There are several aspects to marketing your services that you’ll want to consider during business planning:
  • Defining your service and determining what sets you and your business apart
  • Reaching prospective clients through a variety of channels
Your marketing plan needs to define the kind of accounting services you will provide. Do you have sufficient experience to provide many services or do you have a niche focus? Will you serve private individuals, businesses or both? Can your local area support your business or is it already crowded with other firms? Is there a niche you can fill that your competitors are not serving? Knowing the needs of your prospective marketplace will be critical to your success.

Once you've determined your services, you’ll need to cultivate prospects. A combination of face-to-face networking, plus online and traditional tactics should serve you well. Of course, in today’s customer-centric environment, you’ll also want to have a robust social media presence in order to attract and engage prospective clients. Consider the following ideas as you launch your business:
In-Person Networking:
  • Make meet-and-greets a priority
  • Join your local SBA or Chamber of Commerce
  • Become active in a civic group or professional organization in your community
  • Volunteer at an organization of your choosing; this may help you make some valuable business contacts, or even offer some services on a pro bono basis
  • Spread the word to family, friends, and business associates and ask that they tell others
Be prepared to clearly and concisely describe your services to promising contacts, as well as your expertise and what sets your business apart. Having a list of references will be helpful so potential customers can easily check your background and credentials.  You’ll also want to establish relationships with complementary businesses where you can refer each other for professional services. One example would be a law firm specializing in business law where you could provide CPA services to their clients, while referring your clients to the law firm for legal services.
Online/Social Media Channels:
  • Microsite/website
  • LinkedIn – Promote yourself, your credentials and background
  • Facebook Page and Twitter – promote your practice/firm
  • Email campaign
  • Blog
Traditional Items:
  • Business cards
  • Announcement ad in your local newspaper (online version)
  • Direct mailing to a compiled prospect list
  • A pricing schedule; your price must be competitive with other CPAs, and low enough to attract new clients, yet not too low as to undercut your revenue requirements
One final note on marketing: Positive word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to grow your business.  Be proactive in asking satisfied customers for referrals and for approval to use them as references, perhaps even post on your LinkedIn profile.  Encourage satisfied customers to share reviews online and to “like” your Facebook page.
TOPIC 10
Marketing
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Guide | On Your Own
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