According to the UK government’s website, there are over 300,000 accountants and bookkeepers in the UK, many of whom work in small to medium-sized accounting firms. These firms use networking, referrals, and online marketing to attract new business. While many accountants may understand the importance of digital marketing, they need to learn how to implement it effectively.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) provides its members with various resources and support, including training and advice on business development and marketing. The ICAEW notes that effective networking, building a solid online presence, and nurturing existing client relationships are crucial to generating new business for accounting firms.
Traditional networking and referral strategies used to be the go-to for generating new business. However, as people’s habits have changed, digital marketing has become increasingly necessary for online visibility and branding efforts.
10 ways to grow your accountancy practice
Here are some of the traditional and digital marketing strategies that UK accountants can use to generate new business:
1 – Referral programs: Encourage existing clients to refer new customers by offering incentives such as discounts or other rewards. However, it must be formalised and technically driven using reliable automation and strong customer relationship management (CRM) to make it scalable.
2 – Networking: Attend industry events and conferences to meet potential clients and build relationships with other professionals. However, this strategy takes a lot of physical and mental time, and you need to put in the hours and get the “face time” before the business starts flowing. On average, you need to attend a networking event around five times and connect with each person at least 12 times before they refer you or introduce a new client.
3 – Online advertising: Utilize social media platforms and search engine advertising to target potential customers searching for accounting services online. This strategy works almost immediately and is as scalable as you like.
4 – Content marketing: Create and share informative content such as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos demonstrating expertise and providing value to potential clients. While this strategy is highly scalable, it takes time to create the right content, and there is no guarantee that people will be attracted to it.
5 – Email marketing: Use email campaigns to promote services and provide updates to existing clients. This strategy is fantastic but is also limited to the number of existing clients and the people on your mailing list. Combining this strategy with paid and content advertising can yield vast amounts of leads, but it needs to be adequately managed with stable technology to host the campaigns.
6 – Direct mail campaigns: Send targeted mailings to potential clients in a specific geographic area or industry. While this strategy is a favourite of many, it is limited by the business’s relationship with the client’s current accountant. You must provide a better, cheaper, more valuable, or additional service to succeed.
7 – Strategic partnerships: Partner with other businesses and professionals to offer bundled services or cross-promotions. While this is a staple of all partners, this is not a scalable solution and should be labelled as “we also do this.”
8 – Search engine optimisation (SEO): Optimize website content for relevant search queries to appear higher in search engine results. This technique never fails and also provides the “Google Trust” factor. Most new business is won by “digital native” accountants who know how to implement SEO.
9 – Personal branding: Establish a strong brand through thought leadership, speaking engagements, and other public appearances.
10 – Customer experience: Focus on providing exceptional customer service and building long-term client relationships through attentive support and regular communication.
Why Networking and Referrals need to be supplemented
While traditional networking and referral strategies can still work, digital marketing has become the best solution for generating new business for UK accountants. Focusing on building a strong online presence through SEO, social media, and content marketing can lead to almost immediate results and is highly scalable. Combining digital marketing strategies with exceptional customer service and nurturing existing client relationships can lead to rapid growth, positive word-of-mouth and long-term success.
One of the most significant advantages of digital marketing is its ability to target specific audiences. For example, social media platforms allow you to target ads to people based on their age, location, and interests. This can be especially useful for accountants specialising in a particular niche or industry.
Another advantage of digital marketing is the ability to measure results. Accountants can track website traffic, user behaviour, and conversion rates through tools like Google Analytics. This data can be used to refine and improve marketing efforts over time.
It’s important to note that digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each strategy requires careful planning and execution to be effective. However, when done correctly, digital marketing can be a game-changer for UK accountants looking to generate new business.
In summary, UK accountants must adapt and incorporate digital marketing into their business development and marketing strategies to generate new business effectively. Focusing on building a solid online presence, targeting specific audiences, and measuring results can lead to almost immediate and highly scalable results. Digital marketing is revolutionising the accounting industry, and UK accountants who are quick to adapt will have a competitive advantage over those who are not.
Looking to bring more leads to your UK accounting firm without breaking the bank?
We’ve got you covered with our pay-per-lead lead generation offer!
Our team of experts specialises in creating customised digital marketing campaigns that will get your firm in front of your ideal clients. We use SEO, social media advertising, and content marketing strategies to help you generate high-quality leads that will take your business to the next level.
With our pay-per-lead offer, there is a small set-up fee, and you only pay for the leads we generate. This means you don’t have to worry about overspending or wastage in your marketing budget.
Ready to see what we can do for your firm?