5 items of content marketing that every accountant must use

Two accountants content marketing discussion

For go-ahead accountants content marketing is the way to go.

If you are looking to grow your practice, or if you just want to make sure your current clients are more engaged and understand all the services that you offer, then you need to be producing content.

And there are some bits of content that are absolutely essential for your content marketing.

So here’s my list of the top 5 things you need to be doing to make sure your accountancy firm stays ahead of the game with its marketing.

#1 – Blog posts

You have got a blog haven’t you?

This the absolute number 1 thing you need.

Firstly it shows your clients that you are an up to date, current practice rather than a firm that put a website up just because it was the done thing.

Make sure you are producing useful stuff though, and make sure its relevant to your focused target market.

And if you don’t have the time then pay me to do it.


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#2 – Technical updates

OK so I’m not talking about technical updates in the way that you or I understand them.

What I am talking about is a digest of a technical development but presented in an easy to understand format.

The aim here is to inform your clients about changes like MTD or RTS but in a way that makes is accessible for them.

Essentially you are saying “here’s a problem, here’s how we can solve it for you.”

#3 – Videos

OK so I know you don’t like to see yourself on the screen and you hate the sound of your own voice but 82% of Twitter users for instance consume video content.

But don’t worry. It’s perfectly acceptable to employ an actor to voice or present your videos and they can be surprisingly cheap.

You can also use things like Powtoon to produce an animated video that doesn’t even need to feature you as a talking head.

#4 – Webinars

Remember that you aren’t really selling anything on your site, as a professional what you are looking to do is to increase your credibility in the mind of the client.

Webinars on specific subjects of interest to your clients are a great way to do this.

Look at linking up with other professionals who may have more experience and pool your resources and this can be a very cheap way of driving traffic.

Just make sure you record it so that users can watch it later on.

#5 – Expert reports, white papers or eBooks

One of the first questions that academics get asked when they are looking for a job is “what have you published”.

It’s a way of potential employers understanding how much of an expert the professor or researcher actually is.

So that’s my question for you – “what have you published”?

Producing a meaty piece of content that explores a subject in depth and cements your reputation as a subject matter expert is perfect.

It’s also great for using in an advertising or link building campaign.

Use content marketing for your accountants to grow your firm

Content marketing has a great ROI and done properly it can be long lived and very cost effective.

There are tens, maybe hundreds of types of content marketing that accountants can use but you MUST have these five.

Admittedly this takes time and may need a bit of expert advice and that’s where I come in.

call now or drop me a message and let’s talk about how I can help you boost your practice marketing.

‘I hate accountants’ – common complaints and what you can do about them

A couple of months ago I decided to run a survey.

I wanted to know what people thought about accountants and I have to say I was a little bit shocked (but not massively surprised) by the results.

So I thought I’d write up some of the results in a way that will hopefully help people in practice avoid the sort of mistakes that cause people grief.

They never reply

This was a really interesting response and a common complaint.

Clients were complaining that their practice never got back to them. A simple matter of a lack of communication.

OK so we all get busy and we all have those clients who are a little bit needy but really?

The most surprising aspect of this was a number of complaints from people who said that they were looking for an accountant but their chosen practice never replied to their emails or calls!

Imagine all that time, effort and money spent on marketing and you don’t even respond to leads.

Two solutions here, first have a designated person who always fields calls from existing clients and make it a KPI that they have to be spoken to within x number of hours.

Second, for potential clients, invest some time in setting up a standardised contact procedure so that when someone mails or fills in your contact form they instantly go into a process that will email them back and get more information.

They cost too much

This was another common gripe although interestingly more than one person said that they didn’t really understand the value that was added and so couldn’t say whether it was expensive or not.

The problem here is that people don’t realise the bad things that could happen as a result of not bothering with a great accountant or of having a bad one.

The solution? Simple, communication once again.

Make sure you emphasise the tax you have saved people, the volume of work they have had, and the potential fines and penalties you have avoided.

More importantly though, if you have been providing business advice then highlight the value you have added to their company and what a bargain your fees have been.

They don’t speak my language

This is not confined to accountants, believe me!

This applies to any technical profession where there is the potential for jargon and complex concepts.

The solution is really more about the way that you communicate.

Some people are great with numbers, some not so. This means that you need to get to know your client and understand what level of detail they want, what terminology they are happy with and to an extent help to educate them a little where this is required.

They are arrogant

This is a difficult one and comes down to personal relationships and perception.

One man’s arrogant is another’s calm and confident.

A lot of the perception of arrogance comes from the fact that accountancy is a serious business and we have to act with a certain level of professionalism.

Most of the accountants I know aren’t arrogant at all, but then I would say that wouldn’t I given that I am a member of the profession myself?

The solution?

Don’t be afraid to get to know your clients. Have a chat about things other than numbers. The more you get to know them ( and they you) the less likely it is that a negative perception will arise.

