Category Archives for "Professional Services Marketing"

Be the Who the go-to trusted advisor

Be the Who, not the How

In their recent 2019 Small Business Finance and HR Report, OnPay, found that 5 out of 6 small business owners view their accountant as a trusted advisor. But only 53% – about half – say that their accountant knows them very well.

The same study found that small business owners expected that their accountant could help them with:

  • Tax planning & strategies
  • Financial management – cash flow, budgeting, receivables
  • Recommending software/services
  • HR and payroll-related planning

Okay, so how can an accountant position themselves as a trusted advisor?


Be a listener first, and then a problem-solver

It may seem obvious but start by talking to your clients.

To be a trusted advisor, the Who the client goes to for help with their problems, you need to be a good listener. You need to ask good questions.

Go and meet with each and every one of your clients. Go meet them at their place of business, or go and meet somewhere in between for lunch or coffee. Don’t do this over the phone, and don’t do it at your office (the client will view it as an upsell if you try to have this conversation at your place of business). When you meet with them, ask them, “what else is going on with you that we could help you with? and I don’t mean the tax and the financial statements or compilation work but what other stuff is going on with your business that’s on your mind?”

You’ll be surprised by the types of answers the client gives you. At the very least, even if the client doesn’t give much of an answer at the time, it positions you as someone that wants to have a conversation with them, and that’s something they’ll remember for the future.


Be Proactive in Providing Advice

Next, look for opportunities to be proactive in reaching out and providing advice to your clients.


An easy way to stay on top of this is to send out a regular newsletter to your clients. It could have industry information, information regarding tax rules and strategies, business software (accounting, payroll, HR), etc. The point is for your clients to see you as someone that is on top of trends and that is proactive in identifying them. If you’re sending out an e-newsletter you should plan on doing it at least once per month, ideally bi-weekly. [Note: Fixyr provides 52 weeks of enewsletter and social media content for accountants on a subscription basis. If this is of interest to you, please contact us.]

Pass on Helpful Information

Another option is to send out a direct email to your client. This could be a brief message that says something like, “I came across this recent article on [tax structures, business structure, cash flow management, software, etc.] and thought that you might be interested. Let me know if you’d like to discuss how it might apply to you.”

Make a plan to send out an email like this to each of your clients at least once per quarter, ideally once per month. Over time, your customers will start to see you as someone that is proactive and communicative – two of the most important traits of a trusted advisor.


What happens if the customer does ask you for advice?

If you ask the customer what’s going on and they start to share a problem with you, then what? This can be a difficult situation to handle for technical specialists that aren’t used to providing advisory services to their clients. 

  • Don’t jump to conclusions or presume you understand what the problem is
  • Listen to everything
  • Acknowledge what they’re saying
  • Ask good questions for clarification and to make sure you understand the problem and where the customer is coming from
  • Build a shared agenda on how to proceed


Help the client by being the problem-solver

To be the Who not the How, you need to not just have the answer, you have to also be helpful.

You don’t need to have the answers to every question the client may ask you for help with, but you should be responsive and be able to either find the answer for them, or be able to point them in the direction of where they could find more information or who they could talk to that could help them. If the latter, be sure to facilitate the introduction on behalf of the client.


Becoming the Who

By being communicative and proactive, and staying on top of trends, you can develop a better relationship with your clients on your way to becoming a trusted advisor. 

And, as you become the Who, the trusted advisor that business owners go to, you’ll be able to solve business problems for them, and free them up to run their business while developing new services and revenue streams for your practice

Looking for Help?

At Fixyr we believe that “one-size-fits-all”​ marketing is the enemy, that strategy should always come before tactics, and that the best path to success is through a results-focused marketing plan built just for you.

Related Resources

Raise Your Profile By Joining An Association

Raise your profile by joining an association

Being a successful accountant or business advisor is about more than meeting the needs of your existing clients. It’s also about having the right tools to expand your clientele and generate new business for yourself and your practice. One of the most effective ways to do that is by raising your profile in the community through networking at industry and non-profit associations.

Building a name for yourself can result in many important benefits, including:

  • Attracting new clients because people have heard of you and are aware of your expertise in the industry
  • Opening doors to building stronger relationships with key influencers, including referral sources
  • Being perceived as an industry expert, and as a result, becoming the first person someone calls when they have a question related to your area

While raising your profile doesn’t happen overnight, here’s a number of simple, straightforward steps you can take to increase awareness of who you are and how you can promote your expertise to potential clients, business organizations and other key stakeholders.


Begin by making a networking list of who your current clients are, and who your ideal clients are. What groups and organizations do they belong to? Take a look at their LinkedIn and / or Facebook profiles, and if they have bio’s on their company websites.

Identify associations, clubs, conferences, events and other opportunities that are both relevant to your area of expertise and of interest to those you wish to have as potential clients. Make a short-list of associations, find out when and where they meet, and see if they have any events coming up which you could attend.


Professional associations geared toward the industry of your specialty are an excellent way to target your networking initiatives. For example, if you work with auto dealers consider joining a local or provincial dealership association. This organization will likely have members you could target as potential clients.

Regardless of which industry you work in, you can always find associations relevant to your field. Joining one or more can greatly expand your network of contacts, including potential clients, referral sources, and other key influencers.

  • Industry Associations
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Business Improvement Associations
  • Boards of Trade


Non-profit organizations are always looking for responsible and qualified people to help ensure smooth operations. Given that most of those serving on a non-profit organization’s board are unpaid volunteers, they are often grateful when skilled professionals like yourself offer to share their insights and expertise.

As an experienced financial professional or business advisor, you can offer a unique skill to a non-profit’s board by filling an important position. Non-profit boards are often run by professionals in various industries and can provide another opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are passionate about a similar cause.

Just as there are many professional associations that relate to your particular industry, you should be able to find a non-profit organization that is also related to your area of expertise. For example, if you specialize in assisting dental practitioners, consider joining an organization like “Dentists Without Borders,” a non-profit organization that provides dentistry services in developing countries. Although you may not be a dentist, as a non-profit they would likely welcome the business expertise you can provide. This will also open the doors to a network of potential clients.


