Accountants Marketing: Persuasive Communication

By Patrick McLoughlin

There’s one thing good writers and good salespeople have in common: you don’t notice them.

High achieving salespeople make sure you don’t feel you’re being sold to.  The most successful aren’t pushy.  They’re great listeners, not big talkers but.  When you do decide to buy you feel helped, not harassed.

It’s the same with good writing.  You don’t stop and admire it.  It flows so well that you’re too engrossed in the message or description to notice the technique.

They both focus on understanding and clarity.  What seems so effortless takes years to develop. So when you’re writing copy for your practice simplicity works best.  Yet most accountants’ websites, letters and general communications try to impress with an air of ‘professionalism’ and big words.

Accountants Marketing is no different to any other form of marketing. Follow the 10 simple tips below to be understood and convincing.

1. Try to be yourself, write as you would talk.   We switch off when we hear corporate formality, it places a wall between you and the reader.  It doesn’t work in person and it’s no different in writing.

It’s tempting to ape the corporates, but more effective to speak in the language of your target reader.  Focus on who you want to influence not how you want to be perceived.  Over 2,000 years ago the Roman orator, Cicero said:

“If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.”

2. Go for long copy over short. Nobody invests in something they don’t understand,  explain your offer.  The more informed the reader is, the more likely they are to take notice and take action.

3. Focus on what’s best for the reader.  Use the word ‘ you’ twice, three times as often as ‘we’.  It will help you focus on what’s in it for the reader and distract you from boring the …. off them, by talking about yourself.
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4.  Demonstrate don’t tell: Case studies and testimonials are so much more convincing then unsubstantiated claims. Make the client the hero; talk about what you helped them to achieve.  Be specific about the benefits, lists amounts and timescales.   Bring the clients to life by using their names and photographs.

5.  Keep it simple.  Your sentences should be short and to the point, use bullet points. do you ever find yourself re-reading sentences over and over? It’s usually because there’s too many words packed together.  By the time you get to the end you cant remember the point being made at the beginning!  Make sure every word serves a purpose.

Beware jargon, we use it so often we don’t even notice it.  Focus on who you are writing for and their level of understanding.

6.  Always sleep on your copy. Never send it out on the day it’s written. The fresh light of day brings a new perspective. The number of times I’ve written a “masterpiece” only to to squirm with embarrassment when re-reading it the next day!

Get someone, who knows nothing about the subject matter, to look over it and read it aloud. If they have to repeat sentences, it’s not clear enough.

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7.  Edit, edit, edit. Delete your first few paragraphs, more often than not they will be full of irrelevant fluff – get straight to the point. The same applies for your favourite passage, what pleases you does not always please your reader.

8.  Don’t be predictable. Avoid clichés how often do you read ‘we pride ourselves on..’ or ‘we’re passionate about..’  Phrases so overused they’ve become meaningless, just background noise. Your reader will switch off. Try to be original.

9.   If you really want to write well, immerse yourself in writing.  Like most things in life, the less you know the better you think you are.

Nobody is born a good writer; you have to work at it. Read good writing for inspiration.  Signup to newsletters and tips from the experts.  You could try: Drayton Bird, Jason Lester, Jay Abraham or Seth Godin.  They all have different styles Google them, get on their email lists, see if you like their style.

10. Before you start typing, consider the action you want the reader to take.  Make your Call To Action clear.  Write with the end in mind, don’t let it be an afterthought.  Make sure you present strong reasons for them to to step forward.  Focus on “What’s in it for them.”  And tell them clearly what you want them to do: Call this number – Click this Button etc.

You can find out more about A4G’s accountants telemarketing services by clicking on the link below:

 

Accountancy Marketing