Marketing is the process of
educating people about the availability and value
of your firm’s CPA and advisory services. It lets
potential clients know how you can help them solve
problems and meet financial goals. Targeted,
budgeted marketing plans generally work best, but
many simple strategies cost nothing at all.
Whatever method you choose, make sure you market
Form strategic alliances.
Team up with related
professionals such as insurance agents and
attorneys. This benefits all parties and is a
great way to market CPA and planning services.
Find them by participating in your local chamber
of commerce, joining volunteer organizations and
volunteering on not-for-profit boards.
Give seminars. Recruit
related professionals such as estate attorneys to
help teach the seminar. Co-sponsor events with
educational institutions, public libraries or
charitable organizations. Most firms don’t charge
for a seminar, but some charge a nominal fee to
cover the cost of materials. Seminars are a proven
method to market financial services.
Don’t take on something you can’t do.
Be realistic. Don’t mail
out 10,000 time-sensitive pieces that need
follow-up calls when only two staff people can
make the calls. It’s a wasted effort. Instead,
send out 10 or 20 pieces per week and follow up on
a few every day.
Learn how to use direct mail.
Mailings, though now overdone,
remain a viable choice because they offer a high
degree of selectivity. The Direct Marketing
provides seminars and conferences on how to use
direct mail. The U.S. Postal Service also provides
useful information at www.usps.com/directmail.
Use the Internet. Make
your Web site easy to navigate, with interesting,
informative linked content (see “Be
a Standout on the Web,” JofA ,
Apr.01, page 43). If you advertise on the Web,
choose a site that charges by the click. Find out
how it indemnifies its customers against click
fraud, which imitates legitimate use of a Web
browser by clicking on an ad solely to generate a
Consider entertainment venues.
Theater and concert sponsorship ads
in programs or even on the backs of tickets can be
a great way to get your name and unique message
out to an affluent audience.
Newspaper and magazine ads work well in
small markets. Ads in large
metro area newspapers may get lost, but ads in
small-town papers can attract potential clients to
a seminar or other event. Some planned communities
and municipalities publish newsletters or
magazines that accept advertising and reach an
affluent demographic. Volunteer to write a column
to get your name out there for free.
Be a radio or TV resource.
Serving as a TV or radio guest is a
great way to reach clients. Contact local news
programs and offer to speak on topics in the news.
If you participate in a program, get as much
information as possible about the segment so you
can adequately prepare beforehand (see “Meet
the Press,” JofA , Jul.02, page
Plan regular contact with clients and
strategic partners. As your
practice grows, you may find that you spend most
of your time meeting with clients and partners.
Those opportunities to listen are critical. Hire
more staff to keep up with routine tasks before
sacrificing this lifeline of your practice.
Source: Sidney A. Blum, CPA, CFP, is a
principal of GreenLight Fee Only Advisors, LLC,
Chicago. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.