Joining a professional, industry or not-for-profit association can be a rewarding experience and increase your profile in your community, BUT PLEASE only join an association if you are going to be an active contributor and not if you only go to try to squeeze business leads. Join the association, get actively involved, and others will learn about who you are and what you’re capable of. You will raise your profile in your communities and leads and referrals will start to come your way. It will take time, but it will work.

Looking for Help?

At Fixyr we believe that “one-size-fits-all”​ marketing is the enemy, that strategy should always come before tactics, and that the best path to success is through a results-focused marketing plan built just for you.


Do You Spend Too Little, Too Much or the Right Amount of Effort on Social Media?

Ostrich Peacock Social Media metaphor

In our experience, when it comes to using social media in marketing there are usually two types of accountants or small accounting firms, let's call them Accountant A, "The Ostrich", and Accountant B, "The Peacock".

Accountant A, "The Ostrich"

Accountant A, The Ostrich

The Ostrich buries its' head in the sand to avoid the truth of what needs to be done

The Ostrich has their head in the sand, so to speak. They don’t have any presence on social media. They say that they can’t be bothered with social media, but this lack of presence is actually hurting their online presence and in return is hindering their marketing efforts. 

Accountant B, "The Peacock"

Accountant B, The Peacock

The Peacock is beautiful. And they want everyone to know it.

The Peacock has accounts on every social media platform. They post regularly about topics related to their business, and they post often. Probably so often that they also post on any topic they can, including food, travel, workouts, etc. They can point to how many social media followers they grew by last month, or how many people liked their last post. 

But all this peacocking takes time and effort, and they have little to show for it in terms of new customers and more business. Their social media presence is taking up too much time and effort, and in return it’s generating minimal tangible value for the business.

The Right Balance

Both of these individuals are at different ends of a spectrum. One doesn’t use social media enough, and the other uses social media too much. So what’s the right balance? Every firm and every individual is going to be different and have different needs and strategies for going to market. While there’s no single right answer, let’s also consider a third accountant.

Accountant C, The Eagle

The majestic eagle soars on currents with minimal effort

​Accountant C, "The Eagle"

Let’s call Accountant C, “The Eagle”. This accountant, like their namesake, has mastered efficiency. The eagle is able to glide on currents for long periods of time with minimal effort. They are so efficient that they need to flap their wings only rarely to stay airborne. They glide along and when they see an opportunity they are ready to swoop down.

What Each Accountant Can Do To Improve

Let’s take a look at each of these accountants and what they can do to improve their use of social media.

Accountant A, The Ostrich

What Accountant A, “The Ostrich” Can Do To Improve

Accountant A needs to get their head out of the sand. They need to accept that having a professional, business presence on social media will be to their benefit. When a prospective client searches their name on Google or Bing and no information, limited information, or wrong information (the worst case) comes up, they have missed an opportunity. Someone searching for them online wants to learn more, and is looking for proof points like social media accounts and reviews to verify their identity. If a professional profile does not come up in the search results then they are not presenting their best self.

For the ostrich, actually starting is the hardest thing. They may not be sure where to start, or be unsure of what they need to. Here are some easy steps to establish a simple, but effective social media presence.

  1. Sign-up for and complete an individual professional profile on LinkedIn. For professionals, this is almost always the best place to start. Keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile doesn’t need to be your resume or CV. Keep it at a high level and include relevant work experience and education. If you’re going to include a photo, keep it to a professional looking headshot. If you do nothing else, at least get your LinkedIn profile established.
  2. If you are ready to look at other platforms consider Alignable and Facebook, and if you’ve done those, then Twitter and Instagram. Use the same profile and bio that you used on LinkedIn, but edited to fit within each platform. Again, just establish your profile, don’t worry about doing too much more.
  3. What about content? If you’re not going to be active on these social media platforms all you need to do is to create a single post that says something like, “We don’t actively monitor [social media platform you’re on]. Come and visit us at to find out more about us.” That’s it, that’s all you need to do for the time being.

Accountant A’s goal is to make sure they have a professional presence that can be found when people search for them online. Goal achieved.

Accountant B, The Peacock

The Peacock is beautiful. And they want everyone to know it.

What Accountant B, “The Peacock” Can Do To Improve

Accountant B spends too much time on social media, and more importantly their efforts are not translating into tangible results like more customers and more business.

Accountant B needs to find out where they’re spending their time and what they can cut back without impacting their online presence. What should “The Peacock” do?

  1. If they have a content strategy, then they should start by reducing or stopping anything that doesn’t directly support their strategy. If they don’t have a content strategy then they should start by developing one. This will help to focus their efforts so that they can cut out unnecessary activities. They should also focus on quality not quantity.
  2. Set limits and stick to a schedule. At most, spend no more than 30 minutes on social media during the day. Lock your phone or devices so that you can only access your social media apps during certain times of the day, and make sure it’s not first thing in the morning, or the very last thing at night. Before opening your social media apps be clear on what you need to complete, and when you will exit. For example, check and respond to direct messages, scroll through feed and like/comment on professional topics, and then exit. Use social media management tools to schedule posts and updates in advance, at least 1-2 weeks at a time.
  3. Engaging with other users and content online. While this is the point to social media, it can also be an incredible time suck. Reduce the amount of time spent engaging with other users and content on social media platforms, and limit it to 15 min. a day to start.

Accountant B needs to make sure they are using their time effectively. Very few businesses are able to generate good ROI from social media marketing. Make this your objective and be clear that if you’re not able to increase ROI, that you should at least reduce costs - including the opportunity cost of time spent.

Accountant C, The Eagle

The majestic eagle soars on currents with minimal effort

What Is Accountant C, "The Eagle", Doing Right?

Lastly, let’s look at Accountant C, “The Eagle”. Accountant C has a strong presence, but spends minimal effort. They only expend effort when they see an opportunity, and if not they keep to the minimal required to maintain their presence.

So what is Accountant C able to do that they are able to be so efficient?

