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Aligning Your Firm’s Online Marketing Strategy to the Top of the Sales Funnel

Posted by Alan Vitberg

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Feb 26, 2016 12:12:36 PM

Part 2 in Our Series on Ways that Marketing a CPA Firm Becomes More Effective Using an Online Sales Funnel

top_of_funnel“TOFU”

No, not that TOFU....even though you vegans amongst us are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with a scrumptious Tofurky.

The type of TOFU I’m talking about is related to raising your firm’s visibility and generating leads at the “top of the sales funnel”.

In an online lead generation and sales strategy, TOFU tactics are designed to reach as many eyeballs as possible, drive them to your website, and once there, convert them into a lead by getting them to fill out a form for some type of offer like a whitepaper.

TOFU for CPA and Other Professional Service Firms Defined

Current online marketing is built upon a premise that well before anyone makes a purchase (like a decision to engage your firm for accounting or consulting services), they’ll do a search that will lead them to your website.

inbound_marketing_for_CPAAt that first touch, they’re probably not ready to buy, but the job of the online marketer is to convert that website visitor to a lead.

Then over time, the job of the marketer is to continuously engage that prospect with additional and different types of marketing touches built on your firm’s thought leadership as they move through the sales funnel. As the prospect moves closer and closer to hiring a firm to solve a problem or meet their need, they become   “marketing qualified”, then   “sales qualified”, and eventually a customer.

At the beginning of this process – the Top of the Funnel – we reach as many eyeballs as possible, drive as many of them to the website as possible, and convert as many as possible into leads.

cost_per_lead_inbound_marketingOK, time for some brutal truth: at TOFU, there’s going to be a lot more chaff than wheat ... a lot more.

But remember: this is a funnel that’s widest at the top and narrows over time. Partners and Marketing Committees that expect every single TOFU lead to be good lead are going to be sorely disappointed. But here’s another brutal truth: according to HubSpot, the cost per lead for online marketing is significantly less than other, more traditional marketing tactics and channels.

The Tools of TOFU for CPA and Other Professional Service

Using the MOZ graphic we presented in Part 1, let’s take a closer look at TOFU.

inbound_marketing_strategy

The job of your marketing team starts with activities to raise your firm’s visibility for purposes of getting found by people doing online searches.

This requires a wide variety of “on site” tools like optomized website pages and blog posts. You’ll also need social media accounts and a consistent / persistent social media plan with a heavy emphasis on LinkedIn. Finally, you’ll need off site outbound tools like enewsletters, email, press releases, pay per click, and more.

Then, once you get an eyeball to your site, you’ll need tools to convert them into a lead, all built around a “gated” offer for a non-advertorial piece of thought leadership. Not only do you need the resources to create thought leadership pieces, you’ll need tools for developing and publishig Call to Action Buttons (like the one you’ll see at the end of this blog post), a landing page to capture the prospect’s contact information, means to fulfill the request, and finally, the ability to capture data about your offer, particulalry in terms of conversion rates for metrics like visitors to leads and subission data.

For professional service firms, a really good conversion rate for visitors to leads ranges from 1% to 3%, and a 15% conversion rates for forms is a commendable benchmark.

A lot of the weight for these needs can be carried by marketing software like HubSpot. Simply stated, today you can’t run a marketing program in an accounting or professional service firm without marketing technology.

OK. We Agree that BOFU Leads are the Best Leads but ......

You’ll get absolutley no argument from us that bottom of the funnel leads are the best leads for one simple reason: typically, these are prospects that are ready to buy. Leads that come from referrals, inquires generated by word of mouth, and folks who submit on the “Contact Us” form on your webite are the gold standard of new business.

But as more and more people, epecially in an increasingly younger demographic, are turning to online search, you just can’t ignore a marketing strategy that’s built on the framework of an onlne sales funnel. Dependence solely upon BOFU leads keeps small and mid-sized firm small and mid-sized.

In the next posts in this series, we’ll be talking about “MOFU” (middle of the funnel) and BOFU (bottom of the funnel) strategies and tactics, and their differences in terms of content and context when it comes to moving a prospect through the funnel from TOFU to an engagement letter.

In the meantime, our best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving, and please remember to share the Tofurkey!

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Topics: CPA Firm Marketing, marketing strategies and tactics, professional services marketing


LeadG2’s Professional Services Team specializes in online marketing for CPA, consulting, recruiting, staffing, and other professional services firms. Contact us here or call Dean Moothart at (407) 913-7091 to talk about how you can get more visibility, leads, and new business for your firm or niche practice.

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