1. Update your website
Many bookkeepers have outdated websites, which can really turn off prospective clients. This may seem obvious, but your website should look fresh and be easy to navigate. Since so many people surf the web on their phones and tablets now, it’s also important that your site be optimized for mobile devices. Having your contact information at the top of the home page so people can quickly get in touch with you is also usually a good idea.
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2. Expand your network
Professional networking is gradually starting to shift from in-person to online. If you do not already have a LinkedIn page, take the time to set up a profile. It should not take more than a few minutes. The connections you make online can be just as valuable as those you make in-person. You never know who could introduce you to a future client.
3. Build partnerships across industries
Getting to know professionals outside of the bookkeeping industry is another great way to expand your reach. Think about building strategic partnerships with accountants, lawyers, doctors, investment advisors, and information technology professionals. All of these types of professionals might require the bookkeeping services that you provide.
4. Ask your clients for referrals
Even though it can be a tremendously effective way to find new clients, many bookkeepers are hesitant to ask their existing clients for referrals. If you feel nervous about making the ask, try putting together a script beforehand to work off of. As you do it more often, eventually asking for referrals will become second nature.
5. Hire a professional photographer
In an industry like bookkeeping, your image carries a lot of weight. You want to project to prospective clients that you are knowledgeable and professional. As you are updating your website and setting up your LinkedIn, you may realize that you do not have any recent photos. Hiring a professional photographer to take some headshots doesn’t have to break the bank and can have a big impact on clients considering your services.
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6. Improve your local search rankings with search engine optimization
Unlike with paid advertisements, search engine optimization (SEO) is all about organically appearing higher in online search results. Even though no one knows the exact algorithms search engines use to rank results, there are a number of steps you can take that should help bump you up the page. If you have updated your website, you are already a step ahead. A great landing page that includes your name, address, and phone number is essential. If you want to dig further into SEO, there are tons of great how-to guides available online as well as a plethora of for-hire SEO consultants.
7. Do good in your community
Think about ways you can get involved in your community that will allow you to successfully market your bookkeeping business. This could be pro bono work for a nonprofit organization or other community group. If you don’t feel you have the time to offer your professional services, considering sponsoring a local event or even bidding in a charity auction.
8. Try pay-per-click-advertising
The internet has drastically changed the way businesses advertise their services. Instead of taking out an ad in the local paper, more businesses are starting to turn to online ads. Pay-per-click-advertising, or PPC, is one increasingly popular marketing option. Ads for your bookkeeping business appear at the top of a search results page and you pay each time someone clicks on one of the ads. If you are worried about high costs, most PPC campaigns allow you to set a cap to prevent running over your allotted advertising budget.
9. Don’t give up on business cards
Many marketing websites will tell you that business cards are dead. “Business cards are a relic of the past,” these websites practically scream at business owners. While business cards don’t hold the same power they once did, having some cards available to hand out is still a good idea. For example, giving someone your card can help them connect with you on LinkedIn. Most business cards are fairly inexpensive and are something you should still consider ordering.
10. Claim your free online listings
If your bookkeeping business is not listed on any online directories, it may be difficult for interested clients to find you. Popular search sites like Google and Bing allow you to set up a business listing with your most up-to-date contact information. Make sure you use the correct name, address, and phone number for your bookkeeping business.
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11. Use a bookkeeping lead generation service
At the end of the day, you may find that despite all your proactive marketing, you are still in need of more clients. If that’s the case, working with a lead generation service may be a good idea. Lead companies can track down qualified bookkeeping leads for you and usually charge on a “per lead” basis. Once the lead company send you the prospect’s contact information, it’s up to you to reach out to the lead.