound goals, download this Marketing Objectives Calculator.

With the right tools, you'll be able to see how well your marketing investment is paying off without having to accept any crazy formulas or ideas. It's all very straight forward, and that calculator will show you exactly what I mean.


With inbound, you can make your firm relevant to tomorrow's leaders and today's more successful businesses. It's going to take some work, but there aren't very many in your industry making the transition yet, which means the waters are a lot less crowded.

Click HERE for the inbound playbook written just for CPA firms:

Be a hero for your accounting firm by deploying best-in-class organic inbound marketing - Stop your cold calling!


Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.