Many people assume that marketing is simply advertising the service they sell. But while advertising is a part of marketing, it’s not everything.
Marketing your bookkeeping services also involves gaining a thorough understanding of the needs and wants of your potential customers, and ensuring that you meet them.
Defining your skill set
When it comes to marketing your bookkeeping services, you should begin by identifying who makes up your market, and what they will expect from you. You need to match this with the scope of your skillset.
You may find, when completing your market research, that customers expect their bookkeeper to be able to complete management accounts for them, as well as basic bookkeeping. Rather than offering this service just because it’s in demand, you need to ask yourself whether you are able to complete the task to a high standard.
To comply with the ethical principle of professional competence and due care, you must only complete work that you are competent to carry out. You must be fully capable either through experience or qualification to undertake tasks. If you decide that you would like to be able to offer services outside of your current skill set, it’s a good idea to gain further qualifications such as AAT, where you can become qualified up to level 4, and even specialise in areas such as tax and auditing.
You also need to keep your skill set up to date through continued professional development. You must make sure that you are aware of the latest legislative changes, including tax laws. You should also keep on top of recent technical developments, whether it’s relevant computer software, such as the latest version of Sage accounts, or filing online for HMRC.
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How to differentiate
When marketing your product, you need to think about the key differences between what you offer and what competitors offer. You need to define your USPs (unique selling points), asking yourself why customers would come to you rather than the next bookkeeper.
For example, you may offer up front bills rather than an hourly rate, distinguishing you from your competitors, and this may be something you identified as desirable during your market research.
If this is one of your USPs, you should concentrate on conveying it through your marketing, emphasising how it is better for the customer. For example, you could talk about how it’s better to be aware of your bookkeeping bills in advance, rather than being surprised at the end of the month.
Once you’ve defined your offering in the context of your market, it’s time to reach out to your audience and tell them who you are and what you do.
Directories: Most people search for services online these days, and local directories are often used to find out about local bookkeepers. Ensuring you’re listed in popular online directories such as yell.com is the first step to getting yourself seen by potential customers.
Social Media: Social networks are a great way to spread the word about your services among relevant communities. Consider using, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, joining appropriate groups, interacting with your target audience, and letting people know what you do.
Website: If you are willing to create it yourself, running your own website can be surprisingly low cost. Platforms such as WordPress mean that you can build an attractive, user-friendly website with very little technical know-how. If you put the time and effort in, this can become an effective way of generating leads.
Accounting firms: You could try reaching out to local companies who want to focus on accounting activities, and may be on the lookout for freelance bookkeepers to subcontract work to.
Monitoring your leads
If you’ve started to market yourself through a number of methods, it’s important to monitor where your leads are generated, so that you know what’s worth pursuing further.
For example, if you have a website, it is important that you monitor how many visitors it gets, how many of these visitors become clients, and what factors impact on this process.
To find out more about making yourself a marketable bookkeeper, get in touch below.