Accountants failing on marketing operations

Accounting firms have been told they are “wasting their time” with their marketing and have been urged to rethink how they communicate with current and prospective clients.

Peter Graham, managing director of AcctWeb, an online marketing solution provider, noted that a majority of accounting firms do not have solid infrastructure in place to appropriately market their services to current and prospective clients.

“Having a website and having a marketing mechanism are two different things, because a website isn’t all the infrastructure that’s needed to actually be used properly,” he said.

Mr Graham added that marketing operations are often delegated haphazardly, with a staff member often “wasting their time trying to do things without their own infrastructure”.

While noting that a majority of accounting firms have incorporated a website into their operations, Mr Graham said they are failing to utilise and advertise their own content, losing the potential for referrals as a result.

“We’ve done some research over time, and the sources of new business that practices have in general [are as follows:] 90 per cent comes from referrals, their client base, which is basically word of mouth, 5 per cent comes from Google, and 2.5 per cent comes from social media, seminars and advertising,” he said.

By outsourcing marketing operations, accounting firms could identify and directly interact with their target audience, Mr Graham said.

“It’s the only means of hitting that target audience. You know they’ve got a website that says it, but their clients aren’t going and reading it necessarily – you’ve got to be a bit more proactive.

“None of them, or very few, have got a marketing plan, but by outsourcing you get the job done and you really see what can happen,” Mr Graham said.

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