Establishing your web site is merely the beginning of your e-marketing project — you need visitors and to achieve visitors you will need to promote the site.
As search engine listings are not likely to produce clients, it’s prudent to explore other more basic and inexpensive offline methods of promoting your web address.
Here are seven web site promotion strategies — most of which you should be able to easily implement:
Treat your web address as you would treat any other component of your address — it should appear on all business stationery, promotional material and advertising.
Include your web address in your e-mail signature message. This will encourage your e-mail recipients to check out your web site. As a result they may discover some of your business activities of which they were previously unaware.
Include your web address in your “30 second networking commercial” when you meet people and you have an opportunity to talk about your business.
Publish an e-mail newsletter regularly regarding business aspects they might find interesting and valuable such as payroll deadlines, financial statement tips, events in the news, etc. Where appropriate point them back to your web site. Send this email letter to clients, and contacts/prospects at least once a month.
Feature your web address along with the corporate logo on corporate apparel — e.g. shirts or caps.
If you don’t mind the possibility of being described as “crass”, promote your web address on your car — this will give other drivers in traffic something to focus on, while in traffic.
Incorporate your web address in your on hold telephone message.
Marketing your business is a contact sport which necessitates you being out of your office, on a regular basis, rubbing shoulders with clients, referrers and prospective clients.
There is no better method of implementing this strategy than taking a guest out for lunch. Of course I don’t mean every lunchtime but maybe once a month it’s time to venture into the outside world.
Before you begin to enjoy this pursuit to the extent that you invite luncheon guests with whom you only have a vague relationship, at best, it’s prudent to consider a few ground rules:
This strategy need not be a wildly expensive one – there is no need to take your guest to a really pricey restaurant. At the same time, while McDonalds can be ideal for a quick family meal, it probably doesn’t offer the ambience which you are seeking and may say something to your guest about the way you operate your business.
Only Market to Those Likely to Buy
Be selective with the guests you invite to lunch. This might seem simple, but many invite those to lunch that are unlikely to make a purchase. They should be either existing or potential clients and existing and potential referrers. A luncheon is an excellent way to solidify the relationship, which will, needless to say, lead to more business.
Keep Existing Clients By Showing Interest In Them
People like to do business with friends. Taking a client to lunch and showing interest in them in a casual atmosphere creates a feel of friendship as long as you don’t push the sale too hard. If you are not comfortable with small talk, it’s time to become comfortable as the luncheon should not represent 100% business and offers a perfect opportunity to get to know your guest on a personal basis. After the lunch make sure to write down what you learned about your contact so that you’ll remember more about him or her. If you hear that a client’s son is in a ball league, ask how he is doing the next time you meet. Friends remember that kind of thing. Be seen as a friend, not a business acquaintance.
Keep Clients Sober and Don’t Drain Your Wallet
A juice, soft drink or mineral water is the correct luncheon beverage. Liquor should be avoided at all costs as it doesn’t create the right impression and could create problems later in the day. Also, just a couple of drinks can greatly increase the cost of the lunch and just make it too costly to be useful.
Dress Appropriately for the Situation
While considering first impressions, dress is also an important factor. You need to dress in a manner that is appropriate for the restaurant at lunchtime. You shouldn’t overlook the fact that you will see a range of other contacts at the restaurant, many of whom you will have the opportunity to speak to.
Turn Prospects Into Clients
If you are lunching with someone you don’t know well you will, no doubt, have the chance to introduce your ’30 second networking commercial into the conversation and therefore it makes sense to rehearse it before leaving for the luncheon.
To Sum It Up
Taking a client or a prospective client out to lunch is a great way to pitch your services in a casual atmosphere without costing too much. Because both you and your client are in neutral territory, it is one of the most non-threatening venues for introducing your services to potential clients. If you give your pitch at their office, they feel in power. At a restaurant, clients feel more at ease and you will get a better chance to sell yourself effectively.
More Marketing Tips
Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches a step-by-step approach to learning how to market your own successful Accounting and Bookkeeping service.
Learn How Professional Bookkeeper Training Teaches You to Market Your Skills and Get Top Dollar
You Can Do This!
So what are you waiting for? Your financial future is in your own hands. When you start your own successful Accounting service, your success is your own. If you can find the courage to take the first step, we will give you the tools, support, and training you need to start your own profitable accounting and bookkeeping service.
As I have said to you in the past, the media – newspapers, radio, television and magazines are always searching for stories and angles. The key to good public relations is to determine who will be interested in your particular story or angle.
Just two of the many techniques which you can use to succeed with your long term public relations strategy are:
Provide news — Position yourself as an expert.
If you can do one or more of the following four things in a way which affects enough people — you can turn almost anything into news:
Solve a problem or create an opportunity
Identify a trend. Journalists love trends — especially those which affect a lot of people in their audience
Provide advice to the readers, listeners or viewers
Help the community
Patience is the name of the public relations game — it’s an activity in which there are few overnight successes. You really need to persevere and things will begin to fit into place. Harassing a journalist to publish your story is not a recommended practice.
Let’s focus on just one aspect — providing advice.
The sort of press releases which you can write and distribute which provide advice could include the following:
7 Tips to Reduce Your Income Tax
Throw Away the Shoe Box — 10 Commandments for Good Record Keeping
8 Often Overlooked Tax Deductions for Property Investors
How to Get the Most out of Your Computerised Accounting System
9 Ways to Reduce your Taxes Which Won’t See You in Jail
It should be noted that these are snappy headlines which should guarantee that you capture the attention of the journalist, presenter or producer to whom you are forwarding your press release. You should always include the major theme of the press release in your first paragraph or you will guarantee only one thing — you will lose the interest of the recipient and you will not achieve publication.
