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Marketing for accounting firms: individuals vs. small businesses

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

With more than 144.3 million individual taxpayers and 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., the potential market available to tax and accounting firms is massive. However, finding individual and small business clients is more challenging, particularly for those just starting out.

Here are a few ways you can market your firm’s services to individuals and small businesses.

How to market tax and accounting services

Whether selling to individuals or small businesses, you should follow these four marketing best practices that apply to both.

1. Create buyer personas

Buyer personas are detailed representations of your existing or ideal customers. You must understand their backgrounds, interests, pain points, and preferences. Your marketing will be more effective as your messages will resonate better.

2. Strengthen your online presence

People search online for products and services, including accounting services. Make sure that your website is optimized for search engines to rank higher in search results for target keywords. You should also actively engage current and potential clients on social media.

3. Establish your expertise

Constant self-promotion can backfire. A better approach is to build a reputation as an accounting expert. When you provide educational value, you establish credibility and nurture trust. You can do this online through blogs, white papers, webinars, and podcasts, or offline through speaking engagements and networking opportunities.

To stay up to date on industry news and developments, feel free to sign up for our daily tax and accounting newsletter or explore our continuing professional education for CPAs with Checkpoint Learning.

4. Use referrals and reviews

Do not discount the power of word of mouth. Build a referral system that allows or even incentivizes your clients to recommend your accounting firm to others. Ask them for testimonials that you can use for marketing communications and feature positive reviews on your website and social media channels.

No time? We have accounting firm marketing solutions to help you promote your thought leadership to your clients.

Marketing accounting services to individuals vs. small businesses

While marketing strategies for individuals (B2C) and small businesses (B2B) overlap, there are also unique differences.

Marketing to individuals

  • There is no other decision maker but the individual. You can focus on marketing to individuals through your website and social media. Your sales cycle is much faster.
  • Your business relationship is usually transactional. Make it easy for individuals to buy your services by offering packages through a self-service online channel.
  • They make more decisions based on emotions. Individuals often think of accountants when they want to save time and not get stressed over taxes. Appeal to their emotions by showing how you can help them through stories of people like them. You can do this through engaging and even entertaining content.

Marketing to small businesses

  • There are different people influencing purchase decisions. Aside from the business owner, a spouse, partner, or accounting employee could also affect or make the decision. Thus, your sales cycle is longer, usually starting with lead generation.
  • Your business relationship involves more extended contracts. You will need your accounts team to follow up personally to close deals and nurture the relationship long term.
  • They make more decisions based on logic. Give them facts and figures to persuade them. Use case studies, white papers, and other educational content for marketing purposes. They are more likely to hire someone they like and trust.

Turning tax clients into full-service clients

Individuals and small businesses turn to accounting firms during tax season. Beyond that, many opt to do things on their own. However, there are other services that might turn them into full-service clients. You need to educate them on why and how. By highlighting the benefits, they will be more likely to expand their relationship with your tax and accounting firm.

  • Have more accurate financial records. Show how good bookkeeping is critical to their business to give them an accurate picture of their finances.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency. Demonstrate how your accounting services can help them focus on their core competencies. And if you offer payroll services, you can make a case for outsourcing the work to your firm.
  • Prevent audits. Explain how your auditing services can pinpoint discrepancies in their current system. You can also offer your help if they get audited by the IRS.
  • Expand opportunities. Whether they want to get a loan or sell their business, having an accounting firm on their side gives them more credibility.
  • Protect their wealth. For high-net-worth individuals, show how estate planning and creating a living trust can help them direct their wealth and save on taxes.

Marketing to individuals and small businesses involves both traditional and digital approaches. But that is just the start. Offering greater value to your clients with additional accounting services maximizes your business relationships.

If your firm does not provide these services yet, we have tools and customized coaching designed to enhance your firm’s advisory services and strengthen client relationships.

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