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    Marketing the CPA 2011 Marketing the CPA 2011 Document Transcript

    • Marketing the CPA forMaximum ROIJune 14, 2011 > Tina Lambert, CAE | VSCPA Vice President, Member & Public RelationsROI = Return on Investment Return on Ideas
    • Some GOALS forthis session…• Mastering marketing basics and successful awareness efforts• Power of social media and online marketing• Dos and don’ts of presenting like a pro• Effective resources and tools Even the best of the best have a COACH and need to PRACTICE.
    • How do I master MARKETING?BRANDING 101: more than visuals …• A brand is not a logo, a corporate identity system or a product.• A brand is a person’s gut feeling about your company.• It’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.
    • • What are your strengths?• What are your weaknesses?• How do clients, colleagues perceive you?• How does the competition perceive you?• How do you perceive your competition?• What 20% of your efforts are generating 80% of your revenue? FOUR BASIC ESSENTIALS TO A SUCCESSFUL MARKETING PLAN
    • PRODUCTAudienceAUDIENCE
    • DeliveryDELIVERYAWARENESS
    • Zappos on Nightline10 marketing lessons from Zappos…1. Deliver WOW through service.2. Embrace and drive change.3. Create fun and little weirdness.4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded.5. Pursue growth and learning.6. Have open and honest relationships.7. Build positive team and family spirit.8. Do more with less.9. Be passionate and determined.10. Be humble.
    • 10 marketing tactics that get RESULTS 1. Networking – Referrals, relationships 2. Direct mail – Response, awareness 3. E-newsletters – Cheap, news/info 4. E-mail marketing – Cheap, fast, targeted 5. Website – First impressions 6. Search engine optimization – Drive web traffic 7. Blogging – Thought leadership 8. Social media – Global, power in numbers 9. Speaking & writing – Showcase expertise 10. Webinars – Easy, growing demand What about my PERSONAL BRAND?
    • Brandattributes? Brandattributes?
    • It takes 7 seconds to make a first impression.How do you build a PERSONAL BRAND? • Dress at the office? • Your grooming? • Your 5 second introduction? • Your 30 second introduction? • Your presentation skills? • Office environment? • Your car? • Your interactions? (coworkers, clients, etc.) • Your business collateral? • Your social media?
    • How do you build a PERSONAL BRAND? • Versatility is KEY! • Versatility = the ability to deal well with many different types of people in different situations • A versatile person modifies their behavior so that the other person/people feel comfortable interacting with them How do I maximize SOCIAL MEDIA & ONLINE MARKETING?
    • SOCIAL MEDIA IS AN UMBRELLA TERM… THAT DEFINES THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES THAT INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL INTERACTION AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF WORDS, PICTURES, VIDEOS AND AUDIO.http://www.wikipedia.org
    • It’s also a fancy wayto describePEOPLEhavingCONVERSATIONSonline.Photo by Kris Hoet The CONVERSATIONS are powered by… • Blogs • Podcasts & Videocasts • RSS • Photo & Video Sharing • Online Chat & Sites Listserves • Virtual Worlds • Wikis • Social Networks
    • A shift in COMMUNICATION & CONVERSATIONTraditional Model Social Media Model People are consuming information differently… • 92 % use multiple platforms each day to get news • 60 % get news from online and offline sources each day • 33 % of cell phone owners access news on mobile device • 80 % of online news consumers get or share links via emails Source: Pew Research Center
    • Social Media ROI Socialnomics.net Some ADVANTAGES…• Cheap• Flexible• SEO & Drives Website Traffic• Good Word of Mouth• Global• Ideas, Trends, Buzz• It’s EVERYWHERE
    • MEET YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYEES, PARTNERS, CFOs, CEOs… A. Listen • Immerse yourself in conversations • Monitor trends & competition • Google alerts, Twitter searches • Determine process for responding
    • B. Participate• Set up a profile• Friend 25 people• Comment on blogs• Answer questions• The rule of thirds: personal, professional, profitable C. Drive• Share your expertise• Create content/ideas• Write a blog • Create home for news, opinion, content • Establish as experts • Promote • Connect with community• Drive conversations• Think MULTIMEDIA
    • D. Obey Traffic Signs • Privacy: Customize what others can see about you (professional v. personal) • Create ‘Friend’ groups • Edit privacy settings • Etiquette: Once you’re riding the social media highway, remember to obey common Internet traffic rules of thumb. • Policy: Obey or set company guidelines for participation. socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php How do I givePRESENTATIONS like a pro?
