The way accountants market to their customers has massively changed over the last decade and gone are the days where accountants would solely rely on local business. With advancements in technology the accountancy market has evolved and by doing so, it has become a highly competitive place meaning more and more companies are turning to digital marketing to get ahead of their competitors.
Today accountants promote their services using on site content to draw audiences’ onto their sites. Content is frequently added to company websites as a way to get people viewing their pages and build brand awareness.
Maybe you’re starting out as an accountant, maybe you’re already set up or maybe you’re just looking to out rank/sell a competitor but your following is just not as large or interactive as you want it be. If that’s the case then one area you should be looking at is using influencers; influencers amplify your message to the people connected to your industry bringing in high levels of relevant traffic. These influencers are followed and more importantly trusted by a significant number of others.
A quick comment, link, guest blog or share from one of these key opinion leaders can be worth a thousand blogs or relevant social media posts. The trick is learning how you get them on board.
Why are you doing this?
Producing strong and meaningful content regularly is one of the main challenges that accountants face as the information is similar to other accountancy firms and a lot of the time it is nothing new. Maybe certain content/marketing pieces have previously proved themselves to be great at attracting new customers and developing your reputation but there is so much of it out there now, you need an edge. You may be able to consistently reach your existing clientele but going beyond them can prove difficult even with the host of digital tools out there.
Word of mouth has always been a powerful promotional tool. If your friend tells you about a great new product or company then you are more likely to find out what they’re offering. Equally, if a celebrity or expert that you have a lot of respect for does the same, your interest will immediately be engaged. Influencers within your industry are important to get on board if you want to turn up the sound on your message and be heard above the babble of your competitors.
How is your content?
Before you rush out to find the nearest influencer for your business, it is prudent to take a good, long hard look at your existing content and decide whether it needs some work. An influencer may well become your next best friend but they are unlikely to share your content if it is badly written, irrelevant or out of date. They also have a reputation to maintain after all.
It’s not just about how good your content looks but what you write about. Are you producing the kind of content that increases the chances of a sale? Are you providing your potential business customers the information that makes it easier?
To do this you need to ask core questions and answer them. How do you want to be seen as a brand? What do I need to do to provide to change to a static observer from browsing interest to concrete action? Have I got the right kind of content – blog, main page content, video, infographics etc?
The importance of B2B influencers
The importance of finance influencers goes quite a way beyond the sharing of your content. They can actually help you to achieve numerous goals:
- Changing how people view your brand, making you a mover and shaker in your industry.
- Raising your credibility and kudos.
- Connecting you to new business and potential buyers.
- Shortening the process between visiting your site content and the end point of a sale.
- Increasing high quality referrals.
Where to find the right influencers
If you are clear on why you want to attract these influencers then you first need to find them. There will be the obvious suspects and if you have been in the accountancy industry for a while then you will know them naturally without having to look anything up. For others who may be off your radar, it’s time to do a bit of research and dig a little deeper. You can look for popular blogs, finance thought leaders, writers from publications and there are even some online tools available nowadays that will identify them for you.
Once you have identified them, you need to order your influencers, for example, in the size of the network and the section of your industry they are noted for. You are not simply looking for someone who is well known, you want someone who has the potential to change opinion in your area.
You may choose one or two large influencers, primarily because you have the tools, money or product to get them on board, or you might opt for several smaller influencers who have their own particular niche within your industry. It is often easier to engage with lower influence levelled individuals because they are less targeted by other businesses in your sector.
A top-level example of a financial influencer is Martin Lewis. A lot of people value his opinion and visit his site each day to keep up with his advice and money tips. With 357 thousand twitter followers, could you imagine the impact of him echoing your content and business?
Bringing influencers on board
The next task, of course, is to make contact or become known to a particular influencer and this can be the most problematical aspect of increasing the impact of your content. You can do this by commenting on their blogging platforms for instance, forums, social media channels, retweeting or passing on their posts in the hope of a reciprocal action. One of the most effective ways to get to know an influencer is to take part in the networking events that they attend. As the old saying goes: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
With the competitive nature of the influencer market please be aware that unless you are a powerhouse brand, you will more than likely have to pay or at least exchange favours for the influencers to feature your accountancy content especially if you’re taking the blogger route. This will vary case by case but when you weigh up the amount of exposure you will receive, it is a definite worthwhile investment.
The best advice we can offer is to find an influencer who supports and fits in with exactly what you do. Therefore if you work within a certain field or offer a certain product for example cloud accountancy solutions then by working with ones directly related to that area will not only mean they’re more likely to advertise for you but also that their audience will be perfect match for your business. Once you have got them on board and convinced them how great your content is, then it’s time to work with them.
Creating and sharing content
If you have a strong relationship with an influencer then you can start creating and sharing content that reaches a wider audience. This will give you access to their following and social media reach increasing visits to your website and the potential for added sales. From a social media standpoint, if you’re paying for the promotion then often this is included in the terms of the deal. You can then get them to post your content on their site or social media channels ensuring that they link through to your site, effectively increasing your overall traffic and rankings in search engines.
As with everything in marketing you need to measure success. This can include monitoring the number of shares, likes and clicks from the influencer’s channels and don’t forget your own pages. You should see your following start to build after people begin to filter onto your site. If you’ve got Google Analytics set up on your domain then you will be able to analyse in more detail the effects the influencers had.
There’s no doubt that nurturing the right influencers and bringing them on board can kick up the volume of your content quite dramatically. Remember that it is a two-way relationship and you should look to promote their content as well, as this will only increase outside viewer signs of trust… They may even be inclined to re post your future work because of this very action.
A good way to see this technique is as a worthwhile short cut. Rather than spend a large amount of your time building your following and brand awareness, which lets face it, you would rather be spending on your existing clients. This is a way that you can instantly reach a huge chunk of your target market and gain their trust quicker than you would be doing it yourself. It saves you time and only boosts your profile and status which ultimately leaders to more business.