Plant your organic marketing seeds today for long-term gains
Green energy is great for public accounting. It's great for everybody, you know, with saving the planet and all, but it's really great for accountants, because it is currently providing huge opportunities for growing your practice.
Of course, you already know this, which is why you spend so much time developing and promoting your specialty focus in renewable energy. Not only is the ever-changing legislative landscape creating situations too complex for businesses to handle internally, it's actually helping these businesses exist in the first place, and they all need your expertise.
What are you doing to get more clients like this?
Now is the time to plant the seeds:
When I was working in business advisory services, helping CPAs bring growth & sustainable incentives like R&D, 179D, 45L, etc to their clients, I remember sitting down with some incredible firms that really loved helping their clients thrive, but were challenged with generating interest from new businesses.
This growth was especially problematic during the off season. For one, you and your rainmakers are probably going to be taking some much-needed time off come April 18th, and we may not see you again until June or July. Even then it will be touch and go. Number two, once taxes are filed, your business owners are not going to want to talk about taxes again until the next filing is due.
So, how do you plant the seeds for a strong finish to the year when you and your staff are struggling to keep your minds off of swaying palm trees?
It's all in your marketing, and here are 6 ways you can still enjoy your Mai Tais while building the foundation for your strongest year ever.
Step 1: Build Customer Profiles
Even if your practice has been around for decades and you know your client-base inside out, building a customer profile (aka "buyer persona") is a great way to learn about what motivates them to switch accounting firms.
So, I always suggest that we go through this exercise. There are so many great hidden opportunities in there.
In addition, it's highly likely that you're going to bring in somebody else to carry out your marketing execution, and these profiles will help you convey your knowledge of your target customers to them. In fact, every piece of marketing they publish will use these profiles as their guiding lights.
(get your client profile template by Orange Pegs)
Step 2: Embrace their mission
It's important to your future clients that they believe that you believe in their mission. It's not good enough for you to want to make money, and therefore, you want to help with that niche. The big 4 are already covering specialty incentives in exactly that manner, and that's not what the owner and entrepreneur of a solar company wants to see.
They want to know that you believe in their cause, because the rules and laws that govern us will always change, and if you really do love green energy, you will be stacking your arsenal with as much knowledge about the subject as possible.
I had a CPA client who would attend all sorts of events and meetings put on by my employer at the time, because he loved learning about the specialty incentives we focused on. He said that even though he didn't have any clients that qualified, he knew that the only way to be certain of that was to know as much about them as possible. He LOVED being able to help his clients expand.
FYI, when I started my agency, he was one of the first calls I made, and he now does my company's taxes.
This can come across through your website, and other online marketing collateral like social media and blog posts, which I'll dive into further throughout this article. First and foremost, as far as your online presence is concerned, your website should make green companies feel like you actually embrace what they do.
Step 3: Diagnose their pain
What are some of the biggest challenges your future clients in renewable energy face? I know there are a lot of start-ups in this arena, but there are also a lot of companies that have been around for decades that are trying to adapt to the more progressive political climate.
Each bring their own set of challenges, and they each have many layers and stages to address as well.
Helping them diagnose their problems is probably already apart of your sales process, but what about your marketing? Do you have anything on your website that helps people discover what problems they have that you can solve for them? In the past, like, really past past... people relied on their FAQ pages for this. That's not to say that those are completely obsolete, and I'm not suggesting that you drop yours, because some people will be influenced by them.
BUT, I would say that it's not enough on its own - and it definitely shouldn't be your first and/or only foot forward on the issue. You can take it further (a LOT further) by blogging regularly.
Each post can address a specific pain that you would normally explore during your sales consultations. This will help the random visitors discover and understand your value proposition in a way that FAQ simply cannot.
You can get more granular. You can post every week on the different pains people feel based on where they are in terms of years in business and growth objectives. And you can finally get people to see how much you actually embrace green energy.
How often do you think your prospective clients in green energy are going to be looking for answers about revenue treatment during your off season? Wouldn't it be nice to be the one to provide those answers?
I will admit - blogging is no small feat, so it may behoove you to bring in help (get a free blog writing services consultation with Orange Pegs Media), but it certainly doesn't have to be YOU writing the posts.
Step 4: Assist the exploration
Your blog posts can do a lot - from diagnosing people's pain, to serving as a conduit to answers and solutions.
Blogging is a fantastic marketing tactic for getting people to your website and understanding what problems you can solve, which is great. But you need to continue assisting your visitors in their travel through their individual buyer's journeys.
If you give away content that your green would-be customers find valuable, then you'll give them a reason to send you their contact information, even when you're not home.
Your blog posts will stay published and pull visitors even years down the line, so two months from now shouldn't bee too much of a concern.
By assisting them in this exploratory process, you'll be positioned nicely for when the right-sized companies with the right mix of pain and resource availability inevitably decide they want to utilize outside assistance.
(Get the content-exchange playbook "Fluid Marketing" by Orange Pegs Media)
Step 5: Align your goals
Business owners put one priority over all else: Make money. If they don't do that, the business cannot exist.
Okay, simple enough.
Your job is to help them protect that money, and/or in the states where refundable credits exist, to help find ways to fund their growth and start-up years.
They get that. You get that. Everybody gets that. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't spend time discussing that goal with them through your marketing efforts. I'm sure, like most everything else I'm discussing in this article today, goal alignment is part of your sales process, but is it coming through in your website, blogging, or social media chatter?
To align your goals, you can provide tools that help people identify places where you can help them. For example, if your firm provides 179D assistance, you could create a spreadsheet calculator that people could fill out to determine how much of an opportunity may exist for them.
They could download it from your website in exchange for their contact information, so they become a lead, and by the time you talk to them, they'll have a very clear-cut idea of what they want from you, because you led them down that path with your blog post that led them to the download, which led them back to your website (after they clicked a link you embedded offering a free consultation). And, of course, you'll know what they're looking for, and be able to illustrate which goals of theirs you could help them attain - if you have a good marketing software in place.
Step 6: Present your case
At some point you have to hand the lead off from marketing to your rainmaker, so they can close the deal by presenting options for the prospective client.
By utilizing this method of marketing ("inbound marketing"), you'll learn a lot about your prospects as they learn about you and your solutions. This means that when the hand-off occurs, you are armed to the teeth with knowledge that will enable you to connect with them and bring home the bacon.
Interested in learning more about how inbound marketing can help you build your specialty industry lead list during the off season? Schedule an appointment with Orange Pegs Media today!