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A campfire with roasting marshmellows.

Accounting Marketing Campfire: Content Marketing Trends

Recently, we served as the subject matter experts on a virtual networking call with the national Association for Accounting Marketing.

We picked up some tips and trends for accounting firm marketing to share with you. Here they are in no particular order:

Use content marketing scheduling tools.

Many of the accounting marketers discussed their approach to scheduling content and making sure they have a plan each month, especially when last-minute content is added.

Tools mentioned included a separate calendar in Outlook to coordinate their team and to plot in content deadlines. Others use project workflow tools such as Monday.com and Airtable.

For some marketers, it helps to create a theme for the month or quarter, tied to your marketing keywords or to the firm’s business goals. Then address the types of content you will create and how often each month.

How many blog posts is the right amount per month? We advised that frequency of any content is less important than the quality of content and your firm’s marketing goals. You will learn how frequently you should post and promote new content by what your analytics are telling you through the year. Let that data inform how you schedule content for the coming year.

Plus, it’s ok to repeat content for people who may have missed it the first time!

Make content creation competitive or required.

Marketers still struggle with the age-old challenge of getting their practice leaders or technical experts to help them develop new content, let alone write it, create a video or participate in a podcast.

The Association for Accounting Marketing members had some great answers for that issue. One idea is to make it a competition and instill the fear of missing out (FOMO) among different practice groups. Another is to request content from directors or managers rather than busy partners, those in your firm who are eager to establish their own reputations and books of business.

A final idea is to have content creation required. Top leadership can direct this activity as part of the firm culture. If each leader contributed an idea or article a month, marketing would be a whole lot easier.

Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose.

Once accounting marketers get ideas and/or content from the subject matter experts, they all agreed that their job is to use that content in as many ways as possible. A blog post can become a speaking topic or magazine pitch. A video script can become a blog post. A longer video can be mined for micro-video clips to share on social media, and the audio portion can become a podcast.

When practice group leaders realize that one small effort can produce massive visibility for their team, they may be more willing to offer ideas and keep the party going.

Be mindful of the experts’ preferences because some of them are better at writing while others have a great personality for video and presentations. Play to their strengths, and they will gain confidence.

Hire a business ghostwriter.

It was interesting to learn that most mid-sized accounting firms have a ghostwriter on call to help them produce the volume of content they need each month. It makes sense from a capacity standpoint, but also for the ease of interviewing subject matter experts.

The accounting marketers said that you need a professional to draw out the ideas and key points from the practice group. Your technical experts have the knowledge, but an experienced ghostwriter is focused on the marketing angle and your audience.

READ: How to develop a content marketing strategy

The Association for Accounting Marketing is the principal organization for accounting firm marketing in the U.S., and their annual conference is anticipated and actively attended. It was a privilege to participate in their “campfire” conversation about content marketing for accounting firms.

Your content marketing approach can benefit by taking time to network with other marketing leaders. At the very least, you can learn what other marketers are doing to solve common challenges, such as getting your practice leaders to create content!

Take time for networking opportunities, and let us know if you have any questions about content marketing or ghostwriting services.

You may also like our blog post about virtual networking.


 

A large sandwich with lunch meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato.

Social Media Marketing That’s ‘Snackable’

We don’t know how your schedule looks lately, but it seems to be heating up around here. That means less time and attention to posts and emails that aren’t directly tied to work or families. 

It’s the perfect time to reinvent your social media marketing strategy. We have these trends and tips to help you grab attention as prospects scan your channels. 

‘Snackable’ Social Content

‘Snackable’ is the marketing term for 2021. People are tired of being online, and they want quick, clear content that is easily consumed and shared. We’re talking about inspiring quotes with cool images, posts that include animation and short video clips that take seconds to view. 

To apply snackable social media to engineering firm, accounting firm or other professional services marketing, here are a few tips: 

Tip #1: When creating social media posts, build your image in an app like Canva and make use of their free library of animated gifs to add to your post.

Woman smiling with her arms raised in a sea of confetti.

Example: We added a confetti gif image over the static best workplaces image to catch attention.

Tip #2: Use inspiring quotes as part of your weekly social posting to showcase your firm’s core values or culture.

An example of a inspiring quote.

Here at Ingenuity, we liked this quote because it spoke about intelligence and relationships which are part of our firm’s core strengths.