    • Triangle of Persuasion Message/“Prove It” -3x3 - VIP - Sound Bites - Anecdotes, Analogies, Third PartyAudience -- Listen, Translate, Edit -- You Interest C, C, C 5W’s + Body Language, So What, Who Cares, WIIFM VoiceWhat’s PERSUASIVE? Three elements in overallimpression of speakers… Verbal (word choice, content) = 7% Vocal (voice, tone, pace) = 38% Visual (body language) = 55% Content is still king, but 93% of overall impression is DELIVERY
    • TO:FROM:RE: State problem & possible solutions Support your problem: data, The two minute statistics, analysis, examples TALKING MEMO Bottom Line Ideas for OPENERSWeatherKids/PetsNewsCommon interestsTrue storiesQuestions
    • A man walks into abar……OUCH! Not so great OPENER… JOKES RELIGION POLITICS HEALTH
    • 10 SIMPLE SECRETS of the World’sGreatest Business Communicators • Book by Carmine Gallo • www.carminergallo.com • Great, short read! • Lots of helpful advice from top CEOs and leaders in business#1 Passion:Use Your Headto Reach YourHeart
    • #2 Inspiration: C’mon Baby Light My Fire#3 Preparation:Toss the Script
    • #4 Start Strong: Don’t Bury the Lead#5 Clarity:Lose the Jargon orLose Your Audience
    • #6 Brevity:Keep it Short, Period #7 Style: Talk, Walk and Look Like a Leader
    • #8 Command Presence:Movement Doesthe Body Good #9 Wear It Well:Image is Everything!
    • #10 Reinvention:Madonna or Rocky?Crossing the Finish Line •Repeat objectives and key learning points (3x3) •Tell them about additional resources •Tell them you’re available for follow up & provide contact info •Stay for 5-10 minutes
    • "Do not wish to be anythingbut what you are, and try tobe that perfectly." -St Francis of De Sales Meet the Singing CPA
    • What are the VSCPA and AICPA RESOURCES?RESOURCES from the VSCPA• Financial Fitness• Speakers Bureau• Media relations• “Ask a CPA” E-mail Program• Tax season community service• Virginia CPA Week• CPA Day of Service• Nonprofit Pro Bono Assistance• Find a CPA• www.vscpa.com for more info!
    • RESOURCES from the AICPAAICPA Marketing Toolkit• Marketing and communications resources• Print ads, client brochures, posters, marketing articles and guides, customer service and selling tips, client satisfaction surveys and tips for working with the media.AICPA Social Media Toolkit• Sample strategic plans, policies and guidelines• Types of metrics• “How to” guides• ArticlesCONNECT with meTina Lambert, CAEVSCPA Vice President, Member & Public Relations• Phone: (804) 612-9416• E-mail: tlambert@vscpa.com• Web: www.vscpa.com• LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tinalambert www.linkedin.com / search for “Virginia Society of CPAs”• Facebook: www.facebook.com/TinaLambert1 www.facebook.com / search for “Virginia Society of CPAs”• Twitter: www.twitter.com/TinaLambert www.twitter.com/VSCPANews
    • THANK YOU very much!
    • Marketing the CPA for Maximum ROIMarketing 101As CPAs look for new ways to grow their brand, practice and ensure ongoing success, marketing has become anincreasingly critical part of business. But what exactly is involved in marketing? While there are many differentapproaches to marketing, every successful marketing approach addresses four basic essentials: Product,Audience, Awareness and Delivery.• Product. What services do you offer? How are they different from your competitors? How are they better?• Audience. Who is your target audience? How can you reach them?• Awareness. What do people think of your services? How can you increase their awareness?• Delivery. How are your services delivered? How responsive are you to clients?You dont need to spend huge amounts of money to get your message out to the general public. A successfulawareness effort requires only Planning, Imagination and Persistence. Here are three things to keep in mind:• Focus your efforts. If you know your service and your audience well, concentrate on reaching that share of the audience most likely to respond positively to your efforts.• Choose your media imaginatively. Dont limit your efforts to just one strategy or one kind of media. Dont be afraid to be unconventional.• Consistency and persistence count. Your audience is already being bombarded with messages from other companies. You need to emphasize the most important facet of your message and keep repeating it over and over again.The Power of Social Media & Online MarketingOnline marketing involves the use of the Internet to deliver marketing messages to the target audience.Compared to traditional offline marketing, online marketing (websites, e-mail, social media tools) is very differentand at the same time, very much the same.Just like traditional marketing efforts, with clear purpose, defined goals, and steady implementation, onlinemarketing and social media tools are highly effective and even timesaving. The key to unlocking the power ofsocial media is realizing it’s not about technology, it’s about people and relationships. Why should you care?• More than 75% of all Americans have joined a social networking site, 99% of 18 to 24-year-olds• 640 million people worldwide actively use Facebook, and 50% use it every day.• If Facebook were its own country, it would be the 3rd largest — behind China and India.• 200 million Facebook users access the site through mobile devices, a 200% increase in the last 12 months.• iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.• LinkedIn averages a new member every second, having more than 100 million users worldwide.• 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; 95% of these using LinkedIn• Twitter has 175 million users, and averages 95 million tweets per day, a 250% increase over last year.• There are now more than 200 million blogs.• More than 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.