How do bookkeepers get clients?
None of these tactics will help you with your service. Make sure the service you’re offering is awesome to be begin with and clients will start snowballing. If you already have a great service offering, keep reading and I guarantee you’ll find new ways to get more clients.
You may be wondering:
“How do I get bookkeeping clients? How do I get web design clients? How do I get clients for my consulting business? How do I get clients for my IT company? How do I get PR clients? How do I get clients?!?” The tactics I’ve listed here work across all of them! When it boils down to it, the tactics don’t change too much by industry. There are many tried and true methods that work regardless of what field you’re in. Even if you have a marketing consultant or agency taking care of lead generation—it’s still worth reading this post—maybe you’ll see something they missed and you can ask them about it.
Write and practice your elevator pitch
Just because you’re not a Bay area startup, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an elevator pitch. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to promote your business or run into someone who may need your services. If you can’t clearly communicate what you do and how you’re different—you’re going to have a tough time selling your services.
Pick a niche
You may think that offering services to everybody will land you more clients, but in many cases that’s the wrong mentality. Specializing in one industry can actually be far more lucrative in the long run.
Here are a few reasons why it might make sense to pick a niche:
- It helps clarify your target market which makes sales and marketing easier and more specific
- It gives you expert status in that industry which makes your business more appealing to that target market
- It helps you learn to speak your target market’s “language”
- It can be helpful for SEO (ex. someone looking for a ‘startup accountant’ will find your business if you specialize it that field)
- It allows you to build your processes around a single area of expertise which means you can scale faster
The concept of digital marketing or online marketing or even cloud marketing is easy to grasp when we compare it to cloud accounting; it’s simply the use of online marketing channels to enable lead generation and client acquisition. Yet, when most accountants think about marketing today, they revert to the 1970s methods of direct mail and cold calling. And when they implement those methods, they don’t realize that they risk ruining their hard-earned modern reputation, not to mention paying more for low-quality results.
When today’s clients look for a new accountant or bookkeeper, part if not all of their search occurs online. And that’s where accounting firms and bookkeeping businesses need to be too.
Attracting new clients to your business is a lot like making friends or even dating. It doesn’t happen in one connection; it can take a couple of meetings before you both trust each other enough to commit to building a relationship. Here are two steps you’ll need to take before you go looking for new clients:
- Figure out and narrow down who you are looking for.
This means creating a description of your ideal client. While you could get away with marketing to everyone ten or fifteen years ago, it doesn’t work today. Just like you won’t want to be friends with just anyone, you shouldn’t want to take on just anyone as a client. Today, smart marketers and business owners stop and learn why someone wants or needs what they have to offer. They determine the benefits or solutions the prospect is looking for and use that to create a persona or avatar of a category of clients they are looking for.
- Determine how you will attract the attention of the ideal client you are seeking.
The solution to this is to develop content that catches your prospects’ eyes. The topic of the content should be something that helps the client solve a problem they’re having related to the services you offer. This can be an accounting problem, a QuickBooks® problem, a payroll problem, a tax problem, or a financial problem. Great content will allow you to get their attention, demonstrate your expertise, and make an initial connection between you and the prospect.
Creative marketing tool, use is the cost-free benefit of publishing tax articles in various publications. This can be a time-consuming task, and it can take quite a while before you see the fruits of your labor. Publishing tax articles has allowed me to develop myself as a brand, while marketing the article on social media outlets to further capitalize on the marketing opportunity. For example, when a publication runs an article, I also publish the article on my LinkedIn network. You publish one time and give yourself the opportunity to be seen and heard by millions of people online. Allowing for some patience and time, this can be a very powerful tool because you have to publish articles frequently to keep yourself fresh and in the spotlight.
Work Your Clients
Marketing strategy that only takes time is marketing throughout the year to my existing clients. Your existing clients are, hands down, the best source of referrals. If you fail to market yourself to your existing clients, you are failing to use the best tool you have at your disposal. I use the publications that I am featured in, and articles that I publish, to market to my existing clients. Not only does it give my clients good content to read and get educated, but it also allows them to view me as an expert, which further enhances the relationship. This also provides an opportunity for existing clients to read an article and share it with their friends, family and acquaintances – more “free” marketing to people who I would not have reached.
The marketing tools I developed have taken years to get to the point where I am able to see a return on investment. Although the investment is very little monetary and mostly time, it’s still an investment; the time could be used to do income-producing work, other meaningful tasks or even enable me to have a life!
Word of mouth
We couldn’t say it better ourselves. It’s well-known that accountants win the majority of new clients through referrals. Better yet, these clients are likely to already trust you and make the onboarding process smoother. Although it sounds effortless, word of mouth marketing doesn’t happen by itself. It relies on delivering a consistent service that goes above and beyond for customers.
Ask for referrals
Sometimes, it’s good to go back to basics. Have you asked your clients to refer your services, or indeed made it easy to? If you have a solid and loyal client-base, they’d probably be more than happy to. And even if you’re starting out, they know that business relies on building good impressions. Some quick wins include adding a line to your email signature reminding them or even incentivising them with a thank you gift when they follow through. Which referral systems should you be using? Find out how to make them happen here.
Make the most of your website
Your website is the digital shop-front for your practice, so does it reflect who you are as a business? Whether you choose to create something in-house or outsource it, investing in a world-class website can be a powerful lead generation tool. Say you’re based in Brisbane; the next time someone googles ‘best accountants Brisbane’, you want to be the first link on the search page. To make sure you claim top spot, content is king. Case studies and testimonials are a great place to start, to shine a light on happy customers and show the potential of great bookkeeping.
Identify your target clients
Not all clients and prospects are created equal. You can probably put your existing clients in three groups: great, average and not-so-great.
Think about the factors that determine what a great client looks like to your firm:
- How easy are they to deal with?
- How much total revenue do they generate?
- Can you work quickly and effectively with them?
- How profitable are they?
- Do they bring positive exposure?
- Do they create connections to other great clients?
There may be other factors you need to consider. The important thing is that you understand what your ideal clients look like before you start chasing them. Sometimes there are trade-offs involved. It’s not always financial factors that put a prospect on the list. You might be moving into a new area of expertise. You may be prepared to work for less profitable clients while you’re building your reputation.
Or if your firm has a specialty, you may be able to charge a premium. Looking for new clients in the area you specialize in could be a natural and profitable direction for you.