Building Traction: How to Get Bookkeeping Clients

Oct 03, 2023
How to Get Bookkeeping Clients

Wondering how to get bookkeeping clients? Marketing is the obvious answer. 

However, a mistake is made when you think of marketing as a singular activity; it encompasses the entire customer journey. 

  • Customer service
  • Social media interactions
  • Text messages
  • Emails

…the list goes on.

Think of marketing as similar to cultivating a garden. Just as you aim to create a garden that attracts butterflies naturally, rather than chasing them with a net, your marketing efforts should aim to naturally draw prospects to you.

While you can't force a prospect to change their preferences instantly, you can position yourself to be top-of-mind when they are ready to make a change. Achieving this involves establishing credibility and nurturing relationships.

In the article, I’ll cover my (Nicole Ossenfort of Bookkeepers Ignite) top marketing strategies and tactics. These are designed to help you:

  • Build credibility
  • Foster relationships
  • Position you as an expert and trusted advisor, virtually and in your local market 

Before you begin, remember that none of these strategies work like magic; they require consistent time and effort on your part. However, when you follow them closely you’ll have the traction you need to get bookkeeping clients.

Step 1: Prepare, Prepare, and Then Prepare Some More

Before you can build out marketing lists, create social media accounts, buy billboards, or any of that other jazz, you have to: 

  1. Niche down
  2. Identify your ideal customer
  3. Formulate a compelling offer 

Don’t assume you’ll be a bookkeeper for every and any business owner that needs help. Find an industry you’re interested in with businesses that are searching for support. From there, you can start identifying your ideal customer.

  • What’s their yearly revenue? 
  • How big is their business? 
  • How involved do they want their bookkeeper to be? 
  • What kind of services do they need most?

That last question will help you create a compelling offer. Present services that your ideal clients need, don’t try to work too far outside of the box otherwise business owners won’t be interested. 

Step 2: Help Customers Find You

There are a variety of ways you can get your ideal customers to find you. Below are the ways I find most helpful:

1. Get listed in relevant directories.

Some common directories include:

  • Xero Advisor Directory
  • Quickbooks Pro Advisor Directory
  • Gusto Partner Directory
  • A2X Directory

These directories allow you to reach motivated prospects already seeking your services. When you list, make sure your listing is optimized for your niche and ideal customers. Speak directly to the people you want to work with.

2. Optimize your social media profiles.

If you have yet to jump on the social media bandwagon, participation is all but mandatory. You can capitalize on this by:

  • Sharing valuable content
  • Communicating with your target audience online
  • Purchasing ads to promote your services

The great thing about social media marketing is that it works with virtually any budget and is incredibly targeted. If you’re not sure where to start, select one of the following platforms and focus on getting good at it, then work on incorporating another platform. 

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • Threads

3. Optimize your website (if you have one).

All of your messaging should relate back to your ideal client and their pain points. Do a bit of keyword research to find what they are searching for and incorporate those terms into your website. 

Try not to leave any questions unanswered and have multiple locations on your website available for them to claim your offer. 

4. Get listed on marketplaces that connect businesses with bookkeepers.

Online marketplaces like Upwork, Paro, etc. are great ways to land those first few clients when starting out. It also lets you get testimonials that you can leverage down the road as social proof. 

5. Get started with paid advertising. 

Paid online advertising strategies include tactics such as:

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  • Social media ads
  • Banner ads
  • Ad retargeting
  • Geofencing

Traditional advertising strategies include:

  • Direct mail
  • Print media
  • Signage and banners

Marketing isn’t everyone's forte, so if you have questions, I recommend reaching out to a professional who specializes in paid advertising to help you get started.

Step 3: Go Where Your Customers Are

1. Business networking

Socializing in person is still a great way to create a successful network. Some great

places to network are:

  • Local Chamber of Commerce events
  • Civic organization events such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, Moose, and Lions
  • Networking clubs such as BNI, Young Entrepreneurs Council, and Women in Business
  • Industry-specific trade shows and events
  • Local trade associations and meet-up events

To find all sorts of networking events near you, check out Meetup

Start by figuring out where your business seems to“fit” and join an organization or two that you are excited about. 

If you’re not much for in-person networking, join online communities (Facebook Groups and forums) and give value to the members of the group. It’s a great way to network behind a screen.

Remember, like anything else, the more time and effort you put into networking, the

more you will get out of it.

2. Host Bookkeeping Workshops

Hosting bookkeeping workshops can be done in person or virtually. These are great, low-cost ways to build credibility and trust with prospective clients. The best part is, that the people who attend are actually interested in what you have to say. 

3. Volunteer with Your Local SCORE Chapter

SCORE, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground,

grow, and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. 

As a SCORE Volunteer with your local SCORE chapter, you’ll provide business mentoring and education to business owners and entrepreneurs in your local community. You’ll:

  • Support local entrepreneurs
  • Network and build new relationships
  • Build deeper connections in your local community
  • Expand your business reputation and credibility locally
  • Leave a lasting impact on your local business community

4. Build Strategic Alliances

Align yourself with other businesses and advisors that serve small businesses in your community. This is a great way to send business back and forth. Some examples include: 

  • Bankers
  • Law firms
  • Financial planners
  • Insurance agents
  • CPA firms

5. Monitor Job Boards

Monitoring job boards is a low-cost/no-cost tactic that allows you to reach out to local businesses looking to hire bookkeepers/accountants and see if they are open to outsourcing this function.

6. