Which result would you rather your marketing efforts generate? A or B?

A = 50 calls and emails from possible new clients who ask loads of questions but who have no intention of paying you the sort of fees you charge; and probably don’t want you to do much more than their annual compliance work.

You do your best to work out which of the 50 are decent prospects and you eventually secure 5 of them as good new clients;

B = 10 calls from possible new clients who have already expressed an interest in you doing more than ‘just’ compliance work and who are not focused on how low your fees are?

Again you do you best and secure 5 of them as good new clients.

Unless you have loads of spare time and/or you enjoy practicing your skills in such scenarios, the second option (B) is probably far more attractive than the first one (A). It is certainly a better outcome in terms of return on investment for your time.

This comparison takes us back to a couple of issues I have addressed here before.

  1. Focusing your marketing and promotion activities so that they attract the type of new clients you want for your practice; and
  2. Measuring the right things. That is, those that can help you focus on doing what matters most to the practice. This is another way of helping you to identify which are your KEY performance indicators (KPIs) and results.

In this context, does it make more sense to focus on how many enquiries you receive IN TOTAL or only to count those enquiries or the type of work and from the type of prospects you really want to take on?

This is the old quality vs quantity argument.

Which is better for your practice:

  1. to get loads of enquiries from prospects who want a full compliance service for under £500?
  2. to get enquiries from prospects willing to pay your minimum fee for compliance work?
  3. to get enquiries from prospects who want specialist advice of the type you have the expertise to provide?

Most accountants I know would prefer to be getting more enquiries from prospects in those 2nd and 3rd categories. But so many of those who track the total number of enquiries they receive do not always track their value. Which means they do not know which marketing activities generate the more valuable leads.

If you simply track the number of enquiries you receive you could mistake which of your promotional and marketing activities is most worth your time and money.

Examples of where I have seen this happening in the past include:

  • Continued membership of a networking group that hasn’t generated much, if any, of those 2nd and 3rd categories of new client. (And without much consideration of the time and money invested each year as compared with the value of new fees this has generated.
  • Paying to pitch for leads generated by an online listing service – without taking account of the number and profitability of clients won through this source – especially if the clients in question are more interested in choosing whoever quotes the lower fee.
  • Spending time and money in the hope of building a brand on social media but without any comparison of the value and profitability of fees generated from this activity – especially given the lead time required to build a brand before it is likely to pay off.

Or, as John Wanamaker (1838-1922), a US department-store magnate, once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” More recently Forbes and other commentators have suggested that more than half the money spent on blanket advertising is wasted.

The same could be said of the money spent on blanket marketing and promotional activities.

I like to practice what I preach – as regards both of my main business activities:

Tax Advice Network

I have never attempted to drive unfocused traffic to the FindATaxAdviser.online website. It would be really easy to add a load of tax data and information to the site. This would then attract people seeking free tax advice. And that would boost the number of monthly visitors. Which might attract more members of the Network.

But if most of those new visitors want free advice, who am I really helping? No one joins the Network to get enquiries from people who don’t want to pay a reasonable fee for tax advice. So I keep the website focused on promoting access to tax advisers providing tax advice worth paying for.

You should do the same with your website too.   Don’t bother tracking the increase in visitor numbers when you offer more free stuff – UNLESS you are also attracting and converting more of the prospects you really want!

I can’t promise that some people won’t beat the system and try to secure free tax advice via the FindATaxAdviser.online website. But we consciously seek to discourage this – unlike so many other directories and listing services.

This is one of the main reasons why I have always kept the monthly subs for membership of the Network so modest (£12 for accountants). That way everyone can be sure that they will secure more than enough new relevant business to recoup their monthly fee many times over each year.

Mentoring support to help accountants and tax advisers to be more successful.

I genuinely want to help as many accountants and tax advisers as I can. So there is loads of free advice, insights and guidance on my website and blog. And I offer a free initial call – with no conditions or obligations. Sure, some people take advantage, but very few. This is because my system helps discourage time wasters.  That means I typically only speak with real prospects – although sometimes we agree that they either don’t need or cannot afford my ongoing 1-2-1 support.