Tip #3: Include snackable video clips edited down from longer videos with a quick message that people can consume and use right away.

In this example, we took a longer video with five tips and focused on the color palette tip. The shorter clip can play live over and over on social channels. It promotes services in a new way, and it re-uses content you have already created. 

Other Social Media Marketing for Professional Service Firms

Of course, your posts are only helpful for professional service branding and marketing if people actually see them! You need to focus on your number of followers, how often they like or comment on your posts and if they share them. 

Start by encouraging your own team members to like and share your firm’s content. This expands your social media reach by getting in front of the networks of each team member. That can represent thousands of new possible connections and followers on your company pages. This works because your team members probably have connections in target industries that could use your services. Plus, personal posts get better social media ranking than your company page posts. 

You can also boost your social engagement by mentioning or “tagging” a client, a referral source or your connections. Just make sure the tagging relates to the social post. People don’t want to be tagged if the post doesn’t relate to them. 

For example, in the Best Workplaces post we showed you, you could tag the media company that gave your firm the award. The media outlet will appreciate the shout-out, and they might even like, comment or share your post!

Increased likes, follows and comments – engagement – with your posts helps your firm or association rank higher on social channels as an influencer. When those busy potential clients flip through their social feeds, they won’t pass you by!

Learn more about Ingenuity’s social media strategies and creative insights. You may also be interested in How to Use Social Media for Leads.


 

Client Satisfaction Blog

Borrow these 3 client experience hacks from DIY tax platforms

Client Satisfaction Blog

Right now, DIY tax platforms are designed for individuals with simple returns, and they don’t necessarily compete with CPA firms. However, their proactive communications throughout tax season are quite elegant and worth a closer look.

Leveraging their technology, these platforms communicate with customers and potential customers prior to tax season, during the tax preparation process and after. Since there is no personal relationship with a CPA, they enhance the client experience with regular, strategic email check-ins and feedback requests.

You may be very proactive throughout the year with your clients in an advisory capacity. When deadlines push and laws change rapidly, though, your firm could leverage marketing technology to stay in touch and productive.

Corporate clients are still run by individuals who are busy and don’t have time to check on the status of tax filings and payments or audits. Even so, they want to know that their CPA is on the job despite regulatory delays or deadline extensions. Take a cue from DIY tax services in these three ways to enhance your clients’ experience. They are simple and will be appreciated.

Hack #1 – Reminders to Connect

Once people have an account with a DIY service, the platform begins a series of emails with friendly reminders to get in touch. It’s their version of a tax planner, but they send it more than once to remind busy customers to get started.

Whether you are communicating with CFOs, administrators or owners, a series of pre-planning or reminder emails strengthens the client experience because it does not require the client to search through paperwork OR emails to find your firm’s instructions or request. When that reminder email shows up, your clients will appreciate the simplicity of following through.

These emails can be personalized and scheduled through your integrated CRM and marketing tools. In this DIY tax platform example, the email is reminding the client of a scheduled appointment. Busy people appreciate reminders.

Appointment Reminder Example

Hack #2 – Automated Updates

With unprecedented tax changes over the past few years, CPAs have experienced an endless tax season. So have your clients.

Amidst these changing tax laws, regulations and filing deadlines, the DIY platforms do a smart thing. They send regular updates to let customers know about the status of their returns.

Automated Email Updates

In your automated email updates, you can give a status update, but also proactively let the client know what it means and what’s next for them.

These updates calm client concerns or frustrations. You will potentially avoid multiple calls or emails from clients, which disrupts your team’s productivity. Use your technology to set up these emails in advance. They can be as simple as:

“Good news! Your tax preparation is underway. I will let you know when I have more details on your filing date. Thank you for choosing us.”

OR

“Thanks for your patience. We are waiting on information from the IRS regarding some aspects of your return, and we will update you on filing status by March 17…”

READ: Keys to Fostering Brand Loyalty for Your Firm

Hack #3 – Measure Client Satisfaction

DIY tax platforms always offer a survey or ask customers to review their service to help them improve it. The surveys are less than three minutes, but they target certain aspects of the tax filing process. They help the company identify service, technology or outcomes that people highly value or highly dislike.

