Marketers Can and Should Deliver More Top Line Results
A few days ago I had a conversation with a 30-something Director of Marketing in a mid-sized CPA firm about inbound marketing. Our conversation slowly turned from visions of driving scores of leads into the firm and the purity and goodness of HubSpot software (sorry for the plug!), to one where I suddenly found myself in the role of mentor and counselor.
It was a familiar story dealing with issues of respect and overcoming barriers of partner involvement in marketing initiatives, or should I say, the lack thereof. I can see marketing folks all across the country nodding their head in agreement over that last line.
I’m going to share the absolute core of my counseling that I gave this person – as well as the scores of other marketers I talk to:
“Out of complexity and chaos comes opportunity”
You see, CPA firm marketing is becoming increasingly more complex, confusing and challenging and I expect that this trend will continue. Marketers aren’t just dealing with the changing demographics of firm management, they’re dealing with seismic changes in strategies, tactics and technologies for reaching prospects, converting them to leads, and then nurturing them into becoming clients
Here’s Part II of my counseling:
“Carpe diem … seize the day!”
Make a Little Carpe Diem in Your Firm
In order to be a more valuable resource, you need to become the leader of a new movement into inbound marketing for your firm. You need to shift mindsets, as well as budget, and hitch your firm’s wagon onto the digital marketing movement now.
Here are my top 6 tips for helping you get more visibility, more involvement from partners, and ultimately, more satisfaction from your career:
1. Turn the Firm’s Website into the Centerpiece of the Marketing Program
One of the most valuable efforts you can make is to take your firm’s website from just being an online brochure to making it the centerpiece of your marketing efforts. This is not an easy task, because it involves many different moving parts, from SEO optimization to laying in lead capture firms to modernizing the look, feel and navigation of the site.
2. Use Content for More Than Just Branding and Thought Leadership
Many of you may already be using the thought leadership of partners and subject matter experts to promote the firm brand, but that’s only the start of what you can do with a content marketing program. Think personal branding. Think social media promotion. Think SEO optimization, and above all, think lead generation.
3. Make Sure Your Online Materials Work Across All Mobile Environments
If your marketing program is not optimized for mobile, then you are significantly behind the curve and one of the ways you can score runs is to make this happen. With so many people now accessing the web via their smartphones or iPads, it makes a huge amount of sense to make sure that your online marketing works across all different types of mobile platforms.
4. Stop Sending Off-Target, Off-Message and Ill-Timed Communications to Prospects
You will see more measurable results by stopping the massive one-shot-one message email blasts to your entire database. Instead, segment your list so you can reach a highly targeted audience with a highly targeted message at the right time in the sales relationship you’re building. Making your email program more targeted will make it more effective, and in turn, make you a more valuable resource for your firm.
5. Get Rid of Legacy Spending In the Budget and Apply the Funds to Inbound Marketing Instead
I’ll be the first one to admit that convincing partners to get rid of a cherished program, like a sponsorship, is going to be very tough sledding, indeed. But if you look at your job from the perspective of delivering ROI for the marketing budget, you may be able to make a convincing case that it’s time to shift the budget into more revenue building opportunities. This is where a strong analytics program is important, as well as a strong will to make your case with hard numbers.
6. Install Marketing Technology For Lead Capture, Nurturing and ROI Analytics
One of the best investments you can make is in marketing technology for lead capture and management, and analytics for measuring the ROI of your spending, lead generation tactics, and lead generation campaigns. Now I could make another shameless plug for HubSpot here – and I think I just did – but truth be told, there are a number of different software programs and technologies that will help you take your firm’s marketing program to the next level.
Delivering More Top Line Results
The marketing for CPA firms is poised to rapidly change, and as a marketer, it’s your responsibility to lead that change. Consider this, however: the history of accounting firm marketing is chock-full with change – from the novelty of advertising, to email, to websites, to e-newsletters, and now to inbound marketing, it’s always been evolving. Those firms that have been early adopters are those firms that have surged ahead of their completion in terms of firm growth.
It’s not different now, except the innovations are all in the form of online, content and inbound marketing. For many of you, moving your firm into new marketing strategies and tactics is going to be a difficult path and journey, but hopefully, the six tips I’ve outlined above will help you along the way.
I’m optimistic that one day, instead of doing counseling on internal firm issues; I can help provide some advice on how to announce your new elevation to partner ….using online media channels, of course!