  1. They have established a professional online presence. While not extensive or detailed, anyone that visits their profile will be able to quickly assess their skills and competencies and why they would want to consider doing business with them.
  2. They use the same professional headshot and bio across multiple platforms. They write it once and reuse it.
  3. They use tools for content curation, scheduling and automation. These tools allow them to be efficient with their time while still maintaining a presence that shows that that they are active and up to date.
  4. Most importantly, they understand that social media is only one piece of their marketing strategy and their total online presence. They make sure that their lead funnels connect from social media to their website and other platforms. They take the time and effort saved from social media and reinvest it in other areas of their marketing and business development to generate better results. They may have outsourced their social media and digital marketing to a professional marketing firm to manage on their behalf. Firms like Fixyr can establish their total online presence, and can produce regular and timely content that helps to build their presence and generate more traffic, with minimal involvement on their part. They make the investment to free up time to spend on more important activities.

Ideally, every small business should strive to be more like “The Eagle”. Efficiency and effectiveness are the name of the game. Always keep an eye on the big picture and never get lost in the details of executing tactics.

How Much Time and Effort Are You Spending on Social Media? 

Social media does have value. Whether you are an independent accountant or bookkeeper, or small to mid-sized professional services firm, a regional or a national player, social media acts as a proof point that verifies you are who you say you are, and why you should be trusted. But social media is not the most important thing you should be focusing on to market and promote your firm. Far from it.

The challenge is to be able to maintain an online presence that demonstrates your knowledge and experience and why a potential client would want to work with you, but balances the time and effort spent doing so. Create a professional presence on social media, but then minimize the effort required to maintain it.

Build an efficient social media marketing model for your accounting practice and you’ll see your return-on-efforts start to soar.

The Eagle Soaring

The Eagle soars efficiently on currents with minimal effort until they're ready to swoop  down on an opportunity

P.S. Profuse apologies for all of the bird clichés. Also disclaimer that in real life, all three species of birds are beautiful and majestic in their own right.

Being successful at professional services marketing isn't difficult, but it does take time and effort. The best results come from following a proven methodical process, and completing and implementing each step.

Fix your marketing. Follow a proven system and you will get results.

Check out The 7-Steps to Professional Services Marketing Success.

7 Steps to Professional Services Marketing Success

Fix your marketing. Get results.

Looking For Help?

At Fixyr we believe that "one-size-fits-all" marketing is the enemy, that you need strategy before tactics, and that the best path to success is through a results-focused marketing plan built just for you.

MORE INFORMATION: What are the components of good digital marketing? Read our helpful guide for more details and links to helpful resources: Build a Total Online Presence 

TIP:  If you're looking for cloud-based marketing software to help you build a Total Online Presence, you'll find our curated list of recommendations helpfulHelpful Marketing Resources for Small Businesses and Startups

Build Your Center of Influence Network

Build Your Center of Influence Network Strategy

If you're a B2B (business-to-business) firm, having a strong Centers of Influence (COI or just Influencer, aka Referral) program is a proven long-term strategy to help you succeed. 

What we're not talking about here is hiring Instagram celebrities to promote your brand. 1) that's ridiculously expensive, and 2) probably not appropriate for most B2B firms.

What we are referring to is other professionals and trusted advisors that also work with your customers. By tapping into your Center of Influence (COI's, also just Influencers) you can build a strong, supportive network of synergistic businesses that will send each other referrals. 

You may be doing this already. Many successful businesses, salespeople, and entrepreneurs do so naturally. If you're not, get started, and if you are, think about formalizing your approach and watch your results accelerate.

How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

Putting together a B2B influencer marketing strategy is a multi-step process. It's similar to creating other customer marketing or lead generation programs, but the objectives are different.

1. Set Your Goals

The first step to creating a strategy is to define your goals. What do you want to achieve through your Center of Influence? Some common goals:

  1. Create Awareness for your Firm
  2. Build knowledge of the services you provide, and what your point of differentiation, competitive advantage, or your unique value proposition is
  3. Position yourself and your firm as trusted advisors for the types of customers you focus on
  4. Generate new business referrals

MORE INFORMATION: Your Center of Influence strategy can also be a strong contributor to becoming a recognized expert. Read more about it here:   7-Steps to Becoming a Recognized Expert

2. Define Value

It's also important to think about how you can provide value back to your influencer. What information can you provide them that will be helpful to them when they are dealing with the customer? Think beyond just generating leads. The more value you can add to the relatioship with the influencer, the more likely they are to see you as a trusted contact that they will want to come back to over and over.

3. Find Influencers

Next, think about who your customers' influencers might be. If you are dealing with business owners and entrepreneurs consider other professionals they deal with. 

  • The "Holy Trinity" Center of Influence - Banker, Lawyer, Accountant. Most business owners and entrepreneurs deal regularly with these three types of organizations, and view them as critical to the success of their business.
  • Depending on the types of customers you deal with, perhaps also consider Financial Advisors, Estate Planners, Commercial Insurance Brokers, Benefits Advisors, Commercial Realtors
  • Look for influencers that deal with the same type and size of customers that you do. Finding a legal counsel for a Fortune 500 firm is great, but if you deal with start-ups, neither of you will get much value out of the relationship.

4. Build a List/Database of Influencers You Want to Connect With

Use local search listings, LinkedIn, Chambers of Commerce, BNI networking groups, Business Improvement Associations, and other similar sources to find out who your target influencers are. 

Within mid-size or larger firms, look for different entry points. Often a Managing Partner or President is not the individual that's dealing with customers. Find the ones that are. 

Enter this list into your CRM tool so that you can begin to track and measure results. A CRM is also a good tool to remind you that you need to reach out or follow-up with individuals on your list.

5. Connect with Influencers

You’ll then want to contact the influencers and connect with them individually, one at a time. It's important that they see you as an equal, and not as someone that is trying to sell something to them. This is very important. 

What might this process look like? 

