Let Your Clients Be Your Guide

posted in: Marketing | 1

If you’re like most accounting firms, you sometimes struggle to find content. That doesn’t have to be the case if you’ll listen to what your clients are telling you.

More and more firms are realizing that content marketing is here to stay. Having accepted that fact, the question becomes, “What do we, as a firm, have to say?” It’s a natural question and one that is an important jumping-off point for all kinds of analysis. Luckily, as far as deciding on content to share, you’ll never run out of answers. There are so many ideas and areas to choose from!

You can help your audience understand how a new law or regulation will affect them. You can share your own take on an article or position staked out by someone else, making sure to give proper attribution. You can give a little accounting parable. But what many firms overlook is the ocean of content they deal with every day: your clients.

If you listen to what your clients are saying and think about things from their perspective, you’ll suddenly see vast amounts of content just waiting to be developed by your expert hand. Blog posts, videos, case studies – your clients are the best source of content for almost every variety. And by approaching content development with them in mind you’ll be in the right place to create a real impact with the things you share. Increase the relevance of your communications with these techniques:

  • Answer questions. You hear accounting questions at work and even at social events. If your clients are calling you wondering about something, chances are good that others are wondering about the same topic. Jot down these questions as you hear them and when it’s time to write a blog post or another kind of article, you can choose a question to address. Being known as the accounting firm with the answers to the questions people are asking is a very good thing for your brand. It’s also a chance to demonstrate your expertise and build goodwill.
  • Arm readers for change. Is there a new tweak to the tax code that will affect some of your clients? Take a proactive stance and address the change in a post, explaining the issues it will cause and letting readers know how to prepare themselves to handle it. They’ll thank you not only for the good advice, but for keeping them aware and on top of their game. And of course, they’ll probably come to you for help implementing whatever changes are necessary to meet the new requirements.
  • Share your saga. Have you ever had a rough time finding the right way to handle something? Be honest – we all have at one time or another. You can share your struggle, including the missteps along the way, in a post for your readers. They’ll benefit from learning the answers you ultimately found as well as the results of the less effective strategies you tried first. They’ll also appreciate that you are willing to share the story, and that you’re the kind of person who keeps trying until you get it right. Wouldn’t you feel better about trusting an accountant that tried, failed and kept trying all the way to success than one that gave up early or never even recognized failure?
  • Let them speak for you. Well written case studies are powerful tools as well as interesting to read. They don’t have to be long, either. Just explain briefly the challenge that existed for your client, then describe how you solved it and the result. It’s best to get the input of the clients in questions and use their actual words as much as possible, because readers can often relate well to the client’s experience. Besides, when the client says you’re an amazing problem-solver it makes a much bigger impact than when you say it about yourself.

Your clients are talking. Listen to them and you’ll never be at a loss for content ideas. What other strategies can you add to this list? Have you tried any of these and found good results? We’d love to hear your experience.

Follow Bonnie:
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is the president and founder of bbr marketing. Bonnie’s 20 years of marketing experience is vast and varied, including serving as the marketing director for a mid-sized Atlanta accounting firm. Her focus on high-quality services and advice is bested only by her determination to constantly hone her craft and increase the strength and reach of her clients’ marketing efforts. Named "One to Watch" on AccountingToday’s list of the "Top 100 Most Influential People," she is the president of the Atlanta chapter of the Association for Accounting Marketing, a well-respected speaker and a regular contributor to a variety of news and industry sites.

  1. Jose
    | Reply

    Great read!! On February I launched a Monthly newsletter for my clients and the public in general who subscribed. I liked the “Answer Questions” point. Clients have many particular questions which they could relate to. In occasions there are even questions I do not know the answer at the moment, so I take it as a learning opportunity for me and at the same time I share the experience with my clients. Looking forward to incorporate this to my monthky “QB News”.

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