Part 4 of our series on ways that marketing a CPA firm becomes more effective using an online sales funnel.
We’ve reached that point in our series where it’s time to talk a little BOFU - “bottom of the funnel” marketing. After all of the hard work you’ve done to capture a lead and nurture them with a combination of thought leadership and advertorial marketing, you’ve hopefully reached the point where they’re marketing and sales qualified, and moving towards making a decision about how to hire your firm to help them with their accounting or business advisory needs.
Earlier in this series we talked about aligning your firm’ marketing strategy with TOFU and MOFU content and offers. These stages are stepping stones to securing a new client or getting more business from an existing client. At the TOFU stage, the responsibility of the marketing team is to answer the prospect’s question, “HOW do I solve a problem?” This is where our content needs to be 90% non-advertorial and 10% advertorial.
Moving to MOFU, we need to answer this question from prospects: “WHO can solve my problem?” It’s at this point that we need to establish ourselves as a vendor of choice, and it’s likely that the prospect is considering several choices at this stage.
Finally, at the BOFU stage, the prospect question is, “WHY you?” Now, our content mix needs to be 90% advertorial and 10% non-advertorial. For reference (and for the last time!), check out the terrific representation of aligning an online marketing strategy to the sales funnel presented by MOZ.
Types of BOFU Offers and Content
The mission of answering the question of “Why you?” boils down to getting the opportunity to showcase your firm’s experience, expertise, credentials and enthusiasm for helping the prospect with their issue or problem. To do this, you’ll want to move the conversation and the relationship with the prospect out of the digital arena and into a good ol’ fashioned face to face meeting.
Here are a few examples of types of BOFU offers that firms use to get that face to face opportunity:
- Free demonstrations
- Free consultations or assessments
- Free in-person presentation
- Invitation to a private webinar
- Meets n ’greets
- Contact Us website forms
- Co-branding or white label opportunities (for an excellent example of this, check out CSP360 for the private label partnerships they offer for cost segregation and 263(a) compliance).
One of the tools that I really like to use for BOFU offers is ProfitCents from Sageworks. They provide their CPA firm clients with real time, industry specific benchmarking data built on 60 ratios and metrics from over 1,400 different industries. Firms will use this data and offer prospects a free comparative evaluation that can identify a prospect’s financial and operational strength and weaknesses.
Think about this: if you have reached the stage in a relationship with a prospect where they are willing to share their intimate financial and operational data with you, offering a ProfitCents analysis and report is a very strong way to add a huge amount of value to the relationship that will move you ever closer to an engagement.
But now for a bit of blunt reality: getting conversions on BOFU offers are the most difficult offers in the entire sales funnel, yet, BOFU offers are usually the only ones featured on a CPA firm website. Here’s the reason why your firm just doesn’t get that 15%+ conversion rates on BOFU offers: your prospects just aren’t sales ready and this is a pitch that really only works for those prospects that are sales ready!
The lesson: you need to have a balanced mixed of TOFU, MOFU and BOFU in your online marketing strategy.
TOFU, MOFU and BOFU at Work
To close out this series, I wanted to show you live examples of TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU offers from different firms. Notice the split between advertorial and non-advertorial messaging.
When we put together a lead generation campaign for a niche practice or a niche product, we’ll typically build in TOFU, MOFU and BOFU offers using the sales funnel as a backdrop to our online marketing strategy. Moving from raising visibility for an initial offer to lead acquisition to nurturing that lead through to an engagement requires a planning, promotion, integration between marketing and sales, and marketing technology like HubSpot to keep all of the campaign’s moving pieces organized and implemented in a structured way.
A lot of accounting and other professional service firms are hopping on the content marketing bandwagon. My fear is that they are letting tactics drive marketing initiatives rather than building their content marketing on strategy first. In my opinion, content marketing driven solely by tactics is really nothing more than online public relations.
In 2015, we’ll see more CPA and professional service firms than ever before move to building their content marketing upon context, rather than tactics. It’s all about getting the right message to the right prospect at the right time.
Are you ready to put some new plays into your firm’s marketing playbook?