• Flickr members upload more than 3,000 images every minute.Presenting Like A ProIn addition to traditional and online marketing, serving as a spokesperson and presenting speeches to variousgroups are effective ways to market your services and enhance the brand of the CPA. The key is to make sureTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    • that your topic is relevant to the audience and the services you can provide. Try to obtain speaking engagementsbefore groups that best represent your target audience. When making any kind of presentation, be as dynamic aspossible and make yourself available after the presentation to answer questions individually. Leaving immediatelyafter making a speech will lead to missed opportunities for making new client contacts.Be sure you also have some handouts for attendees to take with them. These can include a summary or outline ofyour remarks, information about your firm and your biography and brochures with your firm name imprinted on theback. The point is that even after youve finished speaking, you want to continue to communicate your strengthsand qualifications and provide your audience with a means and reason to contact you after your speech.Professional ResourcesVSCPA Public Relations ProgramsThe VSCPA has a year-round, statewide effort designed to get members involved, capture the attention ofbusiness decision-makers and promote a positive image of the CPA profession. Efforts include: • Financial Fitness: This award-winning financial education campaign is a comprehensive effort to reach out to the community and educate the public on wise money management. • Speakers Bureau: This special program allows member volunteers to give presentations to VSCPA chapters, member company/firms, nonprofits, professional organizations, corporations, etc. Volunteers might also be contacted to handle a media interview. • Media relations: The VSCPA’s media relations efforts include fostering relationships with the media and sending press releases to promote the Society, its members and the profession. The VSCPA also sets up media interviews for members. • “Ask a CPA” E-mail Program: VSCPA member volunteers provide free tax, financial planning, military tax and disaster recovery advice to the public by answering e-mail questions through www.FinancialFitness.org. • Tax season community service: The VSCPA organizes annual tax season community service events to give members an outlet for becoming involved in their localities. • Virginia CPA Week: Started in September 2009, this annual event includes the CPA Day of Service, free Financial Fitness seminars and other efforts to recognize Virginia CPAs’ efforts. • CPA Day of Service: This annual event enhances the image of CPAs by promoting a unified commitment to public service. More than 600 volunteers participate annually. • Nonprofit Pro Bono Assistance: The VSCPA gets requests from nonprofits and charitable organizations and CPA volunteers are matched to fulfill these pro bono requests. • Find a CPA: Find a CPA (located on the VSCPA website at www.vscpa.com/findacpa) matches individuals and businesses that need professional financial services with CPA firms in their areas.AICPA Marketing ToolkitThe AICPAs Marketing Tool Kit, available at www.aicpa.com, helps members promote their practices andservices and contains a host of resources and information to assist in marketing and communications efforts. Freeto download/view for members, you can use these tools to: • Attract new clients and improve relations with existing clients • Offer a public service to those in need of financial assistance or information • Educate the business community and general public about CPA services • Increase visibility by giving the presentations to business, consumer and community groupsThe resources include: print advertisements, client brochures, CPA posters, marketing articles and guides,customer service and selling tips, client satisfaction surveys and tips for working with the media.Tina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    • T MarTen rketing Tactics (Old and New) t Grow Your Bu T ( d to usiness s er/December 2010 DisclosB Aaron Tay (NovembeBy ylor sures Magazin ne)BBack in the da CPA firms built their bu ay, s usinesses on a combination of referrals, networking a maybe a little n , andddirect mail. Th process wo he orked, but the opportunities were limited by how muc access a f e d ch firm had to pootentialcclients. Attend ding events an working th room was time- consum nd he t ming and geoggraphically resstrictive. Mailings wereppassive and expensive to do on a large scale. And th e d hose cherishe referrals blew in at the w ed whim of the w winds.TToday, referra are still the gold standa Prospects that come re als e ard. s ecommended from existing clients are u d g usuallyeeasier to work with, more tr k rusting and more profitable than those f m e from any othe source. Ma of the old tactics er anys get results But now we have power online tools that simply weren’t available a few yestill s. e rful y ears ago, allo owing usto reach new audiences in new ways. Many of these newer tools a inexpensiive — many a free — bu they still o M are are utrrequire time and effort to produce result These tools allow you, h a ts. however, to re each and eng gage more pe eople —ppeople who want to buy se w ervices like yo ours.I’ve picked 10 marketing to 0 ools that your firm can use to attract new clients, enc w rals and build your courage referrbbusiness. Som of these ta me -school, and I include them because the still work. Even the new tools actics are old- m ey werw be familiar to you, but if you are like many firms, you may not hwill r f y have worked up the coura yet to give them a age etry. Whether you like it or not, CPA firm marketing is evolving at a rapid pace, a trends su as social m y n and uch mediaaaren’t going away any time soon. If anyt e thing, they are gaining mor traction ev e re very year.1 Networking1.T granddad of marketing, networkin has been around as lon as busines itself. No other marketin tacticThe ddy ng a ng ss ngc match netcan tworking’s pe ersonal touch. Opportunitie for network es king abound. T trick is to pick events that are a The oggood match fo your practic Try to sele events tha cater to you target audiience. A room full of insura or ce. ect at ur m