Market Every Day (in Every Way)

BY SIDNEY A. BLUM

  

 
 

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 continuously.

  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 Association (www.the-dma.org) 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 charge.

  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 39).

  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 sidb@glfoa.com.

SPONSORED REPORT

How to make the most of a negotiation

Negotiators are made, not born. In this sponsored report, we cover strategies and tactics to help you head into 2017 ready to take on business deals, salary discussions and more.

VIDEO

Will the Affordable Care Act be repealed?

The results of the 2016 presidential election are likely to have a big impact on federal tax policy in the coming years. Eddie Adkins, CPA, a partner in the Washington National Tax Office at Grant Thornton, discusses what parts of the ACA might survive the repeal of most of the law.

QUIZ

News quiz: Scam email plagues tax professionals—again

Even as the IRS reported on success in reducing tax return identity theft in the 2016 season, the Service also warned tax professionals about yet another email phishing scam. See how much you know about recent news with this short quiz.