Attracting new clients is the bread and butter of any business.
Yet, it’s easier said than done – especially when strapped for time and money. We talk to Glenn Redler, founder of GX Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, on how he started a cloud accounting firm from scratch.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to grow your firm on a shoestring budget, here are five tips to attract new clients.
1. TALK TO A MARKETING AGENCY EARLY ON
Talk to a marketing agency from day one if you can to learn more about branding.
Our first logo didn’t reflect who we were as a business and needed several evolutions to get to where it is now. If you’re going to spend some money on something important at the start of your business – this is it. A decent logo and a fully functioning website are as important as any equipment or software that you buy. Your brand identity is crucial, and the earlier you can get this right, the better.
2. GRAB THE LOW HANGING FRUIT – USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Social can be expensive if you pay someone to do it, yet it’s possible to fit it into your day-to-day. If you have a spare few minutes, take a photo of something that makes you smile or laugh. Even if incremental, it’ll soon add up. Plus, invite your team to do the same and get them set up with bespoke handles, such as @GX_Glenn. This will help amplify your business posts plus develop your team’s personal brand for clients.
See social media as an extension of your personality. Connect with companies in your local area on Twitter, not to sell but to genuinely help out. Retweet local business owners when they need help; answer questions where you can. It’s not a particular science, yet a great way to start making connections. Make your posts stand out from the automated tweets of larger businesses, and make them human. I’ll happily video bookkeeping on an ironing board… and did.
3. BUILD YOUR REPUTATION ONLINE
On average, accountants get 80% of new business leads through word-of-mouth marketing. Online recommendations are a huge part of this. We all do it when we’re looking for someone to provide a service. How many stars are on their Google page? What are people saying about them on Facebook?
Make asking for recommendations a part of your work process. Once you’ve submitted your client’s accounts or tax return, ask them how they rate your service. Send them links to your Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn pages. We also ask our clients to email testimonials which can then be used in a simple image to distribute through social media.
4. ATTEND NETWORKING EVENTS
Nothing beats meeting people in person. By going to networking events and swapping a business card or sending a request on Linkedin, you’ll form associations with other business owners that will put you in good stead. These relationships will grow over time, especially if you meet you at another event.
Always remember that networking is just like dating. You’re not likely to seal the deal on a first meeting. Building touch-points across multiple channels is crucial for people to remember you and this includes your physical presence and character. The connections you form will ultimately get in touch to either become a paying client or to recommend your business to their own associates, friends and family.
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5. THE BEST MARKETING CAN BE UNEXPECTED
When I first started my business, I had no clients and needed work. I’d wake up at 7 am, stick the radio on and enter a competition guessing the year of the song. I’d text in every day for my first month of trading, and they’d read out my name. It would be “Glenn, doing a tax return”, or “Glenn, advising someone on expenses”. I had more than one person tell me they had heard my name mentioned. Sometimes, you can get easy wins from strange places.
Whatever the size of your budget, the goal to marketing your firm successfully is to create high-quality touch-points. Your logo, your website, your social media content, going to networking events and the recommendations you receive are all part of this. We find that on average our new clients have had at least 5 touch-points before talking to us and in some cases we’ve had as many as 15 before they’ve come in for their initial chat with me..
So? Tweet your local radio station, start making those online connections, make it a team effort and test what works for you. People buy from people, so make it personal and get stuck in.