ancessales reps isn going provide many qua leads. n’t alityJoining a Business NetworJ rking International (BNI) group can be a great way to meet prospe o ective custom mers,sshare leads and encourage others to ref you. By de e fer esign, no othe accountant or competito can join your group, er t ors if your netwso working skills are a little rou around th edges, BN can be a gr ugh he NI oost your confidence. It reat way to bois also a forum to work thro s m ough business challenges in a construct s tive and non- -judgmental eenvironment.In my experience, local chaambers of com mmerce can be a hit or mis proposition Whether or not they will provide b ss n. rrreal opportuniities depends on who your clients are and who atten ds your cham r mber’s events. Some cham mbersaattract C-level executives to networking functions, wh others seem to draw s ole proprietor and sales l hile rsrrepresentative Instead of attending fun es. f nctions, many accounting e y executives jo chamber o commerce b oin of boardsbbecause they provide valua able peer-to-p peer access to higher-leve decision-ma t el akers.If you have a lot of experience working with a particular vertical, yo may want to consider jo f w ou oining an induustry-focused professional organfo nization as an affiliate mem n hese organizations can pr mber. Often, th rovide access to a sbbevy of decision-makers with little or no competition from other CP firms. w f PALLike all marke king takes time and patienc The more you are willin to put into it, the greater your eting, network ce. ngcchances of su ndful of networking events each year, yo results are likely to be spotty. If, uccess. If you attend a han our ehowever, you have the time and interest to join the board of a loca nonprofit or professional organization you canh e t al r n,ddevelop deep and trusting relationships with commun leaders a influencer And those relationships can only nity and rs. sb good for yo business.be our2 Direct ma2. ailDirect mail is opportunistic marketing. If someone is looking for a nD l new accounta when you postcard or sales ant ur r etter lands on their desk, there is a decent chance thle n hey’ll respond to your offer d r.TTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Me , P ember & Publ Relations │tlambert@vs lic scpa.com │ ( (804) 612-941 16
    • DDirect mail als builds awa so areness. If you send out ma u ailings on a re egular basis t the same list of prospec they to cts,m come to recognize you name over time. This increases your chances of bmay ur r r being conside ered when the have a eynneed.WWhat kind of direct mail is best? That’s difficult to say and it depe d b d y, ends on your g goals. Color p postcards and other dpprinted collate are proba eral uilding brand awareness. T ably best at bu They can mak an impress ke sion even if th aren’t heyrread.SSales letters, on the other hand, may loo and sound old-fashione but if they are well-writt they can g h ok d ed, ten generate fective sales l etters, but it c be learne Most busya impressive response. There is an art to writing effan e t can ed. yaccountants, however, wou be better off just hiring a copywriter who has expa h uld o perience deve eloping sales l letters.WWhatever dire mail vehicle you choose don’t be pa ect e, assive. Be sur to include a offer to en re an ntice a busy person totake an action Whether it’s calling you for a free consultation or re n. s f equesting a c complimentary tax guide, a y alwaysooffer somethin of value to your audienc Your response rate can more than t ng ce. n triple, and it gives you anottheropportunity to generate inteo erest in your services. s3 E-newsle3. ettersIn my opinion, there is no way to justify the expense of printing an d mailing a p w t o paper newsletter in the Inte ernet age.E wsletters can be produced and distributed quickly an they cost ju a few cent apiece to dElectronic new nd ust ts deliver. Ify use an e-mail broadcast service, yo can track how many peoyou ou h ople open eac issue, whic is a terrific way to ch ch cdetermine what types of cod ontent engage your readers. eEE-newsletters can be simple, single-artic issues dis cle stributed six ti mes a year, o monthly, m or multi-author journalsw sidebars and photos. Either way, th primary purpose is the same: to kee your firm in front of clien andwith E heir e ep n ntspprospects on a regular bas by providin content the want to rea sis ng ey ad.If you don’t wa to hire a graphic design to produc a custom te f ant g ner ce emplate, man attractive, r ny ready-made t templatesa available from the more reputable e-mail broadca services. A you need t provide is t content, aare f e ast All to the andyou’re good to go. An e-newsletter is on of the easie ways to b uild awareness and remind referral souy o ne est urces thaty exist.you4 E-mail ma4. arketingEE-mail market ting has a (so ometimes des eputation. Use responsibly, however, i can be an e served) bad re ed it effectivew to commuway unicate with your audience y e.EE-mail is chea and it’s fas But the gre ap st. eatest advanta of e-mail marketing is its inherent trackability. Many e- agem services provide detailed, real-time reports that reveal who opmail e pened your ee-mail, what lin they click and nks kedwwhether they forwarded it to someone else. This information gives you incredib power. Yo can, for ins f t e s ble ou stance,ssend out variaations of your campaign an find out wh nd hich one gets the best resp ponse. Or you can segmen your u nt ists (by industry or some other meaning category) and see who responds mli o gful o most favorably to your mess y sage. Insshort, you can systematica improve yo e-mail ma n ally our arketing over time.If you provide a link in your e-mail to a la f r anding page on your webs o site, you open up further po n ossibilities. A landingppage is nothin more than a web page where people “land” after c ng w e clicking a link. On a landing page, you c g canpprovide additio onal information about you services, en ur ngage visitors with a video or introduce and test diff s o, e ferentooffers. Web annalytics packaages (such as the excellen and free Go s nt oogle Analytic product) provide insight into cs tvvisitors’ behav once they get to the la vior y anding page.MMost people’s negative per s rceptions of e-mail marketi are assoc e ing ciated with sp pam. Nobody likes gettinguunsolicited e-m on topics that don’t int mail s terest them. Whenever po W ossible, ask peeople’s permi ission to send them e- dm (many e-mail services require opt-in lists). At the very least, amail s e always provid a link for pe de eople to perm manentlyuunsubscribe frrom your list.TTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Me , P ember & Publ Relations │tlambert@vs lic scpa.com │ ( (804) 612-941 16
