Accountancy Marketing – New Year’s Resolutions

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By Patrick McLoughlin You may wonder why I’m focusing on New Year’s resolutions in February.  Or perhaps, if you are attempting to recover after the January deadline it makes sense to you. Well as in most things in life, timing is key in accountancy marketing and marketing to accountants.  From experience, I know many firms and partners start to think about their marketing, and the year ahead, once January is behind them. Whilst there’s no crystal ball, I haven’t heard too many economic forecasts predicting an improved outlook in 2012.  Of course, the effects of the recession vary enormously in different parts of the UK and Ireland.   Some practices specialising in specific industry sectors have been shielded from the worst, whilst others have been decimated. Over the last 18-months, partners have told me repeatedly that fee income, that had grown reasonably year-on-year without marketing, has started to decline.   So now, for the first time they are getting in touch asking for help.

What to do when the Phone Stops Ringing?

Before you consider targeting potential clients you have to decide the following: 1) Who are your ideal clients?  Don’t try to be all things to all people.    Identify the best clients you have and target your efforts at businesses with a similar profile. 2) What’s so special about your firm’s work?  In what areas are you stronger than your competition? If you can’t differentiate your work from your rivals, don’t expect potential clients to be able to. When there’s no real difference in your service the deciding factor will always be the fee. Do you want to compete in a crowded market where the lowest fee always wins? 3) Work out the lifetime value and profit of your average client. Once you know the revenue and profit of your average client decide how much you are prepare to pay, in marketing costs, for every £1 of first year fees you generate. 4) The most successful and fastest growing firms aren’t those offering the greatest service or the lowest fees.  Their growth comes from effective marketing.

Accountancy marketing learning

Their partners don’t pay lip service to new business they dedicate themselves to it.  Theirfirms are structured in a way that allows them to spend the majority of their time targeting and winning new business.  They are curious and pro-active in learning what works for them. Once you have the basics in place forget marketing, focus on winning new business.  That means lead generation, actually selling your accountancy services.  Don’t blow your budget on pretty brochures or sponsorship. Stick to activity that allows you to forecast and measure your Return on Investment.  Above all, if you are looking for improved results – new business revenue - from your investment in 2012 don’t repeat what you did in 2011.

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