  1. Send them a LinkedIn connection request. If they are not active on LinkedIn give them a call, send them an email, or if you know who they are, approach them at a business or chamber event. The point is to make an introduction and connection.
  2. Follow-up shortly thereafter with a follow-up message thanking them for connecting and suggesting that it would be beneficial to connect in the future
  3. Send them an email suggesting you meet for a coffee or lunch
  4. When you do meet, introduce yourself but spend as much time as possible getting to know the other individual. Find out about them, their firm, and their own interests
  5. At a later date, reconnect with them and repeat the coffee/lunch
  6. After 2-3 face-to-face meetings (and 3-5 messages/emails before and in-between), or until you feel comfortable that you have built rapport and comfort, suggest that you meet at your offices or business to discuss getting to know each other's businesses better and how you can work together
  7. At your office set up an informal meet and greet with your firm's key customer facing staff. Invite your influencer contact to bring their team. You can have refreshments and make it more of an informal mingler. Keep introductions and your firm presentation brief, and have a clear start and finish time. This could also be done at a restaurant over lunch, or a nearby watering hole. Any place that both firms will want to bring their teams, and where there could be an opportunity for your folks to mingle. 
  8. Follow-up with information about your firm, and list off 2-3 ways that you would like to work together. This could be in looking for joint presentations or speaking engagements, joint customer/prospect hostings (lunch, golf, game, symphony, etc. - whatever is of mutual interest)

6. Reward and Measure Results

Once you've begun to deepen the relatioship and have started to work together, you're not done. Now’s the time to measure and track results. That way you can see what’s working and what’s not with your Center of Influence network and marketing strategy. And, you can make changes for next time. If you get results, if you start to see referrals being sent your way, and if you are successful in generating additional business, be sure to show recognition to your Influencer and be sure to look for ways to reciprocate.

7. Repeat the Process with other Influencers

Repeat the above steps with other influencers that you've identified. As you can see, this process will take an investment in time on your part in order to make it work. But it will work, and it will provide you with a strong foundation. Your Center of Influence / COI / Sphere of Influence / Influencer Network / Referral Sources will contribute to building a strong awareness of your firm, and help your business to grow and thrive.

Looking for Help?

At Fixyr we believe that “one-size-fits-all” marketing is the enemy, that strategy should always come before tactics, and that the best path to success is through a results-focused marketing plan built just for you.

Related Resources

Are you looking for more information on how you can build your Centers of Influence strategy? Here are some helpful resources that we've curated for you:

Business Development for Professional Services

Sales is different for Professional Services practices than it is for other types of B2B firms. How so? 

Nowhere else is it more important or evident that your customer wants to do business with a real person, that is someone they trust

While the stages of the Marketing Hourglass are still the same – Know=> Like => Trust => Try =>  Buy – how you approach them will be slightly different for Professional Services than for other types of firms.

Let’s look at how to get started.

Educating and Informing versus Selling

As a professional services practice, your approach to business development will be very different. You don’t sell, you educate and assist the business. You don’t “Sell”, you provide solutions to the customers problems.

  • Don’t talk about the products you sell; talk about the problems you solve.
  • Talk about how the business will work with you as you solve those problems.
  • Tell the business what they get, not what you do. Explain the benefit to them of  what you do.

What You’ll Need Before You Start

Before you get started on your business development, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right tools in place. Somethings that you’ll need are:

  • Clear Messaging & Defined Ideal Customer Profile – you should have completed these as part of your marketing strategy
  • Website, Online Profiles and Listings, CRM, and Email Marketing – you should have completed these as part of establishing your Total Online Presence
  • Telephone – number, answering system and voicemail
  • Sales support materials – you should have the following prepared, printed and ready for distribution: business cards, individual practitioner bios, company profile, services descriptions/brochures, client testimonials and/or use cases. Note: not having printed materials when you need will lead to lost opportunities, or the risk of being perceived as not being professional. You do not have to spend a lot on printing, but make sure you have hard copies of these materials at the ready when you need them.


The first stage of the Marketing Hourglass is Know. This is creating awareness of your firm, and familiarity with your services offered. There are 3 ways you will generate new prospects.

  1. Outreach – You are actively reaching out to prospective clients that you have identified through research. This could be picking up the phone, or sending out letters or emails. Most professional services practitioners find outreach to be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. You could use a third-party firm that specializes in setting up appointments for you
  2. You get found organically – Prospects contact you because they have a problem and they have seen information about your firm, you, your content, or the problems you solve. They find your content online, through searches, or see and hear about you at speaking engagements or conferences. For most professional services firms, this is the preferred and most predictable method of generating leads. 
  3. You are referred – Referrals could come from Influencers (Centers of Influence), from previous customers, or from your networking activity. If you’ve been in business for awhile this could be a great source of leads for your practice, however it takes time to build up a referral base, and referral volumes may not be enough on their own to sustain your practice. 


What is your objective in the area of developing relationships with new clients? How many do you want to attract? What industries do they represent? Do you have a sales pipeline?

Examples include:

  • Client-specific marketing plans
  • Practice group marketing plans
  • Individual marketing plans
  • Sales pipeline development and implementation


What is your objective related to how often and with whom you will proactively develop relationships with?

Examples include:

  • Identifying opportunities for the firm and individual professionals
  • Networking programs for practice groups
  • Networking training and best practices

Trade and Professional Association Involvement

Every professional should be active in his/her industry association (Professional bodies, Financial Planning Association or Bar Associations) as well as at least one industry-based association attracting prospective clients or referral sources. What is your objective in this area?

Examples include:

  • Assess firm’s involvement and ROI with associations
  • Create association strategies to become high profile members by pitchingprofessionals to write articles and speak at upcoming events

Like & Trust

It can take a considerable amount of time to go from Know through Like and Trust until a business is ready to Buy. Be patient and nurture your leads for future business. 

Market Research

Define an objective related to incorporating market research into your practice before meeting with a new prospective client or referral source.

Examples include:

  • Big opportunity research on companies and peopleCreate client dossiers for new business

Nurture Prospects

It’s important to understand that there isn’t a single formula to Nurturing Prospects. Keep in mind that the objective is to move the prospect through the Like and Trust stages. You must ensure that you establish Rapport with the prospect, and that you build Trust until such time as the prospect is ready to take the relationship further. Your nurture process will likely use a combination of the following, staggered over time.

