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3 Meh Ways to Promote Your Firm—and 1 Great One

CPAPoweredWe all get used to doing things a certain way. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. But over time, we lose sight of whether what we’re doing makes sense. Is it effective? Is it worthwhile? Does it take more time and energy than it returns? It’s worthwhile to take a hard look at how you market your services and ask tough questions.

Every day, CPA firms across the country rely on ideas for promoting their services that might not present the best value. Call them old habits or if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it syndrome, but the result is the same: results that are “meh.” What more could you do to promote the very real value you bring to clients on a daily basis? Let’s start with what you might be doing now that may not be effective.

  1. Wordy, confusing or complicated ads.

We live in the age of the 140 character tweet. You have probably noticed that communication today is all about being concise. Gone are the days of full-page print ads filled with text that explains your services in minute detail. They won’t get read. Today’s promotion is a line of text in a digital ad, or a short blurb on a web page. Anything more, and your audience is likely to tune out.

Equally ineffective are promotions that use technical lingo, industry speak or try too hard to sound studious. Your clients want a simple, clear value proposition. They want you to show quickly and plainly how you solve a problem for them. Keep it short, keep it simple. Impress your audience by respecting their time and getting to the point fast.

  1. Forgetting the all-important check-ins.

Serving the clients you DO have means keeping up with them. Quarterly (or at least semi-annual) check-ins provide you with opportunities, and your client with better service. This applies to individuals AND businesses both. Has there been a regulation change at the local, state or federal level? A recent event in your client’s profession? Did their business appear in the news? You have a great opportunity to make a call or send an email or text to catch up.

There’s a very good chance that your clients aren’t aware of all you can do for them. Communicating your value is a year-round proposition, and one savvy firms take seriously. By spending just a few extra minutes a week catching up with your clients, you can reap major rewards. If you only speak with your clients when they come to you, you’re making it harder on yourself to promote your firm’s services.

  1. Not paying attention to the next generation.

If you’ve gotten comfortable serving a particular kind of client, you are missing a significant way to grow business. Millennials are the largest living generation, having recently overtaken Boomers. And with a $15 TRILLION wealth transfer about to take place as Boomers pass on what they have accumulated to their children and grandchildren, it behooves you to adapt (or pay attention). Millennials are the future of business.

With that future is a host of new technologies that Millennials expect. Keeping up may require changes—email is increasingly read on mobile devices, for example, meaning differences in how it should be formatted. It will take some changes in the way you think and do business to make progress on this front. Consider hiring someone qualified to guide your firm in engaging the new generation.

And here’s the great one.

The value a CPA brings to the planning and running of a new business is powerful. The #CPApowered website is the hub of the AICPA’s efforts to showcase the numerous ways in which a CPA is a small business’ most trusted continuous strategic partner. Since its launch in 2014, the award-winning #CPAPowered program has reached more than 3 million people through innovative digital media and content strategies. This year’s campaign features two breakthrough, engaging 30-second videos that you can share through your website and social media channels. We’re inviting firms and state CPA societies to join in the action this fall and promote your organizations alongside a national cable TV and social media buy. There are multiple options for participating. Sign up forms (available online) are due by August 15.

Lisa Simpson, CPA, CGMA, Associate Director--Firm Services, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants



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