The Five Most Costly Marketing Methods for Accounting Practices

There are a couple dozen different marketing methods that you can use to build your practice, but they are definitely not created equally.  In fact, some are so ineffective and costly, that we really try to steer people away from them.  Here are five of the worst for building your practice.

One – Advertising

A good number of my clients who are starting their practices come to me to design an ad for their local paper.  I let them know we really don’t recommend you spend your marketing money that way.

Ads are popular with the vendors that are trying to get our attention in the accounting profession, but for accounting firms, ads are not what our clients respond to.

We do see regional firms and the big four running ads, but they are not the most cost-effective channel.   There is just too much noise out there today.   Plus, most beginners only run their ad once.  If you are going to run an ad (which we don’t recommend), it needs to run at least six times before people start to notice it.

Two – Blogging

If your peers tell you that you need to do a blog, the good news is you don’t have to listen to them.  The only thing blogging is good for is helping your website rank higher in the search engines.  So you might want to do it for that reason.  But don’t do it as a marketing channel and expect results.

Three – Social Media

This channel is another really big “should” in a lot of people’s minds.  “I should be on social media.”  The good news is, you can skip it, and it won’t hurt your marketing results.

Social media is at least twice as costly as website maintenance, and if you’re going to spend online marketing money, I suggest you do it on your website first.  There is great room for improvement for most accounting firm websites first before taking on a highly labor-intensive channel such as social media.

Four – Google AdWords and Other Online Ads

Although Google AdWords can work, it’s not the least expensive marketing channel.  Internet-savvy folks will click on organically ranked sites well before they resort to the sites that paid to be there.  So it’s definitely  worth it to rank high in the search engines, but try to rank as high as possible organically (without paying for ads) first.

Also, many accountants spend money on Google AdWords before making their websites attractive in order to get the calls.  That’s money down the drain.  Just like social media above, your website has to be in fantastic shape with all the right elements before AdWords will work as a lead generation tool.

Five – Radio Ads

There’s a lot of work and cost in putting a radio ad together.  You’ll need to understand your client demographics to select the station that has listeners with the same demographics.  The script has to be written, performed, and recorded.  Then it has to be tested and may need to be adjusted.  Then it has to be aired and repeated and repeated and repeated.   All of this is quite costly compared to other options available.

Marketing Expense

Marketing is expensive enough.  It doesn’t make sense to use the most expensive channels until you’ve used the least expensive ones up first.    Check this list against your marketing plan to see if you can reduce marketing costs in your business.