  • Direct contact – via telephone or face-to-face
  • Newsletters – sent out via mail or email
  • Email marketing / marketing automation – sending the prospect white papers, research studies, articles that you’ve written, or other content pieces such as infographics, and case studies, or information on government policies and programs that businesses like theirs can utilize
  • Seminars or webinars

Try / Buy


What does trial look like for a professional services firm? The Try stage of the Marketing Hourglass could take the form of:

  • Market Comparisons
  • Participation in a benchmarking study
  • Samples of work you’ve done for similar types of customers
  • Providing a Quote 
  • Finding a “foot-in-the-door” lower value service you can provide so that the prospect establishes a commitment with your firm and gets to know you


Depending on the type of customer you are dealing with, when they are ready to move to the Buy stage of the Marketing Hourglass it could be as simple as you submitting an Engagement Letter to the customer that outlines the scope of work, your committments, pricing proposal, and business terms.

Proposal Development

If you are responding to an RFP (Request For Proposal) be prepared. RFP’s can be very time consuming, and if managed properly, may lead to lower close rates. What objective do you have in the area of increasing your ability to efficiently respond to requests for information about your services?

Examples include:

  • Create a proposal archive
  • Develop efficient proposal response processes
  • Design professional and visually appealing proposal responses
  • Write proposals for new business
  • Develop and rehearse proposal presentations 

Keeping on Track

Business development can easily go off the rails. You need to implement a system to keep it on track. 

  • Use a calendar tool. Set aside time every day.
  • Schedule activities from your CRM
  • Keep your efforts organized and scalable – Build templates that can be customized and reused in the future with other prospects to keep effort minimized


If you implement a business development program for your professional services firm, you can expect to generate more leads, nurture more leads through the Marketing Hourglass, and ultimately convert more leads to customers.  

Execute and Optimize to Drive Marketing Results

Execute and Optimize to Drive Marketing Results

You've completed your strategy and planning. While strategy is critical to success, strategy without execution is just theory. Now it's time to execute and optimize to drive your marketing results to the next level. This is where "the rubber hits the road". 

Keys to Successful Marketing Execution and Optimization

Plan Out a Year. 

You should map out a year’s worth of projects, campaigns and processes and break each month into a theme, and each project into weekly action steps. Each action should be assigned to a single person to be responsible for completing.

Review progress regularly. 

On a monthly basis make sure that you remain on track. On a quarterly basis, review your progress and revisit what's working and what isn't. Determine if you need to make any course adjustments.

Track performance of key marketing metrics, including:

  • Marketing budget - actual vs forecast
  • Marketing campaign performance - budget vs actual, projected results budget vs actual
  • Marketing tactical performance - website traffic, search engine rankings, number of email subscribers, emails sent, emails opened, click through rates, conversion rates, number of booked appointments, number of proposals or pricing quotes submitted
  • Volume of Leads Generated and Cost Per Lead (CPL)
  • Sales - revenues, by product/service, by customer or segment
  • Marketing costs per sale made, aka Cost Per Acquisition
  • Marketing ROI - marketing costs versus incremental profit generated
  • Key Marketing Metrics Every Marketer Should Measure
  • Content Marketing Metrics​​​
  • Marketing Dashboards for Visualizing Performance​​​

Create Efficiencies. 

Once your system is in place, make your processes repeatable. Standardizing these processes and turning them into templates will help your team execute effectively and efficiently every time, no matter who’s driving the work. Save time, reduce effort, and reduce mistakes or rework by ensuring that the right steps and checks are performed in the right order.


Optimization is the difference between a marketing program that is effective, and one that is outstanding. To truly drive performance track results from you marketing activities through each step of your campaigns. Starting at the weakest performing point, begin to test and monitor different creatives and different approaches. Monitor results, and stop weak performers, and continually optimize the winners. Repeat this process regularly.

Lastly, Create a Continous Cycle for Ongoing Success

It can be very easy to let your plans to execute and optimize fall to the side. You have a critcal client deliverable that requires all hands on deck, a flu epidemic leaves half your staff bedridden or something else comes along and you just don't get to the marketing. This is where you need to ensure that you've built the discipline within your firm to execute, to monitor results, to adjust plans and optimize. Turn execution into a habit, and make it a continous part of your business operations. 

TIP: Implementing an ongoing system for marketing execution can be time and resource consuming. We provide everything from coaching to guide you through the process and make sure you stay on track to fully managed marketing execution programs where we take care of all of the elements of implementation for you. Get started on the path to success 

Increase Profitability by Boosting Customer Retention

Grow your customers to increase profitability

You’ve heard it before. It’s cheaper to keep your current customers than it is to find new customers. It’s true for many businesses, especially in the services business where the cost to generate a lead and nurture a relationship always seem to be increasing in cost.

Marketing to your current customers, or to customers after the sale is the bottom half of the Marketing Hourglass. Turn those customers into Repeat buyers, and to sources of Postive Reviews and Referrals for your business.

Marketing Hourglass

If you've never considered marketing to current customers after the sale, now is a good time to build a cohesive strategy for customer retention.

Let's look at how to get started.

What is customer retention?

The activities a business uses to increase the number of repeat customers and to increase the profitability of each existing customer.

Customer retention strategies enable you to both provide and benefit from more value from your existing customer base. You want to ensure the customers you worked so hard to acquire stay with you and continue to get value from your products and services, and the relationship with your firm.

In general, the higher the value of each sale or the frequency of purchase, the more the effort you should spend on customer retention marketing. Ideally, you are able to increase both. 

Customer Value = Average Sale x Purchase Frequency

Once you compare your CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) for new customers with the value of your current customers, it should become apparent how much you should be investing in your customers to retain them.

Why you should care about existing customers.

