From Accounting Web: The start of a new year is always an excellent time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work in the past year and look forward to new opportunities in the year ahead.
To ensure your firm’s marketing initiatives are on-track for a strong and profitable 2021, here are five areas of focus for you to consider.
Your marketing team doesn’t operate in a silo. It’s easy for firm leaders to expect marketing to deliver campaigns that will give the firm great ROI. But great marketing initiatives don’t start with marketing. They start with leadership.
Your firm’s marketing strategy needs to be aligned with the overall firm strategy. This ensures everyone in the firm – from partners to staff members to your administrative team is on the same page and working toward the same goals.
A marketing plan should never stand alone, so give your CMO a seat at the table and consider marketing in the firm’s strategic planning process from the get-go. Define your firm’s business goals and then use them as a foundation for building your marketing plan. When your marketing team knows where you want to go, it’s easier for them to customize marketing efforts to get you there.
We’re living in an increasingly digital world and embracing digital transformation is inevitable if you want your firm to survive and thrive. This isn’t just about upgrading your paper files to a modern document management system or moving to the cloud, although it may include both of these things.
Digital transformation is also not just a job for the IT department. While your IT team plays a huge part in your digital transformation strategy’s overall success, it’s important to keep in mind that the ultimate aim of going digital is to improve the client experience. Who in your firm understands the client journey better than your marketing department?
Most marketing professionals don’t see digital as a threat but as an opportunity to better understand your clients and craft marketing messages to reach and engage them. Marketing departments need to use technology, first and foremost, to ensure they’re gathering valuable client insights at every exchange and creating a user experience (UX) that makes clients feel valued.
You might think of process in terms of delivering a tax return, audit or consulting engagement, but your firm’s marketing process can make or break your brand positioning and client loyalty. If you haven’t taken the time to fully plan and map out your marketing process, you risk losing clients at every point of the client lifecycle – from getting a new client to supporting your existing clients.
While the exact processes will be unique in each firm, they should include:
Defining your target audience
Breaking down your target audience into smaller segments and crafting messages that move them further down the marketing funnel
Planning, publishing and promoting content to support prospective and existing clients
Be sure to measure your marketing initiatives’ results so you can prove your work is making a positive impact and continually improve your processes.
We are seeing more and more video on search engine results pages (SERP), which means Google is starting to make video a priority. Your firm needs to incorporate video into your content to grow the business and remain competitive.
As you create content, remember to focus on the broader algorithm towards creating no-click or one-click experiences. Using explainer videos, how-to’s and answering your clients’ burning questions will keep you at the top of SERP.
When creating videos, focus on your sites search engine optimization (SEO) and create all aspects of the video:
- Thumbnail. Reduced-size versions of your video that are easy to scan and organize. It lets your viewer known what they’re about to see and why they should be interested.
- Transcription. This is the process of translating your video’s audio into text. A large number of people watch videos without sound, so including transcription will boost your video’s SEO, deliver a better user experience and make it accessible to more viewers.
- Full description (with hashtags). Writing full descriptions with hash-tagged keywords can help viewers find your videos more easily through search. A well-written description with the right keywords and hashtags improves your video content’s discoverability and increases views.
Don’t let worries about production quality keep you from venturing into video. Production quality and other technical aspects of your video should be ok, but they don’t have to be world-class. Creating engaging content is more important than production.
In many firms, budgets and workforce have been impacted by the pandemic. So it’s more important than ever to value and leverage the talent you have.
It’s easy to get stuck in a marketing rut, using tried-and-true methods and doing what you’re already good at. But good marketing can’t stay the same, because then it doesn’t work anymore.
This is your opportunity to try new things that could make a big impact. Experiment with new social media channels and video. Create new types of content to see if they’ll spark more engagement. If they don’t, then try something new again.
Everyone is hoping that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. By taking the time to address these five areas and adjusting your marketing strategy to align with the current times, your firm’s marketing will be off to a promising start.