This is how clients find you now.
By Becky Livingston
In today’s world of CPA firms, marketing has taken a leap from the back seat to a seat at the strategic table. With more and more firms focusing on marketing efforts, it makes a CPA wonder, “How does my firm continue to stay ahead of the curve to attract clients and to move the firm higher on its journey to increasing lead generation?”
Marketing is one solution.
According to the 2015 Hinge Marketing Report, where over 530 professional services firm professionals were surveyed, there were five marketing initiatives that firms were focusing on to compete for clients, including:
- generating more referrals,
- increasing visibility of the firm’s experts,
- making existing clients more aware of the firm’s services,
- increasing the firm’s brand visibility and
- implementing a content marketing program.
To assist them in every effort are social media and digital marketing. Social media has allowed firms to expand their reach to new prospects within industries, geographic regions and new target markets. It has also provided them with a platform or stage to communicate with audiences interested in their products, services, corporate governance and firm culture.
Digital marketing has helped to increase touch points with existing clients and leads unlike anything in the past. Just think about the leads a firm gets when people download a whitepaper, refer a new client through an email drip campaign or sign up to receive tips and tools they can use to increase their internal control efforts, while reducing risk.
One thing to keep in mind is that these new media offer you a chance to provide a value add to your clients.
The State of Social Media in the CPA Profession
In the past, potential clients leaned heavily on a personal referral for a professional service provider, such as an accountant or CPA. Things, however, have changed greatly over the past decade. More and more people are doing research about firms before making their final decision. They want to know more about your firm’s culture, how you’re addressing current trends within their industry vertical and how relevant your firm is within a particular service line.
How are they conducting this research? Through search engines and social media, which give everyone a chance to investigate, research and monitor what their top three firms of choice are doing.
In fact, according to the Top 10 Marketing Techniques for Professional Services, 80 percent of potential clients used online resources compared to 55 percent who used traditional references.
In many cases, firms that use marketing as a strategic powerhouse are those specializing in an industry or niche market, and who use the social media and marketing tools common within those industries to reach their target market.
Even regulating bodies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), have begun to appreciate the power of social media and how it may be applied in the profession. In fact, FINRA Regulatory Notices 10-06 and 11-39 address social media use within firms specifically.