    • PPerhaps most important, se only offer and information that is r t end rs relevant to your audience. If your list is c clean andtargeted and your content is appropriate to your audience, you willl rarely have a problem. y i e5 Speaking & writing5. gO of the best ways to infOne fluence the way people find your firm is to become a n authority on your area of d neexpertise. If yo enjoy publ speaking, you can addr ou lic y ress local bus siness groups on relevant a s accounting orrbbusiness issues. Once you have some experience un u e nder your belt you can ap t, pply to speak a various reg at gional andnnational confeerences. This exposure, an the braggin rights that come with it, can build you own reputa nd ng ur ation andyyour firm’s.If you enjoy writing, there are many opportunities to build your rep f w a b putation. Busin ness publicattions are alwa on the ayslo ookout for writers, especia if you don’t require pay ally yment. Figure out what pub blications your clients are r readinga contact th publication to see if the would be inand he ns ey nterested in a article. You may need to provide a w an u o writingssample, an arrticle abstract or be flexible regarding the topic. Keep in mind that you will need to provide u e p d usefulccontent — ma sure your article or sub ake bmission does specificallly advertise y sn’t your services, or you will p probablyn be considenot ered by editors for publicat tion.Y can also start a blog or write guest entries for oth blogs. Or consider writYou o her r ting articles o white paper on or rsim mportant and timely topics that you can offer to clien and prospe d s n nts ects. And if yo really enjo pain, write a book. A ou oybbook can prov vide a great deal of credibility to an indiv d vidual and he firm. er6 Website6. gnore your website at your own risk. ThIg w here is probab no more im bly mportant tool in your CPA firm’s market tingaarsenal. It’s where prospec go to gaug your qualif w cts ge fications and c credibility. It’s where client can turn wh they s ts hennneed a mortga calculator or up-to-dat tax informa age te ation. And whe recent gra en aduates and aaccountants a arepprospecting fo new jobs, where do they turn to learn about your w or w y n work environm ment? Those first impressio can onsb so crucial.beTThere are many dimension to a succes ns ssful website. Its visual des sign can crea an importa initial impr ate ant ressionthat colors eveerything a vis sitor reads and sees about your firm. If y can begin publishing g d you n great content on yours ange people’s perceptions. Content can include articsite, you’ll cha s n cles, speeches blog posts, tax advice, f s, , financialto ools, white paapers, video or podcasts. oTThink about what you want people to do on your web w t o bsite, then def fine conversio ons. Convers sions can be ffilling outa form, reques sting a quote, downloading a white paper or calling a phone numb Once you know what g ber. ucconversions you want, figure out what offers you nee to make on your site to make them e y o ed n easy to find an ndaappealing.Finally, make sure you trac your conveF ck ther importan t statistics (su as numbe of unique v ersions and ot uch er visitors,ppopular pages average nu s, umber of page viewed, av es verage time sp nalytics tools such as pent on the site). A web anGoogle Analyt makes th easy, and it is the only way you can iimprove your site over time.G tics his w r7 Search Engine Optim7. mization (SEO O)If you optimize your websit for Internet search, visito will come. It’s almost in f e te ors . nevitable. Yet many accounting tffirms remain skeptical. The say, “That’s not how we get our busin s ey s ness.” And no doubt they are right — b becausethey can’t be found online! Unfortunately these firms are missing out on one of the best dea in busines f y, s f als ss:uunsolicited, se elf-qualified, ready-to-buy leads. They are real, and t r l a they are a joy (my firm gets several of th y s hesele eads each mo onth).OOnline search isn’t the Yell h low Pages. Because it is so convenient powerful and easy to use all kinds of people t, e,u search to find professiouse onal services: companies researching p potential venddors, job seek kers, individua alsseeking nearb tax assistance, individua or organizs by als zations lookin g for informat tion, competittors doing dueeddiligence. If yo site isn’t findable, none of these peo our f e ople will cons ider you. SEO is one boat you don’t wa to O t antmmiss.TTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Me , P ember & Publ Relations │tlambert@vs lic scpa.com │ ( (804) 612-941 16
