Accounting: Sales & Marketing¹

Accounting: Sales & Marketing

The U.S. Department of Labor anticipates employment in the accounting industry to climb anywhere from 16 percent to 28 percent through the year 2014. With this kind of spike in growth, competition throughout the field will only increase. As a result, clever marketing represents a vital tool for accountants looking to prosper in a crowded field. Of course, many professionals in the industry turn to the old fail-safe techniques -- a sleek brochure, colorful advertisements in a local publication, a 30-second spot on the radio or television. While these are all proven methods, today’s technology opens the doors for more original, farther-reaching marketing strategies.

Drumming up Sales in Cyberspace
A good number of accountants quickly are learning that the Internet reigns supreme when establishing a network of customers beyond the local scene. Certain Web solution companies offer site designs specifically geared toward boosting business for CPA firms. Aside from posting information such as the accountant’s bio and services, the latest Web site packages usually offer a bevy of lead generation perks.

One feature common in Web site plans is the E-mail Marketing System, which provides accounting firms with the capability to send digital newsletters and tax due date reminders.

In some cases, accounting firms post monthly financial tips on their Web sites. This gives potential clients incentive to frequently return to the firm for assistance. Certain Web site plans include a function that automatically e-mails this advice to every registered visitor. These routine follow-ups help to brand the accounting firm’s name, likely making it the first place the recipient heads to if they need money management.

Marketing research groups stress that trust plays a large part in drawing people to an accountant. Web sites allow professionals in the industry to start molding the foundation of that relationship. By setting up Reference Pages that discuss subjects like IRS auditing and how to address tax troubles, CPAs reach the real target market: Those in immediate need of financial guidance.

Engine Optimization represents a viable way to enhance the chances those target clients arrive at one accountant’s site versus the competitors. This technique -- available with most Web design packages -- codes the site with keywords, phrases and meta-tags, leading to higher placement on search result lists. Nonetheless, online marketing is not confined merely to Web sites.

Webinars represent a good way to network to multiple people at once. Accountants often use these virtual meetings to teach prospective business clients about available financial services in relation to tax requirements. The typical Webinar broadcast consists of a Power Point presentation accompanied by a speaker’s voice.

Online IT companies offer various Webinar packages usually for under $1,000 a year. Some plans include unlimited Internet broadcasts to hundreds of viewers, with features like advanced e-mail invitations and reminders, attendee polling and surveys, participant satisfaction lists, real-time Q&A, etc.

In With a Click
During the past two decades, the Internet has become intertwined with people’s daily lives. Instead of riffling through the phonebook in search of services, more and more folks turn to the World Wide Web for help. This has led to an annual growth rate in online advertising of more than 30 percent, according to the industry research group Double Click. Inspired by the record-setting use of the Internet, more accountants are running digital ads on Web sites to promote their practice.

Putting a Face with the Name
When it comes to spreading the word about a practice’s services, some accountants prefer a more personal approach. Seminars allow CPAs to work in an intimate setting, fielding questions face to face with potential clients and gaining their confidence.

A fair share of marketing firms offer logistical planning for such financial sessions. These services usually include invitation creation and distribution, strategic planning, copywriting services for literature, graphic design services for exhibit materials and more. Seminars help accountants teach prospective customers about the importance of good financial tracking. It allows the speaker to enlighten listeners on a subject that intimidates most – fiscal management. In addition, accounting seminars convey the importance of responsible financial tracking.

Outside of setting up appointments and encouraging referrals, CPAs often use seminars to hand deliver promotional advertising products. Whether it’s a company logo displayed on a mouse pad or an accountants contact info on a desktop clock, these products represent effective marketing tools to brand the CPA’s services.