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How We Helped a UK PCR Test Kits Provider with Its Marketing

Through one of the accountancy firms that operates under our umbrella, we had the opportunity to oversee the accounts of a UK-based company that provides PCR and Antibody tests to London residents.

We took a particular interest in this company because we felt that what it was doing was important for the UK at the time. At the time — around November 2020, if my memory serves me correctly — the UK had just been shocked into a second lockdown by Number 10.

One of the articles on this company’s blog caught our attention. Little did we know, at the time, how prescient it would prove. But it sparked something in us, and we couldn’t help but agree that mass testing was the only real way out of repeated UK lockdowns.

Nearly five months later, on 22 February 2021, the Prime Minister announced just that.

Fit to fly

Marketing Program

Even though mass testing is now both the de facto and de jure method being used across the UK to get kids back to school and ease lockdown measures, it wasn’t the case in November.

Back then, tests were lacking, the NHS was overwhelmed, and people had to stand in queues for hours at a time to get tested.

We saw that this company offered competitive pricing for its testing kits and also saw that they were giving a percentage of their earnings to a children’s charity. So, we told the accounting company that if the testing company wanted help with its marketing, we would be happy to do it pro bono.

Banner back to school

Keep It Simple

The best marketing strategies are simple. Ginormous conglomerates like Coca-Cola can afford to take a shotgun approach to marketing and just splatter their name anywhere and everywhere.

That isn’t a viable approach for smaller businesses.

We got the okay from our accounting client to come up with a simple marketing strategy for this company. Using our in-house website designers, we created an easy-to-understand website layout that contained only the essential information needed.

Whereas every other company in this industry seemed to jumping onto the Scare Tactics Bandwagon, we felt that the situation merited a lighter, friendlier approach.

Our design team (which is the same team that designs magnificent websites for our accountancy firm clients) came up with the ingenious concept to use friendly-looking illustrations to get the message across.

The company loved it.

Banner back to work

Understanding target markets

One crucial aspect of successful marketing is to understand your target market.

Our business model is built around handling many different accountancy practices that each have completely different branding. One company will often have multiple different target markets. Different social media strategies are required for each of those target markets. (We used to say that TikTok was a good place to reach a younger crowd, but this is changing now as TikTok grows more popular.)

In the case of this testing company, we saw that they had three major target markets:

  • Back to school
  • Business travellers (moving forward, this will probably also include holiday travellers soon)
  • CEOs

All of the above target markets needed testing done. So, we created a dedicated page on the website for those three target markets, doing our best to answer any questions the prospective buyer might have on each of those landing pages.

Content marketing and content creation

Content marketing and content creation

Getting an informative and authoritative blog going is crucial to any business but especially for a new business.

This company was teamed up with a pharmacy and clinic in London, but it did not want to mix identities from a branding perspective.

It needed its own blog.

We suggested they write content related to the products they sell, making reference to current happenings so that the blog would be informative and useful to anyone hunting for information on the subject.

There was certainly enough alarming information coming out of the news media at the time, and there was no need to add to that.


It’s rare to find a successful business person who hasn’t experienced a bit of luck now and then. That certainly was the case as a result of the PMs recent announcement that testing was going to go in across the UK with a bang.

But, as Thomas Jefferson once famously said: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

If one’s marketing and business strategy is running right, then “lucky things happen”.

As a result of having its marketing, branding and service lines moving smoothly long before the PM’s announcement, this company is now in a prime position to assist people with the enormous amounts of home testing that will be required across the UK so that we can all (finally!) get back to normal.

How to Improve Your Accountancy Practice’s Brand

Many accountants feel adrift on the subject of marketing in today’s world. Between “Tickety Tocking”, “Vulnerability Posts” on LinkedIn, and all the hype around Inbound Marketing, even veteran marketers have trouble staying on top of what works and what doesn’t these days — not to mention your average accountant.

Everywhere you look, it seems that people are talking about Social Media’s vital role in brand awareness. But a quick trip to Twitter leaves even the most optimistic of us feeling downtrodden and shocked at the state of the world.

And that’s where we’re supposed to build a brand?

Well, yes. To understand why, we need to appreciate what we’re talking about when we say “brand”.

Brands are not simply “brands” anymore.

Eighty years ago, the concept of a brand came down to having a good logo, readable ad copy and a probably decent newspaper-advertising budget.

In this super-connected world where everyone feels entitled to an opinion and often blasts that opinion far and wide regardless of their credentials (or lack thereof), brand has become far more complex.

