4 min read

Inbound Marketing Campaigns: A Quick Guide

Table of Contents

As a firm leader, you know how important marketing is to the continued success of your practice. You’re cognizant of the fact that the digital marketing ecosystem evolves quickly and the growing popularity of digital marketing is changing the accounting industry. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to adapt and begin leveraging new strategies that improve the effectiveness and ROI of your overall marketing strategy. 

One key element of marketing in our current digital era? Inbound marketing campaigns. 

You might have heard of them, but it’s understandable if you don’t know precisely what inbound marketing campaigns are or how they can benefit your business. 

Today, we’re answering those questions with a specific focus on what inbound marketing looks like for accounting firms. Read on to discover exactly what an inbound marketing campaign is, what’s involved, and the results you can expect to see from a successfully executed inbound marketing campaign. 

What is an Inbound Marketing Campaign? 

At a simple level, inbound marketing means that customers come in to you, rather than you going out to them. 

Obviously, you need to have something that attracts these customers to you in the first place. That’s where an inbound marketing campaign comes in. 

An inbound marketing campaign creates meaningful content and experiences that organically draws potential clients to interact with your firm. This content answers your prospective clients’ most pressing questions, provides unique value that improves their lives, and ultimately serves as the foundation for a lasting strategic relationship.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

It’s helpful to think about inbound marketing in contrast to outbound marketing. 

With outbound marketing, your firm is essentially standing in the town square of your industry, yelling through a megaphone about how great you are. You’re disrupting people’s days with a message (whether that’s a cold call, email, or ad) that they’re not necessarily ready or interested in hearing. Sometimes, you’ll catch the right person at the right time and gain a new client. But in the process, you run the risk of alienating many other prospective clients. 

A successful inbound marketing campaign showcases the unique value your business brings to the marketplace by highlighting thought leadership, subject matter experts, and generating content designed to answer your ideal clients’ most pressing questions. Instead of trying to block out your message, people will be flocking to hear what your firm thinks of the latest developments in the industry. They’ll chat excitedly about the topics you discuss and line up to buy a ticket to work with you. Doesn’t that sound much better than traditional outbound marketing?

What’s Involved in an Inbound Marketing Campaign?

Done right, inbound marketing builds an almost unassailable moat against your competition. With this approach, you’re elevating the industry’s perception of your firm and minimizing your need to compete on more tactical factors like the price of your service. 

But of course, nothing worth having comes easy. Building a truly scalable inbound marketing campaign takes time, expertise, and a lot of hard work. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key steps involved in building an inbound marketing campaign.

Audience Research

Before you start creating content for your inbound marketing campaign, you need to first define exactly who you’re marketing to. 

Conduct an audience segmentation analysis. Who is the desired buyer of your services? Do you want to target mid-market firms or small, family-owned businesses? Are you focused on a particular geography, industry, or practice area? 

You need to answer all of these questions and more. Don’t be afraid to invest significant time in this process – it’s necessary to ensure success. By the end of the audience research process, you should not only know what your target audience looks like, but you should also understand what problems they have and how your firm solves them. Depending on the scale of your firm, it’s advisable to have multiple target audiences and create distinct strategy verticals for each of them. 

As you build out the rest of your campaign, keep your audience front of mind. Every single marketing asset should be developed with your audience and their needs in mind. Fail to do that and your inbound marketing campaign will never gain the traction it needs to get going. 

A Comprehensive Campaign Structure

An inbound marketing campaign consists of many elements. To be successful, each of these pieces must work together in harmony. This includes assets like your firm’s website, blog, email and newsletter, as well as the LinkedIn profiles of your CPAs

These should all function together to create clear conversion funnels. Customer journeys are complex and your firm will have to interact with prospective customers many times before they sign a letter of engagement. 

You need to have a process in place that fosters a uniform approach to nudging interested prospects closer to that point of conversion, regardless of what platform they interact with your business on. 

An inbound marketing platform, such as Hubspot, can serve as the central hub for all things inbound marketing, unifying your strategy across different channels and ensuring a unified approach. 

Meaningful Content

There’s a lot of content about accounting out there. Some of it is great, some is average, and some is downright terrible. Now, it goes without saying that you want your content to be great. It should provide a fresh perspective on important issues, impart significant value to readers, and portray your firm as the thought leader within your field. 

How do you do that? Creating valuable content demands you get buy-in from the senior-most partners at your firm. Encourage them to share their viewpoints and promote your firm’s content to their professional networks.

There are a variety of different types of content to incorporate into your strategy. SEO content drives traffic to your website. Thought leadership content establishes your firm as an expert within a particular domain. Sales enablement content answers common questions that come up during the sales process and helps drive prospects toward conversion faster. All are important at different stages of the customer journey.

Learn more: The 4 Essential Types of Content for Accounting Marketing

Data Analysis

An inbound marketing strategy is a long-term strategy. Along the way, don’t be afraid to adjust course based on the story your data tells.

Leveraging the marketing data that your campaigns produce allows you to discover opportunities for improvement, double down on areas of promise, and identify points of friction within your customer journeys. Make sure you have the right data analysis tools in place to track the performance of your marketing efforts. 

Armed with these insights, you can take steps to address potential performance issues and close the gap between digital spend and performance––ultimately driving higher levels of ROI throughout all of your firm’s marketing activities. 

What’s the Goal of an Inbound Marketing Campaign?

Transitioning from a traditional outbound marketing campaign to an inbound campaign can feel like a major shift. After all, the tactics used are very different. But over time, you’ll discover inbound marketing campaigns are capable of delivering better results than you’ve ever experienced. 

Inbound marketing focuses on building long-term relationships with your prospects. Accounting firms are relationship-driven businesses: many firms have clients they’ve worked with for years or even decades. By investing upfront in relationships with prospective clients through inbound marketing, you’re laying the groundwork to create far more of those relationships, helping your firm grow for years to come. 

Interested in exploring what an inbound marketing strategy would look like for your firm? 

Winding River Consulting specializes in guiding accounting firms to a more prosperous future through data-driven inbound marketing strategies. We have a track record of partnering with many of the nation’s top accounting and advisory firms to deliver significant growth.  

Contact us today to learn more

Related Articles:

The AI Revolution in Accounting Firm Content: A Paradigm Shift in Communication and Marketing

4 min read

The AI Revolution in Accounting Firm Content: A Paradigm Shift in Communication and Marketing

In today’s world, one technology dominates every conversation: Artificial Intelligence. It’s a technology that’s developing at a rapid pace, with...

Read More
The Changing Digital Marketing Landscape for Accounting Firms

4 min read

The Changing Digital Marketing Landscape for Accounting Firms

The digital marketing landscape is constantly in flux, with new technologies, trends, and best practices emerging all the time. In order for ...

Read More
4 Common Marketing Challenges for CPA Firms

4 min read

4 Common Marketing Challenges for CPA Firms

Lost time, lost opportunities and lost revenue. Firms with an eye for growth see with clarity the looming horizon: digitization, leadership...

Read More