3. Some key elements of a digital strategy
An effective digital strategy has many potential tools at its disposal. We won’t go into all of them here, but the following elements should be top of mind:
A strong website is critical to the success of most businesses, and all the more so for accounting firms. It is the center of gravity for the firm’s on-line presence that effectively projects its core marketing resource, its expertise. Research shows that more than 80 percent of prospective clients check out a potential provider on its website, often before ever making contact.
Compelling content that drives leads through the sales funnel is clearly extremely important. Sometimes less well-considered by accounting firms is the power of website design not just to improve usability across all platforms, including mobile, but also to influence users’ perceptions of your business and intuitively differentiate it.
And lastly, the importance of search engine optimization – the process for increasing the chances that your site will be found by those searching for a partner — cannot be overstated. Simply stated, on-site SEO ensures that your site emphasizes the use of words most often searched by people looking for services like those you provide, while off-site SEO relies on links from other sites to yours.
A strong social media strategy is no longer optional. The Hinge Marketing research shows that 60% of prospective customers check out potential service providers through social media – more than those who use formal referrals and recommendations as an information source.
Social media can be a highly effective tool to support key firm activities:
- Networking – Aids your team in making and nurturing contacts critical to business development
- Content promotion – Provides a cost-effective method to guide prospects to the content that demonstrates your expertise.
- Search engine optimization – Social media is a prime venue for the off-site SEO mentioned in the previous section.
- Research – Want to understand a prospect better? Check out their social media streams.
- Recruiting – Social media is key to shaping the perception of your firm by potential job candidates.
Marketing automation, CRM and lead nurturing
Technology is constantly evolving in this area, which at its heart is about tracking sales and marketing activity for individual clients and prospective clients and getting the right content to the right person at the right time. CRM – customer relationship management — software is the tracking mechanism, and marketing automation is the process that leads them through a carefully constructed path that builds a relationship and steadily warms them to doing business with your firm.
These tools are table stakes for cost-effective marketing, and careful consideration of the right tool for your firm is essential in a somewhat dizzying landscape of products.
A recent 2019 Marketing Technology Landscape report indicated that we’re now up to 7,040 solutions.