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Thread: Help marketing new bookkeeping service!

  1. #1

    Default Help marketing new bookkeeping service!

    Hi,

    I am starting my bookkeeping service and am stuck on how to find my first few clients. I know that businesses like mine spread best through word of mouth and I have told everyone I know about my work and that I am looking for clients. Today I plan to put an add in the local paper and I have done some pro bono work for a testimonial for my website. I plan to place an ad on Craigslist, though Craigslist is scary to me, so many scammers and viruses!

    Does anyone have any more ideas for me? I would like to start with local service companies, construction, electricians, that sort of thing. I don't have the budget to join the Chamber of Commerce right now, that was suggested to me before. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks guys!
    Norma Landis
    Pencil Box Bookkeeping Service
    www.pencilboxbookkeeeping.com

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pencilbox View Post
    Hi,

    I am starting my bookkeeping service and am stuck on how to find my first few clients. I know that businesses like mine spread best through word of mouth and I have told everyone I know about my work and that I am looking for clients.

    Today I plan to put an add in the local paper and I have done some pro bono work for a testimonial for my website. I plan to place an ad on Craigslist, though Craigslist is scary to me, so many scammers and viruses!

    Does anyone have any more ideas for me? I would like to start with local service companies, construction, electricians, that sort of thing. I don't have the budget to join the Chamber of Commerce right now, that was suggested to me before. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks guys
    Here's some honest truth about "word of mouth". It's a lie. The way people think of "Word of mouth" today is that you just tell friends and family, and that your service is so great that they will promote your business for you and tell all of their friends. But your friends and family are not marketers.They don't know your business. And they won't be promoting your business full time.That's your job.

    The truth is that "word of mouth" doesn't just happen like that. If it was that easy, we'd all be wealthy.

    It is a lot of work that really means that you're grinding out your marketing by doing everything you can to get your face and business in front of people including, creating and promoting content that people need, maybe writing a book, doing free seminars or presentations to local groups, pro bono work for groups(Non profits) that have reach and influence to help promote you, getting on radio, local TV, podcasts..whatever, doing webinars, getting good reviews, a great website and SEO, Social media and so on.

    Word of mouth entails that people hear about you. That's not going to happen just telling them one by one.

    Do you give everyone you tell a few business cards to pass out to others looking for services?

    Is your website up and ready to create leads and make the phone ring? I mean really ready. Does it compete with similar services in your area? Is it as professional as it could be, or did you just do enough to get by and get something p with the hope of coming back later once you make some money to do it right?

    Are you writing any content, or submitting articles anywhere that has actual readers?

    Are you doing anything on social media? What's your LinkedIn profile look like?

    True word of mouth is all of the above and more. It's bootstrap marketing and you have to keep motivated and improving for the life of your business.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the ideas! I have given some cards to family members to hand out but not to everyone. I guess what I meant by word of mouth was mostly from satisfied clients. It's just finding those first few clients that's the hard part! I was hoping to avoid social media all together, I don't want to be part of that at all, but it looks like a free, viable marketing tool that I would be an idiot not to utilize! I am a bit of an introvert and don't see myself on radio or tv anytime soon, but I do understand what you are saying about doing anything it takes to get my name out there. I will try anything at this point! Thanks again for the advice!
    Norma Landis
    Pencil Box Bookkeeping Service
    www.pencilboxbookkeeeping.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by pencilbox View Post
    Thanks for the ideas! I have given some cards to family members to hand out but not to everyone. I guess what I meant by word of mouth was mostly from satisfied clients. It's just finding those first few clients that's the hard part! I was hoping to avoid social media all together, I don't want to be part of that at all, but it looks like a free, viable marketing tool that I would be an idiot not to utilize! I am a bit of an introvert and don't see myself on radio or tv anytime soon, but I do understand what you are saying about doing anything it takes to get my name out there. I will try anything at this point! Thanks again for the advice!
    Being in business for yourself is the opposite of being an introvert. You are the Chief Executive sales person, marketer, strategist, accountant, customer service rep, and everything else. You cannot make it business waiting for the business to come to you...at least not without a great ad and marketing campaign.

    Yes, getting the first few clients is the hard part. So is getting the next few. And the next few. It doesn't start happening by magic just because you get the first few clients under your belt. It's a constant motion of keeping existing clients happy, and filling the pipeline with new business.

    I'm definitely not saying social media is the end all marketing that is going to bring your business. Truth is, it won't, especially not for a while. But if you're in business and your target market is other people in business, you should at least have a well put together LinkedIn profile. It may not bring business directly, but it helps with your professional presence online and is more places to be found.

