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Accountant using marketing tools on laptop

15 marketing tools to help accountants retain clients

Remember the old saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” It’s sometimes better to hold on to what we have instead of risking its loss to get something else.

This holds true for our clients as well. It’s tempting to be so focused on lead generation that we neglect to realise the enormous value in caring for our current clients. Many times, keeping a client costs less than getting a client, and usually provides a higher return on investment through upselling, referrals, and increasing lifetime value.

Chances are you’ve heard about client retention before, so I won’t dive too deep into why keeping a client is better than acquiring one. The goal of this article is to provide accountants and bookkeepers with some tools that can be used to start building and nurturing great relationships with clients.

Use video messaging to nurture prospects, leads, and clients

Check-ins are a great opportunity to build trust and deliver value in a client relationship. But it can be challenging to sound personal in a plain-text email, which is why video messaging tools are becoming popular. These apps let you record videos and send them to clients, either directly or based on automation rules. Here are some popular options you can start using in your firm:

  • Bonjoro: Record and send video messages directly to clients, or use Rollups to send video templates to a list of contacts. Bonjoro’s free plan lets you create up to 50 videos with Bonjoro branding, but you can brand your videos by upgrading to their starter plan.
  • Dubb: This video messaging platform integrates with LinkedIn features, including comments, messaging, connection requests, Sales Navigator, and Recruiter. As far as pricing plans, Dubb offers a Free, Pro, and Pro Plus option.
  • BombBomb: This company has invested heavily in their Use Case Library, showing examples of their product being used for everything from staff intros to appointment no-show follow up. BombBomb pricing starts at R700 per month.

Engage leads and clients with questionnaires and surveys

Are you listening to your clients? According to Gartner, Voice of the Customer tools can help companies get feedback directly from customers that helps them identify service delivery issues, discover new revenue opportunities, and improve brand messaging. From running a poll to determining your best clients, forms are a vital tool for gathering information. Here are a few form builder options to consider:

  • Typeform: Who says forms have to be boring? Typeform lets you build beautiful, responsive forms for quizzes, polls, surveys, and more. Typeform pricing plans include Basic, Plus, or Business.
  • Jotform: This tool is focused on letting you incorporate its forms into automation workflows by integrating with a variety of tools, including Zapier. Jotform offers a range of plans, including Starter (free), Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Enterprise (custom pricing).
  • SurveyMonkey: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this tried-and-true form builder that lets you build forms, quizzes, and surveys for free. You can also choose one of their paid plans.
Take the stress out of managing your firm

Explain complicated topics clearly with video

They say an image is worth a thousand words—and that’s certainly true in client communication. Walking through a complicated tax situation within an email would require an essay-sized explanation that your client would likely delete. One solution lies in using Loom to review tax returns with clients. Loom is a video tool that allows users to create simple, explanatory videos and share with others. There are also opportunities to engage with and build on the content so it’s not so one-sided. If you want to send shorter emails, but still get the message across clearly, try these:

  • Loom: Use Loom videos to collaborate on tough projects and walk clients through financial reports or tax returns. Loom’s pricing plans are Free, Business, and Enterprise (custom pricing).
  • Jumpshare: Share files, screenshots, and screen recordings with a link that clients can view anywhere. Jumpstart’s pricing options include Basic (free), Plus, Business, and Enterprise (custom pricing).
  • VidYard: Engage clients by sharing your videos in email as GIFs in an internal or public video hub, or on social media. Vidyard’s pricing plans include Free, Pro, Teams, and Business.

Automate the delivery of notes and gifts to leads and clients

As so many marketing activities are digitised, sending personalised notes and gifts can be a great way to become memorable in the minds of leads or stay top of mind for clients. Fortunately, there are many tools available to automate most, if not all, of these activities so you can establish goodwill without sacrificing your time.

  • Handwrytten: Customize the font and stationary for your note, include a gift card, and bulk-import hundreds of contacts so you don’t miss anyone. Pricing options are based on the number of cards you send per month.
  • Snappy: Reward clients with a gift on each anniversary with your firm, or celebrate a milestone you achieved together. Snappy’s website makes giving easy by featuring gift collections for popular occasions. Pricing is available after booking a demo.
  • Sugarwish: There are many corporate gift services, but Sugarwish’s approach is worth mentioning here. You can either select a particular type of gift—cookies, tea, popcorn, candy, coffee, assorted snacks, or dog treats—or let recipients choose their treats. Sugarwish then delivers the gifts to your clients in a custom box, with a gift card or note from you. Pricing ranges depending on the size of your box.

Use scheduling tools to remain accessible, but keep your sanity

Part of adopting an advisory-first focus in your firm is emphasizing communication and responsiveness with your clients. Scheduling tools, such as Calendly, allow you and your team to remain accessible to clients without compromising your work schedule or being on calls 24/7. Using Calendly, sync your Google or Outlook calendar, and specify which times and days you’re available.

When clients want to meet with you, they click your Calendly link and choose a time from your available time slots. Despite some people seeing Calendly as insulting, scheduling tools allow clients to schedule appointments without requiring you to engage in the notorious “Does this day work?” dance. Calendly offers a range of pricing options, including Basic (free), Essentials, Professional, Teams, and Enterprise (custom pricing).

Pro tip: Include your Calendly link in your email signature so clients and prospects will be able to find it quickly and easily.

Use an email newsletter to keep clients informed and aware of you

Email is one of the most personal channels of communication. You can use regular email newsletters to maintain trust with clients and deliver valuable information. Using Intuit® Mailchimp, for example, you can design and automate email campaigns visually, and build a website so you can educate clients with valuable content. Because Intuit now owns Mailchimp, it integrates with QuickBooks® Online.

If you’re looking to start a personal brand newsletter, you can use TinyLetter, another Mailchimp property. This free, minimalist email platform is a great way to build a more personal connection with clients or leads.

Every moment is critical when building client relationships

From the first email or call, to ongoing check-ins, each step in a client’s journey with you is an opportunity for you to build value and establish trust. Using any of these tools, you can begin building or improving client relationships by communicating with them in a way that’s authentic and motivated by a desire for mutual success.

Grow your accounting practice with QuickBooks Online Accountant, a cloud-based accounting solution for accountants to manage clients and their practice. Sign up to use QuickBooks Online Accountant for your accounting practice for free.

This article originally appeared on the Firm of the Future site by Adolfo Marquez.