Photo by Charles Deluvio
The most common question I get from accountants and bookkeepers in 2021 is: “How do I find accounting clients?” or“How do I find bookkeeping clients?”
After working with and studying more than 251 accountants, I have observed five ways you can grow your revenue without paid advertising.
I want to be clear, paid advertising is important too. I have spent and managed more than $5,000,000 from paid advertising in my marketing agency. However, not everyone is suited to paid strategies (although, you should work towards being suited for it if you wish to scale without doing work).
In this article I will present five strategies you can use to grow your firm.
Grow or die. That is your stark choice in business. As accountants, we operate “client-based businesses”. What do all client businesses have in common? Clients always leave.
Therefore, your growth goals should be to grow beyond churn and beyond your 12-month revenue target.
I will present the five best ways to add new revenue, in order of effectiveness and importance. Often, many accountants I have worked with have a “preferred” method for getting more clients. But you should be aware that accountants who are struggling to attract their ideal clients focus on the PROCESS they like. Regardless of the result. Wealthy accountants focus on RESULTS they want and then decide on the process
Strategy 1: Every Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon: Focus
In 1854, Tomas Edison finally discovered the lightbulb. After 10,000 attempts, he said “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”. Powerful.
In my 10 years of conducting business online, I have discovered one way to ensure that you make LESS revenue, burn out and barely squeeze out profit. That one way is to try to be all things to all people.
Most accountants (not all, but most) have the same services, the same offers, the same pitch decks and the same audience. They sell all their services to everyone and pray that there is at least one high-paying client in the bunch.
Without focusing, you are going to have a hard time building a profitable firm. All of the growth strategies below will never work if you do not know the following three facts:
- What, specifically, do you do?
- For whom, specifically, do you do that?
- What result do they experience from the work you do?
Here is the good news… most of your competitors will not do this work. But, for those who do… you will be positioned in a way where you can operate a differentiated business. And grow as a result.
This is step 1. Do not skip this.
Strategy 2: Grow the audience that you own and monetise it.
Truth be told, there are more than a hundred ways to grow your accounting firm. Whichever you decide to use, the heart of growth is asset creation. If you are not building an asset when you market, you will have to crank the handle every time to attract new clients.
Imagine for a second that you built an email list of 981 business owners. And, imagine that you specialise in tax reduction for real estate entrepreneurs. You wake up to an email that says “we do not want to work with you anymore” from a client. You just lost $3,000 per month in revenue.
But, because you have an email list of 981 people who know, like and trust you, you send an email with the subject: “I can save you $30,000 in your tax bill next year – interested?”
Who wouldn’t be interested? You will probably get more than one client from that one email. But first, you need a list.
I describe this tactic as “Asset Marketing”. Everything you do online and offline must lead back to your email list.
Your email list is an asset that only you own. Before you build, you must get clarity in your business. Who do you help? How?
Good Asset Marketing starts with making clear business decisions. The most important decision is: What do you offer the people you help? What is you package?
Strategy 3: Be seen as an Authority
Think of the last five services you purchased that cost more than $1,000. Did you buy them from someone who randomly messaged you on Linkedin? Or did they come from someone you already knew?
Nobody likes a spammer. Everybody likes celebrities. The good news is, you do not need to become Will Smith or Kim Kardashian to be seen as an authority. You only need to create content.
At the start of this article I said that unsuccessful accountants pick the process they like, while wealthy accountants pick the results they like and then select the process. Creating authority is one of the strategies I was referring too.
Create content and put them in places that your ideal client hangs out.
A Facebook expert will tell you “you must use Facebook ads”
An SEO expert will tell you that: “You must blog”
Ignore them. The result you are looking for is authority. Therefore, your focus should be on putting your content in the hands of your ideal client. If they read websites, then blogging will work for you. If they like audio, then podcasts will work for you.
Here is where the concept becomes powerful. If you marry strategy 2 and strategy 3 together, you get an explosion of revenue growth.
Here is an example: Podcast > Email list growth > Larger audience > More sales appointments > more clients.
Strategy 4: Celebrities Get Paid Well for A Reason
Back in 2016, I paid a guy $800 to speak to him for one hour. The guy I paid was a highly successful thought leader in the book publishing business. The call lasted one hour. In that time, he said one thing to me that I never forgot.
“People want to pay the people they SEE frequently. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are SEEN but have bad content. It is YOUR responsibility to be seen so you can help people for real. If you hide, you are just selfish.”
If you are scared to put content into the world, you are selfish. Because you are thinking about yourself instead of the people you can help in the world. Becoming a “niche” celebrity doesn’t mean you need to be Kim Kardashian. It means you need to be “A somebody” to an audience of people who are your ideal clients.
Actually, I don’t like this concept. I wish the world worked based on skill and truths. But it doesn’t. Successful firm owners accept this idea and work with it.
If you are one of those people who accept it, the formula is simple:
- Step 1: Decide who you want to help
- Step 2: Decide upon your unique offer that will help them
- Step 3: Make a list of all the pains, problems and thoughts that these people have in line with your solution
- Step 4: Discover where they hang out
- Step 5: Put your content there.
- Bonus Step: Video is king in 2021. Do not avoid it.
Ooooo… you don’t like video???
“It is YOUR responsibility to be seen so you can help people for real. If you hide, you are just selfish.”
Strategy 5: Accelerated Celebrity Method
Question: If I told you that, for $1 per day you can accelerate the rate you become a celebrity? Would you believe me?
Question: For the price of a Starbucks coffee, would you want hundreds of your ideal clients to see your content and get value from you? Of course, you would!
Okay, so this strategy is actually based on paid traffic. But, it’s so inexpensive (yet effective) that it may as well be free.
With Facebook (yes, Facebook!) you can get one video in front of your ideal customer. And, over the span of a month, thousands of people will watch it. You do the work once and then put the video into circulation. Then, your work is done. Your $1 does the rest of the work. If you want to dominate your local market, this is how you do it quickly.
The most common question I get is: “My customers are not on Facebook!? It won’t work for me”
Almost everyone is on Facebook. Business owners and consumers. They are people. People are on Facebook. My clients and I have generated more than $20m from Facebook in the last six years. Facebook works.
Online marketing funnels and paid traffic are critical in 2021. However, if you do not have an organic profile, authority, celebrity and presence in your market then your paid marketing will not have the best effect.
Use authority and celebrity to attract people towards you.
Capture and build an audience that you own with Asset Marketing. Once you build it, you can monetise it. Most accountants do not have an email list. If you build one, you will differentiate yourself.