Brand has always meant identity — how you portray your company to the world.

But never has the perception of that identity rested in so many hands which are so far out of your control. One wrong word and the seemingly ubiquitous cancel culture might lower its mighty sword on you, even when they’re wrong.

That’s perception. Brands are no longer defined by a great logo or a wonderful photo op at the local human rights rally — brands are determined by the things you do every day and how you take care of your customers.

Do you need a brand if you are small?

When people think of brands, they tend to think of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, Amazon, and so on. They think of the giants and believe the world these giants tread on is different from our own world.

When Amazon creates an ad that brings people to tears, it is watched by millions. If your small accountancy practice created an ad of the same impact (costs aside), would it be as effective?

It’s a question of the global stage and the local stage. Macrocosm and microcosm. Every person is a king (or queen) in their own corner.

When determining if you need a brand as powerful as the giants’, take the size-factor out of it. Think, instead, of people who walk past your practice’s door every day. Think of the 1,000 or 2,000 followers you have on LinkedIn. Think of the 100 visits your website gets every week. Even though that isn’t millions of people, those people will indeed respond to your brand when they see it.

Given two accountancy practices that offer pretty much the same thing, which one will someone choose? Would they choose the practice whose brand and ethos communicates (1) “Helping Bring Jobs to Your City through Good Accounting” or will they choose the brand that says, simply, (2) “Chartered Accountants”?

It’s all about perception.

Customer Service

There are two crucial phases in marketing:

  • Getting new customers
  • Keeping existing customers

As an accountancy practice, you need to be sharp on both points.

customer service

“Getting new customers” requires branding that works well on a first-impression basis.

“Keeping Existing Customers” has more to do with customer service. What you do will translate into how those customers perceive your brand more than the marketing material you send them.

The initial perception — logo, colour scheme, those vital photo ops — can only take you so far. These days, what people really want to know is what others are saying about you.

As Warren Buffett so aptly put it, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

To build a strong brand as an accountancy practice you must serve your clients with the utmost professionalism and jump on any dissatisfactions immediately. If you make yourself available for clients to reach you, and help them willingly with their problems, they are far less likely to run off to Twitter and post their discontent before reaching out to you first.

You also need to proactively get clients to positively review your business or talk about it positively online. A good way to do this is with follow-up emails to check if the client is satisfied. Have a link in the email that sends them to an online review platform if they were pleased with your service. Or give them a “one-click” option to tweet something positive about your service.

As you can see, social media plays a crucial role. The best way to win at social media and avoid catastrophes is to take a proactive role in it.

Prepare social media posts long in advance, always sticking to posts that match how you want potential customers to perceive you.

And always keep your existing clients happy and encourage them to engage with you online.

Target markets

You can’t appeal to everyone, and not everyone will perceive your brand with the same enthusiasm.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If you’re trying to reach out to small mom-and-pop businesses, a friendly, approachable brand might be necessary. Funny, quirky videos would be a great way to get that type of brand’s message across. So would light-hearted social media posts that don’t touch on anything heavy or controversial.

But if you serve primarily large businesses, this type of approach is unlikely to garner much interest.

It doesn’t really matter if you go for the staid, serious brand or the playful, quirky brand. It all depends on your target market. (Some companies are looking for staid and serious.)

But you do need to take a two-pronged approach: (1) The first impression to new clients and then (2) the nurturing of existing clients, encouraging them to review your services online or to post positive messages about your practice on social media.

Brand is about perception, and you need to constantly work on that perception to avoid the pitfalls of a super-connected world that is quick to judge and quicker to pass sentence.

6 Ways Accountants Can Leverage Social Media Effectively

A quick search for how accountants should use social media brings up post after post of how accountants should leverage LinkedIn to gain more business.

But what about the other social media platforms?

LinkedIn might be great for leads, but Twitter wins the battle hands-down for social engagement.

And social engagement means increased brand awareness.

1. Define your social media goals

study by Sprout Social showed that 47 per cent “of social marketers say developing a strategy that supports their organisation’s goals is their biggest challenge.”

The key here is to develop realistic and attainable goals that forward your business’s general aims on social media.

The most popular goal for social media marketers is, by far, to increase brand awareness.

2. Leverage your existing clients

One key goal of social media is to get people talking. Too many people approach this goal thinking they should stand on a soapbox and start blaring into a megaphone.

No one would listen.