  • Higher profits. Since your existing customers trust you already, it gets easier to convince them to become interested in even more of your products or services through up-selling and cross-selling. In fact, Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
  • Better conversion rates. Existing customers have already bought from you, and if you keep them satisfied they are more likely to buy from you again. You’ve already established trust, and built a relationship with them, which makes it easier to identify their needs and predict their moves.
  • Less expensive marketing. You’ll spend less time and effort finding new customers and convincing them that you are the one they should buy from, which means – less expenses. 

How Can You Boost Customer Retention?

Now that we've confirmed the value of retaining your customers, what strategies and tactics can you employ to do so?

Deliver incredible service and ensure your customers are satisfied

This goes without saying, but an unsatisfied customer is unlikely to purchase from you again. 

Nurture the relationship with the customer after the sale

Schedule regular touch points with the customer in your CRM or marketing database. Use a variety of mediums from telephone calls, in person visits (if appropriate), emails, and traditional mailings. Depending on the value of the customer, invest in hosting opportunities, or send them company-branded promotional items.

  • Trusted Advisor - The classic book by David Maister and Charles Green. Develop such a deep relationship with the customer that they implicity trust you as the go-to source.

Introduce your other products and services 

Probe your customers needs and find ways to expose them to your other products and services. A long-term customer should be aware of the range of products and services you provide. Depending on your business, consider bundling products and services together (that make sense for the customer). 

Keep top-of-mind awareness with the customer

Add the customer to an email or newsletter distribution so that they regularly see your firms name, and information about your industry and services. Follow the customers' businesses on social media, and encourage them to do so with you in return. 

Look for ways to add value to the relationship 

This can vary from industry to industry, but a significant way to deepen the relationship with the customer is to provide value added beyond the products and services you sell. This could be related to your recognized expertise, or information from your industry or suppliers.

If there is a renewal or repurchase time frame, make sure to begin reaching out to the customer well in advance

When it comes time for renewal, there should be no effort for the customer to do so. You've already confirmed with them the value of your services and the relationship you have with them, and so there is no effort for the customer to consider whether or not they should renew with you, or even to consider a competitor.

Feature the customer and the work that you've done for them, or ask them to be a client reference

Ask the customer for permission to feature their business in a case study. Most customers will feel flattered by the gesture, and very few will mind the additional exposure for their business. 

Make it easy for the customer to refer you additional business

A satisfied customer is much more likely to send you referals. Look for ways to make it easy for them to do so. Come straight out and ask them, or give them loyalty or repeat purchase discounts if they do so.

TIP: Your customer referrals can also be a strong contributor to your strategy to become a recognized expert. Read more about it here: 7-Steps to Becoming a Recognized Expert


Even if you implement just a few of these strategies properly, you can expect to deepen relationships with your customers, increase their retention rates, and ultimately make them more profitable for your business. 

7-Steps to Becoming a Recognized Expert

Be an expert and build trust and credibility

Customers want to deal with someone that can help them. Bottom line. If you want to be that someone and win their business first you'll need to win their trust

And how do you win their trust? You start by demonstrating your authority and expertise. This gives you credibility. 

It doesn’t matter what products or services you offer, your prospects likely have lots of different options to choose from. Being able to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and position yourself as the person or business most suited to serve them is vital to your success.

The secret to getting noticed despite all the noise in the marketplace is to establish your authority. When you have authority, people will pay attention. When you are perceived as a subject matter expert, people will naturally want to work with you. They will seek you out.

Getting to that level is all about positioning. Using a few simple strategies, you can position yourself as the go-to expert for your customers. You can attract business to you. Instead of constantly hustling to find your next client, you can turn yourself into a client magnet and let them find you.

Here are 7-Steps to Becoming An Expert, to position yourself as an expert for your customers:

1. Decide what you want to be an expert or authority on

As with almost every other element of marketing, the more you can focus, the better the results you are likely to generate. 

  • Pick a handful of topics in your field related to your business. These topics should be areas that you can talk to authoritatively. 
  • Filter your topics based on whether there's a customer WIFM (What's In It For Me?), and whether the topics are likely to generate interest or engagement.
  • For your filtered list, think carefully about the overall message that you want to deliver to your audience. What do you want them to learn? What is your point-of-view?

2. Start writing

A well written article with valuable information is likely to be shared by the people who enjoyed it. This is how content goes viral – through peer-to-peer sharing. By writing regularly, you expose your brand and your business to new audiences on a consistent basis.  As you publish and promote your content, you will gradually begin to position yourself as an expert on the topics that you focus on.

  • Social media
  • Blogs (your own or 3rd party)
  • Publications and media - newspapers, magazines, industry journals

Make a list of the most popular publications, journals, websites and blogs in your industry and your community. These are the sites that your ideal clients are visiting regularly to obtain information about your topic. Contact those websites, and request to become a guest contributor. Most website owners are always looking for high quality content to publish on their website that will add value to their visitors.

Write an article exclusively for each website on your list, and include your bio with a link back to your website at the end of your article. This strategy, known as being a guest contributor, helps you get your message in front of new audiences online that may have never discovered you otherwise. You provide content to the media for free, and that content helps direct new visitors to your profile. It’s a win-win.

Challenged with writing? 

  • Pick your subject
  • Think about who you're writing for and what you want them to learn
  • Jot down the major points you want to cover
  • Outline your article
  • Begin filling in around each of your major points
  • Create transitions between points
  • Write an open and a close
  • If you're having a difficult time, you can always hire writers to write for you based on what you tell them, or have them edit your work

3. Speak

Live Events

Most people are terrified of speaking in public, so when they see someone do it they tend to immediately perceive that person as an expert and a leader. Plus, when you speak to a live audience, you have their undivided attention for the duration of your presentation. This affords you a unique opportunity to engage and connect with a large amount of people at the same time.

If you’ve never spoken in public before, a great starting point to develop your skills is your local Toastmasters Group. This is a non-threatening, positive environment in which people meet regularly to practice their speaking and communication skills. Once you build up some confidence, you can begin speaking at networking events, Meetup groups, seminars or conferences in your industry. If you speak regularly to groups of hundreds, or even thousands of people, you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry very quickly.


