Accountants Marketing: 5 Wonderful Ways to Waste the Marketing Budget

By Patrick McLoughlin This week’s blog was supposed to be about something entirely different.  But, a strange conversation with a Marketing Partner a couple of days ago got me thinking. He explained that his marketing wasn’t about attracting new clients or even revenue.  Sadly, he is not alone.  I regularly hear from partners at firms, even those with less than 10 employees, that they are “focusing on the brand” or “increasing awareness.” Unless you have a monumental marketing budget be very careful spending money on building your brand.  It doesn’t win you new business. Here are some other popular ways to blow the “budget”:

1)      Not Focusing on R.O.I. “Return on Investment”

Think of marketing as an investment that must deliver the best possible return, not as a budget to be spent.  Invest in marketing that delivers a clear, measurable return in fee income.

 2)      Measuring your Return on 1st Year Fees not  Lifetime Value

What you can afford to pay, in marketing costs for a client, must be based on the client’s lifetime value to you.  I’ve had proposals turned down because £1 of marketing fees, “only” targets a return of £2.50, in 1st year fees. Assuming the average client stays with you for 6 years, the marketing costs represent less than 7%, of the total fees, that could have been generated!  When you have unrealistic expectations of your marketing investment  the return rarely stacks up.
accountants marketing budgets pic                               If you don't target your ideal clients don't expect to attract them

3)      Neglecting Lead Generation on your Website

Don’t waste money on an online brochure.  Your website’s number one purpose should be to generate you new business.  Look at your website now from the perspective of your ideal client.  What’s in it for them.  They really don’t care about your firm, just what you can do for them. Write and offer valued white papers and helpful guides in return for your prospects email contact details.  Target the guides at issues and problems affecting your ideal clients.  Keep in touch with regular, helpful emails / blogs.  They will build credibility and trust.

4)           Targeting Everyone

The problem with aiming your marketing at everyone (having no clear, ideal client) is that it ends up appealing to no one. It’s harder to differentiate your service offer if its aimed at all businesses.  If you can’t show clear benefits of working with you,the only difference will be the fees.

5)        Not following up on your Prospects

Sales leads are expensive to generate and easy to neglect. It doesn’t matter if they are visitors to your website, that have opted in to receive info, or telephone made sales appointmentsThe same rule applies.  Take a systematic approach to following-up their interest. For interested prospects you’ve met face-to-face, make sure you control the post meeting contact.  Whatever you do, do not send a proposal and “leave it with you to get back to me.” For website generated leads build an email follow-up campaign.  Send them regular, helpful info demonstrating how your expertise can help them. But please don’t telephone your website visitors.  It’s far to early in the conversion process to pick the phone up.  95% of your website visitors are not ‘sales ready’.  Telephone contact is premature and irritating.  Instead, focus on nurturing your leads, with quality content until they are ready to convert to clients.   freewebsiteaudit