Imagine if this conversation were to take place when you visited the doctor for help with managing your chronic asthma: 

You: “Hello doctor. This asthma is driving me mad. Please help.”

Doctor: “Cool, cool. Remember to take aspirin when you have a headache.”

You: “Uhm…” 

Doctor: “You need to get a bronchodilator to open your swollen airways when you’re struggling to breathe.”

You: “Uh, oh yes, thank you…”

Doctor: “Many children get pink eyes. The best way to relieve the discomfort is with a cool compress.”

You: “Uhm… okay, can we get back to that asthma problem I have…” 

Doctor: “Now, when it comes to diabetes…” 

Sounds bizarre, right? I guess it’s fair to say that you will not be going back to that doctor again. Well, that’s the effect your marketing material has if you’re all over the place.

 Any and every piece of marketing material you create should revolve around a problem that you can solve for your ideal clients.

Over the last three weeks, we talked about what you should do after you’ve chosen a niche. Before we jump into the final blog in this series, let’s quickly recap what we’ve discussed so far:

  1. The first thing you need to do after you’ve chosen a niche is to interview a few of your ideal clients to get a better understanding of what your niche want and need, and which problems they have that you can solve for them
  2. Then you need to develop your services around the needs uncovered in step one.  
  3. Next, you should make sure your website reflects who you work with and what you help them with – or in other words, the problems you solve for them and the transformation they can expect when working with you. 
  4. And lastly, what we’re going to talk about in this blog is how to develop marketing material that revolves around your niche – their struggles and goals – and how to use that to lead them towards your services.

In case you’ve missed any of the previous blogs, make sure that you click on the links above to read them before you read the rest of this blog.

Okay, let’s jump into today’s topic. 

 

Get Your Foundations Right: The Four Stages in Marketing

You need to understand the four stages of marketing and the journey that your ideal clients go through before they decide to sign up to work with you – or with anyone else for that matter. 

This is the typical customer journey people go through:

 

 

  • Awareness: Your ideal clients realise that they have a problem that needs solving. For instance, let’s say they’ve been in business for a while, but they’ve stagnated, and they don’t know how to get to the next step. They realise they need to do something about it, but they don’t know what it is yet.
  • Consideration: They research different solutions and techniques that could solve their problem. They’ll also check out at a bunch of different accountants or business advisors. 
  • Decision making: Finally, they’ll decide which strategy they’ll follow and who they’re going to work with. 

Your job is to move them along through this journey so that they choose you, and not one of your competitors.

How do you do that?

  • ATTRACT stage: First, you need to get their attention so that you can send them to the content that you’ve created. So this is where ads or social media comes in.
  • SOLVE stage: Secondly, you have to solve a problem that they have – for free. Not a complete package – just a quick fix. So from our example above, this might be in the form of a roadmap they need to follow if they want to get their business unstuck and growing again. 
  • NURTURE stage: Thirdly, you have to nurture the relationship with them so that you can build the know, like, and trust factors. You need to give them more free stuff, show them that you know what you’re talking about, and they should get an insight into who you are. 
  • SELL stage: Finally, you can put your offer in front of them. If the service you’re offering is what they need and they trust that you’re the right person to work with, they’ll be ready to sign up to work with you. And that offer should be what you’ve developed in the second blog of this series.

Below is a visual representation of the four stages in marketing, and as you’ll see, your ideal clients start out as strangers and eventually end up as a client.

 

 

Now, your marketing success doesn’t depend on how much content you put out there, but rather, whether you put the RIGHT content in front of them, which leads us to the next point.

 

Does Your Marketing Material Revolve around Your Niche and Does It Lead to the Services You Tailored to Them?

With every step you take, you must lead people to your end goal – working with you; signing up for a specific package or service. To do that, you need to solve that one big problem that they have in a way that they think it should be solved. Remember, in the first blog, we talked about the difference between what they want, and what they need. 

Let’s look at the example we talked about in the first blog again: Your ideal clients struggle to keep their books up-to-date, and they don’t really have the time to do their books. They think that the solution is to get quicker at doing bookkeeping. That’s what they want. As the expert, you know what they actually need is to let go of their bookkeeping because it’s not their strength, and they have more important things they should focus on to run a successful business. That’s what they need.

You hook them with the solution they want, and then you educate them on the solution they need. 

