How to Sell Your Accounting Services to Small Businesses
According to the Small Business Administration, small and medium businesses made up over 99% of the US’s businesses in 2018. As of last year, there were over 30 million small businesses in the US, employing nearly 59 million people. That means that nearly half of our country’s population works in small business.
As an accountant or financial advisor, it’s critical that you learn the best ways to market to these small business owners and determine what they’re hoping to gain from their accountant. If you’re a small business yourself, you know that your firm’s needs may differ significantly from the corporate giants. The same logic can be applied to small business owners, no matter the industry.
Here are some things to think about when you start marketing your services to small business owners.
Go the Extra Mile
Even if they do their research, small business owners don’t have a financial advisor’s level of expertise when it comes to small business finances. They likely don’t take into account all the bits and pieces that go into running a business, like how they’re going to manage payroll taxes and meet all of their required tax deadlines. This means that they’re generally reliant on the information their accountant or advisor gives them, and they need to trust that the person they hire is working in their best interest. They’re also generally looking for someone who can offer them multiple services, so they don’t have to hire multiple providers to handle separate tasks.
Enter the trusted advisor. Being a trusted advisor to your clients means going beyond the role of a typical accountant: you should be looking for a long-term relationship and be committed to their business’ ongoing success. In doing this, you’ve taken their every business need into account, and are willing to make suggestions on what will make their day-to-day financial operations run smoothly and seamlessly. With you on their side, they’re free to attend to the aspects of their business that drove them to start their company in the first place, rather than having to spend their time learning the ins and outs of every tax law and worrying about their long-term business plan. Going the extra mile for your clients is a surefire way to differentiate yourself from the crowded accounting field and will boost your relationship with your existing clients.
Which leads us to our next point….
Referrals & Reviews
Word of mouth is everything these days. No matter how much you spend on marketing your services, word of mouth is still often the most effective way to bring in new business, or prevent new customers from entering your doors. Unfortunately, people are more likely to share the negative experiences they have with a business, which is why it’s to step up your game to keep your clients as happy as possible. Happy clients are more likely to recommend you to their friends, family, and other business colleagues. Sometimes simply asking for an online review or for a customer to refer you to their friends or family, can be a great way to generate positive word of mouth and bring in new clients. You don’t have to make a big deal of it either: put a request in your email signature, or at the end of an invoice.
It’s easy, see?
Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media
Nearly everyone these days has some form of social media, whether it be a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook account. Despite the bad reputation that these platforms sometimes gain, they’re a great place to connect with a wide variety of people. Having a strong – but smart – social media presence is important for visibility and for showing off your corporate culture. Small business owners are going to do their research before selecting a financial advisor or accountant, and you want to make sure you’re on their radar – in the best light possible of course. If you’re not particularly familiar with social media marketing, there are helpful tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite that can help you manage your social media profiles for a monthly fee, making sure you’re getting the most exposure per post. Additionally, to make sure you’re using social media effectively, you’re going to need to develop a social media strategy. A social media strategy should be based on your overall business goals and will help you determine the content you should be sharing on your platforms. Like any business plan, your social media strategy should start with you thinking about your desired outcome, then planning out each necessary step needed to get there.
Generate and Share Engaging Content
Content is king, but not all content created equal. One way to have your content stand out from the pack is to produce your own research content. People often fall into two categories when it comes to web browsing – information-intent or commercial-intent. If you can establish yourself as a generator of new, relevant data, your website will quickly become a favorite destination for those seeking answers. Additionally, while studies show that while publishing new content may not automatically generate leads, it does increase your SEO position on web browsers, which will bring traffic to your site. Sites that publish research or data are linked to far more often than those that do not.
However, if you don’t have the resources to produce your own content, you can still easily share relevant information and research to draw people towards your services and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Just make sure the content you’re referencing is current, relevant, and helpful to your industry.
With all of the options people have these days, it’s important to make a strong first impression in your marketing efforts. Make it clear how your firm can help small business owners and outline the benefits of working with you. At the end of the day, being a small business owner is difficult, and owners are looking for trusted help when things get a little rocky. Also, remember to be yourself in your marketing – marketing should be authentic so that what people see is what they get. If you market yourself as an advocate for the small businesses of the world, you’ll automatically differentiate yourself from the corporate giants of the world.