Quality Customer Support

Through your CPA firm marketing, you can offer a series of multiple choice and open-ended questions in a short survey following your key tax or audit engagements. They can be automated like the DIY tax platforms to feed your firm information about the client experience.

Surveys should be analyzed for action steps that support future communications. They can also help you identify new services to offer.

Using these three client experience hacks from DIY tax platforms can optimize the great advisory relationships you have built with loyal clients. They will also help new clients feel like they made the right choice with your firm. If you need assistance with client experience communications or setting up your automated digital marketing surveys, contact us at Ingenuity.

View Ingenuity’s research and survey services.

Video title for "Tips to Jumpstart Creative Marketing"

Make Your Marketing Strategy Personal

Positivity may be the secret ingredient to jumpstart your creative marketing strategy. How can your firm or association brighten the day for others? In this video Communications Consultant Christine Nelson talks through a few creative marketing ideas that can refresh your personal connection with clients or members.

Borrow these ideas to inspire your conversations and marketing strategy, and make marketing personal!


If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

Are you tired of reading? No really. Every day you get tons of emails and reminders and texts that want your attention. Maybe you’ve started to delete everything.

Well, that’s probably what your clients and potential clients are doing or want to do, too. With this in mind, take the opportunity to get more creative with your marketing. It can start with a dose of positivity!

Think about it. How can your firm or association brighten the day for others?

Here are a few ideas to make your marketing more creative, but also more human focused:

Send a handwritten note to say how much you value a client’s business or a member’s contributions.

You can also change up your regular newsletters or correspondence by including tips for making life easier. A simple work hack or life balance tip is always appreciated.

How about picking up the phone? If you’ve done too many videoconferences in a row, change it up and suggest a short phone call to focus on active listening. 

How about creating a video that demonstrates how several of your team members are volunteering for a great cause. Share it on social for more engagement with your followers. You could also create a challenge or contest that everyone can participate in!

Looking ahead, are there new, ancillary services you can offer that support personal connection with clients or members? How about, in addition to quarterly check-ins, a quarterly business vision mapping or marketing component to help them focus on new possibilities?

Your own team or a facilitator can support these forward-focused conversations.   Help people imagine a bigger, satisfying future while you work with them on solutions for today’s challenges.

Now I’m sure you can find many ways to bring hope and inspiration to your clients and members. But if you need more ideas, connect with me at Ingenuity!


 

Illustration of a magnet attracting potential customers.

3 Lead Generation Tactics to Attract Quality Leads

Illustration of a magnet attracting potential customers.
One thing is certain — things don’t always go as planned. Adding a few new elements into your business development strategy may be the push that helps your professional services firm attract quality leads during times of disruption.    
 
We get it! Certain goals get pushed aside during a busy season, during the acquisition of a new company, and when a global pandemic strikes. The good news is that these disruptions present business development opportunities for attracting more people to your brand and message. Here are a few small, but effective lead generation tactics to continue receiving referrals and gaining new business during disruption.
 
  • Host a virtual event
  • Create a referral reward program
  • Create an online assessment
 
While the world continues to demand opportunities to connect virtually, how can this be an advantage to attract new business? The chance to attract quality leads through virtual or online platforms becomes increasingly important when turning those leads into returning clients. This is true not only for CPA firms, but equally applies to other service organizations, including those in charge of marketing for an association, as well as legal professionals and engineering firms.

HOST A VIRTUAL EVENT.

A computer screen showing a virtual meeting.Creating an event for current and potential clients to see what your team has been up to, or where you’re headed, is a great way to encourage engagement with your firm. Offer a workshop or webinar where your clients can learn more about your organization and industry trends. Hosting a virtual event provides the opportunity to stand out as an industry thought leader! Invite speakers to join your event who have a deep insight into certain topics that will get your crowd buzzing on the new content.
 
To reach a magnitude of people, promote this event through your firm’s website, social channels, newsletter and blog. Hosting virtual events may influence even more people than is possible hosting similar events in person. Take advantage of the current trend to go virtual to reach even more people and gain trust from quality leads.
 
Don’t forget to press “record” when hosting your virtual events. Save this content and recycle it  to attract another round of quality leads.
 

CREATE A REFERRAL REWARD PROGRAM.

