Zoe Whitman MICB shares her top 10 tips to market your bookkeeping practice

Stand out with a clear brand. A brand is so much more than a logo. Visually it's about colours, fonts and a logo, but it's also about your business's personality and tone of voice and it's important that this is consistent in all of your marketing from your website and marketing materials through to everything you do on social media and how you speak to your clients in person.

Don't be afraid to show that it's you behind the business. I felt that I was being very bold by putting a big picture of myself at the top of my website, but it gives the business a personal feeling. Clients know who they're dealing with, they know that you're a real person and I've often felt that clients have felt like they've known me before we've had that first important sales conversation.

Know your ideal clients and target them. When you start out, it can be tempting to take on any work, but that can make it confusing for you in terms of the services you provide and knowing where and how to promote your business. If you're very clear about what kind of clients you want to work with and what services you want to provide, you can work on marketing specifically targeted to those potential clients. 

Use social media. It can be tempting to print a load of flyers when you start out and post them through people’s doors, but the reality is that most of them will go in the bin. You can use social media to specifically target your ideal audience through hashtags and the kind of content you share, for no cost. 

Choose one platform and stick with it. If you're not on social media for the business yet, it can be overwhelming as you decide where to start. Choose one platform, ideally a platform you already like using, and get really good at that before you try something else. Social media algorithms like consistency so it's better to post consistently on one platform than it is to post sporadically to many.

Be original. There's more to bookkeeping than calculators and graphs. Whether it's for social media, your website or print marketing materials, imagery is what's going to make you stand out, so make it original. Use a picture of you: working with your client, an interesting place you're working or something interesting you've seen. It's so much more of a conversation point. 

Be active in local Facebook groups. If you're already on Facebook, join some local groups. People often post tax return related questions and even ask for recommendations of good bookkeepers. If you invest some time in building a reputation by answering questions and just being a good, reliable resource, people will soon see you as somebody they can trust and somebody they want to work with. 

Build a network. If you're new to networking, choose one networking group to go along to regularly. If you add value in that group, you'll soon become known as the go-to numbers person which will result in work and referrals. 

Set up a website. Even if you're using Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to spread the word about your services, to look professional, you need a website with some details about you, your qualifications and the services you provide to your clients. You can set up a simple website with a beautiful free template even if you have little or no website knowledge.  

Make sure people know how to contact you. And once you get people to your website, you need to tell them what to do next, have a simple call to action, a "contact me" button, email form or your phone number so potential clients know how to get in touch.  

You can read Zoe’s interview from last month here, where we caught up with her after she became the Small Practice of the Year winner at the 2018 Luca Awards. Zoe also joined Tom Herbert, Richard Hattersley and Francois Badenhorst on the AccountingWEB podcast, No Accounting for Taste, to pick over accountants' self-assessment nightmares. You can listen to the podcast here