Skip to content
20 Organic Marketing Tips for CPA firms
Lucas HamonMar 2, 2016 8:30:00 AM10 min read

20 Organic Marketing Tips for CPA firms

Gluten free, low carb, organic marketing will help you build a powerful pipeline of opportunities for your CPA firm

A new year is upon us, and with it, another 3/15... another 4/15... and another ghost town come summer. It's the cycle, and we've all come to expect it, just like the fact that every year between the 3 and 4 fifteens, my CPA clients and prospects get a little stir crazy, and start having little panic attacks as you think about the summer and trying not to wipe out all of your profits before year-end.

So, what, exactly, are you doing to break this vicious cycle? Are you accepting your fate and the heart palpitations it brings, or are you ready to jump into this internet thing and control your own destiny year-round?

The Rub:

The bad thing about marketing, historically speaking, is that you are required to take a pretty extraordinary leap of faith when it comes to calculating your ROI, and for accountants and those who prefer to base decisions on logic and objectivity, that can be difficult or impossible to accept.

Well, that's okay, because what I'm about to share with you doesn't actually require embracing a theory, but rather, cold, hard, quantifiable evidence... evidence that helps you understand your ROI and helps folks like me make marketing decisions that improve your results.

If you follow these steps, and execute them gracefully, you WILL see an impact on your growth trajectory. How do I know? Well... it has been scientifically proven for one.

1. Develop your target personas

Persona development is about as important to marketing success as is adding and subtracting is tax and auditing. In other words, you should start here.

This is a great exercise though, and although it may feel like you have them pinned, there are often little nuggets of information in there that prove to be much more valuable once you frame it in such a manner that we use the data to identify opportunities for generating leads and customers.

Why is it important? Because everything your marketers develop will be based on their understanding of who is making the decision to hire your firm. Even if you're the one executing the program, you're going to find that when you narrow in on an individual instead of any passer-by who happens to be looking in your window, your readers are going to be that much more engaged and THAT much more relevant to your firm's capabilities and strengths.

Start with your most important one, then add two or three after that. (get the buyer persona template by Orange Pegs Media)

2. Discover your 800 lb gorilla

Do you know what makes you different from your competition? Is it knowledge of a specialized credit or a personal connection with certain industries or business sizes? Do you know why your clients keep coming back to you every year?

Knowing what makes you different will make all of the difference in the world.

On a personal note, I recently updated MY agency's persona for attracting and retaining talent. Marketing isn't just about finding customers, after all, as it also impacts how your employees view working for you.

The changes to my employee personas came about after hearing my teams, which consist of project leads, content creators, and coordinators, tell me what a differentiator our training programs were, and how excited it made them feel to be working for Orange Pegs. Mind you, when I put these programs into place, I wasn't thinking about happy workers... I was thinking about quality and effective marketing delivery for our clients.

Talk about two birds and one stone.

Now we have an 800 lb gorilla to share with the world that will help us attract and retain talent, make our clients happier, and probably even entice new prospects!

I guess that makes three birds...

3. Get niche

After you define your personas, look at what they have in common, and that can then become your marketing niche. Do you find that most are high-tech manufacturers? Or, are they high-tech, but not necessarily all manufacturers? Don't be afraid to get specific when you publish copy... whether it be on-page or in blogs, newsletters, etc.

The more specific you are, the more specific your web traffic will be.

4. Develop attainable & meaningful goals

Start your marketing off on the right foot by shooting for marketing objectives that mean something and that are within reach.

I'm talking about revenue and all of the steps your new clients will take as they discover your firm and learn about why they need you.

5. Update your website to do this

Updating your website to be more aesthetically pleasing by itself is not enough. It needs to be properly wired, so it can do more than attract visitors, and actually qualify and capture leads with potential to turn into customers.

Most businesses that go about doing this deploy a marketing methodology called inbound, wherein we attract visitors, convert them into leads through content downloads, and nurture them through the buyer's journey with helpful email marketing. It is ENTIRELY possible to automate all of this, by the way.

6. Attract people with SEO

This is a big deal. Having your site wired to capture leads is great, but it's all for naught if you have no visitors, so I suggest either hiring a professional SEO service provider (like Orange Pegs), or hiring somebody with serious SEO chops to help you get found.

A one-time broad stroke with new "keywords" on your website is a great start, but won't provide long-term growth in traffic or help you keep your messaging fresh for your visitors. SEO is an ongoing commitment because in addition to dealing with the ever-changing demands of Google, your clients are evolving, which means they're searching for answers differently today than they did yesterday.

