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When client growth slows, focus on existing clients [free marketing resources inside]

I’m sick of reading and writing C****-19 so that’s the last mention of it in this post.

But due to “recent events”, I know many firms have seen client growth slow from March onwards. Some have churned more clients than they’ve won.

So what should you do when you’re not growing client numbers? The answer is look inwards and focus your marketing on existing clients. There are three key reasons why:

  1. Existing clients are the best source of new business
  2. Increasing adoption makes clients “sticky”
  3. Happy clients = referrals

I’m going to look at these in more detail below and then outline seven tactics for marketing to your clients through your website, including some free content to help you get started. For the theory behind marketing to clients, read on or skip straight to the action and giveaways.

Existing clients are the best source of new business

It’s marketing 101 that existing clients are your best source of new business. That’s because they already trust you – well hopefully, or else you might have a bigger issue than marketing campaigns!

Build on that trust by letting clients know about other ways you can help them. Ask yourself – “Do all my clients know about ALL the ways I can help them?”. If the answer is no (it is for most firms I ask), then you’re leaving money on the table.

Here’s a simple way to fix it: write down all the services you offer. Next, write a list of the upcoming months. Then add a service next to each month. For example, June could be cash flow planning, July might be personal wealth management, and so on. In the relevant month, email your clients about that service. That’s a client marketing plan right there!

Calendar Plan

Of course, you might want to send more than one email, do some phone follow ups, or promote on social media too. The main thing is do something – business owners need your help more than ever right now. If they don’t know you can help them, they will go elsewhere.

A final point – there is no customer acquisition cost with existing clients. So if your marketing budget is tight, this is about as cost effective as it gets. Sending an email to clients through a platform like MailChimp costs nothing except time.

Increasing adoption makes clients “sticky”

Churn is the archenemy of any recurring revenue business. Combat churn by selling more to existing clients – those adopting multiple services from you are more “sticky” for two reasons.

Firstly, the more you do for a client, the more value you demonstrate. No client is going to get too excited about an annual tax return, even if you’ve saved them a few bucks and given great service.

By contrast, if you also do their personal returns, provide monthly management reports and advice to their board, and do their bookkeeping, you become an indispensable financial partner.

Glue

Secondly, when you’re helping a client in many ways, like the example above, it’s a big effort for them to switch to another provider. I’m not suggesting you cynically lock in clients – it’s just reality that the more embedded you are with clients, the less likely they are to jump ship.

Happy clients = referrals

For 80% of firms, client referrals are their main source of leads. We all know that happy clients give more referrals, and the happiest clients are those you’re doing great work for. Like the example above, clients adopting multiple services are likely to be your happiest – and therefore your best source of referrals.

Don’t be afraid to ask for them either. I reckon you’ve been going the extra mile (or several!) recently to help clients. In return, it’s more than fair to ask if they could refer some businesses or friends your way.

Seven ways to marketing to existing clients through your website

In the last three months, Bizink’s clients have been more active in their marketing efforts than ever before. We’ve seen firms doing everything from weekly email digests to webinars and Facebook Live events.

I’ve pulled together seven website tactics to help you market to existing clients and included some free content to help you get started.

1. Get blogging

Running a blog on your website has many benefits for clients. From delivering simple news like tax filing dates or guides on how to apply for government stimulus packages through to “deep dive” content on areas of special expertise, a blog is the correct place for timely and informational content.

If you’re stuck for ideas, think about the 5-10 questions you get asked about all the time by clients. I’m betting one of them is “can I claim this on expenses?”. Write blogs about each question and save hassle the next time you get asked it.

Blogger

Writing on topics that resonate with your market positions your brand as a relevant thought leader and builds trust. You can also share on your social and email for wider reach.

Bizink clients get access to a library of over 300 business blog posts with new posts added each month. Here’s a free sample of five posts that you can use however you want. Now you’ve no excuse not to get blogging!

2. Help them write a business plan

With a recession looming, a strategic rethink has been forced on business owners. Perhaps you have a business planning service – in which case, have you let clients know about it?

If you don’t want to get deeply involved in clients’ planning but still want to help, how about offering them a business plan template? Our sister company TSBC has been creating small business content for over 20 years for the likes of Microsoft and Bank of America. Through them and countless other banks, they’ve reached millions of business owners and a planning template is one of the most requested pieces of content.

Here’s a free business plan template created by TSBC that you can offer to clients.

For some Bizink clients, we took this to the next level by creating a business planning course based around the template. It’s delivered via email and acts as a “lead magnet” on a firm’s website, capturing visitors’ details and then nurturing the leads with email automation. The fancy name for this is a lead funnel.

Lead Magnet

3. Health check their business – interactive tool

I’ve heard the analogy that accountants and bookkeepers are like business doctors at the moment. Before finding the cure, you need to find out what’s wrong with a business. Do you offer some kind of business health check service? Either as a paid offering or a free service that generates leads for your other services?

