This week we’re diving into marketing again. There are strong opinions about what works. See my Facebook ad account below.
But first –
Most of us think that business owners make balanced decisions, weighing all support equally.
Behavioral science disagrees.
Most times, when a client has come to you for advice, they’ve already spent time thinking about their course of action.
Some of the time, they are not looking for advice but instead just confirmation.
At times, clients only listen to and accept advice that is aligned with their own thoughts.
The confirmation bias makes them put a disproportionate value on their conclusions while rejecting contrary advice.
As a new firm owner, I thought my job was to present options and let the client decide what to do.
As I grew more confident, I became more persuasive and learned how to lead clients.
In 2017, I didn’t stop a client from buying a portion of a competitor. The target’s financials were a mess and inconsistent. It took less than eight months to prove the acquisition was a disaster.
The business owner was more excited about what the press release would say than whether the transaction made sense. He wanted to let the market know that his business was growing.
It was an ego thing.
I helped stop a construction company merger in 2019, and a real estate company purchase a competitor in 2021.
The business owners were ‘in love’ with their idea in each case. Data was not going to change their minds.
A different tactic was needed.
Be frank with your client. Ask them if they like the transaction or if they like the idea of the transaction.
Clients need leadership more than data at times.
Which Marketing Is Best?
I saw a debate this week on LinkedIn about outbound vs. inbound marketing.
“While outbound marketing uses traditional tactics to ‘push’ messages out to a broad audience, inbound marketing targets relevant audiences with online content to ‘pull’ them into the sales funnel.”
“Outbound marketing includes TV ads, billboards, cold calling, and display ads, while inbound relies on slow-burn content marketing, such as blogs, opt-in email nurture flows, and native recommendations.”
Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks.
The marketing system that I help firm owners create in their firms is a Find and Attract system – a mix of outbound and inbound marketing.
A combined approach allows you tom move more prospects through the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is different from what we think. It is not linear and is longer than expected.
The marketing rule of thumb is that a person needs to encounter your firm/offering at least seven times before they will buy. Prospects want certainty that only comes with familiarity and trust.
I used to think that because I was a nice guy and a CPA, the trust would be explicitly apparent.
That’s not the case.
Getting your client to Know, Like, and Trust you, takes time. Having as many tools to get prospects on that journey is crucial.
We need to refine our messaging and integration before we get on with the discussion about outbound vs. inbound marketing.
I see Firms using both outbound and inbound tactics without much success.
The failures are due to not being sophisticated enough with their integrated message:
This is the least effective – There is no clear message that speaks to your client avatar. The message is broadcasted far and wide, but it reaches no one.
When you market to everyone, you market to no one.
When we use targeted messaging, prospects pay better attention.
However, without a strong call to action, that attention is short-lived.
There is no ‘sticking power’ or connection created.
Many firms can find clients with an initial touch point, but can rarely follow up.
Targeted + Integrated Message
A targeted message grabs the client’s attention. The call to attention will create that connection and get that prospect into your integrated marketing system.
When they enter the marketing system, you will be able to get in front of them numerous times to reach that level of trust.
If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:
Nailing your message is THE key to a successful marketing system.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Once your message is refined, judging outbound versus inbound makes sense.
Outbound – This is the ‘Find’ portion of your marketing system
You need to have key items in place before you can optimize your return on automation.
This is paid marketing – advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Tik Tok or Linkedin. It can also be advertising on niched podcasts.
- It frees you up from manual marketing tactics.
- It allows you to quickly test your messaging if you offer services beyond basic compliance
- It allows you to build your audience on automation.
- You have to invest cash in it.
- Without adequate time to test and adjust the message, you can waste money
- It requires additional tech and system setup and maintenance
Here is a screenshot from Aug ’22 to May ’23 from my FB ad account:
From my best ad and funnel, I generated 186 leads – that’s 18.6 leads per month – with an average cost of $11.40 per lead.
Outbound marketing is working for me. It can work for you.
Inbound – This is the ‘Attract’ portion of your marketing system
This is organic content on FB, Instagram, LinkedIn. This is appearing on podcasts and writing articles for publications.
- You get to the trust level faster
- There is a low cash investment to complete the marketing (only if you do it yourself)
- You get feedback on what prospects are interested in.
- Creating content and posting takes time
- Generating followers is not the same as generating leads.
- The emotional rollercoaster of poorly performing content can feel personal.
I was on a podcast back in April. Within a month of that podcast airing, I spoke to four prospects who all mentioned the podcast.
See the podcast details here.
One of the prospects is currently working with me in my signature program coaching program. Two other prospects have proposals and are waiting for the timing to be right.
Inbound marketing is working for me. It can work for you.
Don’t discount outbound or inbound marketing until your message is dialed in.
If you haven’t heard of Spend Management, let me fill you in.
Spend management leverages integrated smart credit cards to make YOUR life easier as a bookkeeper and/or advisor.
With these credit cards, clients can:
- Offer unlimited virtual cards;
- Create vendor, amount and location restrictions;
- Automate approvals (one-offs or recurring);
- Follow up automatically with users for missing receipts;
- Connect seamlessly with QBO and Xero;
- Pre-code vendors and transaction types;
These tools allow the client to be proactive in managing their team’s spending from the beginning.
Take 5 minutes and check out how these tools can make life easier for your client AND you.
Suggesting this tool can significantly increase your client’s confidence in your proactive system awareness.
Ramp in the US
Float in Canada
Build The Firm You Want.