You can boost your SEO with on-page keywords inserted into helpful text that is informative and keeps people on your website and clicking deep inside. You can also boost it by blogging, getting shares on social media, and earning links from other domains. So, as you can see, while that initial coverage is important, it's only the start, and the rest of the race still has to be run.

7. Blog about this

Educate your visitors by blogging about the pains they're suffering from that your firm fixes. Be creative. Find indirect paths there, not just problems about paying taxes and sitting through painful audits. What else do your buyers have in common? Blog about that.

8. DON'T blog about that

Don't use your blog as a place for announcements, advertisements, or rants about your competition or grievances with your clients. Those are ALL blogging sins that will out you as a salesperson, not somebody who just wants to help.

Another big mistake would be to blog about something that has zero connection with your client base or service offering because you're just going for numbers. I'd also veer away from spending too much time blogging about trending stories. If you want your post to work for you until 2020 and beyond, think "evergreen."

9. Give away something for free

No, you don't need to give them a free audit or tax filing... But you can offer them something of value that they can download from your website in exchange for their contact information.

At Orange Pegs, I give away a ton of free marketing resources that help people understand more about how inbound marketing can help their businesses grow. 

10. Play on Quora

Have you ever been to Quora? It's a great little website where people can ask questions and/or provide answers to other questions. You can even link back to your website if you're linking material that is educational in nature and not a blatant advertisement.

If you have educational content to give away, even better.

11. Get a software subscription or two

The reality is that if you're going to place any amount of investment in marketing, you should do yourself the favor of deploying technologies that will help you execute and learn.

I like to use Hubspot to deliver just about everything... from social media post scheduling to blogging, email marketing, landing pages, website, and SEO. Later, when I look at my programs to see what's working and what isn't, I then have access to incredibly helpful analytics that allow me to make the most informed decision possible for what to do next.

12. Hook up a real CRM & integrate

Are you using a CRM to manage your sales pipe yet? If so, is it DOS-based?

I suggest something cloud-based like Salesforce or Hubspot's free CRM. And since marketing and sales are both working toward the same ultimate goal of more sales, they really ought to be connected.

It will keep your rainmakers organized and focused on the deals that are more likely to close.

13. Get social like this

When I start a new project, I go in with a very basic formula that we deploy, analyze, learn from, and evolve. It's the rule of 10/4/1.

For every 15 posts:

  • 10 are from 3rd parties (blogs, videos, images, etc)
  • 4 are blog posts of your own
  • 1 is an advertisement

14. Don't get social like that

Social media is widely  misapplied and used as another platform for advertisements. But it really should be more social than that. Try not to overload your followers with ads or shares that are popular but completely unrelated.

15. Integrate your rainmaker

I often talk about the significance a rainmaker has to the success of the marketing process, and it's because marketing doesn't close the deal. Rainmakers do. You still need to have direct conversations with your prospects before anybody sends checks your way.

Get them involved in your marketing discussions, so they can help provide valuable insight into your existing sales process.

16. Update your sales process

Okay, so if you're generating leads through your website, it's a good idea to update the sales process. After all, leads coming to you this way are unlike any others you'll have experienced in the past, and therefore, they should be treated unlike the others.

This occurs because they found you naturally, learned about their pain through your diagnosis tools, and are 60% of the way closed before your first call.

That doesn't mean you can cut corners or that they'll be a breeze to close, but it does mean the odds are significantly more favorable that they'll be qualified for your services AND be interested in buying if you can continue delivering the same message as you did through your marketing efforts.

17. Create the perfect hand-off

Knowing when and how to hand off your leads to sales is important. For this, I help my clients with developing lead scoring systems, sales alerts, and other tools that help transition from marketing to sales, and back to marketing again (clients need to be marketed to as well! That's how we increase retention and retainers!)

Having your CRM tied directly to your marketing platform is key. (see #12)

18. Listen

Now that you have your digital marketing engine running, you're attracting organic traffic, and converting some of that traffic into leads and (hopefully) customers... take time to listen to what people are saying. What are your customers saying? What about non-customers?

You can send out surveys, monitor public conversations in social media, read other people's answers in Quora... 

And what about listening to your analytics? Are certain blog topics doing better than others? Are people commenting or sharing them?

19. Learn & pivot

Next, of course, you want to take all of that listening and put it to good use. Don't be afraid to scrap an idea that you thought would work... I've tossed many ebooks and content offers that cluttered the shelves and distracted visitors from seeing the good ones.

20. Get on a schedule

As I mentioned before, this is an ongoing investment, so there will be a lot of rinsing and just as much repeating.

Consistency is key

Interested in learning more about the inbound methodology for CPA firms? Check out this free download by Orange Pegs!

Accounting firms can win bigger with an inbound marketing strategy


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.