All accountants are great with numbers, but not all accountants are great with marketing. In fact, I'd say the majority are in a similar situation where they know who they want to target, but they don't quite know how to get their firm out there and in front of those clients that they want to win. Sound familiar? Perhaps you don't know where to start but you know you should be doing it or maybe you've tried some ways and you have your marketing ticking along but it's not quite having the impact you want... Whatever your situation, it's good practice to go back to the drawing board every now and then to review your marketing (especially in the current climate). If you want to know how to reach your target audience, here are the three fundamental steps you need to take.
This article is based upon a virtual (paid) workshop we did on how to add £2k quickly to your monthly revenue. Click here to download (for free) the whole recording of the workshop.
How to get in front of the clients that you actually want to work with
Whether you have a marketing strategy ticking along or you’re starting from scratch, you need to know the best ways to reach your target audience. If you don’t know this, your efforts will most likely go to waste and won’t make anywhere near the impact that you want.
It’s not as simple as just making a few new connections on LinkedIn or putting a piece of content out there every now and again either. You need to know how to reach AND stay in front of your target audience until they are ready to buy.
So how do you do it? How do you get your firm out there and in front of the prospects that you want?
When planning your marketing strategy, you need to review the 4Cs model to ensure that you are covering all four key areas. To win new clients, you need:
- A call to action – you need a clear call to action that resonates with your prospect’s biggest pain point/s.
- Connections – you need to make connections with your prospects online, physically, and through your content.
- Conversations – converse with your prospects both publicly on social media and also one-on-one.
- Content - foster deep relationships with your clients; demonstrate your credibility and build trust through your content.
If you’re covering the 4Cs consistently, you’ll have no trouble making your firm known with the right people.
Key resources: click here to download our free guide to putting together your marketing plan.
How to reach your target audience (our 3-step guide)
Marketing your firm doesn’t have to be met with fear or panic or helplessness; you can take charge of your strategy and actually make the impact that you want if you just follow these 3 steps. This is all you need to do when thinking about how to reach your target audience.
1. Clarify your 'client personas'
The first thing you always need to do when creating or reviewing your marketing plan is to look at your client personas. These are absolutely essential to the success of your marketing because they help you to keep your messages relevant and specific to the audience that you are targeting. That's why we always harp on about them in our other articles! (See What is a client persona? and How to create and use your client persona)
So, if you're not sure how to reach your target audience or you're not sure that your marketing is making the impact that you want, your first port of call needs to be to clarify your client personas. You need to clarify:
- Who are they?
- What are their challenges right now?
- Do they have any accounting-related challenges?
- Who are your natural competitors and why are you a better option to them?
- How do they prefer to consume their content?
- Where do they hang out online?
- What technologies do they use?
It might be a painful process, to clarify exactly who your target audience is, but it is more than worth the effort.
Be as specific as you can here, how old are they? Are they male or female? What is their gender, their job title, and their wants and needs? Think about their values, their motivators, and what is most important to them in life. How can you solve their specific challenges or their biggest pain points?
Yes, this is difficult, it's a process that is going to take a while, but once you have the answers, you can tailor your marketing to their specific needs. You can craft content that makes such an impact, that it talks directly to them and positions you as the only solution to their problems. Imagine having a call to action that is that powerful.
2. Plan your content
So you know exactly who you want to target, now you need to think about how to reach your target audience.
Content is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Not only does it allow you to be found online when someone is searching for answers via Google (that’s if you’ve optimised your content for SEO), but it also helps you to build credibility. If you’re putting out content that helps your audience, there’s no better way to position yourself as the expert. (If you need some help with your content, download our free content plan template)
When planning your content, you need to be aware of the buying journey. Every single prospect is at a stage in the buying journey at any one time, so you need to make sure that you have content that targets people at ALL stages of this journey. Your job here is to help your prospects progress through this journey and to help them make their decision to buy. If you do it right, that decision will be buying from you.
There are 5 stages in the buying journey, so you need to think about what people will want and need at each stage of this journey:
Stage 1: Everything is fine
Your content needs to support prospects who aren’t looking to solve anything specific right now. Maybe general advice on how to better manage your time or tips to achieving the perfect work-life balance? If you’re smart with your content, you can highlight potential issues to prospects that they didn’t even realise they had.
