We recently spoke with Johann Goree from OnPoint Accounting Ltd, who told us about how he uses digital marketing and social media to set his firm apart from its competition.
Johann directs OnPoint Accounting Ltd, a firm specialised in supporting individuals, micro and small businesses and start-ups. The team, based in Perthshire helps to educate its clients to understand their finances and making sure their books are up to date and accurate. “What’s important is that the clients understand what the accounts mean and can make business decisions based on them,” said Johann.Johann’s practice runs entirely on the cloud, allowing the team to work from home or in the office. To ensure they can keep on offering the same levels of quality service they have capped the number of clients they offer each service to – a regularly updated chart on their website shows each service and what percentage is filled.
Johann, what marketing activities have you done to differentiate your firm?
We do a lot of training sessions. We host free events for small businesses that can come along and learn about different aspects that they might need to know. For instance, we’ve done sessions about self assessment and tax returns, as well as on Making Tax Digital and on how to use different accounting software and how to decide which ones might be right for you and your business.
We believe in the power of word of mouth, we work hard to be seen as a supportive and helpful firm, so if someone comes and asks me questions or advice they won’t get billed for that. I’d rather give them advice at the start, which takes me 10-15 minutes, knowing that is worth a lot in advertising. We have always invested in goodwill and we get dividends back from that in the long run with new clients, etc.
Two or three times a week we go and see all the businesses in the high street and see how things are. We pop into all the businesses, ask how the last few days have been and if they have any challenges ahead… they all know who we are because it’s quite a small community. We are seen as supportive and educators in the area, not just like other traditional accountants might be seen.
How do you use social media to promote your firm? Do you have a specific strategy?
We’ve done lots of different things in the past. We’ve also given up on a few things. For instance, we are not a fan of Twitter, we struggled to get any traction there. We’ve tried different ways of doing things on Facebook depending on what we are trying to push.
If we are trying to push any of our training sessions that are free to attend, we’ll post those into Facebook groups that are for small businesses so we know we are targeting the right people. We try to know when they are the most active – usually around Sunday evening there is more traffic and we try to post at that time.
We also post on our Facebook page. Last week we started doing something a bit different, so rather than talking about us and our services we talked about our clients and their services so we are promoting them rather than ourselves. By advertising our clients and supporting them and introducing them to each other we are able to add value to our relationships because they are getting work because of our recommendations.
And then we use LinkedIn, which is quite new for us. I don’t post every day, just when I’ve got something of interest to share. I see people posting three or four times a day and getting no interaction whatsoever whereas I post once every now and then and I tend to see a bit of interaction on each post, which I prefer.
We’ve also used pay for services like paying for adverts on Facebook. We’ve got one constant advert that runs when someone visits our website. If they then go on Facebook, Facebook advertises directly to them.
How do you use your practice management system? Do you also use it to manage your digital marketing activities?
We started using Senta back in January after using another solution for a year and a half because it ticks a few more boxes for us. Senta is a bit more customisable and it deals with task management in a more granular level which was important as we grew our team.
We are are now customising it to work how we want it to. We have taken the bits that we really like from other softwares such as Pipedrive and built that into Senta for ourselves, which is great because now we can track our clients, leads and prospects a lot better.
What we are doing at the moment is developing a different marketing strategy for each campaign and we are looking at how to build those campaign processes within Senta so that we can see all the tasks and reminders.
How do you use Senta’s CRM to communicate with your clients?
We use the client portal for sending and receiving documents and we issue email reminders and pre-built emails from within Senta. We are slowly getting into the habit of doing more things via email and using the CRM better.
For instance, when a client requests a meeting there’s an email automatically sent out asking them to click on a link to book a date and time that suits them. So we’ve got a bit of automation that saves us time and the clients really like it because they get to hand pick the time of the meeting.