December 3, 2019

How Accounting Firms Should Be Marketing in 2020

Many accounting and finance companies are too focused on what they do and forget to make sure they’re communicating their value in a way their clients will respond to.

The Accounting Marketing Model

What if we told you that you could grow your business and revenue without making any changes to your services? That you don’t necessarily need to seek out new clients? That the major shift you need to make is just how you talk about your services. The secret to more sales is in understanding consumer behaviour and learning what your client wants from your business.

Productization Of Services

Having predictability creates a positive psychological impact on clients, they feel more comfortable if they know exactly what to expect in terms of what they’re going to receive, what the cost is, and what the outcome will be. Productized services are packaged and sold just like products. They are easy to identify, select, and buy. And while the results may not be as predictable as buying a pair of shoes, they’re way more defined than open-ended services. Service companies don’t need to change what they’re doing, their services should just be packaged, delivered and talked about in a way that sounds like a product to meet consumers’ cravings of predictability and fixed prices.

Instead of charging an open ended hourly rate, which can feel unknown and daunting to an entrepreneur who may have never hired an accountant before, offering a “Starter” package at a monthly price allows them to easily select a package and they can now feel confident that for this fixed rate, everything they need should be covered.

The productization of services goes hand in hand with the subscription model. In the last five years, the subscription economy has been growing 200% a year, and with good reason: subscriptions are blatantly easier to sell.

5 examples of pre-packaged accounting services

The Rise Of The Subscription Model

The holy grail for accounting and finance companies is strong recurring revenue; it provides savings by reduced cost of acquiring new clients, makes forecasting easier, and leads to stronger client relationships. It also benefits the clients in terms of predictability and rewards loyalty with trickled down savings. Additionally, companies who are planning for growth might not have a ton of capital to invest initially but are willing and able to pay a monthly cost, build a relationship over this time, and scale their plan as they grow.

Largely, the reasoning behind the rise of the subscription model on the consumer side is actually deeply rooted in behavioural economics. This concept can be explained by neuroeconomist George Loewenstein’s fMRI brain scan data measuring the “pain of purchasing”. The negative activation produced by cost is relative, that is, it isn’t just the dollar amount, it’s the context of the transaction. This is similar to the psychology that credit card companies have been using for years. By spreading out or postponing the overall cost, even if it ends of being the same amount, it reduces the pain of purchasing.

This psychology is also the reason why automotive companies typically bundle their offerings. A bunch of individual purchases create individual pain points all at once, whereas a bundled purchase creates only one pain point where the individual is unable (and unlikely) to mentally debate the value of each service at each given price. Bundling results in perceived savings, reduced mental hassle, and reduced pain points for the consumer.

The productization of services combined with the subscription model results in the perfect medley of bundling and spreading out the overall cost.

Growth-Driven Design

A website is likely your company’s primary point of contact. Businesses change, and they’re never going to stop changing, so if its the window to your business – it has to be the most updated, well-worded and accurate representation of your business possible.

A huge website upfront is very costly, and doesn’t leave a budget that would be better spent on updates, so it quickly becomes stale and outdated. A handful of years pass and you end up having to completely redesign your massive, expensive site or have a totally new one created. Additionally, this website has been largely built based on assumptions made about your clients. Collecting data on how users interact with your site, what pages they click on most, when they decide to leave the site and more, all allow you to identify the high-impact updates you can make to continuously improve your site while your business grows.

You should prioritize getting a simple and effective website up quickly that accurately describes your company and offerings with the intention of growing the site over time. We break the redesign cycle by setting up your website in a way that it will serve you for years in the future and allows you to use real data of site visitors to optimize the site and continuously increase the return on your initial investment.

Relationship-Based Marketing

Every service company knows that people do business with companies that they know, like, and trust and this is true more than ever with so many alternatives available to your clients.

Know – Gain awareness through community participation and advertisements
Like – Nurture client relationships through positive experiences
Trust – Share your expertise and demonstrate your knowledge

However, the major shift is that these aspects are largely no longer built by talking to individual people face-to-face because it’s not scalable. Service companies can now effectively use the digital landscape as their means to maintain contact, stay top of mind, and demonstrate expertise.

Grow Your Business

By productizing your services and offering subscription-based pricing, your clients are able to have a predictable initial purchase and grow a strong relationship with your company over time in a model that gives them peace of mind. Using a growth-driven approach and relationship-based marketing allows you to build trust with your clients, meet their needs, and grow your business.

If you’re curious what this model would look like for your accounting firm, we’d love to chat with you.

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