I remember seeing an accountant’s website and littered across the top were a string of social media icons. The list proudly stating they were on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+. The latter BTW doesn’t exist anymore. Wow! I thought that’s a lot for a small accountancy practice and that’s a lot of content buckets to fill. Except they weren’t full. The buckets, I mean the social media pages, were empty. A flurry here and there perhaps when a social media guru set them up but months had gone by which left them looking like the content had run dry. The accountant may have thought the more platforms they showed up on, the more people will see them and buy from them.
There are three fundamental problems here:
- Being on social media alone isn’t marketing, it’s what you do on social media that creates Awareness of who you are and how you help.
- Being on lots of social media platforms is confusing and time consuming, like you’re on all to see which one will hit lucky. It’s also very expensive if you are trying to fill all the buckets with meaningful content people will take notice from.
- Not knowing enough about your target market, who you want to work with means you can’t actually be specific about where they are and what content will make them consider you as an option. You can find out more about being specific in You’re Selling To Who?
If I was to ask our accountant where his clients came from, he would no doubt be able to tell me. If I probed him a little further, he would go on to say why they became clients and what steps they took to signing up. Also, what keeps them as clients. He would happily say “because we look after them so well”. The accountant, and probably his entire team, would know how every client came on board and why they stay. They would know all the pains their clients had before and they would know all the gains they have received since handing over their accounts. Their pains being the frustrations, the struggles, the lack of knowledge. The gains being the ease by which their accounts are being taken care of, the expertise in the advice they receive and the knowledge that they are safe from the burden of the tax man. I call these Pains and Gains, you can find out more in List The Pains, Highlight The Gains here.
Back to the journey and our accountant friend. Let’s call them The Prospect and The Accountant to explain my point. The steps The Prospect may take to becoming a client may go something like this:
The Prospect was at a business networking event and met The Accountant there. They got to know each other as they talked more about their respective businesses. They exchanged cards and connected with each other on LinkedIn. The Accountant attends this type of networking as he knows there are businesses there, he can help and who could be potential clients. The people there are similar to the ones he helps already. Being on LinkedIn, a B2B social media platform, The Accountant is able to put out posts he knows will help his clients and those in a similar position. By being on LinkedIn he can create content that speaks to his target market and be able to attract more of the people he wants to work with. This is about being in the right place, with the right action in mind to move people, like The Prospect, on to the next stage. To start a conversation and then to develop it further. This first stage is known as Awareness. I talk about different types of Awareness in Be Where They Hang Out. Check it out to see if you are in the right place and how saying the right things to get noticed will lead them further down the journey to the next stage.
The Prospect thinks about a question The Accountant left him with and decides to look into the accountancy practice a little deeper. He visits the website and likes what he sees. He finds similar stories to his on the case studies page and is impressed by the companies The Accountant helps, Also, the testimonials received to support The Prospect’s decision to delve further. There is a very clear Call to Action which encourages The Prospect to make contact again. He is now thinking about his current accountant, comparing the service and the support he receives. This second stage is Consideration. They are getting to know you in their pace and their time.
The Call to Action is an invite to download a Tax Calculator which The Prospect does and with this he has opted in for regular tax tips. He decides to set up a meeting with The Accountant and is impressed by what he knows so far. The Accountant offers him a review and shares his expertise during this two hour Tax Session. The Prospect is given something he can try before he makes up his mind and it’s sealed the deal; he is ready to make up his mind. This third stage is known as Trial.
Now The Prospect is very happy and wants a deeper conversation with The Accountant. The Prospect has had the opportunity to get to know The Accountant and can see huge benefits of moving his accounts over. The Prospect signs up and is blown away by the welcome he receives. The systems, collateral and tactics he has been onboarded with are smart, diligent and super friendly. The Client, as he is now, feels valued from day one and cannot wait to get started on the things the accountancy practice can do for him and his business. This fourth stage is known as Welcome. Check out A Wonderful Warm Welcome.
Now onboard, The Client is fully engrained in The Accountants’ business. His accounts are taken care of, he receives prompts when he needs to do something and has quarterly check ins with The Accountant to review and plan finances in his business. The Client feels like he has someone looking after him and he has peace of mind everything is being taken care of. He receives a Christmas present, is asked to events and is sent top tips every week to ensure he feels even more valued. This is the fifth stage and these tactics are done to keep The Client happy and loyal. It is known as Retention.
The sixth and final stage is Advocacy and this is where The Accountant really excels. The Client is happy to leave a review and recommends him on LinkedIn. The Client often refers business to The Accountant because he is delighted with the service. The Accountant and his colleagues are so appreciative of the work they receive, they want to do more. They sponsor community events and raise money every year for charity. So good is the accountancy practice at looking after people and doing things that make a big difference that they go onto win awards. They are often asked for comments for news pages and industry articles. They create true advocates singing their praises who repeatedly push more business their way.
This is what we mean when we refer to the Customer Journey. By starting with the clients you have now and working backwards, you will see the journey they took to being a valued client of yours. If you added to the touchpoints, to make each stage even better, then referrals and recommendations become a huge part of growing your business too.
It’s exhausting and expensive to be in every place for everyone. Be where they hang out, in the right place for the clients you want. It’s a better, safer and far less expensive way to market your business.