Why Accounting Firms Need a Digital Marketing Strategy for Business Development
In case you still need convincing that your accounting firm needs a digital marketing strategy, let’s review the context in which the world is doing business.
The Practice of Now independent accountant research project from Sage reported the following:
- 66% of accountants feel that their firm needs to increase the pace of technology adoption in order to stay competitive.
- 74% of accountants have undergone a normal review of their business practices within the last year.
- The majority of those surveyed feel that traditional accounting, and traditional marketing, is insufficient to stay competitive.
- 83% of respondents agree that technology and digitization investments are necessary to keep pace with a changing market.
- Only 38% of accountants feel that current training programs and traditional methods will still work in 2030.
- 33% of marketing enterprise functions for accounting firms now use automation.
In January 2021, the CTO of Intuit, Marianna Tessel, spoke about how the disruptions of 2020 are translating into long-term industry changes. She predicted:
- The world of accounting is on the cusp of an online technology revolution.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) will be added to the tech stack of large firms.
- Technology will play a key role especially for smaller firms, revolutionizing their capacity for managing financial data, logistics, recruitment, and retention.
No longer are we existing in a world of siloes wherein our operations are unrelated to recruitment, which are unrelated to marketing, and so on. Technology has synthesized everything, creating workflows, automations and, yes, the need for an online presence that attracts both clients and talent to your firm.
If you have yet to adapt, time is running out.
Digital Marketing for Accounting Firms
The long-term roadmap you and your team need to set falls under the broad umbrella of digital marketing. Essentially, digital marketing leverages multiple channels to drive traffic and leads with high intent to a point of conversion.
Here are the four steps to take:
- Identify your digital marketing channels
- Activate multichannel marketing
- Create and optimize content
- Measure results
To clarify in greater detail:
1. Digital Marketing Channels
Digital marketing channels are the places and ways your firm develops an online presence.
- Your website, optimized for SEO
- Emails, which are useful for content marketing and nurturing leads
- Social media profiles, including Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn, etc.
- Paid search, sometimes called search engine marketing (SEM), on Google Ads or other platforms
2. Multichannel Marketing
Once you have defined and established your online platforms, you need to shortlist the ones that are most likely to earn you qualified leads. Multichannel marketing is the goal. You want to design a digital marketing strategy that deploys content on well-researched channels, setting you up for success.
There is a great deal of thought and analysis that goes into this; you should assess the channels you choose based on where your target audience is, where your competitors are, what the functionality of those platforms is, and how well they integrate with strategies you’ve used before.
3. Content and Optimization
It isn’t enough to be present on the right platforms, your messaging needs to be on-point. Increasingly, both clients and future colleagues are paying attention to how your firm shows up online. The types of content you must develop and deploy include:
- Blogs and thought leadership articles
- Timely, newsworthy social posts and press appearances
- Sequential, segmented emails
- Compelling ads
For all copy on the internet, search engine optimization (or SEO) cannot be undervalued. The search for “accounting firm” is performed 3,000 times a month, with related terms (“find an accounting firm,” “hire an accountant,” etc.) yielding several thousand results a month. Consequently, if your site is not optimized, you will not be found.
4. Measure Results
The investment to develop digital marketing for your accounting firm may be significant, at least at first. A great differentiator for digital marketing is that it is immensely trackable. Data streams exist on all online platforms, and can often be integrated onto a single dashboard for viewability and reporting. As a result, your team will instantly see which marketing channels are working best, how ad campaigns and content performed, and what your website is ranking for. To sum up, all of these results should be measured in regular cycles and used to inform future best practices.
Growth Marketing for Accounting Firms
Growth marketing is your digital marketing strategy on steroids. If you already feel you’re playing catch-up, design a strategy that presses the gas, making strategic investments in not only what works best, but what works fastest. It is definitely useful to enlist a consultant for this kind of pace-oriented approach.
Strategy Design and Deployment
In conclusion, there will be no pause or rewind for the ways the market has changed and continues to change. If your firm hopes to be visible in the coming 12 months, much less the coming decade, you need a focused, effective strategy for digital marketing.
Download the Digital Rainmaker and learn more about how to evaluate your firm’s digital strategy.
Winding River Consulting also provides guidance for digital marketing strategies. Contact us to learn more.