    • 8 Blogging8. gMMany firms div into bloggi without un ve ing nderstanding the commitm ment it requires A blog that is updated fo times s. t oura year is worthhless. Make no mistake, a blog can be a fantastic wa to build yo credibility, attract new a n ay our audiencesa drive search engine acand ctivity. But to realize these benefits, you need to post regular entries — at least once a u tweek. If that’s too much of a commitmen for one perw s nt rson, conside r spreading th duty amon multiple pe he ng eople.Y can even invite guest bloggers from time to time (most people are more th happy to oYou n m e e han offer their ser rvices).If you don’t ha a blog already, you can start one at no cost using a hosted se f ave n t g ervice such as Wordpress, Blogger so TypePad. Setting up an account take only a few minutes. This is an easy a practical w to get staor S es m s and way arted.EEven better, work with your web develop to build a blog into you website. Yo will enjoy t same sea w per ur ou the archeengine benefit but people will be draw to your firm website, w ts, e wn m’s where they can learn more about your se n ervices.9 Social me9. ediaI’m not going to debate the relative meri off all the popular socia l media tools in cyberspac Each has its place, t e its p ce.a I encoura you try the all. Instea I’m going to recommend just one for the busy accand age em ad, t d r countant: Link kedIn.LLinkedIn make it easy to connect with people you kn es c p now or want t know. The service even has sophistic to catednnetworking alggorithms that will show you how many “degrees of se u “ eparation” lie between you and someon you u newant to get to know. And it provides a cow onvenient wa to keep in t ay touch with bus aintances and friends. siness acquaLLinkedIn is an indispensible tool for anyone who deve n e elops new bu usiness or wa nts to stay co onnected with clients, hccolleagues an friends. nd1 Webinars10. sWebinars are everywhere these days, and that’s no accident. The attract qualified audienc and are an idealW t a a ey cesvvehicle to dem monstrate you expertise. In today’s eve ur world, people are hungry fo information that will er-changing w orhhelp them kee up with and adapt to evolving conditions. They are cheap and easy to produ ep d e uce. Here are four tips eto improve att o tendance righ off the bat: htPPick the right topic. Select a topic that has broad app peal, especial ly at first. Many people are looking for b e basicin nformation, so that’s usual a safe bet in the beginn lly ning.CChoose a goo title. Titles can be critica Don’t try to be clever or cute. Straigh od al. o htforward titles get the best s trresponse. If you need inspiration, look around for oth webinars a check ou their titles. a her and utDDon’t charge admission. Yo webinar is a marketing investment, not a money maker. Keep it free and you’ll get a our s g p1 times as many enrollme10 m ents.PPromote it to the right peop Remember that you want to attract qualified lead if possible That means t ple. ds, e. sppromoting webinar to peop who you want as clients ple w s.BBuild a stron nger business in 10 ways s sNNone of the taactics in this article are par a rticularly cuttin edge. Acc ounting is a p ng professional sservice, which means hy won’t get far with the layou atest social media tools (Q m Qaiku, anyone But the av e?). verage firm has tried only ttwo ofthree of these proven tools With a reasonable amount of effort, ea of these 10 tactics can make an im e s. ach n mpact in arrelatively shor period of tim And when used in com rt me. n mbination, they can dramat y tically increas your leads and secconversions.S don’t put off marketing any longer. If you start with only one of these tactics that’s great! Give it a try and seeSo o a f h s, !how it works for you. Then come back to this list and add another. It just might prove addictih f o . ive.AAaron Taylor is a partner at Hinge in Re a eston, a firm th provides m hat marketing exp xpertise to pro ofessional ser rvicesfifirms across th country. He is co-autho of a new bo he H or ook, “Spiraling Up: How to Create a Hig Growth, Hig Value g gh ghPProfessional Services Firm Contact him at aaron@h S m.” m hingemarketinng.com.TTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Me , P ember & Publ Relations │tlambert@vs lic scpa.com │ ( (804) 612-941 16
    •  Where Traditional Marketing Approaches and New Media IntersectBy D. Michelle Golden, CPF, President of Golden Practices Inc. (AICPA Social Media Toolkit)It’s funny. For a lot of very valid reasons, professionals are really pushing back on suggestions to integrate, if notenthusiastically embrace, social media in their firms. Reasons cited are concerns about abuse and IT securitythreats, which are addressed in the Sample Social Media Policy and Guidelines tool (found in the AICPA’s PCPSSocial Media Toolkit). Beyond that, there is some level of discomfort and even dread about doing this different“marketing stuff” and possibly “more stuff” in addition to what practitioners already doing. It’s understandable,then, that this isn’t always met with enthusiasm.But what if I could show you that the type of objectives that firms seek to achieve through social media toolsremain the same as with traditional marketing approaches? And that underlying purpose in using thesecommunication tools is consistent with the communications you’re used to: phone, email, print, and face-to-facecontact.And what if I could show you that the opportunity for ROI (return on investment) is comparable to that of traditionalmarketing? More importantly, what if I could show you how social media can reduce your time, energy andexpense in achieving your marketing objectives—and can more consistently leverage marketing across all levelsof your firm so you aren’t so distinctly separated into “rainmakers” and “non-rainmakers”?If you weren’t already keen to enter the realm of social media, perhaps after reading this, you’ll be inspired by theadvantages social media brings to the table for your firm’s marketing efforts and the business development role ofthe individual practitioner.ObjectivesJust like traditional marketing efforts, with clear purpose, defined goals, and steady implementation, social mediatools are highly effective and even timesaving. Without such forethought and planning, results of using socialmedia are unpredictable at best, and can prove downright ineffective. However, the same is absolutely true ofmore familiar forms of marketing such as hosting events, seminars, golf outings, cocktail receptions, participationin organizations and associations, writing, speaking, mailing campaigns, and the list goes on.Have you ever invested energy, time, and funds in one or more of these efforts and been disappointed with theresults? Have you ever felt frustration knowing other firms claim to