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Measure once, cut twice: Marketing your practice

This article is part of an ongoing series. In part 1, I covered how to measure your firm’s performance, and in part 2, I discussed seeking client satisfaction. In this article, I’ll go over marketing your practice.

This series is a prequel to my QuickBooks® Connect session: Measure Once, Cut Twice. Here’s more on marketing your practice.

Personally, my least favorite phase is marketing. I feel I’m a pretty good CPA with no lousy record. I believe clients should look at my website, read my bio, and make their purchasing decision. It all makes sense to me, but IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!

As our marketing team often reminds me, we must build a marketing program, test it, and then measure it.

Like most small businesses and operations, one of the first things we typically do is create a website. We make a site that looks good and provides information about who we are, what we do, and a method to contact us. For some, that’s it! The website project is done, and it’s a part of your business. Once again, IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!

I would challenge practice managers to think differently and ask how the website fits into our sales, marketing, and education strategy. Or, better yet, could your website be doing more?

And the answer is yes.

Accounting firms have traditionally leaned on branding to drive business growth and steps, rather than traditional sales models. A recognizable accounting brand works for global and national firms, as well as those who have carved out industry leadership positions.

So, what about the smaller firms? We have to be creative and leverage our websites to accomplish 1 to 3 goals:

  1. Increase awareness and quantify your potential market
  2. Identify leading services and markets
  3. Convert your potential market into customers

When I ask business owners who their potential client is, many would say any small business or industry-specific client. That is partially right. However, your potential client is your ideal client profile that knows you exist.

If you were doing sales planning, a number you would need to know is your potential market. Imagine investing in a marketing plan for a population of 5,000 potential clients, and only 500 know you exist (been there done that).

One way to know your potential market is to use your website to quantify who knows you exist. Even though there are more than a million small businesses in the United States, I think it’s fair to say that if you only have 200 website visits each month, your potential market is the 200 website visitors that know you exist. After all, we can only sell to those who know we exist.

So, one way to use your website is to ensure you have Google Analytics and track the activity on your website. This will give you greater insight into your current available market and what you need to do to increase your market, if you perceive your website visits or your potential market to be too small for what you are looking to do.

Knowing your potential website visits and understanding that data helps you to at least quantify what is possible in sales, as well as ensure that your sales forecasting or budgeting doesn’t go outside of what’s likely to be your available market. Therefore, it keeps you honest.

Leverage Google Analytics to determine your website views in your potential market. This will allow you to understand what’s possible when it comes to sales in your organization.

In addition, your website can help you understand why you are popular and what potential customers are looking for from you. Have you ever been hired for one service, even though you think you’re better at another? Well, your website can help you with that.

Our websites are our microphones, and we must ensure that our microphone sends the right message to the service viewers we want. Specifically, you can use your website and analytics to understand which services your users are looking for on your website to purchase.

For example, if your strategy is to increase additional tax services work, you would want to add other tax service-related content to your website and use analytics reports to see if users are landing on that page. By looking at the analytics page of your tax services business, you will be able to determine if your website users are going to your tax page for more information and interacting with the content you have put on the website. This helps you understand if you need to place additional content on your tax page, or if you need to adjust your website so that when users get there, they are automatically interacting with the content you want them to see and understand about your business.

The analytics behind your pages can help you determine and develop a strategy to market and push the services that will increase your revenue, while not focusing on the services that aren’t generating revenue.

For example, if you are no longer in the tax business and your page views are primarily on your tax page, I recommend taking down that page. You can also use your website to gather more information about your business segments, so that you can improve your services and increase sales in your ideal services or markets.

Once you understand your potential market through your website, and tailor your website to push the services you wish to sell to your potential market, the only thing left to do is to convert your potential market into customers.

The data and analytics can help with this as well. Specifically, you can use analytics to place lead magnets properly, or contact us forms to convert your potential market into prospects and, eventually, clients. Several analytic reports will allow you to understand how users interact with your website and how you can change that interaction to convert prospects into leads better and, eventually, sales.

By adjusting your website’s analytics, you can set goals to measure how prospects are converting on particular pages of your website. This will tell you which pages are more effective than others and which pages need to be adjusted to be more effective. In addition, it will help you measure how many users, or new users, are necessary for you to convert your ideal number of prospects into closed sales to meet your sales goals.

So, your website is more than a nice-looking, designed webpage. It’s another tool that you can use to leverage your marketing plan and increase sales. It also gives you information and keeps you informed.

If used properly, your website will be honest about your potential market and notify you when you need to increase your marketing campaign, with tools such as Mailchimp (More on that at QuickBooks Connect!), to increase your potential service market.

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