One of the best accountants (and nicest guys) I ever knew often got described as arrogant.

However, his view was that he didn’t like to tell people about himself because he thought it sounded like bragging when actually it was just relationship building.

Don’t be afraid to tell people a little about yourself, it’s not a failure if you let people know you are a skydiver or like to paint watercolours.

They are slow

I was surprised to see that a lot of people didn’t like the speed with which their practice worked.

Now I’m going to seperate this out a little.

It is true to say that older, more traditional practices can be very slow in the way that they approach things.

But it was surprising that people complained about the speed of work with some of the more efficient practices.

It was almost as though they thought that the business of putting together a set of accounts or completing a tax comp was just a five-minute job.

Now I don’t want to sound arrogant here (see above) but this is often a matter of educating people as to what is involved in the work you are doing.

Letting your clients know that you will be doing the bookkeeping, producing the stats and going through a full quality control process helps people to understand why it takes so long and to an extent will also ameliorate the cost issue above.

It’s also helpful to have an FAQ section on your website and produce regular blogs that give people an insight into the life of a firm, especially around self-assessment time!

They won’t do what I want

This is a perennial problem that appears in pretty much every accountant’s forum that I have ever visited.

The client wants you to do something and for whatever reason, you can’t.

Maybe it would distort the true picture, maybe you just can’t achieve what they want, or maybe it is even downright illegal, but whatever the reason you need to be able to communicate this effectively.

I had a potential client come to me where they’d asked their current accountant to do something and he had just said “no”.

No explanation, no preamble, just “no”.

You can imagine how frustrated they were and yet when I explained that the thing they wanted to do was against VAT law they were perfectly happy.

It’s all about communication

The interesting thing for me was that the vast majority of problems that people had with their accountants were really just miscommunication.

I’ll be honest, this is where we as a profession do tend to let ourselves down a bit.

There is a simple solution though.

Invest in some training.

Often called ‘soft-skills’ or ’emotional intelligence’ the training is just a way of helping you to improve your listening and communication skills.

Sometimes the courses can be found for free with different organisations and sometimes you can find webinars, blogs and videos from coaches that will help.

That having been said, if you spend some money getting a trainer in to your practice for a day it will be money well spent because you’ll find that your conversion rate from lead to onboarding increases and your retention rate will be improved.

At the average rate for a good communication skills trainer you probably only need to retain a couple of clients to make it more than pay for itself.

And as a final piece of advice – distribute a newsletter.

You don’t have to write it, I can do that, all you need to do is to think up some interesting topics that will help your clients. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

If you need help with marketing your practice then get in touch. I can give you a plan, write the content and help you analyse the results.

I admit that not everyone loves writing as much as me so if you’d like someone to take the pain away then why not drop me a line?

Copywriting for accountants – what is LSI?

Financial copywriter at his desk

When you start to think about getting some copywriting for your accountants practice you may well come across the phrase ‘LSI’ and wonder what on earth it is.

Well wonder no more. This post will tell what it is and how to get it.

Latent Semantic Indexing – LSI

OK so let’s take a walk back in time to the dawn of the internet.

If you wanted to know something about paperclips then you’d probably type into Ask Jeeves and you’d get presented with a series of results based purely on the amount of times the pages mentioned ‘paperclip’ in their text.

The problem with this is that people can game the system and so by simply using the word paperclips a gazillion times on their pages they can rank highly.

This is where things get interesting

Fast forward a few years and Google decides to stop people playing the search engines and start presenting results based, in part, on LSI.

Cut to the chase – what is LSI?

So LSI means all the words that are likely to exist around the word or phrase you are looking for in normal speech.

So for example, let’s imagine you are looking for information about paperclips.

Take two sites, one is a Will making site and one is a Paperclip supplier site.

The Will making site may have a phrase “don’t paperclip things to your original Will because they may go missing”.

Whilst the paperclip site may have a phrase “Paperclips are usually made from mild steel and plastic and are often sold in paper or carboard boxes.”

So the LSI for paperclips would be words like ‘Steel’, Plastic, ‘Cardboard’, ‘Paper’.

You wouldn’t expect these words to turn up on the Will making site.

But if you were looking for Wills then you’d expect things like ‘Testament’, ‘original’,’document’ etc.

So Google knows that one site is about paperclips because it says paperclips and because it has the words around it that make it more likely.

So how do you find your own LSI keywords?

One of the easiest ways to discover what your LSIs are is to do a Google search on your keywords.

Then just scan down the results and make a note of the words that keep appearing in the little snippets of the site.

Assess each word or phrase for whether you would naturally expect it to turn up next to your keywords.

Voila!

You have a list of LSI keywords.


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Why marketing for accountants is like buying a tightrope

marketing for accountants is just like tightrope

You wouldn’t think that marketing for accountants is anything like buying a tightrope but you would be wrong on so many levels!

