Why should accountancy firms advertise? Surely if a business needs an accountant, they can just look one up. Google has plenty to choose from. They might also just go local. The question is how do people choose their accountant?
The answer to that is actually very similar to how we choose to buy any product or service. That sounds slightly odd, but the patterns of human behaviour are pretty ingrained and very consistent. Decisions are part logical but often use shortcuts – quick decisions based on irrational notions. However, does that apply to obtaining an accountant?
The answer is unclear. There’s little research of any merit on this topic. Instead there’s lots of advice on how to choose an accountant! Tips include checking the levels of qualifications, the accountancy firms size, if it already deals with businesses the same size as yours and what size is it? The last question is used to work out if they’ll have any empathy with you as you grow your business.
Once on your website, what are the customers looking for? Well, most accountancy firms websites are extremely dull. They just spell out what they do. If they are designed to help you with tax they’ll play on that. If they are a business accountancy firm that makes sure you can submit your end of year accountants, then that’s also listed. If they are part of a family orientated accountancy then they will focus on that. It’s just words, words and more words; a bit like this blog but duller.
What if you did something different? What if you added a video to their page? In this video your presenter looked attractive and friendly. They looked like someone you’d like to work with. They also told you the firms goals, what they could do for you and why you need to use them? Now wouldn’t that make it much more of a compelling reason to become a customer?
How much is a new customer worth to accountant? Accountants need long-term customers who keep coming back, year after year. They need to be able keep them and show that year after year they are improving and if possible keep their prices lower than competition.
This is especially true in an age where accountancy is under threat each year from artificial intelligence systems that are predicted to take over all accountancy operations by using sophisticated algorithms. It’s also true in an age where we might be on the brink of large scale inflation. Inflation is a killer to businesses and thus a huge loss to those businesses that service them.
The worst form of inflation is hyperinflation, and though we always believe this cannot happen to western liberal-democracies and European nations, it’s not impossible. After the Spanish Flu of 1918 to 1921, hyperinflation after years of war expenditure forced accountants and lawyers to seek jobs as road menders and their female staff into other nefarious occupations. We can hope this does not happen, but anything that is possible can happen.
It’s thus important to secure good long-term customers. The best type of customer for an accountants are those that own land, food and agriculture, utility companies, funeral service companies, landlords, housing providers and clothing producers or retailers. These sectors will outlive any form of economic disaster, from hyperinflation to its opposite: depression.
Now you must be wondering why I am focusing on the types of customers, when clearly the probability of hyperinflation or depression in any significant sense is surely very low? No one predicted the 2008/9 crash. Only the father of President Kennedy and the NSDAP’s leader in Germany predicted the stock market crash of 1929. No one realised in 2019 that 2020 a pandemic would kill of businesses unable to afford rents and put millions out of work.
Therefore perhaps before you chuckle to yourself about hyperinflation or economic depression (opposites with similar results) think of these examples.
Knowing your ideal customers can help you advertise better and create a longer-term business plan that is sustainable. How do you entice these customers to you?
Well, you can hire a fancy marketing company or you can cut your costs and hire a decent video maker, who understands how to market effectively.
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