How can new clients discover your accounting services when the world has become so cluttered with marketing messages? As an accountant, you are working in a very competitive field, so you might think it’s too difficult to be noticed amongst all the noise. Or you might have been spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages advertising that has provided a poor return on investment.
One of the most powerful tools you can use to promote your services is word-of-mouth marketing. Here’s why word-of-mouth works and how it can give you a competitive edge.
What the research tells you
According to Australian-first research commissioned by Australia’s leading word-of-mouth marketing company ‘Soup’, on average each person in Australia has 67.8 branded conversations each week.
This research demonstrates just how powerful people can be as a way to raise your profile and promote your services when they have conversations with their friends and colleagues about the products they love. It’s these conversations that spread the word about what you do well and generate new leads for your business.
Thanks to social networking tools, you now have an enhanced ability to generate word-of-mouth marketing about your products and services – a form of marketing that can give you a sound return on your investment.
Identify what makes you special
For your word-of-mouth marketing to be successful, you must offer a product or service that captures a person’s imagination and excites them so they will want to talk about it. Take the time to define what makes you stand out from your competitors, or create a special offer that will cause a ‘buzz’ and get people talking. And don’t just talk about how good your products or services are, ensure you can back up your claims with evidence that quantifies your competitive edge.
Raise your profile
You want your company to be ‘top of mind’ so people will talk about you and refer you to potential new clients. Through a range of online and print channels, your aim is to be in as many places as possible. Ensure you take advantage of the many social networking opportunities that exist to raise your profile. For example, you could set up a Facebook page and encourage your customers to click the “Like” button on it. Then post specials and discounts for your existing customers and extend that offer to their contacts.
You could also join a Facebook group for small business or a business network in your area that meets on a regular basis. Many business networks only allow one provider from each business category which means that you can be the only accountant in the group, and that means you lock your competition out, and can become the “go to” person for members in the group with accounting or tax-related issues.
Consider partnering up with non-competing businesses to work together and promote each others’ services. As an accountant, you could partner with an insurance broker and a legal firm and hold an information session for loyal customers of each of these businesses to update them on changes to tax laws, while also promoting insurance and legal services they may also value. This kind of cross-promotion can benefit all three businesses involved.
Reward customer loyalty
Use cross-promotion to reward your customers’ loyalty by providing a voucher or special offer from another company. This creates goodwill with your client by offering them something they may value, and provides new leads for those businesses you choose to partner with.
Introduce refer-a-friend incentives
Offer your loyal customers incentives to refer their friends to your business. For example, your accounting business could provide a free consultation for existing customers who refer new business to you or even give them a gift to say ‘thank you’.