Reward ribbon with star in the center.Put your current clients or referral sources in a position to easily refer new leads and promote your brand through a referral reward program. New potential clients value and trust recommendations from their friends or colleagues, so encourage existing clients to spread the word about your brand. Referral reward programs can be short or long-term and are wildly effective.
 
Creating a referral reward program is not only a great way to gain new clients, but can also increase participation for an upcoming webinar or virtual event. Offer up an incentive to your clients to invite a friend, such as a special drawing at an upcoming virtual event, to encourage current clients to recruit new business leads on your behalf. Think of what types of initiatives make the most sense with your industry or organization and will keep clients and referral sources engaged in helping your firm or organization. While it is unlikely these new webinar recruits will instantly become new clients, they will be excellent new additions to keep your lead generation funnel filled with qualified, engaged potential clients.
 
Continue to introduce new incentives and new content for other professionals to refer their clients and friends to you. Don’t forget that the best incentive for people to send referrals is when you refer a potential client to them, too! Work on your cross-referral relationships to support each other in new business growth. 

GET TO KNOW YOUR LEADS.

Creating a business development strategy around a new referral program or virtual event presents exciting opportunities for your firm to learn more about potential future clients. When obtaining information from referred leads, make sure to ask them questions about themselves. Asking questions helps you gain information to keep them coming back for more. Here are a few ways to throw short, effective assessments into your business development strategy:
 
  • Create polls in your virtual webinar series or workshops
  • Add questionnaires at the end of presentations to see what topics people would like to hear about in the future
  • Add short survey questions into your email or newsletter blasts to learn more about your leads and loyal clients
  • Build a web assessment that is industry focused and invites visitors to self-qualify their need for services by identifying their biggest challenges or pains. 
 
With your goals in mind, ask questions that will lead you to information that supports follow-up conversations with leads and prospects. Over time you will also have the opportunity to show how you’ve changed your business development strategy and produced new content based on how your clients and prospects answer your questions and assessments. This demonstrates to your clients that you’re listening. You are building a positive reputation that supports an effective lead generation funnel even during times of disruption.
 
Remember to always collect an email address! Having an email address provides the opportunity to stay connected to quality leads through email campaigns and newsletter blasts. Your leads can stay connected to the events and content you produce until they are ready to work with you. Sending your content through email and social media will also help your brand stay top-of-mind as a thought leader in the industry. 
 
 
Looking for more advice on developing a strong business development strategy? Let’s schedule a conversation to see how we can help. 

Man opening shirt to reveal superhero costume with the words "CAS" on his chest.

Accounting Niche Marketing Strategy for CAS

Man opening shirt to reveal superhero costume with the words "CAS" on his chest.
Recently, we had the opportunity to develop a Client Accounting Services (CAS) business toolkit for public accounting firms. It was designed with best practices to help firm leaders get their ducks in a row to launch or grow a CAS practice.
 
Some firms get by with offering a version of CAS without proactively branding and marketing it. That’s fine if you don’t believe it can be a true profit center. However, industry advocates such as AICPA and firm leaders who formally pursue CAS experience faster growth and client retention. That’s because the whole firm participates, and their clients experience the real value and benefits of outsourcing their accounting and CFO functions. 
 
In fact, the AICPA has reported that CAS practices that surpass the $2 million mark are different because they have dedicated staff (from accountant to partner level), and the firm actively offers these services to current and new clients…they market it.*  
 
Here is what we learned when discussing niche-marketing strategies with the recipients of our CAS business toolkit: It needs to be treated like a real niche practice. And that means it needs: 
 
  • Staffing and budgeting;
  • Technology investment;
  • Consistent marketing, and 
  • A team trained to talk about its value and benefit to clients. 
Often, firms get hung up in the marketing component because they assume that clients just know that they offer QuickBooks ProAdvisor team or outsourced accounting or controllership services. After all, they are a public accounting firm! But CAS is not your grandfather’s accounting service. 

Know Your Target Audience

  • Prospects – cold to warm
  • Existing clients – warm to hot
  • Referral sources – cold to warm
Who are your prospective CAS clients? What is the size and characteristic of a business that will find outsourced CAS appealing? Detail out the kind of client you want who will bring you $3,000-$7,000 a month as a baseline. 
 
Determine referral sources that can send clients to you. Next, create a plan with talking points about why CAS is the right fit for many of your existing clients. 

