By Patrick McLoughlin
How easy would you find it to describe your ideal client? Most Partners I talk to really struggle; and it is not just the smaller firms either.
A couple of years ago I met with the regional business development manager of a Top 10 firm. He was responsible for new business for their London and South East offices. When asked to describe the perfect client he walked out of the meeting room and returned with a part-qualified accountant. He asked her the question, which she naturally struggled to answer.
Effective marketing for accountants focuses on your ideal client.
Why Understanding your Ideal Client is Crucial to your Future
The trouble is if you don’t know what your ideal client looks like, you won’t know where to find them. Yet, if you can find them and bring them onboard, not only will your profit margin grow but you’ll have more fun working with them too.
Let me explain. If you have no ideal client in mind, you will end up working with the good the bad and the ugly. Your focus will be so broad that you will struggle to develop expertise.
If you offer a general, compliance service with no particular expertise, how can you demonstrate value to your clients? What can you do for your clients that your competitors can’t? If you can’t deliver value it comes down to cost, and the lowest fee always wins.
Clients’ perception of value and their general expectations have risen over time.15-years ago, when I first started marketing for accountants, a firm stood out if they offered fixed fees, no charge for telephone conversations and guaranteed completion dates for work. Today it is the minimum standard.
What does your Ideal Client looks like?
Think of those enquires from prospects that interested you the most. Think of the very best prospect meetings you have ever had:
1) They had a specific need that you could help them with.
2) They were happy to pay a premium for the value they knew you could bring.
3) They respected and valued your expertise and experience.
4) They were as interested and excited about working with you as you are about working with them.
You can really get under the skin of your ideal client, by creating them in your head.
Then bring them to life on the page:
Give them a name, and an age.
Where do they work?
How big is the business?
What line of business are they in?
What is their career background.
What motivates them?
What problems and opportunities do they face?
You probably have more than one ideal client in mind. To start with, just focus on a couple.
These pen portraits really help you to focus, communicate and connect better with your ideal clients.
marketing for accountants LinkedIn LinkedIn is the most effective social media for accountants
How to find your Ideal Clients
Once you have a clear picture in your head, and on paper, of the clients you want to work with it’s so much easier to find them.
LinkedIn now has over a million groups. Put yourself in the mind of your ideal clients: which groups would they join. Play around with the LinkedIn groups search tool. Look at the membership statistics for specific groups: how well do they reflect your target profile?
Joining the right groups is only the beginning. Take part in the discussions and try to help by demonstrating your expertise. Write and promote interesting, helpful guides and blogs addressing your ideal client’s issues. Whatever you do, do not try to sell but do start your own discussions.
Inbound Marketing for Accountants
Have a look at your website from your ideal clients’ perspectives. Rewrite it so it appeals directly to them. Use SEO and make sure your keywords focus on your ideal clients. Base all your content around your keywords. My blog this week is targeting ‘marketing for accountants.’ because that’s one of the terms my ideal clients use to find my help on Google.
The clients you want to work with will find you if you focus on them.
Now imagine how much fun you can have with a quality client base. Your work will be more fulfilling and you will earn the income you deserve.