How to determine if your Accounting Firm should Outsource Marketing?
Marketing seems simple on the surface. Send an email here, post a picture there. But this effortless-looking outreach is typically the result of careful planning and execution by seasoned marketing pros. Without a plan, internal marketing efforts can quickly turn into a drain on your team and budget.
When making the decision about whether to handle your own marketing in-house at your accounting firm, or outsource it, you’ll need to consider how much bandwidth your team has for additional work. If you’re a team with some extra time, taking on small marketing projects could be a viable way to get started. But if you’re looking to balance rapid growth with client retention and your team is already stretched thin, some third-party help could help you get on the right track.
Define your marketing goals
A good marketing campaign starts with introspection. Gather the partners for a series of meetings or spend a day focused on recapping business goals. Together, you’ll need to determine what you’d like marketing to do for you.
Marketing efforts can help you:
- Gain new business
- Secure additional business with existing clients
- Attract new and skilled employees
- Stand out as a brand in a competitive market
Be specific. What goals will best move the needle for your firm? Define them and if possible, quantify them. New business is a great goal, for example, but setting quarterly and annual revenue goals will help you define success down the road.
Check your resources
Now take a look at the resources you have on hand. If you’re keen to try using your existing team for marketing, it’s important to know their strengths and limitations. Analyze your needs and compare them with your team’s expertise, billable rates, available time, and current roles before delegating marketing tasks.
Take a look at the example below:
|Julie Smith||Tax Partner||2 hrs/mo||$300||Great writer / expert in real estate tax|
|Joy Williams||Office Admin||20 hrs/mo||N/A||Can manage projects, but not skilled in marketing.|
|Ron Vallens||New Tax Associate||5 hrs/mo||$100||Great with email newsletters creation.|
Now, imagine you are the firm in this example. You have a few great options here, but you’ll want to make sure that any delegation fits the employee’s skills and your customer’s needs. For example, if you give Joy numerous tasks to fill her schedule, you’ll not only take away time she could be spending working with new clients, but your marketing efforts could suffer because she’ll have a steep learning curve before she can drive results.
Julie sounds like a great fit for writing blogs or articles at first, but check her billable rate. Content marketing requires volumes of writing that will end up being expensive for Julie to produce. So, a good compromise would be to have her outline content each month. Her subject matter expertise in real estate tax will mean that she can come up with some great angles for blog posts.
Ron has some availability and is great at newsletters. However, since he isn’t a strong writer, he’ll need to only build and distribute the newsletters, not write them.
Plan your marketing outreach
With your internal team in place, it’s time to define your firm’s marketing strategy. Think about your audience and where you could best engage with them, then collaborate with your internal team to come up with a schedule that feels manageable.
For example, if your accounting firm works primarily with new small business owners, social media could be a great place to engage them, with links to your blog posts. However, if your main clients are established businesses who are unlikely to be hugely active on social media, a simple email newsletter might be the best way to get in touch.
From this—and your internal marketing team’s skills—you can determine your outreach plan. Break down the tasks into actionable chunks, then decide how much of this can be done internally and what roles are best for an outsourced team.
Here’s an example of a task list:
|What||Frequency||Time Required||Do I have
|Email Newsletter Design||2X/mo||4 hrs||No||Yes|
|Blog Posting||4X/mo||10 hrs||Yes||No|
|Website Updates||1X/mo||3 hrs||Yes||No|
|Search Engine Optimization||N/A||20 hrs||No||Yes|
The above is a basic outline to help you understand what you can realistically accomplish in a month and what you should outsource. Another helpful column would be one to detail the third-party tools or services you’ll utilize to manage this task internally. Sometimes, these tools can be costly, and you’ll find it would have been less expensive to just outsource the task.
How to outsource your marketing tasks
Now that your plan is in place, you should have a good idea of if you’re searching for only a specific few services, or if your team is at capacity and a full-service solution is more realistic. For your internal team, there are numerous tools out there that help with marketing automation, social media management, and making edits to your website.
The most difficult part is typically the content creation itself. With a niche like accounting, you’ll want to make sure that all content is not only accurate and representative of your firm’s work, but also engaging and easy to understand for your prospect base. If your team doesn’t have a writer that easily comes to mind, try sites like writeraccess.com or zerys.com to recruit experienced writers to turn around articles quickly.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that you or a member of your team makes time to thoroughly check this content for accuracy. If your team is stretched too thin, try out services like Marketing By Numbers, where you can have all your content (even video!) checked for accuracy by subject matter experts.
Marketing isn’t easy, but well-executed campaigns can rocket your firm to new levels of success. If you’re ready to grow your business, take some time to plan your goals, check your resources, and approach campaigns with a well-crafted strategy. You’ll be amazed at what you and your team can achieve with a little forethought and efficient outsourcing of the right tasks.
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