Build Your CAS Niche Marketing Strategy

Set a financial and staffing goal for your practice. Where do you want to grow the practice in 12 months to 3 years? 
 
Take that goal and break it down into measurable objectives for brand visibility, growth among existing clients and attraction of new CAS-specific clients. What marketing activities will you need to reach these objectives? 
 
To succeed, someone has to take the lead on marketing and measuring your progress toward these objectives and firm goals. Your partners and technical people are too busy serving clients. They need a guide and ongoing activities to support practice growth. 

Digital Marketing Agency Support

To make visibility with a CAS practice easier, take stock of your search engine optimization and website content. Are you actively seeking web visitors and leads for your CAS practice or leaving it up to chance? Leaving it up to chance means that your firm might pop up as a search result for CAS and it might not — even in your local market!
 
 
Make use of client stories and social media engagement to highlight your CAS team and their amazing knowledge that supports client goals every day. Do your research and ask for the business online as well as in person. What does that look like?
 
  • Offer CAS content subscriptions 
  • Produce webinars or videos to share CAS features
  • Create an assessment to attract prospects
  • Develop an FAQ resource
In the beginning, you don’t have to do all of these. Just pick one or two. When clients and potential clients can self-serve and qualify themselves for CAS services, you are halfway to closing the deal. But your audience has to know that the resources are there and available 24/7. Marketing and team training points them to it. 
 
Like clients who need CAS, your firm leadership may not all realize that outsourced marketing services can jumpstart your CAS practice growth. We are happy to answer your questions at Ingenuity. Contact Dawn Wagenaar for a consultation.  
 
 

Businessman wearing cape with arm in air.

Supercharging your Marketing Strategies with Partnerships and Referrals

Businessman wearing cape with arm in air.

If you have built up a positive brand reputation for your professional services firm, partnership marketing and referral source marketing are two tactics you should consider making a part of your overall marketing strategy. When two brands come together for their mutual benefit, the results can be quite impressive and create new opportunities to reach prospective clients or members.

Partnership Marketing

Partnership marketing is simply when two brands collaborate on a marketing campaign. Some of the most common ways we are seeing this accomplished within professional service firms and associations is through co-hosted webinars, newsletter shout-outs and creating co-branded content such as whitepapers.

As you consider who to partner with, be strategic and make sure that there is a mutual benefit. Maybe you have a larger client list but the other partner has a magnetic and trusting personality that makes webinars fun. Or perhaps you have more expertise in an area and your marketing partner has a very engaged audience. Even if your partnership marketing efforts are a bit lopsided, that’s entirely okay. Sometimes it is worth it in order to forge the relationship and create loyalty.

The benefits of partnership marketing are many and include increased brand awareness through exposure beyond your primary audience, new contacts for your nurturing campaigns and lead generation. It is also an association and professional services marketing strategy that is low risk. You can dip your toes into the waters of partnership marketing to see what resonates with your target audience and quickly adjust your strategies with minimal investment or cost up front.

READ: Marketing to Real People in a Digital World

Referral Source Marketing

When we talk to our clients, we often find that they are neglecting their referral sources in their networking and marketing efforts. If you are not optimizing this source of business development, you may be missing out on some great prospective clients or members.

Whether you are just building your referral marketing strategies or need a refresher in how to implement it, here are a few tips to boost your efforts in this area.

First, identify referral sources that could send business your way. For CPA firms, this may include attorneys or financial advisors. For an association, this could be a nonprofit with a similar mission that complements yours. Make sure they understand what you do and what your ideal prospect looks like.

Next connect regularly with your referral sources. Create a schedule so that you are routinely calling or emailing them just to connect. The goal is to stay top-of-mind so they refer you when the opportunities arise.

Finally, when you receive referrals you appreciate, pick up the phone and let them know. Once you’ve done that, take it a step further and do something nice for them. You could send a referral their way, give them a recommendation or review or make another type of introduction that would be helpful to their business. Go out of your way to send the message that you appreciate their support in your success by contributing to theirs.

WATCH:How to Get More Referrals

Implementing partnership and referral source marketing into your strategies can help you build your brand awareness and connect with new potential clients or members. Give it a try and see what works for your professional service firm or association.

