CPAs: Marketing in a Digital Age

Filed under: The Advisor's Blog

touch screen ,touch- tablet in hands

It’s fairly obvious that the internet has changed the way we interact with the world, access new information, and make important decisions.

Many CPA firms today struggle with integrating current digital marketing trends into their practice. While potential clients are moving forward by researching important decisions online before choosing a service provider, some CPAs are still relying upon the same marketing methods they’ve had in place for decades.

However, as indicated in the June edition of the Journal of Accountancy, the shift to digital marketing is vital. It’s not that word-of-mouth referrals don’t work anymore. In fact, this type of advertising is very much alive and well. But word-of-mouth relies upon communication… and the way people are communicating has changed drastically. Digital marketing doesn’t compete with the old ways of advertising; rather, it complements and augments traditional marketing.

Consider this: with word-of-mouth marketing, you can reach one individual at a time. But digital marketing methods expand that reach, so that you make an impression upon unlimited numbers of prospects and clients. The idea behind both methods is similar, but utilizing the internet means you exponential increase your influence with less effort.

Social media marketing. Think of social media marketing as the same type of networking you have always done to gain new clients. Only now, you do it online, and a single effort can reach hundreds or even thousands of potential clients.

Social media has become an absolute must for any business utilizing networking and word-of-mouth type advertising. CPAs can use social media to:

  • establish credibility
  • build a reputation
  • forge new relationships
  • stay in touch with current clients
  • show your human side
  • …and more!

Keep in mind that you won’t actually sell your services via social media. The point is to communicate with prospects via their preferred channels, so that you slowly build a relationship.

Content marketing. Content marketing is one of the biggest trends in the accounting world at the moment. Examples include blogs, videos, white papers, and other forms of media that share information with your client base. Your content will increase engagement with your website, demonstrate your expertise, and build your reputation as a knowledgeable expert in your field.

From a marketing perspective, creating valuable content is an ideal strategy for CPAs. Clients seek you out specifically for your experience and knowledge; by demonstrating those qualities online, you’re showing them exactly what they want to know about you. You will also differentiate yourself from the competition, and improve your search engine rankings.

A few things to remember:

1. Digital marketing isn’t the same as advertising. When you advertise, you expect prospects to see those ads and call you quickly. Marketing is all about building a long-term relationship with clients, not quick results. But whereas advertising might bring you a few new clients next week only, the effects of digital marketing last for years.

2. Seek to understand your audience. The point of digital marketing is to connect with prospects, so you first need to understand them. What are their questions? What type of services do they need? Ask yourself these questions before creating content or reaching out to your audience on social media.

3. Consider hiring an expert. Creating content and launching a social media strategy can be a complicated process for a beginner. Many CPAs have discovered that outsourcing these tasks to a content manager for a few hours per week is a better use of their time and budget. After all, once your digital marketing strategy begins to pay off, you will need that time to meet with new clients.

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