    Most times before your phone ever rings, people go online to check you out. They look at your website, maybe look for some reviews, maybe they see a social media profile. You'll never know they are looking, but you can be in charge of what they see.

    Your goal online should be that when people search for you, or your business name, that you control everything that comes up on that first page of the results. Whether that be your websites, articles, business profiles, reviews. social media accounts, whatever...those 10 spots (as much as possible) AND the side bar information should be all you and you should not leave it to chance.

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    Social media can be a great tool if used effectively. The trick is to follow strategically. You're on whatever social media platform you're using for a purpose, and you want to get the message out to people who want what you have to offer. So follow the pages or feeds of local companies that could use your expertise. Watch what they're saying. Social media can be great market research, so following potential clients on Facebook or Twitter or whatever will give you insight into places where you might be able to help them.

    On your own profiles, make sure you're not just selling your services. Give tips about ways small businesses can save money on taxes, or how proper bookkeeping can help a company avoid problems. Show your expertise and how you can help your potential clients, don't just tell them.

    Also, don't neglect local television and radio stations and newspapers and magazines. A good press release can get you some nice free publicity. You can also get in touch with local reporters and offer yourself as a source for questions about managing a company's books. You most likely won't have to be on camera, but a lot of reporters like to have trusted sources on tap in case they need a quote.

    Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or any local business groups. Do they have newsletters or blogs for which you could write? Work on positioning yourself as an expert in your field.

    Those are just some ideas. Harold is right, though, getting the first few clients in the door is just the beginning of the marketing work. It will, most likely, never get to a place where you won't have to work on keeping your name out there.

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    I used to own an accounting/tax service. One of the things I found that people are reluctant to change accountants (even bad ones) largely due to not knowing much about accounting and taxes. The way to get them to change is to let them know that you firm is special. The specialty should be communications. That is the one thing that is missing from most accountants and their clients.

    The advice from Harold Mansfield is true. Word of mouth is not the best form of marketing your firm. Even happy clients are slow to recommend you to others...you're just not part of their priorities. You need to supply the content and information on your website to show that you are not a run-of-the mill accounting or bookkeeping firm. Also note that you can't depend on SEO alone. SEO is important but you also need to do some outbound marketing to get the targeted market to visit your site. You could use a sales letter, brochures, and email marketing to develop interest.

    Another piece of advice, don't do pro-Bono work. It is rarely appreciated and gives the potential client the feeling that your work isn't valuable. Save the pro-Bono for established clients as a means of showing appreciation of their business.

    John
    Last edited by jlee1994848; 06-23-2016 at 11:24 PM.

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    First use some ofline marketing methods like direct mail marketing. Use a customized mail. We had pulled some local customers using this method.

  8. #8

    Default It's Scary but Effective.

    Hi Norma, I would encourage you to pick up the phone and start cold calling. Or do the leg work: visit businesses around your area and leave gifts- pens, pads, pencils, whatever you can afford. Don't sell yourself- instead, talk about them and their business, ask questions, etc. Ask if they would be OK, if you called them to stay in touch. Then elegantly, leave your business card and thank them for their time. They will remember you.

    I know that that's a scary thing to do, but sometimes, we have to go a step further when everything else fails.
    Last edited by Vinecityseo; 10-20-2016 at 02:30 PM.
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  9. #9

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    I'd first start by defining your budget in terms of both time and money. How much time do you have for marketing and how much money you can spend? How is your book keeping business different from your competition? Do you have an edge in terms of pricing? Or quality/detail? Analyze your business carefully, with an eye of a critique, and see how you are good or bad as compared to your competition. As others have mentioned, instead of selling yourself, ask your target audience the key questions about book keeping; what kind of service they use today? And if they don't, then why not? What do they like and what they wish they could get? All these will help you "fill the gap" in your "existing market". All this will take tremendous time and effort but if you are focused on knowing where those gaps are that need to be filled, that would be your best entry point into getting some business.

    Hope this helps.
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    The Smartest Way to Run Modern Marketing Campaigns

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    Here's some honest truth about "word of mouth". It's a lie. ....
    I disagree with this tremendously. I am part of a company who has spent $0.00 in advertising and nets $1 million+/year. The business is construction so its easy to get to the million mark, but the point is Word of mouth is a GREAT way to build a business..

    There has been 0 downtime in work, even through the 08 crash... so, word of mouth is a great asset.

    Example:
    John uses your services. John knows people and is casually talking to Pam. Pam is looking for something similar to what John is using...Pam inquires...
    Pam buys because she knows someone who has personally used this services and the level of TRUST is higher then if JOHN was no in equation.

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