You may also be interested in how you can boost your virtual business development efforts to bridge the gap with lost face-to-face networking and tradeshow opportunities.


 

The top header of The Marketer magazine.

SEO Techniques Published in National AEC Magazine

Marketer magazine cover from August 2020.Dawn Wagenaar and Christine Nelson co-authored an article in the August 2020 issue of The Marketer for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). This national magazine is a premiere publication for marketers and business development professionals in the A/E/C industry and other professional services.

We are honored to contribute our knowledge to A/E/C professionals and those who serve them. Below is the article in its entirety, reprinted with permission by SMPS, which reserves their magazine for members as a benefit. Let us know if you have any questions about your website SEO and how to optimize it for visitors, clients and leads!

Creating Dynamic Websites for Secure Online Marketing

While some firms have been fairly agile in moving to an online workflow and marketing approach, even before COVID-19, others are still counting the costs and missed opportunities of a delayed response. Although dynamic online marketing and business development have been available for many years now, adoption in A/E/C has been slow or even nonexistent.

On a spectrum of digital priorities for the new decade, more than 50% of professional services firms emphasized new content creation, but less than one-third were focused on analytics or website design, according to the 2020 High Growth Study by Hinge. This begs the question: With the amount of time it takes to develop and post new content, what’s the true benefit if no one sees it?

Lead generation through content requires analytics, which in turn require dynamic digital platforms. The Hinge statistics would need to be flipped for a true revolution to an online marketing and growth platform. For firms that are serious about growth through online marketing, here are some basic upgrades in SEO and security they need to consider.

Updated Web Platform

Sometimes, an old platform just can’t continue the digital journey, particularly if platform themes weren’t updated regularly along the way. In that case, your firm may need to invest in a new platform or updated theme to make the website more secure and searchable.

To help you decide if you need a web refresh or a whole new website, conduct a site audit to identify important things like missing metadata or outdated site functionality.

Secure Web Certificate

A secure website is dependent on many things, but one easy way to see if you have a baseline secure website is to see if your URL address is “https” rather than “http.” New websites are already developed with “https,” but some need back-end work to update their certificate and avoid search engines labeling them as not secure—and advising visitors to leave immediately. You don’t want that happening, as most antivirus software won’t even allow visitors to open or use unsecure sites.

ADA Compliance and Opt-In Policy

Do the images on your website have descriptions and alt tags to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements? Are font sizes large enough? Do your videos have captions and transcriptions? If not, it’s time for an update.

In addition, your website collection information should provide clear opt-out marketing messaging and a written privacy policy, so visitors know their privacy rights and expectations for data collection. It’s a courtesy as much as an evolving standard for digital marketing.

Working Analytics

Strangely, we see this common problem, even in new websites: The back-end analytics code is added twice, or it’s skipped altogether. The site’s analytics should be checked postlaunch to make sure pages are indexing properly and the analytics are collecting data on visits. If the web developer doesn’t do this, invest in a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert to make sure your firm isn’t losing weeks or months of visitor data.

Once your analytics are in good working order, create tutorials or training for staff on which analytics are important for your firm to track. Monthly SEO reports have no meaning unless they’re translated as part of your overall marketing and business development goals. You need to know if content campaigns are working and attracting visitors and leads in order to know which ones to repeat or maximize.

Keyword Research

This is a huge area of digital marketing but is far too often missed in the development of content. Your firm should have a set of strong keywords and phrases that are searched for your specific services. You can create the list by seeing which bring visitors to your website now, and then add related keywords and phrases.

Keyword research is just as much an art as a science. Success can depend on whether people are searching on mobile devices, through voice assistants, or on their laptops. Balance popular or widely searched keywords with those that are more unique to your firm and geography. Use more than one keyword tool to create a strong list.


This is a huge area of digital marketing but is far too often missed in the development of content. Your firm should have a set of strong keywords and phrases that are searched for your specific services.


SEO

Once you have a solid keyword list, your content needs optimization. This means that keywords get incorporated strategically into headlines and body copy, but also that page titles and meta descriptions are built into all new content. You can make this step easier by creating a blog template that asks the writer (or ghostwriter) to add in the SEO while they are writing the content. Be mindful of character counts in page titles and the sensible use of keywords for your readers.

