"People worry too much about brand and brand consistency. What people want these days is authenticity. If you try and do everything "on brand" you come across like a corporate." - Matt Wilkinson
Recently, PI chatted with Bizink CEO Matt Wilkinson about better ways by which practices can deliver their messages. Bizink helps accountants succeed online. Matt’s advice confirms that time-tested policies – stretching back to the golden days of advertising – still rings true for accountancies of the 21st century.
Here’s what Matt had to say.
Practice Ignition: How does a firm's unique selling proposition (USP) factor into messaging? How has that changed in recent times?
Matt Wilkinson: A firm (or any business for that matter) must communicate its USP. If you're not doing that, you're not really doing marketing.
But taking a step back, I think a problem for many accounting firms is they don't have a USP. Traditionally that wasn't as important as governments kept them busy with compliance work. Now compliance has been commoditized (I heard a firm from the UK speaking who do compliance for no cost!) then every firm needs to do least one thing different to stand out. Or at least do the same things but in a unique way.
After you've got a USP, it's not that hard to factor that into your marketing. For example, if you just do accounting for tradespeople then you're going to be talking about things that interest them in language they would use. It would be different if you did accounting for doctors.
PI: What's working best for branding in 2016: events, blogs, website and social media?
MW: I don't think you can say anything is "best" for branding in 2016, especially without qualifying it further.
Everything you do contributes to your brand. Depending on your audience, some media will be more important than other. So using our previous example, if I were targeting tradespeople I would definitely put on events whereas online marketing would be less successful (I've seen this with our clients). For doctors, blogs might work better. And obviously social is going to work better for a younger audience.
People worry too much about brand and brand consistency. What people want these days is authenticity. If you try and do everything "on brand" you come across like a corporate.
PI: What's your best advice for anyone needing to revamp their content strategy?
MW: Think about what your customers' pain points are. Then create content that speaks to them.
It's not complicated but neither is it easy. You'll either need to devote plenty of time as content always takes way longer than you think. Or hire professionals to create content for you.
I'd recommend the latter as pretty much every accounting firm I've worked with either lacks the time, skills or both to create great content.
If you hire professional content creators, make sure you are clear on what you want to achieve. You'll only get a good result if you give a good brief.
PI: How targeted should content be, ideally? How specific should the market/buyer persona be?
MW: The more targeted the better.
Better to appeal strongly to a handful of people than weakly or not at all to a larger group.
Most accounting firms aren't looking for a huge numbers of new clients each month. So it makes sense to target the "ideal client". Again this goes back to USP - if you have that and are communicating, hopefully you are speaking to the right people.
A good tip when when creating content is write as if you're talking to one person. Your campaign may be going to 1000s of people but you should write as if you're having a conversation with one person. Obviously this is much easier when you've got a tightly defined market.
What type of client constitutes the bulk of your business? Do your marketing materials speak directly to their pain points? Could you retarget your marketing efforts to capture a bigger share of the market for clients similar to those you are serving? These are the kinds of things to ask yourself, as you work to grow your practice by closing more business.