When entering a room full of people, it’s easiest to move towards people whom you already know. And, through these people, you can be introduced to other people.

You have clients. If you have served your clients well, they won’t mind talking positively about you on social media if you are present there.

But let’s be realistic. Why would anyone go online and talk about their accountant? Sure, maybe you saved them £1,000 on the last tax return. So you might get one social-share for that.

But how do you get a hundred shares?

What you want to do on social media is to draw attention to your brand and your account. And the easiest people from whom you can draw attention are those who already know you.

So, leverage them.

Give your existing clients an incentive to follow and interact with you on social media. It’s better to have a small core of followers who know and interact with you than a massive army that never sees anything you post.

This small corp of people will reshare your content gladly if they are:

  1. Incentivised
  2. Pleased with your service
  3. And they enjoy what you are posting

Which brings us to point #3.

3. Find an angle that sticks in people’s minds

In the article See How Accountants Are Killing It on Social Media Diana Mackie Wertz writes about several accountants who took an entirely new angle and made it big on social media.

From accountant Seth David’s Facebook Group to other accountants that have leveraged YouTube and even Pinterest to get their brand out there, the main takeaway is that each of these accountants found a unique angle for their social media accounts and then went for broke on it.

Your angle could be:

  1. Humour
  2. A Q&A site that helps with some obscure tax issue
  3. Your magnetic personality
  4. Whatever you feel you could do well in, that would gain interest
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4. Avoid the same ol’, same ol’ content

B2B International, a Gyro Company, starts its article Marketing Strategy: What Makes You Special?with a simple question:

“What makes you different to everyone else?”

A quick glance at the ever-growing social media accounts on LinkedIn and other sites reveals that too many people jump on a social media site only to post the same bland old content as everyone else.

Not only must you find a unique angle to your content, but you must also find high-quality, unique contentin itself.

5. Be social, make it fun/useful

It’s unlikely that you’ll arrive into social media full-armed and commanding a legion of dedicated followers after your first week.

Social media is something that is best built slowly.

Act like the new guy at the party, because you are.

Don’t even post anything for a while. Watch, observe, see what people are talking about. See what works.

If you have something useful to add to a conversation, add it.

Social media is an online gathering. LinkedIn is a business gathering; other sites are more informal.

Either way, all of them are about conversation.

Join the conversation slowly, provide useful tips and information, following a unique angle, and then stop talking once you’ve had your say.

Let other people take the mic for a bit.

Eddy about in that manner for a bit until you garner some engagement and find some people that consider your unique content useful or entertaining.

Keep coming up with great content which has a novel angle, and you’ll eventually build enough of a following to start generating strong interest.

And interest is the first step to obtaining leads.

6. Should I engage with other accountants?

The AICPA’s answer to this is a resounding, “Yes!”

They say:

“Gimmicky slogans and cliché promises can now be replaced by developing relationships with others, demonstrating your insight and expertise, and dictating the vision behind your work with a warm, personal touch.”

Keep in mind that the goal of social media is to get people talking. When dealing with people of your profession, find an angle that is non-competitive and attractive to them, but which is also interesting to potential clients.

Indeed, this is the very definition of Content Marketing:

“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”

Final word

The key lessons to take away from this are:

  1. You won’t be a hit overnight, and that’s not the point, anyway.
  2. You should get people talking as one of your primary goals. (And you should get them talking positively.)
  3. Leverage your existing clients as an immediate resource to gain followers. Incentivise them, and make your posts useful to them. They’ll be your springboard.
  4. You must, must, must come up with excellent, original content.
  5. Know when to stop talking.
  6. Know when to give the floor to someone else.
  7. Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up.

Slow and steady is the motto. Build the foundations, learn the ropes, and soon you’ll pick up enough “gut feel” for the medium, to become successful at it.

Oh, and just one last thing: Don’t plug your social media account into some automated system that posts articles from around the web as a substitute for good content. Such postings rarely perform well.

3 Tools to Dramatically Improve Your Accountancy Practice’s Email Marketing

Accountants are terrible marketers. Yes, I know that might be a generalisation, but it also happens to be mostly true. In our experience, the accountancy firms we take on either have no email marketing strategy in place or they have a horrible one.

Email marketing can take on many forms — cold emails, emails to subscribers, emails to clients, etc.

Too many firms that we deal with think that email marketing is simply a matter of collecting up your clients’ email address and then blasting out a mail to them now and then telling them about something in which they might or might not be interested. Official guidance on whether this is legal is murky, covered under the heading of “soft opt-in”.

