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9 online strategies to attract accounting clients

Summary

Looking to build out your client base? Ryan Lazanis built a firm from scratch and sold it in five years. Here are some of his top digital marketing tactics.


If you’re looking to grow your accounting firm by expanding your marketing efforts, I’ve pulled together nine of the best tactics you can use right now. They’ll help you attract a brand new audience and get noticed. And they’re exactly what I used to grow my cloud accounting firm exponentially from day one. 

 

Let’s take a look:

 

1) Email Marketing

Most marketers agree with the following: “The money is in the list.” And, I have to say that I 100% believe it, because my newsletter has really served as my #1 tool to help remain top of mind among my target audience. The beautiful thing about this strategy is that it’s easy and cheap. Here’s a few secrets that I learned along the way:

 

Deliver value: If you’re using your newsletter to just talk about your firm, it will fail. Instead, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal clients and think about what they want to hear about. Essentially, they’ll only read (and open) your firm’s newsletter if you’re delivering valuable information to their inbox. If you can get them to open your emails and enjoy the content, you’re ahead of the game.

 

Stick with a consistent theme (and schedule): Consistency is key with newsletters and email marketing. Your readers will want to know what to expect from a theme and scheduling standpoint. 

 

For example, my newsletter, the theme is a weekly top 5 that’s sent to thousands of firm leaders looking to design a modern, scalable firm. Every week I review hundreds of articles and pick the five best ones that I feel will best help my audience to design a modern, scalable firm, while adding my own personal comments.

 

I’m a big fan of a weekly newsletter (same time, same day each week) when it comes to scheduling your email marketing. I find it’s the perfect balance. More than that and it becomes annoying and less than that, people forget about you. Simplicity for the win.

 

Here’s a glimpse of what my weekly newsletter looks like:

 

 

As you can see, there’s no formatting, images, or anything else. It’s a plain email that looks like it’s written from me to you. That’s the key with any kind of content marketing. You want to create a connection with the reader. So, skip the formatting and keep it simple!

2) Blogging

I’m a huge fan of blogging to attract business. In fact, I’ve built two businesses almost entirely off the back of blogging. That’s because I’ve been able to drive traffic to my blog posts for topics people are searching for — all through the help of my good friend, Google. So people find my articles there, click through, and then I can convert a portion of that traffic into leads through a simple mechanism.

 

Example: If you want to find out how to complete the PPP forgiveness application form in the US, you might type into Google, “PPP forgiveness application form”, which then brings up this result from Bench, an online bookkeeping business:

 

 

Clicking on the link then brings up their article:

 

 

Circled in red above is a Call-to-Action (CTA) asking the reader to take some kind of action.

 

Most of the readers will disregard this call to action, though a percentage of them will click through to see how Bench can help them with their books.

 

The more traffic you can drive to your site using these tactics, the more leads you can pick up.

If you’re curious to read more about this strategy (among others), you might want to check this article.

 

3) Start a Podcast

With podcasting so hot, it’s amazing that more firms aren’t engaging in this strategy. Not only is it cheap, but it’s also pretty easy to get going with.

 

If you want a great example of a firm doing an excellent job here, check out Kruze Consulting’s Founders & Friends Podcast where they interview people in their target market. This is also a great way to build connections with those that you’re trying to do business with.

 

If you want some more inspiration, you can check out my 21-Must Listen Accounting Podcasts.

 

4) Social Media Marketing

Each social media platform tends to cater better to certain markets, so be sure you know where your ideal clients hang out before developing a social media strategy: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Once you pick the platforms you’ll be going after, you’ll want to make sure that anything you post is helpful and valuable to your audience.

 

By sharing helpful information, you’ll get shares, likes, and comments that can get you a ton of exposure if done right. For example, here’s part of a post I wrote about millennials in accounting firms that has, so far, received more than 22,000 views:

 

 

With this kind of engagement, I was able to get this post trending for popular hashtags.

One of those hashtags has more than 4,000,000 followers — which means I received a ton of exposure:

 

5) Consider Paid Ads

Ads on Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn are one of the first things I hear about when firms want to start marketing themselves online. The benefit with paid ads is that you can flip on the switch and see traffic grow on your website. The problem is that it’s always not the traffic you want. Plus, it can be expensive, and if you don’t have an established sales process, you might just burn through those leads.

 

If you have a well-defined market and a tight sales process, you may want to consider paid ads.

Without these two elements in place however, you’ll likely want to skip over this.

 

6) Develop Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are incentives that your firm would offer to potential clients in exchange for their contact information, usually an email address. You may also hear them referred to as lead generation.

 

An example of a lead magnet could be an eBook like the one below from Avalon Accounting about selecting an accountant:

 

 

Your lead is asked to fill out the form by providing their contact information where you can send their downloadable guide or book. And, once that email address is provided, your firm can nurture this contact into a customer through email marketing — including the newsletter strategy mentioned above.

 

7) Run Webinars with Partners

If you want a trick when it comes to growing your audience through webinars, try to find someone to partner with who already has an audience among your desired target market.

 

For example, if your firm has a medical practice niche, perhaps you can approach the local medical association, which may already be offering webinars, and pitch an idea for a program that you think would be helpful for their members. If they agree, your expertise could be exposed to a huge number of ideal clients just from one simple webinar.

 

8) Live Video Q&As

This is a strategy that I discovered during COVID-19, and it has worked really well for firms as well. All you need to do is get on a live video stream and answer your audience’s questions in real-time.

 

For instance, this year, there has been a ton of confusion about the various government programs. Some firms were rounding up clients and prospects into a live video stream to answer their questions in order to develop relationships. Here’s an example of one that I did, and what it looked like:

 

9) Start a YouTube Channel

If you’re more of a video person, why not start a Youtube channel? Some have done really well here.

 

Hector Garcia, CPA for instance, shares all kinds of information on how to use QuickBooks. And check this out: He has more 93,000 subscribers on his channel:

 

 

Every time he releases a video, those 93,000 subscribers can get notified. That is just incredible.

 

Where should you start?

Two words of advice:

 

  1. Don’t try to do it all at once. Pick one or two. Get comfortable with them. Once you start seeing results, move to some of the others.
  2. Know your target market exceptionally well first. The key is to deliver valuable information that will ease their pain points. This is the real secret to winning over clients with online strategies.

 

Good luck!

 

Ryan Lazanis CPA, is the founder of Future Firm, which teaches accountants about the practice management, marketing, and technology they need to run modern, automated, digital-age firms.

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