Now that another tax season is behind you, it’s a good time to focus on growing your firm. Here are seven savvy ways to boost your business.
- Forge unexpected strategic partnerships. Referrals from bookkeepers, attorneys, and financial planners are great, says Jennifer Martin, a business consultant with Zest Business Consulting in San Francisco. But don’t overlook other professionals. “Think: doctors, dentists, life coaches, and yoga teachers,” she says, for example. “These out-of-the-box relationships can prove extremely valuable, especially since most of your competitors won’t even think of approaching them.”
- Offer some free advice. Give presentations on topics like tips for new business owners or how to save on personal taxes. It sets you up as a knowledgeable resource. Martin suggests aiming for one or two presentations a month outside of tax season.
- Get noticed with Google AdWords. Buy a spot in Google searches – but skip the obvious and use keywords your competitors don’t. Instead of “tax returns,” promote your work in service areas that could set you apart, such as “tax audits” or “new business consulting.”
- Target specific industries. If you do a lot of business with certain markets, flaunt it. Martin recommends having a page on your website that’s optimized for keywords related to those industries. Do the same with blog posts. Once you’re well-established in an industry, add testimonials to your website and target some marketing to related professional associations.
- Spread the word online – for free. “Many accountants and CPA s entirely overlook a lot of great do-it-yourself opportunities,” Martin says. This includes Yelp, Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Many websites let you set up a free listing, gather testimonials, and even make coupons, all linked back to your website.
- Ask for referrals and follow up with past clients. Have a system in place to ask for referrals from current clients, and don’t forget to stay in touch with anyone else you’ve worked with in recent years. “I know this seems obvious, but accounting professionals don’t always do it,” Martin says.
- Pick up a free copy of Marketing Mondays. A compilation of Jack LaRue’s Thomson Reuters marketing blog for accounting professionals, this book is packed with smart, creative advice on everything from mastering face-to-face networking to boosting referrals. Download Marketing Mondays.