CPA Practice Advisor

OCT 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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OCTOBER 2018 www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com 31 FEATURE—MARKETING IN PRACTICE This is part 3 of a series on firm culture. See part one at www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/ 12421307, and part two at www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/ 12424914. BUILDING A WORLD CLASS MARKETING CULTURE PART 3: Rhythm and Habits By Kristy Short, Ed.D “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.” That Woody Allen quote may be an oversimplification, but it’s also insightful. Like anything in life, if you want to get traction with marketing, you need to develop habits of consistency. A big part of marketing is just being there—being visible and keeping a steady presence with your audience. On the tax side of business, the purchase cycle is regular and seasonal, which makes the marketing rhythm easy to figure out. But when it comes to attracting weekly and monthly clients, the purchase cycle is irregular. It depends on complex variables, and once you sign an engagement, it could be for a lifetime. In other words, selling your business services isn’t like selling breakfast cereal and oil changes on a clear, regular purchase cycle. The path to your new client relationships is built over time. It’s based on your communication and your ability to establish beliefs of trust, dependability and business acumen—an endeavor that calls for frequent and consistent content marketing. As we’ve discussed in the past, content marketing is offering useful information to people, dressed up in your brand. As best-selling author and social media guru Jay Baer says, “It’s marketing so useful, people would actually pay a few bucks for it.” Good content is the fuel for keeping your social media channels humming on a steady basis with helpful, shareable information. And you can extend content marketing into other creative channels as well, such as educational seminars. The cumulative effect is to establish your brand as a voice of credibility and earn valuable share of mind among people who may find themselves in need of services, if not tomorrow, perhaps a couple of years down the road. Like Woody Allen said, it’s mostly about showing up. Keeping up a presence on a reasonably consistent basis is important. You may not see immediate gratification or even be able to directly tie your content publication to specific new business, but it’s an important part of the overall marketing mix. It’s your voice in the big, wide world. So what do you say with that voice and how often? How do you come up with good content presented in a good cadence? Here are a few tips: Daily or semi-weekly: Try short, “snackable” social media posts on a daily basis or twice weekly. These can be tweets or status updates sharing relevant news stories from around the web or simply documenting interesting things happening around the office. Use these touchpoints to show the human side of your firm and give them a sense of your culture. This can help when it comes to recruiting good staff, too! • Monthly: Got a blog? A monthly rhythm is a good pace for a firm partner or leader to sound off on a relevant topic and offer good, practical advice for readers. • Quarterly or Biannually: Take your content offline and go face-to-face with your audience. Design and host an educational seminar for small businesses about a timely aspect of financial strategy or management. You can double-up your efforts by live streaming your event on social media. And, of course, you should use your social channels to promote the event in advance, as well. • Seasonally: Ingrain your brand in the life of the community with sponsorships, whether it’s the arts, athletics, education, charity… put your money where your heart is and make your brand’s voice a part it. Get your staff involved with volunteer support, and you’ll have more firm activity to document on social media, as well. Ask everyone on your team to make suggestions on what causes to adopt, and make it an organic part of your firm culture. These are a few good, basic habits you can adopt to keep your brand’s voice heard during the long, complex process of earning a new business client. Just remember that it’s not about instant gratification—the seeds you plant today may take a few years to germinate. Keep them watered and nurtured with regular content marketing. Make these good habits central to your firm’s marketing culture to continue the journey to world-class. ■ Kristy Short, Ed.D, is Chief Communications Officer and a partner at Rootworks—the profession’s leading membership-based education organization dedicated to helping accounting professionals find a better way of run their firms. Learn more at rootworks.com.

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