I recently attended a Capstone Marketing webinar entitled, “Marketing Your Accounting Firm in Uncertain Times.” The presenter — Capstone’s founder, Jean Caragher — noted that there are lessons to be learned from the past when it comes to marketing during economic downturns. Accounting firms that continued to market themselves during the last recession came out of it better-positioned and stronger than their competition that cut back on marketing.
So, what should accounting marketers be spending their time on during the current economic and health crisis? What can you do now that will help your firm both in the short-term and into the future? Caragher offered several suggestions.
- Review your current systems and processes. How are they working for you? Look for opportunities to improve or streamline your work.
- Focus on your clients and the ways you can help them overcome their current challenges. If there was ever a time for you to be advisors to your clients, it's now. They are hungry for your assistance and help.
- Ask good questions. To be the advisor they so desperately need right now, you need to understand what clients are struggling with and offer answers and solutions.
- Learn how this economic slowdown is affecting their specific industry. Use your industry expertise to help them solve problems. (The Industry Intelligence on Vertical IQ’s free COVID-19 webpage can help you with this.)
- Introduce a new product or service that meets the needs of your clients and prospects. Package services by the industry niche of your clients. After all, this is probably not the right time to cold call or "sell to."
- Rework what your client base will look like after this crisis. You may want to focus less of your time and energy on clients that are difficult or industries that are failing.
- Improve your digital and online presence. Explain and offer your products and services, post valuable information, and make sure it's accurate on your website. What campaigns can you run online, for example? It’s a great time to show off your firm's personality.
- Adapt your marketing tactics to the times. How are we replacing seminars, networking mixers, lunches, etc.? It could consist of more online touchpoints and digital meetings — more thought leadership. It may be an opportunity to meet more than you were able to before in person and thus deepen relationships.
- Train your staff. With more time at your disposal and a shift in priorities and tactics, it’s a great chance to educate your partners and other staff on improving their marketing, sales, and relationship management skills. Also keep in mind that as other firms may be downsizing, there is talent available on the market!
- Contact former clients. These people are now your warm leads as prospects. They probably aren't getting much attention and communication from their current firm, so reach out and be helpful.
- Increase your internal and external communications. It’s a time to showcase your firm’s empathy. Tell your clients (and your team members) specific ways in which you're going to help them survive this difficult event.
- Be strategic but smart with your pricing. It may feel instinctive to reduce your prices, but don't devalue your services by price-cutting in these uncertain times. Remember the value you bring to the table and price accordingly.
Upcoming Vertical IQ/AAM webinar
Vertical IQ is excited to be co-hosting a webinar with the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) on June 11 at 1:00 ET entitled “Using Industry Intelligence to Grow Your Firm.” During the webinar, experts will discuss specific and tangible ways to use Industry Intelligence to elevate your role within your accounting firm and gain a seat at the leadership table. You’ll also discover how understanding your clients' and prospects' industries (the drivers, latest news, trends, etc.) can help with:
- Client retention
- Developing and generating new business
- Cross-selling opportunities
- Growing relationships
- Delivering valuable thought leadership content…and more!