Stage 2: I know I have some problems
Prospects at this stage know that things aren’t working as they should, but they also want to hide away and avoid these problems. Essentially, they are tempted to do nothing about them because they aren’t aware of the consequences of doing so, so it is your job to show them the implications of avoiding their problems. For example, articles such as “the 6 biggest bottlenecks that business owners are unaware of" or "how you could be the reason your business isn't moving forward" play on curiosity and intrigue, but they actually seek to educate people on their problems and to motivate them to act.
Stage 3: I have decided what I need to do about my problems
Prospects at this stage of the buying journey know what their problems are and they are actively trying to find solutions for them. This is where SEO becomes crucial as you want to be found for whatever search terms your prospects are using in Google. If their problem is cash flow, you need content that covers a variety of keywords for cash flow and so on and so forth. They might be looking at how to solve their problem themselves, so help them try to do that. If you write blogs such as "best online accounting tools" and "top tips for managing your cash flow," you'll find that, even if they started out wanting to do it themselves, they'll most likely end up turning to you for help or to pay you to do it for them.
Stage 4: Finding people to help me and choosing the right solutions
People who are in stage 4 are looking for options to make sure that they are making the right decision and for the right people to support them. Again, blogs such as "top 10 online accounting tools" will aid prospects in their decision, but what will guide them to the next stage of actually getting them to buy is credibility. What we mean by this is, for every blog you are writing, make sure to add a case study or testimonials along with the topic to show how you have helped similar business owners with these issues and how good the results were. This shows the reader that you are credible as you are actually practising what you preach!
Stage 5: Taking the decision to buy
To help prospects at all stages of the buying journey to progress to the final stage (which is buying from you), you need to write content that is relevant to your target audience and that addresses their specific pain points and challenges. You also need to be putting out content that educates and is useful and valuable to the readers. If you need some help with your content, download our free content plan template here.
3. Turn up regularly and consistently
The last step explains why the question for this blog is really "how to reach and stay in front of your target audience." As many business owners know, the vast majority of the time, prospects aren't just ready to buy. If they were, it would be a very different world! In reality, it's not always the right time and you need to stay in front of your prospect until they are ready to buy. This takes regular and consistent marketing.
So what do you we mean by 'turn up regularly and consistently?'
- Putting up a blog now and then isn't enough - you need to be putting out content that targets people at each stage of the buying journey at least bi-weekly. (If you need some help with your content, download our free content plan template)
- Publishing a blog on the website isn't enough - instead, you should be sharing it where your audience is most active (e.g. LinkedIn or Facebook). You can even email your content to existing clients or to your prospect email list.
- Commenting on social media now and then isn't enough - create a daily habit where you go into your LinkedIn or Facebook Group and make sure to communicate and offer value.
As you can see, the third step of reaching your target audience is to be active and to show up where they are consistently. The aim is to be visible, to build an online reputation, and to be seen as the go-to expert so that prospects think of you when they are ready to buy.
To make sure that you are turning up regularly and consistently, start off small:
- Email your lists once a month at first - this is still the best way to get your message out to interested people.
- Pick a maximum of 2 content types to start with - do you find it easier to write blogs, record videos or audio, or run webinars?
- Choose a maximum of 2 places to build your tribe (to begin with) - where is your audience most active? LinkedIn, Facebook page, Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube. Go into these channels and interact daily.
Once you have created a daily, weekly, and monthly habit to get your content out consistently, only then consider increasing this. Just remember, when it comes to building an online presence and even with your content, make it fun to engage with. Ditch the 'stuff professional' tone and let your personality shine through. Think human first, accountant second.
Stop hiding and start getting your firm out there
You don't need to be great at marketing to get your firm out there and in front of the people you want to work with, you just need to be able to follow these three essential steps. Really clarify who you are targeting and what they want and need, write content that is interesting and valuable for them, and start sharing it consistently where they will see it. That's all there is to it. This is how you reach your target audience.
Learn how to quickly add an extra £2k of monthly recurring income to your practice (even if you are a reluctant business developer)
Download (for free) the workshop recording of 'How to quickly add £2k of monthly recurring revenue to your practice' and you will discover:
- How to generate more income from your existing clients without putting in place a price rise
- How to get your clients to pay for more services without seen to be profiteering or ambulance chasing
- What marketing your firm can do right now which is going to cause new good clients to flock to your firm