Think about buying a tightrope – what are you looking for?

Would you buy from an established supplier or a chap you met down the pub?

Fairly obvious one I hope. I’d want to buy from an established supplier who had a good name.

Would you go for the cheapest option or would you want more protection?

You’ll never get me on to any form of tightrope but if you did then I’d buy the best I could get.

Would you prefer it if the tightrope turned up one day through the post, or would you like someone to walk you through the process of setting it up and any peculiarities of that model?

If there is anything different about the model of rope I had just bought then I’d want someone to tell me about it.

What happens if it goes wrong?

Good things or bad things?

Now transpose the tightrope to accountancy.

Would you want to use a chap you’d just met down the pub? I’d hope not (I’m aware people often do) but generally when they look for accountants they want someone they can trust.

Do clients value the cheapest option more? Nope. And this is I think where a lot of accountants make a mistake. There are too many cheapo bookkeeping firms out there to compete. But you can compete on quality.

Would your prospective clients prefer you to talk them through things or do they just want a no-frills service?

I guarantee you that they like the option of being able to talk to you about their accounts and future options. They may say they don’t but…

Do good or bad things happen if you are useless?

BAD BAD things happen if you buy a tightrope from a company that is useless.


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So what has this got to do with marketing for accountants?

Your marketing needs to point to all the good things that accountants can do and why it’s a bad idea to buy the finance equivalent of a tightrope from a man down the pub.

What people are looking for is someone they trust, who has their welfare at heart and who will be available to talk with them about any issues that are coming up.

If you can satisfy these needs in your marketing then you are away.

This is how I help accountants with their marketing

I can help you organise your marketing plan, I can write the content and I can manage the whole process.

It’s entirely a matter for you how much of my services you want to buy and what aspects you want me to look at.

The best thing is to get in touch and let’s have a chat to see if I can help

How digital marketing can help accountants

Freelance financial services copywriter

Digital marketing is the perfect marketing method for accountants.

When you are marketing services, especially one as important as accountancy, it is important to establish trust in the client’s mind. They need to have confidence that you have the competency they are looking for.

Digital marketing works best when you are offering something of value and offering something of value, in turn, builds the trust that you need.

What are the aims of digital marketing for accountants?

In truth there are really two big issues for accountancy practices that want to consolidate and then grow their business.

The first is retaining the clients they already have and the second is acquiring new clients.

Smart use of digital marketing can form the cornerstone of both acquisition and retention strategies and won’t cost a fortune.

How digital marketing can help acquire clients for accountants

We know having a great accountant can make a massive difference to clients and the benefit, in my opinion is even more pronounced in the early days of a business.

The problem is that convincing people of the value can be hard, especially when money is tight.

This is where marketing comes in, because whatever stage a company is at in its life cycle, producing valuable and convincing content puts you in the box seats when it comes to signing up a new client.

The starting point is in developing a good website. Note that I said a ‘good’ website.

Frankly, from my point of view, most accountancy websites are pretty awful and to be ahead of the game all you need to do is to have a website that does just what it needs to.

It doesn’t need to have loads of animations and funky designs but it does need to have clear navigation, to look as good on a mobile as on a PC and it needs to have GREAT content because that’s what people are looking for.

This is the centre point of digital marketing, producing useful content that answers the questions that people ask.

Good blog articles, video explainers, podcasts and case studies are really good way to convert lurkers into new clients because they engender that confidence that people need to entrust their business to you.

If you have money to spend on marketing then why not produce a white paper or eBook and promote it to your target market? At the very least it will increase your mailing list but it will also bring in clients that will pay back the investment many times over.

Retaining clients with content

There’s a saying that there’s nothing new in the world and it’s certainly true in terms of marketing.

What has changed though is the method of delivery.

I’ve got to say that any accountancy practice that doesn’t distribute a budget update for its clients or doesn’t have a resources area on its website where they can get information doesn’t deserve to have clients at all.

Newsletters take a bit of time to put together but are an excellent way of producing a feeling of community which leads to increased retention.

A simple client directory listing area where you showcase what people do so that other clients can buy from them is a very cheap method of adding value to your offer that people really like.

A quarterly podcast doesn’t cost a lot but again shows people that you care about them and that they are getting value for their fees.


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How much will it cost?

This really depends on what you do and who does it.

If you don’t want to get involved but you want a decent marketing campaign then you are probably looking in the region of £1,000 upwards per month.

If however you are able to produce content yourself or if you just want to add fresh content to your site every week then you are probably looking at £50 per week.

The point is that you can scale your marketing effort to your budget and by putting in a little effort you can produce big results.

How I can help

I’m an expert professional services writer.

I can help you with SEO, blogs, eBooks, White papers and digital marketing designed to gain, retain and delight your clients.

Mail me and we’ll have a chat about how I can help.