To solve this immediate problem of spending less time on their bookkeeping, you can develop a freebie – a checklist or a roadmap – that will help them to stay on task and finish quicker, for instance, a checklist of everything they need to do come month-end. With that checklist, they won’t need to think about or try to remember what they need to do; they can just do it. You’ve solved a small problem for them with that checklist, and now they have more time in the day. 

Once you’ve solved that little problem for them, it’s time to educate them on why that quick fix is just a temporary solution. You need to open their eyes to what they really need – your bookkeeping services – but you can’t sell them on that yet. You first have to warm them up. This comes in the form of educational content, like emails, blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, Facebook lives, and so on.

To carry on with our example, topics you may want to discuss can include:

  • Tips on how to speed up your bookkeeping
  • Do you really save money when doing your books yourself?
  • The benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping
  • Tired of scrambling before the tax deadline?
  • Why you should keep an eye on your cash flow
  • Questions to ask when choosing a new bookkeeper

Your educational content should shift their minds and help them to start seeing the value of getting a bookkeeper on board.

 

Examples of Marketing Plans Touching Each Step of the Journey

Let’s look at a few more examples:

 

Example 1: The Biz Advisor

Firm & ideal clients: Advisory firm who helps manufacturing companies in their first couple of years in business to set up their bookkeeping and processes, and then help them to grow and become a leader in their industry. 

The end goal – the service you’re leading them towards (SELL): Advisory services to improve financial ratios and boost growth. They do this by implementing better processes, improving reporting, interpreting financial statements, and helping clients to make better decisions based on those figures. 

The quick fix (SOLVE): A cheat sheet with a bunch of ratios they need to calculate each month in order to grow their business, with formulas.

The educational material (NURTURE): A series of videos delivered through email, each addressing a different part about interpreting financial data, as well as tips on how to improve ratios. 

Your promotional material (ATTRACT), like your social media posts and ads, should lead them to the cheat sheet or to the videos, or any other tips that are related to the theme at hand.

 

Example 2: The Tax Specialist

Firm & ideal clients: Tax advisor helping high-net-worth individuals with tax planning and filing their annual tax returns.

The end goal – the service you’re leading them towards (SELL): Tax planning services

The quick fix (SOLVE): A webinar covering topics like restructuring remuneration packages, charitable contributions, tax-deductible retirement funds, etc.

The educational material (NURTURE): In-person workshops on the topic of legal ways to minimise your tax bill.

Again, your promotional material (ATTRACT) should send people to the webinar or workshop, or additional tips on how to reduce their tax bill.

 

Is Your Marketing Specific Enough?

As you can see from the examples above, everything you create should be very intentional. You shouldn’t spend unnecessary resources on something that no-one really cares about (remember the scatterbrained doctor), or which doesn’t fit in with the bigger problem that you want to solve for them. 

And, please, stay away from the marketing agencies for accountants who sell pre-written blogs and newsletters that you can buy – together with a thousand other accountants. It’s 2019. An approach like that just doesn’t work anymore. It’s not focused enough. The content you’ll get from these people are generic and definitely not tailored to the one big problem you want to solve for your ideal clients. (If you want my opinion about these types of services and why signing up for one of them is bad news for your firm, then head over to this blog: Cookie-Cutter Marketing Plans Don’t Work.)

Remember, marketing is not about quantity; it’s about creating tailor-made material that solves the problems your ideal clients want and need. 

 

Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about how to create a marketing plan that takes your ideal clients all the way from being a stranger to ready-to-sign-over-their-first-born just to work with you, I suggest that you sign up for my free email course, Map out your entire marketing plan in 6 days. In this course, I take you step-by-step through everything you need to consider when putting a plan together and creating marketing material that moves your ideal clients towards that one, big problem you want to solve for them. (And no, I don’t want your first-born in exchange! It’s free.)

FEATURED RESOURCE

FREE COURSE: Create a simple, overwhelm-free marketing plan and finally get those ideal clients to say yes to you!

After going through this email course, you’ll…

  • Know how to attract the right type of clients that are a good fit for your firm
  • Have more confidence in your marketing knowledge and know what to focus on
  • Know the ideal marketing strategy which will be the most valuable FOR YOU (yes, we’re all different, and we don’t do cookie-cutter here)
  • Be clear on how to move your ideal clients to your end goal – signing up to work with you!

Want to learn more about marketing for number-crunchers?