Accountant Marketing in 2022+ | Creating The Ideal Customer Journey
As customer priorities and preferences continue to evolve, the most effective accountant marketing strategy must be adjusted accordingly.
Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos said it best:
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” — Steve Jobs
“If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the internet space over the last 6 years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.” — Jeff Bezos
Customer Journey Optimization is the Foundation of Your Accountant Marketing Strategy
I hate to break it to you but nobody enjoys preparing for or filing taxes.
It’s just one of those things that must be done but anything to minimize the time, hassle, and pain involved will go a long way.
That said, the way Starbucks goes about creating the ideal customer experience is not the same strategy you will want to use.
People like coffee. They hate taxes.
Starbucks invests in furniture to keep people around. Wise accountants invest in technology that makes their lives and their clients’ lives easier and keeps their business organized.
The ideal accounting solutions enable a digital, seamless process that enables clients and prospective clients to reach out in whichever way they prefer. This could be Facebook Messenger, Text Messaging, Email, Form-Fill, Google Messages, and/or Instagram Messenger. The ideal client experience platform will be one that centralizes messages from each of these platforms and allows them to respond to the same platform where the message came from. Forget having to keep up with 5+ inboxes. Thryv brings it all into one.
On your website, make it clear that you have a process in place that is as easy as any of the online tax filing platforms. Otherwise, Millenials and Gen Z will continue using those services.
They don’t want to mess with it and they don’t want a hassle, however, I get the impression that most people would prefer to support a local business, so long as it was not a pain in the rear to do so.
The first order of business should be implementing a process that eliminates as much rear pain and redundancy in your workflow as possible.
Your Marketing Plan is Irrelevant if Your Business Doesn’t Appeal to or Accommodate Millenials and Gen X Prospects
As the new generation workforce continues to emerge, so too do the communication and engagement preferences of accounting prospects and clients. In order to accommodate these changes, firms must be proactive in understanding the needs of their millennial and Gen X clients.
Millennial clients, more often than not, are used to instant gratification and expect a high level of transparency and communication from their accountants (and also from businesses in general). They also prefer to engage with firms via digital channels such as live chat on your website, email, social media, and SMS text messaging.
Personally, I am not going to be booking anything unless I can do it from my phone or computer. As far as taxes go, I would rather file my own than have to deal with calling, faxing paperwork, and all of the other shenanigans that will be inevitably entailed when calling a brick & mortar
I tend to like to book services like this while I’m on hold on a call or in the middle of doing something else – if you are not going to update your business processes allowing me to engage in that way, then I and many others similarly situated will simply be out of reach. Technology makes tax preparation, communication, and scheduling redundancy-free.
Once you have seen the light, there is no going back – so long as the power grid is still in good shape.
Grow Your Accounting Firm by Meeting and Exceeding the Expectations of Young Humans
To meet the expectations of millennial clients, firms must be responsive and available 24/7 and when they are not, it should be very clear when they will be returning. They must also be comfortable communicating electronically and using various digital channels – ideally in a way that centralizes all of those different types of communication into a single platform to respond from. In addition, firms must be transparent in their pricing and billing practices.
Gen X clients (who are actually working), while not quite as reliant on technology as millennials (with the exception of Fortnite and other video games), still prefer a high level of communication from their accountants. They want to be kept up-to-date on their financial situation and appreciate being able to easily access their account information online.
To accommodate the communication preferences of Gen X clients, firms should provide regular updates and make account information easily accessible online. In addition, they should offer various methods of communication,
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to utilize a platform like Thryv, which automatically generates a secure client portal your clients can access to communicate with you, upload documentation, schedule an appointment, or pay their invoices.
It’s also set up so that if they email the documentation or send your Facebook page a message, that documentation and/or communication will automatically be tied directly to their customer account. No more having to look around for text messages, emails, Google messages, Facebook messages, and/or Instagram messages are a thing of the past.
The Five Pillars of Digital Infrastructure Necessary to Generate Cost-Effective Accounting Leads Online
1. Engaging, Responsive Website With Original Content & Social Proof
This is all about having a modern, fast-loading, high-quality custom website that properly represents your accounting and/or bookkeeping business. This is where you want to talk about your firm, and what sets you apart from all of the other accounting and finance service providers out there. It is crucial that the website adjusts for proper navigation on all different screen sizes. Also, make sure all of your social media accounts are properly linked.