have had amazing success with one or moreof these activities? The difference is in the amount and quality of planning, execution and follow-up. Social mediais no different.Choosing which marketing objectives are the best for you and your firm involves a thoughtful, if not complex,assessment of your: • present and potential service mix; • current client mix; • local marketplace opportunities; • available and potential capacity by level, service, and industry specialty; • expendable budget; • internal infrastructure to support; • and the clincher, likelihood of follow-through on all levels, but especially where the rubber meets the road.Tina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    •  In traditional marketing plans for teams and individuals, once we remove tasks that would fall exclusively to thefirm’s marketing department for execution responsibility, the most effective initiatives can be organized into thefollowing categories: • Current Clients (focusing on elevating service quality and deepening relationships for better retention of ideal clients) • Referral Sources/Centers of Influence (all referral sources beyond current clients) • New Clients (identifying, meeting and furthering relationships with prospective clients) • Credibility and Reputation (anything that’s bio-worthy) • Research and Development (product and service improvement, processes, innovation)Within each of these categories are a variety of activities you can pursue for practice development. These all stemfrom traditional marketing approaches employed over the past 20+ years. Current Clients Conversations with Clients Succession Activities including Client Transition Initial Introductions (2-3+ years out) and Subsequent Relationship Development Delegation (Training, Sharing Intellectual Capital, & Fostering/Earning Trust) Service Grid (charting all services “across” and clients “down” to spot gaps) Debriefs of Client Service Team - Before Action Reviews (BARs) and After Action Reviews (AARs) Product/Skill Development Industry Participation/Focus Expectation Management Referral Sources Conversations & Face (One-on-one) Time Reciprocity & Appreciation (Track, Reward) Message(s) Conveyed (to educate referral sources about best fit) Target RSs (outside of the firm, clients, other practitioners WITHIN the firm) Follow-up New Clients Target Conversations & Face (One-on-one) Time Demonstrate Relevance, Credibility & Trustworthiness Credibility/ Reputation Worthiness of Trust (through behavior and impressions)Tina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    •   Respected Internally and Externally Competence Demonstrated (writing, speaking) Capabilities (substantiate claims with evidence of past performance via case studies, representative clients, noteworthy testimonials) Involvement in Industry: Visibility in Core Markets (external leadership roles and positions, publicity, expert status) R&D Innovation: ID, Create, Refine New Products/Solutions Improve Effectiveness (better processes) CPE: New Skills Gain/Apply Industry Knowledge Identify Key Predictive Indicators (KPIs) of How Clients Measure Success (for each customer and sector)This exact list existed long before social media became mainstream. And every item that is italicized can beachieved in part, or completely, through social media communications channels.Considering that social media interaction eliminates travel time and replaces physical “attendance,” virtual socialtime also provides more concentrated interaction time. These facts allow for more frequent interactions with thevery people you’re strategically wise to get to know well. Further, through these more frequent but shortexchanges, interacting in the types of forums we’re discussing in this toolkit allows you to get to know people at amuch deeper level, far more quickly than when waiting for personal interactions.Think of the credible colleague you meet at a business conference and know you’d be wise to keep in touch with.Traditional “continued touches” might be a handwritten “it was nice to meet you” note and adding the person tothe firm’s newsletter mailing list. Next year, when you see him at the conference, he might know a little bit moreabout you or your firm. But, what more do you know about him? About his business, or his interests? AddLinkedIn or Facebook to the above efforts and by the next year, if you’ve used the tools correctly, you’ll not onlyknow a lot more about him, but you will have interacted in the interim. You will sit down as friends who will knowsome of each other’s accomplishments, personal hobbies or interests and degree of interest in them, and perhapseven some of those valuable personal details that bring people closer together. Thus the relationship isdramatically accelerated. This happens all the time through social media.Consider the necessity of staying visible to referral sources without being too intrusive. Brief, casual, pleasantexchanges afforded through these tools serve as gentle reminders of your existence and relevance. The greateryour interactivity with prospects, clients, and other referral sources, the greater your potential for success.Social media seems to have the most opportunity to change behavioral results in a firm in two ways. One is that itprovides a less intimidating way for more introverted professionals to interact with others and showcase theirexpertise. Another—that resonates greatly with professionals who are parents of young children or have other,significant time commitments outside of work—is the flexibility to “socialize” on their own schedule, one the road,or in the comfort of their family room with their toddler at their side. What we’re witnessing is a greater level ofTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    •  relationship development and “presence” than we’d otherwise see from both of these types of professionals. Donewell, we’ve seen social media results exceed the results of traditional-style rainmakers plus elevating the firm’sweb-presence.New media also makes it very easy and