Specialist or Generalist?
One important marketing issue you should decide upon is whether your accounting service is going to attract clients right across the business spectrum or if you are going specialize in particular industries or client groups from where you will obtain your client base.
If you do decide to specialize, it’s imperative that you develop your own niche in the market.
Why Develop Your Own Niche Market?
Why would you want to limit your marketing to a specific niche? This may seem counter-productive, since you have less clients to market to. The reality is that when you become well-known as the expert in your niche market, you will get many more referrals. For example, one accountant placed their marketing focus on independent truck drivers. He advertised on a highway billboard where truckers frequently passed. Within a few months, he had more clients than he could handle, and had to take down the sign.
When someone reaches out to you with a specialty service that applies better to what you do than does their competition, you are more likely to use their service.
Also, there is great operational value to working primarily with one segment of the market. You become more efficient at what you do. The more that you work within a specific industry, the more familiar that you become with the issues specific to that market. When clients ask you questions about their business, your prior experience makes the answers much more intuitive, because you have answered the same questions before. You become the expert, and clients pass on referrals to their colleagues when they see you as the authority in their field. This gives you a unique marketing advantage over your competition.
How To Develop Your Own Niche Market
Needless to say, there are some marketing strategies which you can pursue to achieve this objective:
Work In a Market You Enjoy
Select an industry or client group which really appeals to you. It’s not necessary for you to be a fervent disciple of the industry but it helps if you have more than a passing interest in it and already know some of the personalities involved and industry trends.
Do Market Research
Conduct as much research as you can about the industry or client group you have selected. The internet should be of enormous assistance in this project. Some of the kinds of information that you are looking for is how large the industry is in your area and how profitable those businesses tend to be. You need to know if it is even worth going after a market before you begin to focus on it. If there is not enough specialized businesses in your target market, it is probably not worth the effort to specialize in that case. Find another niche market that will give you the benefits of capturing a specialty industry.
Be Seen As the Leader In Your Market
Begin to identify yourself with that industry or client group by attending industry association functions and making yourself known to the decision makers of the group. Person-to-person, or "viral" marketing is the cheapest kind. When friends refer friends, it costs you basically nothing to get new clients.
Keep Up With Your Market Trends
Start reading all the relevant trade magazines to become aware of the latest industry news and developments. When you are in touch with your target market, you can talk the talk. You are then seen as an insider by your industry. Being seen as one of the group breaks down walls and makes marketing much easier. You are seen more as a peer than as an outside vendor, which can make all the difference when working with potential clients. Their guard is down because you are seen as one of the group.
Share What You Know With Your Industry
Once you have become familiar with the content of the trade magazines, offer to contribute articles to them. Writing articles for trade magazines is a largely untapped advertising resource that puts your name in front of thousands of potential clients as an expert in their field. What’s more, it won’t cost you a dime. Trade magazines are glad to get free content, and you will love the benefit to your reputation as the expert in your market.
Prepare and distribute press releases regarding the accounting and computer related issues for the industry or client group you have selected. Press releases are news announcements to newspapers and other media sources. By preparing press releases, you make yourself "news worthy".
Get Many Clients From One
Once you have acquired a satisfied client from the industry, ensure that you obtain a testimonial and thoroughly promote it to other members of the industry.
Remind Your Contacts of Your Industry Affiliation
Consider using special stationery and a Web site which highlight your affiliation with the industry. A Web site is an inexpensive way to get your message out in detail without costing much more than your time. Many internet service providers provide tools to help you get a Web site up quickly and easily.
Focus Or Specialization Depends On You
There is no correct decision to make regarding a market niche. Many accounting services have succeeded by working with a wide range of clients while others have focused on particular groups. It’s up to you!
Learn To Market Your Business With Low-Pressure Techniques
The fourth module of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches you to find clients with little effort and even less out-of-pocket expense. You will learn to take advantage of your unique marketing advantages that you didn’t even know you had. With little effort on your part, you will quickly learn to find more paying clients than you can handle!
Learn More About the Step-By-Step Marketing Techniques Taught In the Professional Bookkeeper Course
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