I've just set up a small business (chartered accountant) and am looking at the different options available to market the business, given limited funds with which to do it.
I've spoken to a marketing/printing agency who can design and print some marketing materials for me.
I also have a website and am wondering whether the money would be better spent getting help optimising the website or paying for google adwords.
I will also do all the free stuff like yell.com, thomson local and social media stuff like fb, linked in and maybe twitter.
Does anyone have any experience of this and where the money would be better spent? I cant afford to to printed materials and promote my website.
I'd appreciate your thoughts. I know nothing about this field!
Congrats on starting up.
I guess I would say, are you able to split your money so you can do a bit of each? Not very strategic of me (!) but until you know what works for you....
There are cheaper ways to source people to do things like www.peopleperhour.com and vistaprint etc will enable you to produce some leaflets. Have you got a couple of quotes etc. I just know that sometimes prices can vary greatly. Am thinking unrelatedly of our recent small building project; £2k, £2.5K and £6k!
I haven't had much experience of ad words but I think others on here have.
What I would say is that you need make the most of your connections and create new connections. Most networking events (and that isn't to say that they are the only way to meet new people) carry a cost, so ideally I'd allow a little budget for that.
Not sure that helps much!
Ps. TalkinPeace2 is an ad words pro I believe. Search her user name and you'll see a discussion where she explains her story. I think she does it herself, which although painful at first, means you can control it.
I do not use adwords for my accounting work though - that is STRICTLY word of mouth.
A good place to freely promote your business is
and the Moneysaving Expert forums
and the like - if you include a way of finding your website in your ID it helps
But your best bet rather than advertising randomly will be to talk to your existing clients and get their friends - that is what I have done.
I've never advertised once in the last 12 years and I turn away more work than I take on.
I'd say figure out who your customers are. Are they in a specific geographic area? A certain industry sector? Accounts for start ups? etc. Once you've identified who it is you're trying to reach, you can target your marketing - whatever form it takes - more effectively
Have you looked on the ICAEW website? There is a lot of information there. Also if you are using the term Chartered Accountant there are rules as to what you are allowed to say and sizes etc of the ICAEW logo if you are using it on business cards/adverts
Make sure your business is registered on the ICAEW search page and join LinkedIn. All my work has come via word of mouth, so make sure all your old colleagues and friends know you are now self employed and available.
If you are just setting out on this, i would highly recommend the ICAEW course on 'setting up your own accountancy practice'. It is excellent for providing loads of information with regards using your professional qualification (much of which i was unaware of ) and a good networking opportunity. Look at your local branch for one closest.
Oh, and good luck
Telesales might be a good route to getting customers; I used to work for a telesales and marketing firm, and one of our customers was an accountant. We phoned all types of small businesses and were pretty successful at getting new business for him.
If you don't want to or don't have time to make calls yourself, there will probably be some small marketing firms local to you that would be able to do it for you.
Have you considered networking as a way of finding new prospects? I met a lot of accountants at networking meetings in a previous job, and it's probably a good forum for just chatting and get your name out there. I would think it's about building relationships - a long term strategy rather than securing immediate business (although you could get lucky). In terms of 'marketing collateral', all you would need here are business cards. Lots of suppliers of these - from printing.com and vista print. I got my cards from printing.com and they were fabulous. A nice quality business card (printed on 350gsm card) would give a good impression. Not had experience of vista print, but have heard their name a lot.
With regards to online advertising, I would say that all you need is a basic website that is built with search engines in mind. Consider all your free options first - getting on Google Local, etc, before paying for SEO. Personally, I wouldn't do Adwords for your type of business.
Oh yes, agree with joshandjamie. You need to be clear on who you are targeting (geography, size of business, types of business, etc.). This will help you to explain what you do in a more effective way (on your website, etc.) and you can then tailor your marketing tactics to suit.
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