Are you Marketing for the Busy Season? Why not?Marketing
The busy spring season may not be upon us yet – but it is something you need to start preparing for. The way purchasers make decisions has changed over the past few years and if you aren’t marketing for it now you will lose out on customers.
Research has found that 58% of decision makers are now taking more time to conduct product/service research and are considering options for longer. This can have a detrimental impact on your revenue if you aren’t marketing yourself early enough.
So how do you get your marketing ready for the busy season?
The Three Stage Buying Process
To begin with consider the three purchasing stages:
Awareness – Getting the prospect to realize there is a challenge they face and that they need to solve it.
Consideration – Convincing the prospect you have the skills and experience to solve their challenges.
Purchase – The prospect is committing to your solution and buying a product/solution.
Within this three stage buying process – you might have several steps, and in 80% of all cases, it can take between five and twelve interactions before a prospect buys from you.
Purchasing paths are becoming more sophisticated with all the interactive platforms customers can use. Leads can interact with you on social media, by email, by website chat systems and on other platforms.
Developing a straight line sales path is no longer an option. One prospect could go from your website, to a social media page, then back to your website and then to an email; while another goes from social media to your website, then to email and finally back to social media. Developing marketing campaigns that allow for a flexible sales path can help you meet this challenge.
Start Marketing now
Considering all of the above, you need to start marketing now so you are collecting prospects early enough to process them through the entire three-stage sales lifecycle. Then between now and about two weeks before the busy period, you can start to market why your accountancy firm is the best solution.
Then, with two weeks to go, you can increase your marketing, including any offers you have available. By this point, you should have given the prospects a lot of social signals that you are the right provider.
For instance, you could have given them an ebook to demonstrate your expertise, customer reviews to show how powerful you are and even case studies that compare your services to real-life challenges the prospects could be facing.
You’ve got a long time to demonstrate your worth. But it is certainly time well spent. Peer reviews are more trustworthy to customers than guarantees or pledges made by a business as they offer a tangible expectation.
Case studies demonstrate your experience in dealing with the challenges your audience face. They enable your prospects to see that a competitor or another business has access to your skills and is benefiting. They won’t want to miss out on that, so you’ve encouraged them to seek more information.
When it comes to the time of purchase, you can incentivize the purchase by providing an offer. A good email offer like 10% off, or free appraisals, can be really enticing. But you have to time your email just right. It isn’t just about the date you send it. The day and time are also critical. Monitor when prospects are opening and interacting with emails and use that information to optimize your mailing campaign during the busy sales period.
Planning for Your Busy Season
All this takes time and effort so it’s best if you plan ahead. Creating content and systems on the go might seem more flexible, but it can often lead to rushed marketing materials that look unprofessional and detract from your business.
Instead, always plan six months in advance and have all the content written at least two weeks’ before it is due. Furthermore, ensure you have the right people working on your copy. Hire professional copywriters and social media managers to help you create the content and market it.
Research has shown that if you’ve not had marketing training, the effectiveness of your campaigns can be reduced.
Also, hiring in the right help maintains your freedom to do what you are best at - accounting.
Customer Relationship Management
You also need to be focused with your leads. Any marketer will tell you that a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program is necessary. It can tell you where a prospect is on the sales path, what the latest interaction was, what content was sent to them last and what is due.
It can also provide insights into their behavior that can help you plan ad-hoc marketing messages. For instance, if you realize they are looking at blog posts about payroll, you can send them more marketing messages about that.
CRM software doesn’t need to be expensive. With the right person behind the helm, a simple spreadsheet could be sufficient.
When you look at the CRM, see if any prospects have changed behavior recently. If they’ve suddenly gone quiet, it might be a good idea to try a re-engagement campaign.
If they don’t respond to your re-engagement campaign, then remove them from your CRM system or at least your mailing list. This gives you a chance to focus your efforts on those who are current and still interested. It also reduces costs and saves time.
If a prospect has suddenly upped their interaction with your brand, then consider calling them; a phone call from you might encourage them to buy from your brand.
Plan now, get Your Reward Later
By planning your marketing efforts for the busy season now, you could acquire many new customers at a very important period for your accounting business.
Marketing and sales take time in today’s modern world. Only by being proactive, looking at your sales path and being prepared can you maximize your business’ potential and with enough planning and dedication, you could be bringing in customers before the busy period starts.