As part of your SEO campaigns, you may choose to focus on certain key phrases that align with the services you’re promoting each quarter for growth and leads. This will keep you focused on attracting visitors for those services, but also help your firm improve its search engine ranking for those phrases. Again, this is an art and a science because search engines continually update their algorithms and methods of ranking sites for relevant content.

Some of the rankings also consider if your firm is conducting paid digital advertising. This is, of course, how search engines make their money.

Calls to Action

Too many websites leave visitors trying to figure out where they should go next. For example, it doesn’t help to say, “Contact us for more information” at the end of a blog post with no detailed information or link.

Strategic calls to action guide visitors directly to the link of a related blog post, video, or whitepaper. Entire content campaigns take the visitor on a path from blog post to client success story to whitepaper to service area and a formal needs assessment or query. This is how qualified leads happen directly online. The visitor qualifies themself and requests a call, more information, or a demo.

In fact, during the early months of working-from-home this year, we saw a noted increase in search queries and use of website contact boxes by visitors who were desperate for information on a variety of business needs. They found it easiest to ask a question via contact box. The firms that were ready to respond quickly got the lead.

Flip the script on your website experience. Focus now on the infrastructure and right analytics that will get more eyes on your informative content. Your 24/7, secure, and optimized website will pay dividends when you can’t market in person.

Here’s a free tool to get started. Our SEO Checklist helps you determine where your website could use some updates to attract leads and persuade referrals.

GET THE SEO CHECKLIST

Also, check out this related blog post on identifying gaps in your niche marketing strategy.


 

Hand nurturing and watering young baby plants growing in germination sequence on fertile soil.

Create Digital Marketing Nurturing Sequences for Leads

Hand nurturing and watering young baby plants growing in germination sequence on fertile soil.

It’s simple… and it’s time.

Is your marketing list stale?
Is it harder to pick up new leads through networking?
Are visits to your website high, but you don’t know who is searching?

Traditional business development for professional services — including recruitment — dictates that you network at events, build relationships and get referrals. But what if you can’t do that as much as you like? After all, you’re busy with many other things.

Although referrals and networking can warm up leads and shorten the sales cycle, sometimes it’s not enough to keep your list fresh for high growth.

For years, a website was regarded as a billboard to prove that your organization exists. Now we’re at a phase of fresh content development, but who is reading it? Want to find out and capture those names and emails of potentially great new clients?

Build and enhance your own digital marketing strategy.

SEE: DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY SERVICES

High-growth firms, whether that’s CPA firms or firms in the architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) space or financial service and legal firms, can all benefit from a digital marketing strategy. It’s a simple concept, but it takes time and commitment to execute well.

An example of how a simple nurturing sequence could look.

This is the simplest example of how a nurturing sequence could work. You may have part of this process happening already — with social posts linked to blog posts — but it’s the email capture and nurturing emails that really help to drive conversion. Here is another example:

A chart showing how a nurturing sequence could look.

In this example, you are introducing new leads to a valuable piece of content through a call to action (CTA) in each email. The content could be a whitepaper, a guide or even a webinar invite.

If recipients don’t click the first time, they get nurtured by additional emails to click through and download the content/register for something. Once they take a key action (opt-in), the digital lead nurturing doesn’t stop there. Follow-up emails continue the digital “conversation” by highlighting elements of the content they might be interested in. The ultimate goal is to get the lead to view more related content on the website, get persuaded of their timely need for help, and take an assessment or have a call with the subject matter expert or business development professional.

These emails can be created to come directly from the business development lead or niche leader, so the communications are immediately personal.

A nurturing sequence does the work of warming up leads while your professionals focus on follow-up. They can also add fresh names to your list, which is harder to do these days with data privacy regulations. Each lead’s behavior, tracked through email software and marketing automation tools and web contact forms, demonstrates when the lead is ready to have a call and learn more from your professionals. You don’t bother them. They want you to reach out.

Bonus: Nurturing sequences are working 24/7 for you — whenever a lead is searching for your solutions and services — and they can be set up by the marketing department to support your other business development activities.

Real Results Through SEO Strategy and Digital Marketing

See how one firm brings in business leads through valuable niche content, social and SEO strategies through its newly optimized website. Read their story.
 
You might ask yourself why it’s a good time for your firm or organization to focus more attention on digital marketing and SEO techniques that drive leads to your door. 
 
