It’s not what you say, but the way that you say it.

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Our new blogger Sharon Hammond, Marketing Coordinator at member firm Roffe Swayne, discusses the importance of setting the right tone when marketing a practice.

I read so many (annoying!) stories online about how accountancy firms are failing in their marketing activities and I want to scream “that’s not true!” I am of the opinion that marketing the services of an accountancy firm just doesn’t follow the norm and it needs a very different approach compared to other professional services to be fruitful.

Let’s be honest, churning out cold newsletters with accountancy facts and figures will bore most readers after the first sentence. We are here to solve problems, not teach them the intricacies of tax structuring and the likes. I’m not saying newsletters and websites are a waste of time, but they do require careful thought about the tone and level of detail to get your message across clearly and most importantly – to be interesting.

Accountants pride themselves on working in partnership with their clients, planning ahead and being relied upon to help when problems arise and advise how to rectify issues. I think that the same personable approach needs to be taken when producing your marketing communications. After all, our clients have chosen our practice because they like and respect us as people first. As far as most clients are concerned, what accountants do with Excel spreadsheets is not something they need to worry about, as long as their business compliance boxes are ticked and they have the support and data they need to make informed business decisions.

We are told time and time again to get up Google Page ranking, send regular mailings and so on. Whilst these are important, and will no doubt win you some leads, I personally think these should be used to reinforce your marketing, rather than be used as the primary marketing tool.

Plucking audit out of the air as an example - have you ever had a phone call along the lines of “I just Googled you, I need an audit, can you help?” I bet you haven’t. More likely that same call would go along the lines of “my friend XXX uses you for their audit and thinks you’re great, can you help me out?”

I joined Roffe Swayne midway through our new website development project and researched many other websites. One thing that struck me during my research is that accountants on the whole need to think about the language and tone they use. The various accounting services are provided to solve problems for clients. If a client is looking for help to solve a particular issue, will your marketing communications tell them that you can help?

Does your website or newsletter explain what you do to the layman? Proofreading is more than just looking for typos. Get a friend or family member to read it, do they understand what you are trying to say? Think about the first question they ask you and the terminology they use. That is the best litmus test and can save you hours trying to craft any communication, be it for your website, newsletter or press release.

Recommendations really are worth their weight in gold and providing additional services to your existing clients should be the easiest marketing win. So keeping your firm at the forefront of your clients and contacts minds really can reap rewards.

Sharon Hammond

Marketing Coordinator

Roffe Swayne

Tags: UK200

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