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Why accountants need to think like marketers during tax season

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Marketing is essential for any business looking to grow and profit, and it can significantly impact your firm’s ability to grow and drive profitability. With so many options, from email to social media, the thought of including marketing in your firm’s growth plan can be intimidating to many firm owners, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

To help firms achieve greater growth and profitability, we will explore five ways accounting professionals can think like a marketer.

1. Know your target audience

Knowing your target audience means understanding who your ideal clients are and what factors make them ideal.

Too often, firms don’t have a clear vision of their ideal client, but this is an important first step in thinking like a marketer. Factors that can make a client ideal include:

• They utilize more than one service.
• They listen and follow through with your advice.
• You understand their industry.
• They refer other clients to you.

The time and energy you spend dealing with less-than-ideal clients is time that can be spent bringing in new, more profitable clients. This will also mean less stress for you and your staff. Take the time to understand what criteria make up your ideal clients and use that profile to expand your client base. This helps you to focus on obtaining the best clients for your practice.

It is also important to consider your competition and whom they are targeting. Are you overlapping too much with competing firms? Is there a way you can further tailor your marketing (i.e., becoming more industry-, demographic-, or geographic-specific)?

2. Express your unique positioning

You know the expertise and value you can provide your clients, but do your clients and prospective clients have a clear understanding? Communication is key. Therefore, it is essential to identify and express your unique value.

When identifying your unique value, think of what you can offer that your competitors cannot provide. For instance, having a specialty or serving a specific niche (i.e., restaurants, manufacturers, etc.) is an ideal way to differentiate from the competition. Or perhaps your firm strives to be proactive vs. reactive in serving clients offering quarterly check-in meetings, etc.

Additional ways to highlight your firm’s value could include:

• Payroll and bookkeeping services: Highlight the time savings you provide.
• Tax planning: Highlight the value-add expertise you provide.
• Consulting: Highlight the importance of planning for the future.

3. Determine the right channels for communicating your value

Now that you’ve identified your expertise and value, one great way to proactively showcase it is via content marketing, such as:

· Blog posts
· Webinars
· Videos
· Podcasts
· Social media
· Infographics

For instance, let’s say there’s a new tax law being proposed. Let clients know you’re aware of it and track the developments. One benefit of content marketing is it enables you to reach multiple clients at once. This one-to-many approach is a significant time saver.

Proactively communicating with clients ensures your firm remains top of mind with clients, and it strengthens your role as a trusted advisor. Your clients will take comfort in knowing that you are keeping pace with legislative developments that may impact their tax liabilities.

When it comes to social media, consider the avenue for sharing content with your target market or clients. Advertising through key target market metrics (i.e., industry, occupation, location) can prove beneficial.

4. Get involved!

Position yourself among your target market by getting more involved. Partnerships, industry groups, and boards or committees can be great channels to market your brand.

Partnerships: Partnering with local businesses, such as investment brokers, legal offices, etc., can be an effective way to generate referrals and drive greater awareness of your brand.

Industry groups: Attending and participating in industry groups and speaking events can be a great way to showcase your expertise. Once word spreads within a particular industry that your firm is the go-to accounting firm for businesses, you will stand out and attract more clients.

Boards and committees: Joining boards and committees can be a great way to network and drive greater awareness of your firm.

5. Test, review, and enhance

Your marketing plan is not a set-it-and-forget-it initiative. Tracking your success and continuing to look for ways to improve is important. How? Consider the following:

• Keep a simple pipeline spreadsheet.
• Track key analytics through digital platforms.
• Analyze the data year-over-year to determine what’s working best
• Combine your marketing analytics with client feedback and consumer trends
• Remember, some things can’t be tracked. Keep it simple and don’t get caught up in the numbers.

Marketing can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be with the right strategy and tools.

This involves uncovering your intended audience and leveraging such marketing tools as professionally written alerts for regulatory updates; alerts drafted for social media; and practitioner-designed, industry-relevant content and tools (templates, checklists, videos, and more), to name a few.

To learn more, check out the webcast “Winning strategies for a more profitable tax season“.

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