Change. 
 
  • Your firm may have partners looking to retire who want to modernize their marketing processes, which will increase growth and result in a higher valuation. 
  • You may have struggled with traditional business development and want to diversify your options, multiplying the number of leads that come to you each month.
  • You may realize that leads are finding competitors online before they find your firm’s name in search engine results for similar services. You don’t get asked to the table when you should. You aren’t visible enough.
  • You may have an eager team ready to invest in this type of business development — through emails, content writing and social media connections — as opposed to time-consuming happy hours and tradeshows. 
It all matters. 
 
Investment in digital marketing and SEO strategy is important in an age of virtual and remote work and rapid changes in digital communications, brand positioning and options to stay visible and relevant to your audience. 
 
Take time to explore your options, and decide if doing it yourself is the best approach or if you could use a jumpstart through an outsourced relationship like Ingenuity’s team. We look forward to nurturing you. 
 
Here’s a free tool to get started. Our SEO Checklist helps you determine where your website could use some updates to attract leads and persuade referrals.
 
 
Also, check out this related blog post on identifying gaps in your niche marketing strategy.

Three puzzle pieces connected with the one in the middle shaded red with the words "Minding the Gap" on it.

Minding the Gap

Three puzzle pieces connected with the one in the middle shaded red with the words "Minding the Gap" on it.

When you have a gap in your marketing, it simply means that you have a group of prospects who have not yet converted to becoming a client – they are not buying your services. These gaps are opportunities that can revolve around your core services or a niche that is unmet with current clients and prospects. Identifying these gaps is your first step to filling them.

Gap Marketing to Improve Firm Value for M&A

When it comes to ownership transitions, the goal is to maximize value. If your exit strategy is hinging on an acquisition, this is something you have to plan for in advance. Positioning your firm as a high value acquisition can require some brand positioning and messaging to accomplish.

We recently worked with a CPA firm on the East coast who had approached a larger firm about the possibility of being acquired. They were told that it was not a viable option at that time and were given areas to improve if they wanted this to be future possibility. While the firm worked on their internal processes, Ingenuity was tasked with rebranding the firm and creating a marketing strategy to grow their core services and niches. After a few years of dedicated effort, the firm’s value improved and they were able to be acquired. While the firm was able to improve their processes and services from within, a strong marketing strategy and rebranding campaign played a role in the success.

If you want to improve your firm’s value to be better positioned for an acquisition, here are a few areas to look at.

Specialization and Niches Help Drive Acquisition

You cannot be all things to all people. Some firms operate too broadly with the services they offer and the industries they serve. This may indicate that they don’t really know their ideal client. Identify who your best clients are and what makes them so great. Why do they do business with your firm? Once you understand what it is that brings great clients to you and why they stay, you are on the path to determining where to focus your efforts to grow your client base.

It’s also important to identify which services and industries your employees excel in. If your firm is adept at conducting audits for nonprofit entities, then create a marketing strategy to develop and grow this area. Perhaps you live in a fast growing metro area with a lot of construction firms in the market that need outsourced accounting. Whatever the service or industry, a concentrated marketing effort can grow your firm and improve its value as a high value acquisition target.

Concentrate on Processes

If your firm lacks processes and documentation, can be this quickest way to an unfulfilled acquisition. While it might be fun and hip to forego formal processes, it doesn’t provide a solid foundation for operational success. Furthermore, if your firm relies on individuals over formalized processes, your firm is vulnerable to their continued employment. This can be an immediate red flag during an acquisition. Creating documentation for your processes shows that you value your employees, your clients and that you prioritize the firm’s continued success.

Look the Part

Quality brand positioning is critical to show how what your firm is about. The firm acquiring yours may decide to keep your brand intact, especially if you are well respected within your community and specialty and niche services. Ensuring that you have all branding elements in place can help create perceived value. Is your website up-to-date and optimized for SEO? Is your marketing collateral branded consistently with messaging that conveys your firm’s capabilities and differentiates you from your competitors? Have you created a proposal format that helps you win business?

Selling a company is no small feat. It takes some planning and work to be positioned for high value. Ingenuity has the tools to provide analysis and recommendations for identifying marketing gaps around your services or niches.

Read about 10 ways you can maximize your niche marketing strategy.