As the leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith wrote, “what got you here won’t get you there.” And when it comes to marketing your accounting firm, he’s right.
That’s because most firms built their client foundation on bookkeeping and tax preparation services, which are repeatable and fairly consistent from client to client. But how do you take those services even farther down the road to growth?
You have to shift your mindset and your approach.
Advisory services—some of the most valuable services for clients—are different from compliance and tax work; they require different sales and marketing strategies.
Fortunately, this article is focused on best practices for marketing your CAS services and will give you some valuable guidelines to attract new advisory services clients. Let’s get into it!
You might also want to grab a copy of this ebook: How to Sell CAS in 2021: Your First Steps Toward Big Results
3 Key Differences in Marketing Approach
Before we dig in too deep, keep in mind that there will be some very fundamental differences in how you’ve engaged your existing client base with how you’ll eventually reach new CAS clients. They may have entirely different needs at the core of it, and by and large, marketing advisory services is a horse of a different color.
CAS is a Longer Buying cycle
It's easy for most clients to see the need for bookkeeping or tax preparation services. However, when it comes to CAS, it’s a little less obvious.
For starters, they may not know what CAS is in itself. So if they’re new to the concept, educating them will be part of your sales process. Also, due to their lack of knowledge on how advisory services work, it may be difficult for them to see the benefits and impact you’ll have on their business.
Because of these reasons and the amount of consideration they may need to give to the services you’re marketing, many CAS clients will have a longer buying cycle. That’s not necessarily a bad or a good thing—it’s just different and impacts your goal setting and planning.
CAS Leads Need More Interaction
Since CAS leads may not know exactly what to expect when it comes to working with your firm, they require more interaction. It might be more of a one-on-one type of sales process where you begin building the foundation of your work dynamic and establishing communication style/methods.
Keep track and assign enough bandwidth for extra touchpoints with your leads throughout this process.
Cas Is About Adding Value, Not Curing Headaches
The most significant difference between CAS and compliance services is how your potential clients perceive them.
Compliance is seen as a necessary problem your clients need to fix; no one likes taxes, but as one of the only certainties in life, they must be done.
On the flip side, advisory services aren’t necessarily an immediate problem that clients need to solve. In fact, many advisory leads aren’t even aware they have any challenges that advisory would help them solve in the first place! It’s up to you to show them that CAS is all about:
- Extending their runway
- Increasing efficiencies
- Identifying and stopping money leaks
- Creating long-term and succession plans
- Taking their business to the next level
- And more!
In other words, advisory services are about adding value, not simply ensuring compliance.
4 Best Practices for Marketing CAS
So we’ve established that marketing compliance is different—now what?
To help you get started with a successful marketing plan for your CAS practice, here are four best practices.
1. Niche Down
Niching down, or segmenting the types of leads to whom you market, is a strategy that helps differentiate yourself from your competition in the eyes of your clients.
That’s because due to the more personal nature of your work with them, making sure your clients have the confidence that you understand their business landscape is critical.
And just in case you’re worried, not having enough clients isn’t a problem if you choose the right niche to grow your firm in!
2. Benefit > Service Details
One of the main messages you want to drive home to your leads is that your advisory services—that only you can provide—will produce incredible results for them. In other words: sell them on the benefits of hiring you for CAS.
If your current messaging is centered on the reports you provide, you need to reframe it to make it about the strategic advantage that said reports would enable them to take advantage of. How helpful will your strategic insights be to your new client? What will they be able to do with the knowledge?
3. Ramp Up Communication (By Being Helpful, Not Annoying)
A large part of your time working with CAS leads will be educating them so they understand the multiple advantages of working with you.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating content (just like this article) across various channels, and distributing it in the way that makes the most sense for your audience.
Here are some of the communication channels you should consider developing:
Email marketing: Email has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing channel. If someone signed up to your list, then the likelihood of them becoming a client is higher.
Retargeted ads: These ads focus on keeping the leads that have shown interest in you engaged until they’re ready to contact you.
Beneficial downloads: Create content that your audience can download and reference. You’re giving them something worthwhile to start building trust in your firm, and they’ll become more familiar with your firm throughout the process.
Personal emails: One on one emails work. They take time, but if you invest in them, you’d be surprised how many replies you’ll get back.
Use the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook approach to social media: This approach was created by Gary Vaynerchuk and consists of giving value upfront to your audience before you make an ask from them.
4. Figure Out the Communication Cadence
Should you send emails once a week, twice a month, or daily?
How much communication you send to your audience will vary depending on a couple of things: the nature of your content, how large your audience is, and your available bandwidth to dedicate to creating content.
There’s no one-size-fits-all amount of content to be created. You simply need to test your audience to see what they respond best to. The good news is, nowadays it’s commonplace to get complex data on how well your leads respond to your content. Using an email tool like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or HubSpot will help you track and make sense of this kind of data.
You’ll want to look at:
- Open rates
- Time on website pages
- Click-through rates
Data is your friend, and making decisions based on this kind of data will get you the best results. However, if you’re just starting and have no metrics or data yet, it’s always best to err on the side of creating too much content rather than too little.
Build a Marketing Funnel Over Time
One of the main things to remember is that it’s ok to build your marketing funnel one step at a time. Unless, of course, you have a dedicated marketing team with enough budget to get everything done simultaneously, in that case, move forward as quickly as possible.
When it comes to marketing your CAS menu, it's better to focus on quality over quantity, and most importantly, consistency. So, if all your marketing bandwidth allows is to write one weekly email to your list, then focus on making that weekly email the best it can be.
Keep in mind that the people who’ll be reading your content are your potential customers. So cutting corners to reduce the budget is probably not going to take you too far.
Another helpful tip is to team up with automation technology that helps you create bandwidth, makes your CAS work easier, and actually helps you source leads.
Botkeeper does all of that! Click below to get in touch with a specialist today, and we’ll send you $100 as a thank you for your time.