One of the advantages brick & mortar based businesses have over online tax platforms is that you provide actual human assistance and the point of contact is always the same. Make sure this is emphasized, along with the fact that everything including the collection of any necessary documentation can all be accomplished digitally.
2. Reputation Management
Do you have a system in place for thanking your customers and asking them for a review? If not, you really should.
Not only are reviews the modern-day word of mouth, but they are also one of the important factors Google is using to determine which businesses should be most predominantly displayed.
Are you responding to reviews? If not, you really should. Responding to reviews is not only a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them taking the time and energy to support your business, but it appears that this is also an influential factor being used by Google’s algorithm to determine Google My Business profile visibility.
The idea here is that you want to establish your
Thryv also provides social media analytics, allowing you to have a better understanding of when your social media followers are mostly online, how they engage with your content, and so on. [/caption]
3. Automated, Value-Driven Followup System/Drip Campaign
Have you ever filled out a form on a business’ website to inquire about their products or services, only to either not receive any kind of confirmation that your message was sent or to see something like “message sent”?
If so, it likely did not make you feel very certain that your inquiry was being promptly tended to.
Now imagine that you filled out that same form and you received a text message and email letting you know that your inquiry was received, providing contact information for you to try if the inquiry s urgent, and that shows the company actually cares about taking care of you. It makes a huge difference and could very well determine whether or not the prospect will wait to hear back from you.
Additionally, it’s ideal to have at least 1 automated drip campaign in place. Drip campaigns are a form of email marketing consisting of a series of automated emails designed to stay in the front of the mind of your prospects, provide value, and continue building trust.
The most effective way to utilize drip campaigns would be to create several different campaigns, each for a person in a specific kind of situation.
For example, you wouldn’t likely want to use the same messaging for a potential small business owner client as you would for an individual, W2 employee. The value you will have for each of them is different and your messaging strategy should take their situation into account.
4. Online Listings Management With an Emphasis on Google My Business Optimization
As a locally-based accounting business, local search engine optimization (SEO) should be one of your top priorities when it comes to digital marketing for accountants. One of the extremely important components of ensuring your business is as visible as possible to prospective clients is to ensure that your business is consistently listed on all of the major business directories with the exact name, address, phone number, and website syntax (NAPW).
When I was running my digital marketing agency back in the day, I used to do these listings manually, which would involve creating an email address and then using a browser extension that fills out the forms as you set up the listings on all of the various business directory websites. There are about 60 of these listings that need to be managed such as phone, email, and text messaging.and the problem with doing it manually (other than being a huge waste of time) is that when there is a change that needs to be made to your hours of operation, description, address, or anything else – each of the listings must be edited one by one.
Today, we are blessed with the online listings management solution provided by Thryv. Now, it is easy to set up all of the most important listings all at the same time, from 1 spot, and when you want to adjust your operation hours to show you are closed for specific holidays or make any other changes, that can now be accomplished quickly, all from a single place on your Thryv dashboard.
5. Social Media Presence
Over the past several years, Facebook has emerged as a local business search engine for a growing number of people.
That being said, it’s extremely important to have an active business page on the platform. In a former life, I would have recommended picking one or two of the major platforms and being consistent on those.
Today, with Thryv, you are able to schedule out social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Google My Business. It also provides a library of over 600,000 post templates spanning nearly every industry, which you can use as a starting point for creating relevant, interesting, useful, and valuable content for your prospects and clients.
You don’t have the be the most creative social media expert of all time in order for your presence there to be effective. It is important that your business is active on each of the platforms, however.
Small Business Accountants + Thryv = The Perfect Match
Thousands of accountants already rely on Thryv to run their accounting service businesses.
Additionally, Thryv provides a rewards program, called Thryv Rewards, which compensates our clients when they refer businesses.
As an accountant who works primarily with small business owners, you are in the perfect situation to demonstrate the solution to your clients, just by utilizing it, and when they ask about it, you let me know, and when they become a customer you receive a $300 credit on your account.
We have several small business accountants who utilize this program to its full extent, eliminating any payments ever needing to be made on their accounts.
If you are a CPA, accountant, bookkeeper, or own any other type of service-based business, I promise the conversation will be well worth your time – regardless of wether or not we deterime the situation to be a great fit.