But, whether legal or not, the approach is clunky and cumbersome at best. We’ve seen some practices simply add all the email addresses of their clients into the BCC (or, worse, the CC) field and then simply send the mail out!

How many people opened the mail? How many clicked on links in the mail? How many people marked it off as spam? If someone unsubscribes, how do you handle it? Do you keep the name on a list? How will you guarantee that you never send a marketing email to that person again?

All these questions come under the heading of Marketing.

Sending an initial marketing mail to a client might generally be considered acceptable (if the client is in the UK). Still, it does become a violation of applicable laws if the users “opt out” of such emails.

And what if you’re running a cold email campaign alongside your campaign for existing subscribers? It starts to get a little confusing, and that’s why most accountancy practices just give up at this point.

You need a system that manages mails, subscribers, non-subscribers, opt-ins and opt-outs seamlessly and professionally so that all you have to do is prepare the email and send it off.

The mail also needs to look professional.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that make all of the above possible.

1. MailerLite, MailChimp, GetResponse

If you’re looking for a platform which does only emailing then MailerLiteMailChimp or GetResponse might be the answer for you.

When I say “only” emailing, I don’t mean that the tools are not sophisticated. They are. And they offer advanced reporting, which can give you an idea of how each of your campaigns is performing.

The only “problem” (at least with MailerLite and MailChimp) is that they tend to be something of sticklers when it comes to taking on new accounts with existing email subscribers. They want to make sure that their platform is not used to send out spam and wish to know, specifically, where a list of subscribers was obtained from, and whether or not those subscribers are opt-in subscribers.

If you’re planning on sending emails to your client base, this might be a problem when MailChimp/MailerLite start vetting your account. You could contact their support team and discuss the matter with them, but it’s not guaranteed that they will allow you to open the account.

If you plan on getting new subscribers, however, each of the above options is relatively straightforward to use. They offer all the “usual” features of email marketing:

  1. Easy design interface
  2. Advanced reporting of user engagement
  3. Unsubscribe feature
  4. Audience profiles so individual emails can get sent to specific groups

These are the best options if your email campaign is simple. For larger accountancy practices, however, you’re probably going to want something that can integrate with your CRM.

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2. Keap (previously InfusionSoft)

Although there are plenty of email marketing tools out there that only do emailing, an accountancy firm of any respectable sized is better off using email marketing software that integrates with its CRM.

Keap is one of our favourite options in this respect. The software is “robust” and “effectively streamlines your marketing by combining your CRM, sales and marketing automation software and online store into one platform.”

It has all the expected features of an emailing software:

  1. Design-tools for creating professional-looking emails easily
  2. Analytics to be able to tell how much engagement the email obtained
  3. Tools to improve “deliverability”

“Deliverability” is an immense subject which gives every email marketing company nightmares. It is a complicated topic which has to do with ensuring that your email lands in someone’s inbox and not in their junk folder. The issue is out of the scope of this article, but you must know this: If you’re running your own in-house “marketing” campaign with your local email program, your deliverability will almost certainly eventually suffer.

3. Salesforce’s Email Studio and Marketing Cloud

Salesforce’s Email Studio forms part of its trailblazing Marketing Cloud platform which leverages sophisticated AI to best market to your clients. This is a premium offering, and definitely something to consider if your accountancy firm is somewhat large.

It does far more than merely managing email campaigns, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with that feature.

Email Studio offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop design tool. You can build email campaigns that respond automatically to triggers and send a follow-up email to users depending on the actions they take.

The tool has a steep learning curve because it can do so much, and if your accountancy firm is a high-end firm, this might be the platform for you.

Don’t ignore the tools

The backend and complexity of email campaigns are far more complicated than you might imagine. I touched briefly on the subject of deliverability. But there is far more to know about this:

  1. Where is the mail originating from?
  2. Is it coming from a “trusted” source?
  3. Does the email contain text which might be considered spammy?
  4. Does the email read like some spam currently doing the rounds on the internet?

If you send mail which gets incorrectly triggered as spam, it might have a detrimental effect on your ability to send your clients valid business emails in future, because your business mails will start landing in their junk folder.

Companies specialising in email campaigns go to great pains to provide you with the tools necessary to ensure your emails don’t get marked as spam.

On the subject of email campaigns, investment is the answer. Invest in a solution that saves you time and brings in a high ROI because your marketing emails are actually arriving, being opened, and being engaged with by their recipients.