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Marketing is no longer an option, but an imperative for accounting firms. Listening to various experts speak at Accounting Marketing’s 2017 AAM Summit in June, we distilled down 13 lessons learned for the way accounting firms should be growing their practice now. (A story version of this list can be found here.)
Be gradual.
When it comes to innovation in marketing, start with insight and incrementally build it, with an open mind for what comes next, advised Scott Wayne, author and founder of organizational transformation company the Frontier Project.
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Try something different.
Some of author Scott Wayne’s suggestions: change your commute to work, download a Ted Talk for a subject you’re not interested in, read a holy book of another religion, give up alcohol for a month.
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Put the phone (and other distractions) down.
Scott Wayne does a lot of executive coaching, and one of the first things he does is take his client's smartphone. After 30 minutes of sitting still, huge life issues and epiphanies emerge. “When was the last time you sat quiet for 30 minutes?” he challenged.
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Find out what, exactly, is working.
Instead of being satisfied that things are working, be proactive and get more specific, said Raissa Evans, founder and chief strategist at management consulting firm Running Reload.
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Ask why.
If a customer says, “We need to build a bridge,” instead of jumping into the planning phase, consultant Raissa Evans suggests starting with the question why. “Dig deeper: ‘Why do you need the bridge?'"
Draw them in.
Inbound marketing is effective. According to Eric Majchrzak, shareholder and chief marketing officer of BeachFleischman PC, “If you’re doing your job right, 90 percent of leads are inbound."
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Go beyond the traditional.
Content marketing costs 62 percent less and generates roughly three times as many leads as traditional marketing, according to Matt Seitz, senior marketing manager at Skoda Minotti.
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Make everyone an ambassador.
Advises consultant Raissa Evans, “Because [practice growth] affects the whole firm, it needs to involve the whole firm.”
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Celebrate the little things.
“You need small celebrations, not just big wins,” consultant Raissa Evans said. An “Attaboy!” goes a long way.
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Measure what matters.
There are a slew of marketing metrics to track, from page views to social followers to subscribers and referral sources. “Pick the ones important to your firm and to your campaign,” Skoda Minotti's Matt Setiz said. “Know your audience."
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Make it competitive.
At Skoda Minotti, they’ve built content generation into performance goals, encouraging everyone to create one to two pieces of content per year.
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Repurpose your content.
Matt Seitz sees great power in re-using great content that has already performed well. For example, Skoda Minotti used the same valuable information from the risk advisory group to create blogs, ebooks and shareable infographics.
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Create a calendar.
Set up a schedule for content marketing, digital assets, events and social media. Skoda Minotti's Matt Seitz advises a “regular cadence” of content, which is a good general marketing practice, but especially great for Google’s SEO algorithm.