You could offer a “lite version” on your website. We provide an interactive tool for many of our clients that’s a big hit with accountants and their clients. Check it out below.


Business Health Check Tool


4. Run a webinar with signup and recording

There’s “webinar fatigue” right now. Since March, seemingly every business has signed up for Zoom and had a go at running a webinar – with mixed results. At Bizink, we’ve run 200+ webinars in the last five years, so I like to think we’re okay at it. But recently, we’ve seen lower than usual attendance and registration. I’ve heard the same story from other vendors.

Having said that, webinars are an awesome way to reach clients and you don’t need big numbers to make them worthwhile. With “in person” events a distant memory in most countries, client events could be online only for the foreseeable future.

To get the most marketing bang for your buck from webinars, create landing pages for them on your website. The Zoom registration page is dull – it’s much better to integrate an online form on your website with Zoom and also your CRM and marketing software. Zapier can be the glue to bind everything together here.

When the webinar is finished, post the recording (you did remember to hit record didn’t you???) on YouTube and then add it to your landing page. Doing this gives it a permanent home that you can send to clients who missed the session.

You could also post it on your blog, share it on social media, or feature it in your email newsletter.

Here’s an example from our Marketing for Xero Partners community. We also post all of our webinars to our support knowledge base.

 

MFXP

 

5. Send a newsletter

Email newsletters aren’t typically a website thing, but smart firms re-purpose website content like blogs for their regular client mailings.

Newsletters are certainly not dead, as one marketing “guru” for accountants likes proclaiming. At Bizink, we sent over 110,000 emails for accounting and bookkeeping firms last month – mainly email newsletters. The open rate was 32.76% and the click rate was 4.56%.

 

Email stats

 

This compares favourably with MailChimp’s email benchmarks where the average open rate was 28.77% for the category Government. Emails sent by accountants got a 5% higher open rate and 0.57% higher click rate compared to their peers in the same industry. So you should definitely be sending a newsletter to clients at least once per month.

In the context of this blog about using your website for marketing to clients, we recommend creating a newsletter based mainly on content from your website. Include snippets of content in the newsletter with a ‘Read More’ to take the reader to your website.

We’ve built email marketing and newsletters into Bizink websites and Client Hubs, as we’ve found accountants prefer a “one stop shop” approach over switching between several different marketing apps. Here’s a screenshot from one of our websites showing the type of email newsletter we recommend you send:

Newsletter

6. Train your clients

Lockdowns have meant some businesses can’t operate as usual. We’ve seen many companies using this to their advantage by knocking off projects they’d put off or training and up-skilling.

Tap into this by offering training through your website. Ask your clients what they’d like to know, but financial literacy and accounting software are two topics that jump out at me.

Every business owner should be able to read their financial statements, but I’m guessing at least 50% don’t have a clue. Who better to teach them than you? And in doing, it’s bound to spark conversations that would lead to more work for you.

The same holds true with accounting software. Sick of clients asking you the same software questions each month? An online course will make life easier for you and them.

This might sound like a lot of hard work but vendors have great content you can tap into. We work with many Xero Partners and the educational content produced by the cloud accounting leaders is excellent.

Here’s a Get Started with Xero Course we offer to Bizink clients. It’s delivered via email over seven days and covers the basics of Xero like invoicing, bank accounts, and dashboard.

 

Xero Course

 

Your course could be part of an awesome onboarding experience or a refresher for existing clients. Like everything here, it’s bound to spark conversations which are the key to selling more services to clients.

7.Tough times toolkit

I’ve made it to the end of the post without mentioning the C word. But it’s stupid to pretend that businesses aren’t going through some tough times. In response, we created the Tough Times Toolkit – a library of content and tools you can post on your website to help your small business clients.

It’s a totally free product and once you’ve signed up, you can download the content and add it to your website, social media, email marketing – wherever you want.

It includes:

  • Articles on topics like reducing overheads and managing teams in a crisis
  • Templates for cash flow and break even point
  • Country specific to your country on things like government stimulus packages
  • Curated resources from around the web aimed at small business owners
  • New content added regularly, especially around government initiatives to help small businesses.

We had awesome feedback on the Tough Times Toolkit from accountants, bookkeepers and their clients. I hope it can help your clients too and by extension, your firm.

Final Thoughts

Ask yourself again, “Do all my clients know about ALL the ways I can help them?”. If not, using your website to reach them should be your marketing focus. You’ll slow or stop churn, add new revenue streams, and most likely get more referrals.

I hope these seven tactics and the free content help you achieve this. Before starting, maybe take our free website audit to check your site isn’t lacking any key elements.

If you want help executing your client marketing, Bizink is a specialist in accounting firm marketing with clients across the globe. Check out our website or make time to chat with one of our team.

Stay safe!

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