Gusto for Partners

Accountants, Here’s How to Measure Your Marketing

Amy Nguyen Director of Marketing 
Webinar > A Marketing Crash Course CTA

Picture this scenario: Your marketing agency just wrote you to say it’s time to update your website. It will cost $30,000. And that raises questions.

For example, what’s your website doing for you today? What’s so broken that it needs rebuilding? And if it is rebuilt, who’s to say it’ll be better? What if it’s worse? And actually, while you’re on the topic, what are all of your other marketing partners doing for you? 

These are great questions, and difficult to answer without a framework for measuring your marketing. That’s why Caleb, accountant and Gusto’s Editor-at-Large, and Tolithia, Gusto’s former top marketer and now Chief Revenue Officer, have teamed up to teach a session. 

Join them Tuesday, July 19 for a simple, measurable accountant marketing strategy that you can immediately implement. Sign up to save your seat, and then keep reading, because I’ll share three of their tips.

First off, who should we be marketing to? 

Your firm should be marketing to individuals and companies that look like your best existing clients. If you can identify your happiest clients, you can find more people like them. It’s really that simple.

Start by interviewing those happy clients about what makes them so darn happy. They’ll teach you where to find others like them — whether by the situation that led them to you (a compliance question), the thing you offered that most interested them (people operations advice), or the place they go for news and information (Gusto’s blog!).

Use what you learn to record what’s known as an ideal buyer persona, which is a 1-2 slide PowerPoint deck that lists all the core characteristics of your ideal buyers, along with actual quotes of things they’ve said. That documentation will then power the rest of your marketing.

Plus, talking to happy clients can remind them how much they like you. If you’ve done something remarkable for them, like reduce their tax bill by $105,000, they may be reminded to go tell someone who’s also facing a high tax bill. Eighty-four percent of all purchases start with a referral, and 90 percent involve a referral, meaning, there’s a network of people already asking around for a firm like yours. Your best clients already know them. You just have to ask.

How should we measure our CPA firm marketing? 

Accountants will like this answer: completely and totally. Accountant marketing should be entirely about the numbers. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. And here’s the rationale: The real purpose of marketing is learning so you can figure out what works and repeat it. If you aren’t measuring, you aren’t learning. And after a certain size, your firm cannot grow based on luck alone. 

The first thing you’ll want to do for measuring is build a list of names. In a really advanced sales and marketing operation, you’d record their information in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. (Perhaps you have a similar capability in your practice management software?) At the very least, you can use an email software like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, which also keeps a list.

[Pull quote: The real purpose of marketing is learning so you can figure out what works and repeat it.]

The value of having a list of names is that it’s an “owned audience” you have full control over. You can export it as a spreadsheet and do whatever you like. Compare that to building a following on social media, which is a bit like building a house on rented land — social media companies can change the rules at any time, and they often do. 

The professional networking platform LinkedIn once allowed companies to post to their pages to reach their followers. But when LinkedIn launched an updated advertising offering, it altered its algorithm so companies that had built a free following now had to pay to reach those people.

Once you have your list, you can use the email tool to 1) grow the list by sharing valuable information, 2) convert members of that list by teaching them about what you offer, and 3) measure how it’s all working. 

(Note: Some accountant marketing activities are difficult to measure, like paying for a rebrand, launching a content marketing program, or launching a website. Think of those as costs of doing business, which are assets.)

How should we be managing agencies and marketing partners?

So given all of this, how should you respond to the marketing agency that wants you to redo your website? Pretty simple. Ask them to tell you how to measure their work. Then hold them to it. Yes, it is that simple. 

If they can’t provide evidence that the website isn’t working today, it’s difficult for them to argue that changing it would improve it. Ask them how you should measure the success of your website, and if you hire them, have them measure and provide the evidence. Maybe even ask them to help you set up that tool or dashboard so you can see for yourself. 

For accountants, marketing should be measurable. And if you can’t measure, don’t do it. 

For more, join Caleb and Tolithia on July 19, 2022, and come with questions.

Amy Nguyen
Amy Nguyen I lead customer marketing at Gusto, and focus on our most valued partners — accounting professionals. My prior experience ranges from tech to fintech, recently, at Intuit. Based in San Francisco Bay Area, CA, I love all things outdoors and exploring new places with my husband and two kids.
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