instantaneous to disseminate credibility-reinforcing content. Messagesand conversations shared have staying power, unlike a verbal conversation, so others can explore them and learnfrom them, too. Documents and conversations that are web-based and searchable serve to market you 24/7/365.While you sleep and vacation, people can be impressed by you and what you know. They can access yourintellectual capital when they want it and not just when you send it out to them. In this “Google It” era of web-based research by all demographic groups, this is enormously beneficial to your practice.Success through social networking occurs when we actively move a relationship from digital to personal. In otherwords, the tools do not usually substitute for personal interaction. Social media tools are a means to that end—getting people to the point of personal interaction faster because a strong relationship can be developed morequickly than when we must rely on being together in the same physical place, or waiting for a “good enough”reason to call or write.PurposeJust the way that traditional marketing efforts can reap zero return on investment, so can social media. Creating a“profile” and doing nothing at all with it is no different than attending the Chamber meeting and sitting with thesame pal month after month. If you’ve created a LinkedIn profile but wonder why no one’s ever called from it, youare probably at the passive level of involvement—a wallflower at the Chamber meeting. The profile, alone, isn’tgoing to generate results. Just like anything else, results come from maximizing the effort, taking it from passiveto proactive.This chart helps explain the varying degrees of success, or lack thereof, we see with traditional tactics or newmedia. Familiar Methods New MediaPassive Marketing • Most advertising • Linked In, unleveraged (such as(“come to us”) having only a partial profile, few • Static websites contacts, and/or little interaction) • Directory listings • Facebook, unleveraged • Sponsorships, unleveraged • Twitter, unleveraged • Seminars, unleveraged • Blogs (such as reading others, but • Mail (postal or e-mail of any not commenting, or authoring kind with no personal follow up) one’s own blog posts, but not actively reading or interacting with any others)Participatory • Local general business • Same items as listed in familiar(being present) organizations column, but become active in their on-line communities, too • Local trade organizations • Blogs, leveraged well • Peer organizations • Twitter, leveraged well • Local charities/ community • Linked In/Plaxo, leveraged well • National (Int’l) equiv. of all the above • Facebook, leveraged wellTina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    •   Showing up is okay, but heavy involvement and visibility, with sincere interest and planned contacts for each meeting are ideal.Expert Resource • Peer publications • Same items as listed in familiar(publishing) column, but become active in their • Trade publications on-line communities, too • Talk radio, TV, feature • Self-publish (web) columns, other expert features o Articles • Media coverage o Blogs • External recognition (honors, awards, contributions to one’s o Newsletters profession) o News Releases • Free advice of any kind (articles, newsletters, etc)Outreach • Postal, or e-mail WITH good • Blog (share your mind, your ideas,(proactive) follow up your advice) • Invitations of any kind • Tweet (help others, occasionally point to your own content) • Telephone contact (before they call you) • Facebook, event invitations • Lunches, breakfasts, dinner • Linked In meetings o Create viral buzz • Seminars o Set up Events and Groups • Free advice, shared generously to continue the dialogue after an eventFirms worry about abuse of social media tools. More specifically, they worry about excessive use by individualswithout a Return on Investment (ROI)The ROI discussion can be a frustrating one. Asking “what is the ROI of social media?” is like asking “what is theROI of a telephone?” The phone is a form of communication. So is social media. ROI for a phone can be tied to aspecific campaign such as telemarketing activities following direct mail. A goal might have been stated togenerate an appointment with each contact. Your ROI will relate to that campaign and that appointment goal withthe “phone” as a component. Phone is measurable related to the campaign, but not as a freestanding tool. Socialmedia is exactly the same. And I pose to you that social media tools—whichever are the popular type of the day—will become as much a part of our business routine as the telephone has.Just the same as traditional marketing tactics, new media can be used well, overused, or potentially under-utilized. Overuse with low ROI most often results from having no plan or purpose articulated, and can also lead toburnout. Overuse is what most firms fear when opening the gates and supporting new media use, but underuse isactually far more prevalent—just like traditional marketing endeavors that get stuck in the “passive” stage.For any marketing initiative, ROI disappointments generally stem from not doing one or more of the following:Tina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416
    •   1) Determine the goal first, before deciding which technique or tools to apply, know exactly what needs to be accomplished. 2) Have a plan based on realistic outcomes for that type of activity—align the technique with the desired outcome. 3) Execute the plan well, in a disciplined manner, with proper preparation and follow up. 4) Measure according to the plan using criteria decided before beginning 5)All social media tools are not equal. And all uses for a single tool are not equal. Understand the goals—the drivingpurpose behind adopting any forms of new media. Make sure the tool suits the purpose with documentedexpectations. And, for good results, make sure that people bring their use well past the passive stage.Tina Lambert, CAE │Vice President, Member & Public Relations │tlambert@vscpa.com │ (804) 612-9416