Are Your Fees Flat Lining or In Decline?

If you’re like most accounting firms in this country, you’re probably flat lining or in decline. The truth is, the introduction of GST in this country some 15 years ago made most accounting firms busy but it also disguised the need for marketing.

The overnight spike in work back in 2000 and the flow on effect has seen many accounting firms get somewhat complacent about the need for marketing. Fast forward to 2015 and the firms who took marketing off their agenda are starting to panic. They are still relatively busy but they are now characterised by an ageing client base. If you’ve started to notice clients retiring, selling their businesses and dying then you’re probably a victim of the GST ‘backfire’. In fact, this has reached epidemic proportions in the accounting profession and it is having an impact on both small and larger firms.

In a series of blog posts I will examine the various techniques and strategies required to rejuvenate your ageing client base. Thanks to the internet, consumer behaviour has changed and marketing methods have also changed. In the digital age, online searches, content marketing and social media are the new marketing magnets for accountants looking to grow their practice.

At the hub of your online marketing is your website, however, most accountants websites are simply electronic billboards that list the who, what and where of the firm. A lot of baby boomer accountants have their head in the social media sand and they continue to use old marketing techniques that might have served them well in the past but they are now obsolete. Yellow Pages ads, the local paper and sending out flyers in the mail are no longer effective. They rarely host client seminars and their website is never going to generate leads and new clients.

While referrals remain the lifeblood of an accounting firm’s growth, these firms have seen their referrals dry up in recent years. Their ‘old’ client base doesn’t refer like they used to and the reason is quite simple, 55 year olds aren’t starting businesses or buying investment properties. This is the domain of 35 to 40 year olds. As people hit their 50’s their social circles tend to contract and they just don’t mix with people who need a great accountant anymore. You need a pipeline full of 25 to 40 year old prospects and clients to guarantee growth in the future. This demographic all live online and are attached to their mobile devices. The firms that have shifted their marketing focus online are in boom mode while those firms who keep doing things the same way are doomed.

The internet has changed our lives forever and buyer behaviour has changed. You can now buy anything online and increasingly business owners are ‘buying’ accounting services online. If you just sit back and continue to apply the marketing methods that have served you well in the past you are on a slippery slope. In our previous blog Why Do Accountants Spend So Little On Marketing,” the data proves that firms who generate 40 to 60% of their leads online will achieve greater growth, and the more leads you generate online, the more profitable your firm will be.

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