Most podcast hosts are always on the lookout for more guests to interview for their show. If you think that your story, message, or advice would add value to the audience of a specific podcast, then visit that podcast’s website and find their Contact Page. Send the host a brief message outlining your experience and area of expertise, and tell them you’d like to be considered as a potential guest for their show.

Many podcasts attract thousands, even tens of thousands of listeners on a regular basis. If you make it a routine to be a guest on other podcasts regularly, your name will gradually become known by thousands of highly targeted people from around the world. At the end of each interview, tell the listeners how they can get in touch with you if they want to learn more about what you do or how you can help them. 

4. Optimize your profile

Prepare a professional bio

Have bios prepared in 1-paragraph and 1-page formats. You can either write these yourself or have someone write them for you, but make sure you have these prepared in advance. 

Get professional photographs

The impact of professional photographs can't be understated. If you want to be seen as an authority or expert, your image needs to be professional. These can be either studio sessions, or in your place of work, or ideally both. Spend the money on this once and you will be able to use these photos repeatedly for years. 

Create a Professional LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to showcase your expertise, professional experience, and achievements. Used properly, it can be an incredibly powerful networking and positioning tool.

Here are a few tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile:

  • Use your profile and professional headshot 
  • Highlight your experience and areas of expertise
  • Highlight your subject-matter-expertise writing or speaking engagements
  • Profile volunteer work and any board/charity positions you've held
  • Add specific skills to your profile so that people in your network can endorse you for those skills (endorse other people’s skills first, and they will likely reciprocate)
  • Collect testimonials from customers, coworkers, and not-for-profits that you've worked with (write testimonials for other people first, and they will likely reciprocate)
  • Include a way to contact you or a link to your website

5. Comment on posts related to your expertise

A great way to become known in your industry is to engage in conversations that are happening on popular news sites, online forums, blogs and social media groups in your industry.

  • Don't spam out or pitch your products or services agressively
  • Do add value to others by sharing helpful advice, insights, and responding to questions that other people are asking.

Another advantage of adding value to the conversations that are happening online is that the owners of those blogs or social media groups will likely notice. Building relationships with other influencers in your industry is never a bad idea, because it opens the door for potential collaborations or partnerships in the future. Commenting regularly on their platforms can help build that relationship.

6. Curate content from others

Content curation on it's own won't position you as an expert, but it's an excellent way to supplement your efforts. 

What is content curation? Simply put, you'll be finding articles, posts, videos on your subject matter expertise that have been published by others, and you will share them to your website, newsletter, social media feeds, or email distribution list, along with a short description about why it's relevant to your audience or customers, or what they should take away from it. 

MORE INFORMATION: Head over to our guide on How to Make Social Media Work For Your Business for more useful tips on utilizing social media to your advantage.

7. Build a calendar and a plan to execute it

You can become a go-to expert for your customers and build awareness of yourself and your firm, but don't expect it to happen overnight. Build a managable and realistic plan. Think of the journey as a marathon not a sprint. You want to start small & build momentum.

  • Build a calendar and a plan. Stagger the amount of content you produce and for which purposes. Plan for large pieces infrequently - several times a year, or quarterly at the very most. 
  • Google - Hero Hub Hygiene model - Developed by Google for YouTubers, this is a very relevant model for all content types


Even if you implement just a few of these strategies properly, you can expect to build awareness, establish credibility, and ultimately attract a considerable amount of new business. 

TIP: We've helped hundreds of professionals and businesses use this model to become famous experts. We can coach you through this process. Head over to Coaching and schedule your appointment.

Build a Total Online Presence

Build a Total Online Presence

Every successful B2B business needs to have a strong online presence. Today this means more than just having a website and an email address. Your prospects and customers today have 24/7 access to the internet at their fingertips through the myraid of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and IoT connected devices.

A prospective customer can look you up online at any point in time. What will they find? 

You need to consider your Total Online Presence. 

Think through every stage of your online presence

Start with Your Strategy

Before you jump into the components of your Total Online Presence, you want to make sure that you've laid the foundation and set the direction that you want to go in.

Think through the following

  • Who is your target audience? What are their pain points and what are their triggers? What jobs are they trying to complete? 
  • How does your target audience use and access information online? 
  • Who are your competitors and what are they doing online? What are they doing well? What are they weak at or lacking in regards to their online presence?
  • Draft your story and your messaging. Write up how your company solves your customers problems, and how you do it better than anyone else, or what type of value you provide.
  • Write up a company profile. Prepare 150 character, 300, and 500 character versions. Write up profiles for key individuals, if it's important and relevant to your customers.
  • Assemble any images, photos, certifications, recommendations, etc. that your business and key individuals may have.
Marketing Hourglass

Keep a copy of your Marketing Hourglass handy as you work through each of the following steps.

There are a variety of tools and technologies which you can consider, but a modern marketing program usually includes: 

1. Quality Content that Generates Interest and Drives Leads

Pick the themes for your content strategy.  

I find it helpful to create a theme for each month that all of your content can revolve around. Each theme I use has a substantial topic related to my audience’s industry/pain points and represents an important keyword search term.

Provide valuable information and use content upgrades to convert the readers of this information into leads. Try to personalize and add emotional components to your content as much as possible to really establish a connection with a reader. The more they feel that connection, the more likely they’ll be to convert into leads and eventually customers.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel with your content. You can share relevant content from other sites on your social platforms to provide value to your audience. You can also repurpose content you already have, so, for example, if you have a podcast episode, transcribe it and turn it into a written blog post.

2. A Modern Mobile-Optimized Website and/or Landing Pages

No one will argue whether or not your practice needs a website, but your need website needs to do the following: tell people who you are, tell them what you do, give them confidence and build trust in why they should do business with you. 

When it comes to content revisions, it always surprises me when people don’t think to start with their website as the content hub. The role of your website is to help you:

  • Get found
  • Build trust
  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Convert

Oh yeah, and it needs to be optimized for use on mobile devices. While many professional services firms have websites, they tend to be older, brochure-ware type sites that were built a number of years back. They may still be viewable on a desktop browser (even if they look older and stale), but viewing them on a smartphone or tablet may be difficult or near impossible. 

