Cold calling from the phone book used to be a common method of getting new clients through the doors, but if you’ve ever tried it, you know just how hard it can be. Even the most enthusiastic pitch often didn’t get past the gatekeeper! And then there were the issues of inconvenient timing, and pitches that were just irrelevant.
Now, with the development of user–friendly digital platforms, marketing automation is an excellent way to attract (and keep!) clients to your accountancy firm – with attract being the operative word. Instead of pursuing clients, marketing automation is about letting them edge closer to you.
But that doesn’t mean you wait until they notice you – you entice clients by finding out what they want, and offering solutions.
Inbound marketing: the softer approach
Inbound marketing is about the client drawing closer to you, and marketing automation is the platform you use.
Rather than telling the client what you do and asking if they might be interested in doing business, you offer them guidance and resources that answer needs they have. Marketing automation responds to the cues clients give out, rather than going into the relationship with preconceptions.
Rather than hitting the potential client with: “Our company does X, do you want to use our services?”, you make the approach client-centric. “We noticed you’re doing Y, we think we can help you with that” The tone of the transaction has changed from confrontational to collaborative.
While much of marketing automation revolves around email, it also includes social media, landing pages, lead generation activities and management activities.
Marketing tools come of age
Marketing automation tools work by monitoring what clients want and creating automatic user segments based on the data they albeit unwittingly supply.
Landing pages gather data from visitors to your website. Depending on when they interact, the data collected, could for example, indicate the person’s position in the company. So, if a business owner visits your website, the marketing automation software automatically creates a new entry in your ‘business owner’ group.
Automated emails containing appropriately pitched resources, eBooks and offers are then channelled to them. You might schedule a new offer every month, or an eBook on tax tips towards the end of the financial year. As you add more value to them, their probability to do business with you is generally enhanced.
Clients need constant nurturing to remain convinced they have made the right decision in going with your firm, issuing special offers and resources to keep the relationship fresh and active. Automation is there to reinforce relationships both before and after they come on board.
Integrating the marketing technology
If you use emails and have a website, integrating marketing automation is easy. The platform will connect with your website and metrics you gather through the marketing automation platform about your site traffic will show who has received an email offer, how many opened it and how many clicked through to the site.
In other words, you can filter out the most interested people from those who need further coaxing before they make their decision. It’s totally configurable and you set the rules.
With marketing automation, you not only have a client-centric approach to lead generation, you have data to see the impact of your online marketing campaigns.