Another strategy worthy of consideration is to add your own story or angle to a popular news item. This can often lead to substantial media coverage. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes and ears open for any tax changes to which you can add a local flavor or personal comment — you are most likely to gain some coverage and enhance your image in the process.
In this article, we take a look at essential business tools you will need to start your accounting and bookkeeping service.
Whether you have a computer or not, you ought to have a working electric typewriter, but nothing fancy. If you don’t have one right now, don’t despair. This Saturday, go to a garage sale or two, and you will surely find one for very little money. Make sure it works before you hand over the cash.
Why do you need a typewriter if you have a computer? Occasionally, you might be asked to fill out a preprinted form. Have you ever tried to fill out a form with a computer printer? It’s not that easy — so a typewriter will save you time.
We recommend you apply for a business telephone line. In most states it’s no longer required that you have a separate business line, but it is still advisable. There are two good reasons for a separate business number:
Your company’s name will be placed in the yellow pages. This will provide you with credibility, and enable your clients to find you if they need to. By the way, this does not mean you should buy an ad in the yellow pages — that would be a waste of money. You’ll read more about advertising in another article.
You’ll preserve your personal life. A separate number will allow you to screen your calls. For example, if you are just sitting down for dinner and the business line rings, let it transfer to the answering machine. On the other hand, if it is during business hours, and you are performing work for a client and a private call comes in, let the answering machine take the message. Also, if you have children at home, it’s a good idea to instruct them not to pick up the business line. You want to appear professional, and most businesses don’t have children answering their phones.
A fax machine can be very helpful to communicate with clients, as well as getting information to and from prospective clients. Just an inexpensive model will probably handle your needs. They can also often be used in a pinch as a copier.
As for copy machines, you can probably do without this for now. Most of us have a copy store within a mile of our home, where we can get these services when we need them. When you consider the cost of purchasing and maintaining these machines, the copy stores become a bargain.
For more infomation about getting started successfully with your own accounting and bookkeeping service, check out our courses.
A "no-cost" way to promote your freelance accounting/bookkeeping business (except for a little postage, anyway)? – I want to see that. This technique is particularly powerful when you’re opening your new service.
Press releases offer an opportunity to promote your business and you as a local accounting and bookkeeping expert. Once people begin reading or hearing about you and your business their perception of you changes. They figure that if the newspaper or radio station is focusing on you and your activities you must have expertise.
What is a press release? A press release is a method of communicating to a journalist or radio presenter some information about you and your business which will highlight the fact that you are an expert on some subject — in your case, accounting and bookkeeping.
What Do You Include?
What do you include in a press release? The contents of a press release can be distilled down to the 5 "w’s" – who, what, why, where and when.
It’s really obvious that you are the "who." The remaining "w’s" relate to the thrust of the press release. The issues which could be the subject of a press release may include:
· You have commenced business – include your photo · You have a comment regarding a tax decision or new legislation · You have a comment on a systems development issue or new accounting software · You and your client have enjoyed success on a particular matter · You are doing some pro bono work for a charity or other community group
It’s the headline which grabs the attention of the journalist or radio presenter/producer and thus you should spend some time to come up with something which will tickle their fancy.
Form and Length of Press Releases
For every expert on public relations there is a different theory about the ideal form and length of a press release. Use the form and length which you feel comfortable with and check with your media contacts, when you have them, about what they prefer.
Who To Send Press Releases To
To whom do you send your press release? You will need to do some homework and discover the names of the newspaper journalists and radio presenters responsible for business reporting. Most libraries have lists available of media contacts in your area.
You should call the business editors and let them know that you will be sending them releases as issues arise. It’s a good time to ask about the form in which they prefer their press release to be sent – by facsimile or e-mail and if by e-mail if they are happy with the use of attachments. A radio station with a music only format will only cover business activities in their news bulletins and therefore it’s prudent to make contact with their news editor or journalists.
The Best Time to Send Press Releases
As I mentioned above, a great time to start using this technique is when you first start your freelance service. Below is a template of a short press release you may want to consider using for announcing your new business. This should be typed professionally with NO SPELLING ERRORS.
Basic Press Release Information to Include
Headline: Experienced Accountant Opens New Firm in (Your City)
(Your name) an accountant with (previous employer) for (number of years), has opened a new accounting firm named (name of your firm).
Based in (your city), (firm name) provides accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparation services for individuals and businesses.
(Provide a two or three paragraph summary of your past accounting work experience)
(End with one paragraph providing any credentials you may have such as professional designations, membership in business organizations, civic organizations, etc.)
How to Measure if a Press Release is a Success
You will know that your public relations campaign has been a raging success when journalists or radio presenters take the initiative and contact you for your comment on an issue they feel has local importance.
Make sure you copy any press release on nice paper and send it to your contacts. It will give you more credibility than virtually anything else you could do.
One final point to remember – local newspapers and radio stations are always looking for news pieces which cover local issues. Capitalize on this fact.
Learn to Take Your Skills to Market
With the best accounting and bookkeeping skills, you only make money once you find paying clients. Most accountants don’t have a lot of sales experience. The great thing is that you don’t need to be a great salesperson to find enough clients to make a great living. Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches you how to quickly find more clients than you can handle on a shoestring budget.
Learn How the Marketing Method Taught the Professional Bookkeeper Program Gets You Clients Fast!
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