In college, most tax and accounting professionals aren't taught the importance of market positioning. Thus, finance students emerge from school with degrees, but little knowledge of how to become successful if they choose to start their own tax and accounting practice.
When most CPAs, EAs, and tax professionals start out on their own, they are so hungry for clients that they will work with almost anyone.
The biggest flaw with the CPA profession.
You will bring on clients from diverse backgrounds and service needs by starting as a generalist.
However, if you choose this business model, you will have difficulty becoming an expert in any given niche or service type. Hence, more time learning about the client needs, KPIs, technical research, etc.
This can be a tough way to run a successful accounting or tax planning business.
From a marketing standpoint, it will be even tougher to run a CPA business without a great reputation within a specific niche. You will most likely have to rely on referrals.
Your “jack of all trades” client base will grow as more referrals come in from existing clients in various industries. This makes it very difficult to stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other tax and accounting generalists nationwide.
Things have gotten even tougher for general accountants since the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an increase in the number of professionals offering virtual services to both business and individual clients around the United States.
Ultimately, working as a tax and accounting pro who offers “umbrella” services will serve to hurt you and your bottom line. Reliance on the ebbs and flows of word of mouth is not a sustainable business model in an increasingly digital world.
Perhaps worst of all for modern business, it is difficult for CPA firms to rank well on Google without a specialty.
A better way to market your CPA business.
The best way to market your CPA firm – and ultimately retain more higher-paying clients – is to position your accounting practice in a specific niche or service or, ideally, both.
Here is an example.
A CPA may target eCommerce (niche) startups (service). Of course, this tax expert will continue with the client after they are established and mature, but by focusing on clients who fall into the startup model initially, the CPA will be able to find leads that truly fit their skill set.
Furthermore, by focusing on talking points with a targeted message, the accounting firm will stand out.
To determine what your ideal accounting niche is, consider what types of clients you really want to attract – depending on the trajectory you want your firm to take, there are many different routes you can take.
Some CPAs focus on small business owners, for instance, while others enjoy working with real estate investors, medical professionals, or even farmers.
The payoff for CPA pros who practice niche marketing.
Accounting professionals who practice niche marketing experience a positive payoff. If you take this approach to marketing your CPA firm, you can still expect word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients, but they will most likely be within your area of expertise.
In our prior example, the CPA would likely be referred other e-commerce startups that heard about the company on a Facebook group or other online community.
Additionally, if you market yourself within an accounting niche, you will be sought out online. You will start building a pipeline of inbound leads and you will have the power to choose who you want to work with.
Your reviews will be from multiple clients in the same area of focus, which is excellent for overall SEO strategy as you build your online reputation. Your testimonials will do the selling better than any copy or marketing campaign. And, most importantly, your prospects will see themselves in the reviews. This is where your marketing starts the selling process for you.
You will be able to demand higher fees. Distance will no longer be a sales impediment.
Furthermore, your work-life balance will improve since you will know the questions to ask your clients before they even open their mouths. You will be able to start charging for your expertise, not for the hours you put in researching every new client scenario.
Any general CPA will have a tough time standing out online. Their copy gets watered down as they try to market to every demographic.
Terms like “industries served”, or a long list of generic services can be seen on almost every generic accounting firm’s website – by offering specialized services, you will instantly be more appealing to those within your target audience.
Where general CPAs are shopped more as a commodity than a luxury, specialty CPAs can expect to command higher prices for the services they offer, since their clients will fully trust them with all of the tax and accounting needs.
Identifying key customers when you launch your CPA practice will help you build a revenue stream that will last long-term. You will most likely be able to package your accounting services in lucrative monthly or quarterly subscriptions.
You may even have a waiting list as you decide how fast and how big you want to grow.
You can create a website that talks specifically to their prospects. Everything from the headline on your top banner and the images you use to the copy on your site will address the pain points and become personable to your target audience.
Google will reward you with page 1 search results. Google likes providing the best matches for its searchers.
So when a dentist is looking for a CPA specializing in Dental practices, the odds that you as the specialist will outrank all of the generalists are pretty high.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Niche Marketing For EAs and CPAs
Step 1 > Start by identifying your target audience, specialty, or hybrid model.
Ensure the target audience is large enough and has the budget to achieve your financial goals. You can use tools like Google's keyword planner to see what volume you might see in your search. According to branding expert Chris Ducker, "passion will kill competition always ."So make sure you are super passionate about the position you are about to take because it is hard to turn back, no matter what.
Step 2 > Plan to join social media groups on Facebook and Linked in that support your target audience.
You will want to participate in the conversations without coming off as merely a salesperson. If you establish yourself as the expert in that field of accounting, new clients within your target demographic will find you.
Step 3 > You want to make sure you can articulate the pain points and problems your target audience experiences in their day-to-day lives.
You will use this intelligence to develop your marketing collateral and formulate pricing packages.
Step 4 > The great part about the internet is you can quickly test and iterate your marketing copy, pricing, and service packages.
Mix things up and see what variable converts the best. You can try various price points, copy, etc. You can do this very quickly by creating a simple landing page and pushing some Paid traffic its way. You will be able to see what kind of volume you can attract, the price to acquire a new prospect, and the overall conversion rates.
Positioned Tax and Accounting Marketing Examples
The following examples of high-quality position tax and accounting marketing will help you as you develop your firm’s marketing strategy.
Powers Tax Resolution takes the stress out of managing your IRS tax problems.
Construction accounting focused landing page - Lamont Accounting will help you build the financial success you deserve brick by brick.
Home-based business focus. Hawkins Accounting and Tax Service understands home-based businesses.
Fair Winds Tax and Financial, LLC breaks down the complexities inherent in the U.S. tax system for taxpayers living abroad.
TaxxGuy uses a comprehensive CP2000 guide to attract more prospects to convert to lucrative IRS tax problem clients.
Find Your Niche and Thrive
Specializing your services in a narrow market can help you better utilize resources, produce them faster with the benefits of loyal clients who will champion your brand to mass appeal. Selling primarily to niche markets is a long-term strategy - it all depends on finding an audience worth catering too!
If you want to learn more about positioning, watch our 1 hour position webinar below or schedule a 15-minute discovery call with one of our marketing coaches.