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Marketing Strategies for CPA Firms that Don't Suck
Lucas HamonFeb 5, 2015 6:30:00 AM7 min read

Marketing Strategies for CPA Firms that Don't Suck

Does Your Digital Marketing Strategy Bite?

Do you even have a digital strategy, or are we just calling it "marketing?" Maybe it's best to take a few steps back and focus on bigger picture marketing concepts, so you can see what you may or may not be missing in your outreach arsenal.

Here are 8 digital marketing strategies for public accounting that you shouldn't ignore

Word-of-Mouth just got wordier... and mouthier:

The digital revolution has transformed the way we all do business, particularly when it comes to outreach and client relations. But most accounting firms are stuck in the dark ages, relying on archaic forms of communication to attract new customers and retain old ones.

Don't worry - I'm not going to let you drown. I have a life preserver for you, but it comes at a small cost: You MUST let go of the past. Digital communication has empowered consumers to make smarter, more informed buying decisions, and the days of effective broadcast advertising are long gone.

As a disclaimer, I worked in B2B sales for nearly a decade, spending most of my time cold-calling. I worked directly with CPA firms for a number of those years, helping both of us capture and retain high-worth clients. I've seen good, bad, and horribly disfigured marketing techniques, and now I want to share how you can do better.

Here's what you SHOULD be doing:

1. Get Social on Social Media

Social media marketing is important for just about everybody. Create company pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. There are others out there that also fit, but let's start here, because I don't want to overwhelm you.

You don't need to go nuts; just create basic pages with professional photos of your office and staff. The MOST important forum for you to be on is LinkedIn, but don't let that deter you from using the rest.

The second part of this is to GET SOCIAL. This does NOT mean broadcasting advertisements all day. It means developing a tone through curating content, commenting on others', and sprinkling in links that lead to form conversion paths.

2. Create Form Conversion Paths

This is a lot more simple than most people realize, although if you don't have easy access to building ad hoc landing pages without involving your web design firm, it may be more trouble than it's worth. However, read about it anyway, because it's kind of a big deal.

You start with a link that takes your visitors to a landing page, which is not part of your regular website. From there you should have a form and some sort of content offer. Maybe it's a portal to a premium content offer or just a subscription to your blog. Either way, it helps you gather contact information.

3. Content Marketing

This is one of THE hottest marketing tactics for 2015. Create ebooks, white papers, and/or tax planning tools that your visitors can download for the cost of exchanging contact information. (NOTE: we suggest filtering out the ability for people to use free email address domains like gmail to avoid receiving fake leads and spambots)

4. Blog

If you don't know yet why or how we blog with purpose, check out this older article about the subject. The big thing that MUST be mentioned is that you should not use your blog to highlight case studies or talk about your firm. I also suggest staying away from esoteric jargon that only CPAs understand.

Your goals are to look like a thought leader and educate the public without boring your audience or making them feel stupid. I have seen a ton of CPA blogs that put me to sleep in the first few sentences, because they aren't blogging for their readers. They are blogging for themselves.

Choose topics that are relevant, and make them easy to understand by those who don't understand accounting. Think of it this way, if your audience needs to be a certified public accountant to understand the jargon, you're doing it wrong.

5. Execute Using Sophisticated Social Media Management Tools

Managing all of those social media platforms can get exhausting. So, rather than spinning your wheels trying to update each of them multiple times a day, separately from one another, pay for a social media management suite that will short-cut these processes.

There are many out there. I prefer Hootsuite for JUST managing social media and Hubspot for managing it and everything else. They will also provide analytics you can't get through the sites alone.

5. Develop an Email Drip Campaign

When people hand over their email address to you for that free content, they are basically saying, "it's okay to email me - but don't overdo it"

Like social media, it's going to make sense to utilize email marketing management tools in order to efficiently and effectively execute your strategy. You should be able create emails that fall into an automated workflow based on behavioral triggers.

What I mean is... When somebody fills out a form or downloads content, it should trigger a string of email communication spread out over time. Use this opportunity to nurture your new leads, but don't overwhelm them.

Also, make sure it has strong reporting tools. A big favorite for this is Mailchimp. But again, I prefer Hubspot, because it does email and everything else. I recently installed their "Sidekick" program into Chrome, and this alerts me when somebody reads an email (even after the first time) in ADDITION to when one of my contacts is visiting my website (which, of course, I also manage through Hubspot).

6. Redo Your Website

You knew this was coming. Functionality and design are part of the equation. Customer experience is everything else. Did you know that you can create smart content that changes depending on somebody's location? Think about how THAT could serve your firm! Locals love using local firms, and international companies love working with international firms.

More importantly, though, your website should be clear in its communication, easy to navigate, and be filled with links and calls-to-action portals that lead each visitor on their own unique journey in getting to know you. It's also one of your first stops for search engine optimization, or as I like to call it - "search engine marketing."

7. Don't Shy Away from SEO

SEO has as bad rep, but it's not deserved. When Google released Panda, it wiped out many SEO marketing agencies and destroyed their clients rankings overnight. That's when people started complaining and saying that SEO is dead.

But it's only dead to those who have been gaming Google, not playing by the rules. (Learn more )

True SEO is found within the parameters of organic marketing. So, take this AWAY from your IT guys and web designers, and put it in the rightful hands of your marketing crew. YOU can rank for keywords that are going to drive quality traffic to your website. And with everything else you just learned, you'll be able to capture their attention, turn them into qualified leads, and convert them into customers and promoters of your brand.

8. Get Professional Help

No, you don't need to see a shrink (except for right after 4/15 and 10/15), but I do suggest finding somebody to take this off your plate. You should focus on tax returns, audits, and client relations. Let the marketers handle your marketing.

When businesses or individuals finally come to you to do the work after preparing their own tax returns for years, isn't it usually pretty messy?

You can go all-in or just dip in the toes:

I'm dipping in my toes, but my shoes are staying on.

The quickest and likely "easiest" way to test the waters is with social media, since you don't have to technically purchase anything to get started. However, I'll warn you that if you don't have a true marketing strategy behind your posts and content curation, you may very well just be wasting your time.

These are organic marketing tools that build sustainable paths to your growth. You should approach them with professionalism, and only execute at the highest of standards... unless you want to come off differently, of course.

Learn more about these concepts by downloading our free ebooks in the learning center.

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Let's put our heads together and see what we can muster up for your marketing campaign


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.