6 Effective Strategies for Marketing a Bookkeeping Business
The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day. You love what you do and you’re ready for what’s coming next for your business. The only cloud in your sky?
There are no new bookkeeping clients knocking on your door.
You have goals for growing your firm: goals for client numbers, goals for revenue, and those targets are important to you. But it’s not as simple as hanging out your “open” sign and letting clients trickle in.
You need a plan to acquire new clients, especially in a digital world where casual conversations are less likely to happen when you’re out and about. You need to create these connections with your target audience on your own.
It’s time to build an effective marketing plan to grow your bookkeeping business.
What Every Bookkeeping Business Owner Should Know About New Client Acquisition
The most important part of developing a marketing strategy for your bookkeeping business is identifying your value proposition. What is the transformation that you can promise your clients, if they decide to work with you?
In today’s saturated marketplace, it’s not enough to say you can fulfill a service. You must communicate what a client’s life will look like after they begin working with you, and why that matters for their goals. You don’t just offer bookkeeping services. You are offering business owners a way to streamline their finances, focus on where they can make an impact in their company, and take pressure off their internal team.
Once you’ve identified your core message, it should act as the foundation for marketing efforts and will determine the overall success in reaching potential clients.
First: Define Your Niche
A baseline exercise you should consider for your bookkeeping firm is to identify your target niche. Who exactly are you helping? If you cast too wide a net, it’s unlikely you’ll gain a reputation for anything specific. And that’s exactly what you want to do: be known for something.
For example, do you run bookkeeping specifically for food service businesses with a lot of payroll and a complex inventory system? Or is your bookkeeping service focused centrally on healthcare providers like private dental practices?
The more specific you can get, the better. There are two top reasons why this is essential to your bookkeeping company’s success:
- When you hone in on a specific audience, you’ll be able to systemize your operations and more efficiently scale your own internal team.
- When you define a niche, it helps you focus your marketing strategy. When you know who your target clients are, you can make sure you are present where they are, and get noticed.
Hear from Greg O’Brien on how he grew a million-dollar accounting firm in only 24 months by choosing a niche and owning the space.
6 Strategies to Bring in New Bookkeeping Business
Once you have your value proposition, your message, and your niche, you have laid the groundwork for growing your bookkeeping small business. Here are six ways to begin engaging with new prospective clients:
Strategy #1: Build Relationships with Other Business Growth Professionals
Chances are, before a business tries to find a bookkeeping service, they’re going to need other types of help. They may need a website. They may need a graphic designer to design their logo. Or, they may need a printing service to produce business cards.
Think about when you started your bookkeeping business and the vendors you worked with to get it off the ground. These other businesses can become your essential partners that are interacting with new business owners before any revenue hits their books.
Action to take: Start talking to other key business service professionals about how you can partner together to serve the needs of growing companies in your community. A good place to meet other local business owners is a Chamber of Commerce chapter. Online, local Facebook groups could also be a good place to connect.
Strategy #2: Own Your Digital Footprint
When a business owner searches for a bookkeeping service in their community, do you show up in search results?
Better yet, when a business owner searches for a bookkeeper that operates in their specific niche, do you show up?
Your website is your digital real estate. When you build a space for people to find you, there’s a much better chance your next client is going to decide that you are the one for them – long before you talk on the phone or exchange emails.
If you’re just starting your business, you may not have a wealth of clients to draw on, but consider trying to generate online reviews in business directories. Research shows that 93% of customers look at online reviews before buying a product, and this includes professional business services.
Action to take: Set up a website or use social media to create a firm page/handle that states exactly what you do and whom you do it for. By using search engine optimization (SEO) research, you can make sure you’re getting found for the keywords and topics you know your future client is searching for.
Strategy #3: Be the “Go-To” Resource
Online marketing doesn’t begin and end with website creation. Every single time you publish a new piece of helpful, digital content, you’re creating another opportunity to answer someone’s pressing question and get found.
Two steps you can take to begin creating useful content for your prospective audience: 1) pick a channel, and 2) pick a format.
For example, you could choose YouTube as a channel and video as your format. Release weekly videos answering a business owner’s most common questions about how to set up a QuickBooks Online account.
If video is too difficult, you could choose your website as a channel, and blog content as your format. Write weekly blogs on commonly misunderstood accounting terms.
Action to take: Think about where you have unique expertise, and jot down some ideas for types of questions you could answer for your audience. Then, test out a few different content formats. Are you better at writing Twitter threads or crafting a LinkedIn post? Do you have fun on camera?
Find a way to communicate with your audience at scale and become the go-to resource for topics in your niche.
Strategy #4: Be a Useful Community Member
It’s not just about getting clients. It’s about establishing a reputation. Joining online communities on social media is a great way to start making connections, as long as you’re showing up with helpful, honest advice.
For example, let’s say your target market is entrepreneurs who are just starting out. You’re an expert at helping them set up their books for success. You could join a young entrepreneur’s Facebook group. When someone has an accounting question, go above and beyond what’s asked.
Give them a full list of what to avoid or common mistakes you’ve seen from your clients. Community members will see your expertise on display and how willing you are to provide valuable information. Sometimes the seeds of those conversations take root and yield results long in the future. Chances are, you’re going to also see the fruit of your time and effort in the near-term.
Action to take: Think about the communities who would benefit from your expertise. Where could you consistently show up and provide insight?
Strategy #5: Make Getting Started Easier Than Your Competition
Here’s a simple one. Make it crystal clear how a new client can get started with you. Make it easier to work with you than anyone else.
Does your website have a “Work with Me” page? Do you clearly outline what’s needed from them, and what you will provide, step by step?
What about booking a meeting? Do you have an automatic booking feature where prospects can easily find time to speak with you?
Get past the contact form. Make it easy for prospects to message you, get a response, and move forward with solving their problem while it’s on their mind.
It’s not just about making it easy for prospects to sign up with you. It’s about making their experience so seamless and simple, they can’t help but tell their friends.
Hear firm owner Brady Meaux talk about his client onboarding process and how he’s sped up the steps on both the internal team side and external new client side to make everything run like a charm.
Strategy #6: Incentivize Referrals
Finally, remember that the best advertising is always word-of-mouth. If you have a few very happy clients, you should use them to your advantage.
Think about what you can do to incentivize these clients to help you gain your next batch! Could you run a gift card promotion for clients that share your latest post on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms? Could you give them a discount on their services for every other client they refer?
Small business owners are always looking for ways to increase their profit margins. If they enjoy working with you and you help them accomplish this, you can bet they’re going to jump at the chance to get a discount while helping their fellow community find a great bookkeeper.
Keep Growing Your Business
Start with these six strategies, but don’t stop there.
Get the free book, “Double Your Accounting Firm” from Jetpack Workflow. It’s based on hundreds of interviews with real bookkeeping firm owners who have successfully grown their client base.
As you scale, keep Jetpack Workflow in mind to easily onboard clients, manage your growing team of employees, and ensure all client work is completed on time, at high quality.