Your brand is what differentiates you from your competitors and to get ahead from the competition it is essential you put a thought into building your brand. Large accounting companies who are based across continents have dedicated marketing teams and invest heavily in promoting their brand. However, it is the small businesses that have to do it all by themselves and at times in spite of understanding the importance of branding they fail to develop a strong brand due to various reasons.
As an accounting firm you need to market yourself to both your existing and prospective clients. Keeping in mind the accounting profession being more professional means your branding and marketing activity has to be more formal than casual.
Small businesses can follow these steps to market their firm and build a strong brand.
Designing a marketing plan can be a complex task which involves research, strategy and policy planning, economies and investment consideration, and much more.
To begin with look at your company’s current position and what you offer and then compare it with what your competitors are offering. Research about your target audience to make sure the marketing strategy is appealing to them. While creating your marketing plan be aware of your company’s weaknesses and threats by doing a SWOT analysis. Your marketing strategy should allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and draw immediate interest from your target audience.
It is easier to get new business through referrals from your current customers rather than spending hours making those cold calls pitching your services. Word of mouth is the ideal method to increase prospects for small businesses.
The question is, how you encourage your clients to give you referrals without being forceful? Before even thinking of asking for referrals make sure you are doing a good job. Yes, you may be doing all their work correctly but do they find you approachable and overall helpful? When it comes down to it you are more likely to refer friends, or someone that is very helpful than someone who does good work but isn’t personable.
Another tactic is to offer some exciting referral bonus or discounts to clients in appreciation of helping you bring in new business.
Your brand is much more than just your logo and it has to stand out from the rest. Your company logo and name should be easy to understand and should reflect your services which your audience can connect with. Your brand manual should take into account your business plan, objectives, mission and values.
Assure your customers know the face behind your business and do not leave your firm to run by itself. People remember those catchy advertisements, and fancy logos but what they love is familiarity. They want to grow to like and trust their accountant and feel welcomed if they have a question.
For small businesses having a website is significant for marketing and branding activities. In our day and age if the need for an accountant is there the first thing the individual will do is search online. If you don’t have a website you are ruling out the huge chance of that individual finding your business. Your website will help clients understand what services you offer and how they will benefit from using your services.
Make sure you have a well-designed and easy to navigate website to look professional and increase the websites usage and visits.
Social Media is handing you the opportunity to reach MILLIONS of potential clients 24/7 all over the world. Unfortunately not enough accountants are utilizing the tools and resources available to help make their social media marketing a success.
Simply being involved with comments and solving people’s problems will help you gain a following and recognition. You are not just reaching potential clients but you are building relationships with current clients by interacting and helping them with problems they have.
As a small business you have a defined audience and can give valuable customer experience which is difficult for the big players; and your marketing and branding manual will give you something to rally behind. Refer to your plan every quarter to measure success and improve your performance.