Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Blogger: Next Generation in Accounting Marketing

By Brian Swanson
Flashpoint Marketing

Many CPA and accounting firms have taken the leap into website marketing through both search engine optimization and social media marketing. This is evidenced by the number of courses available within the industry on how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other search engine optimization strategies to promote an accounting practice and generate new business opportunities. Just as these strategies have come into the mainstream a new marketing technique called mobile marketing is emerging.

Mobile marketing is the process of marketing to executives, business owners and other prospects through their mobile device. The most common use of mobile marketing is to have an ad, newsletter or other printed material contain a Quick Read (QR) code. The code is scanned by a QR reader on a mobile phone, the application is free for most smartphone, and it opens a mobile website where additional information is available. The approach has been effective at connecting prospects and companies through the mobile platform. A large portion of the advertising produced today includes QR codes and a mobile marketing component, because of the number of people accessing the web from their mobile devices.

Mobile Marketing & Accounting Firms

There are several CPA firms currently using QR codes and mobile marketing campaigns as part of their broader marketing strategy.

Eric Majchrzak, Director of Marketing for Buffalo based Freed Maxick & Battaglia, was one of the first to experiment with the mobile platform. “We first launched a mobile site that provides targeted industry and eligibility information about the New York State Excelsior Jobs Program, said Majchrzak. “The site was promoted through the use of QR codes used in traditional print and direct marketing campaigns, seminars and other media.”

“The QR Codes, when scanned with Smartphones, allow users to receive instant expanded information about program and the services we provide to help companies claim these credits.” He said. “Users will have options to connect with the Firm by calling direct, submitting questions via their mobile device, or connecting via social media channels.”

Katie Tolin, Director of Marketing for Ohio based, Rea & Associates is in the process of developing their first mobile marketing program. “We’re developing a mobile marketing program with unique information about a pressing issue in our area that will impact hundreds of thousands of businesses. Our plan is to send a mail piece to targeted business that contains the QR code. The idea is to move people to act quickly and by putting more information a click away, hopefully they grab their phones to get answers to all the questions we know they will have.”

Benefits of Mobile Marketing

There are several benefits to mobile marketing that many firms are just now beginning to realize. In addition to benefits alluded to earlier, there are also several other reasons that accounting firms may want to integrate mobile marketing into their overall marketing plan, including:
  • Creates a platform where the firm can create costs effective promotions in reaction to breaking news, events, or legislative changes
  • The opportunity to reach a wider audience and expand market share
  • Enhance relationships through the distribution of timely and trusted content
  • Penetration of the smart phone marketing and opportunity to build/reinforce brand
  • Opportunity to connect with prospects that are “on the go”
  • The ability to integrate new and innovative forms of advertising with existing marketing programs
The Results

“Aside from the new leads and business development opportunities, which we expected, our firm has been able to be uniquely positioned as an innovator”, said Majchrzak. “This has not only gained the attention of the local press, but our industry trades as well. It helps build a reputation that we are not only experts in the field of accounting services, but we are also a progressive Firm that understands the world around us. ”

“The program hasn’t launched yet. However, I am interested in learning how our geographic footprint will impact the results,” said Tolin. “With diverse markets that cover everything from metropolitan areas to rural areas to Amish communities, it will be interesting to see where the mobile web traffic comes from. I want to test them all in some capacity to see if any stereotypes will be broken.”

Future of Mobile Marketing

Ultimately mobile marketing is only going to grow in its use and appeal to the broader market.

“The use of mobile devises has skyrocketed, and it’s predicted that it will grow by 50 percent this year. That’s a statistic you can’t deny has possibility,” Tolin said. “You need to take you marketing to where your potential buyers are, and I’m pretty sure you’ll find a mobile device nearby.”

Majchrzak agrees.

“Mobile marketing is certainly not a passing fad. It, to me, is the next big thing. I think Firms will find that they can expand client service and communications using mobile strategies, tools, and applications.”

Brian Swanson is a Principal with Flashpoint Marketing, a marketing and lead generation company focused on serving the accounting industry. He has over 14 years' experience in traditional marketing, business development and lead generation for various CPA firms across the United States. Brian is also search engine marketing certified and focuses on providing mobile marketing programs and accounting firm SEO services.

1 comment:

  1. Mobile marketing has been considered as one of the new tools in generating accounting leads. However, this does not mean that veterans in accounting marketing, like telemarketing, are not anymore effective.

    Thanks for this post.


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