3. SEO - Onsite and Offsite

SEO, or search engine optimization, is how your content and website get found online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the method used to increase a website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs) on sites such as Google, or Bing. Developing an SEO strategy for your business can help draw traffic to your website.

Keep in mind that the goal of a search engine is to provide unbiased results that deliver information you are looking for as quickly and as accurately as possible. In order to do this, search engines are capable of identifying all relevant information online and ranking them in order of quality and relevance. There are hundreds of factors that are involved when search engines rank websites in an organic search. SEO is constantly evolving so that search engines like Google and Bing can provide the best, most relevant results. You don't need to be an expert, but it is something to keep in mind as part of your Total Online Presence. 

4. Online Advertising - Search Engines, Display Advertising, Social Media Sites

Paid advertising can get expensive very quickly, but don't rule online advertising out for your professional services practice. Online advertising can be highly targeted based on keywords, search terms (programmatic), and geograpic locations, and can therefore be very cost effective. With remarketing, your practice can advertise to visitors that have come to your site or social media pages, keeping your firm top-of-mind and keeping the sales dialogue open. 

5. Social Media

The main social media sites for professional services businesses to be on (in order of importance) are:

LinkedIn - Bare minimum: Make sure you have a company page, and make sure all customer-facing staff have profiles that are linked to your company page. Good to have: Post regular updates on your company page. For individual profiles make sure you connect with your customers, prospects, and referral sources. Advanced: LinkedIn can be a great lead generation tool, depending on the type of customer you are targeting.

Facebook Business Pages Bare minimum: Setup a business page for your firm. List off your address, profile, website, and services offered. 

If you have the time and inclination, you can also look into setting up Twitter and Instagram business accounts. 

6. Marketing Database coupled with Email or Marketing Automation

Email marketing is vastly underutilized in accounting. It’s really quite easy to implement. All you need are three things:

  • A list management tool
  • Your client list with emails and preferably permission
  • Content for your newsletters and marketing emails

List Management Tools

If you have a CRM with robust email marketing capabilities, then you already have your list management tool. Some of the market leaders in the enterprise space include:

In the small and solo firm space, any of these vendors are more affordable and a few of them are free:

When you choose a vendor, be sure to choose based on email deliverability rates in addition to feature set and price.

Your Client List

Some firms will need to do some admin time to put together their client list, especially if they don’t have a CRM or have not collected emails. If you don’t already have a process to add new clients and prospects to your list management tool, it’s essential to put that process in place.

7. Listings and Reviews

What will people learn about you and your business as the search around online, apart from your website? You want to make sure that your business turns up favourably in places that could generate new leads for you, or in ways that will help to add credibility to your business. 


Often you can have your business listed for free. It can be time consuming, but every listing is another source of leads or helps prospects to determine your legitimacy. 

Consider the following for your business, based on your area, your industry, and your customers:

  • Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Authorities, Business Improvement Associations, Better Business Bureaus
  • Industry Associations - depending on which customer segments you are targeting

List your business and make sure it can be found on search engines. The top two in Canada are: Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. Once you have business listings, make sure to encourage positive reviews.

Online Reviews

Online reviews can make or break a business. Your goal is to generate as many positive reviews as possible. If you've been in business for awhile consider reaching out to existing and previous customers to get them to complete reviews for you. Often if you ask, they will. Also, put a regular program in place to reach out to new customers once you've provided them with your product or service.

Drive reviews for the following:

  • Yelp
  • Google My Business and Bing Places for Business
  • Facebook page likes
  • Industry sites or forums
Think through every stage of your online presence

So there you have it

Your Online Presence will be the backbone to your marketing. It will help you to create awareness, be found, generate leads, help nurture those leads, build trust and credibility, and generate the sale. A strong Online Presence can help your business to stand out and to thrive. 

What is Marketing Strategy and how will it Help Your Business Thrive?

What is marketing strategy?

"The overall purpose of strategic marketing planning, and its principal focus is the creation of sustainable competitive advantage."

- Malcolm McDonald

A Long-term Game Plan or Roadmap

Your marketing strategy is not meant to be a one-time exercise that you complete, and then leave to sit on a shelf collecting dust. If that's what happens then you've just wasted a considerable amount of time and effort. The purpose of having a one is to guide your business over multiple years. It's meant to provide guidance for products and services, pricing, your annual marketing plans, and your tactical marketing campaigns and activities.

Your marketing strategy is your long term game plan. It's who you're going to focus on, how you're going to win business, and how you're going to attract customers. It's going to guide how you create your marketing plans. 

A comprehensive marketing strategy will include your value proposition - your competitive advantage in the market. It will include who your target audience is, and the key elements of your brand. Your marketing strategy is a constant from where you create your marketing plans. Now and in the future.

Marketing strategy => marketing plan => campaign plans => execution => win!

What it does

Your long-term marketing strategy will develop a sustainable competitive advantage. Your marketing strategy is the foundation of all your future marketing plans.

What it does:

  • Identifies the markets and segments you want to compete in. It answers the question: Who is the target audience?
  • It clarifies how you will sustain competitive advantage. It answers the questions: What will be your value proposition to your target markets? and, How will your value proposition be unique? Ideally your unique value proposition is also quantifiable by your target markets. 
  • It defines how you’re going to market your products and services
  • Keeps you on track

How it helps:

  • Win new customers
  • Increase sales
  • Encourage your existing customers to spend more
  • Better establish your brand on the market and increase market share
  • Confirm your tone of voice and brand identity
  • Reduce churn and strengthen customer loyalty
  • Reduce wasted or inefficient efforts in on markets, segments, and messaging that does not help your business achieve it's objectives
  • Guarantee your business stays focused and current

To build an effective strategy that’ll support future marketing plans, you need discipline, time, and focus.

The process may sound complicated, but it's not as difficult as you may think. Many businesses skip this vital step because they are either intimidated by the perceived effort, or they are unsure of what to do and how to do it.

If the above sounds complicated, we can guide your business through a methodical, step-by-step process that will put you on the path to success. FIXYR - Marketing Strategy Review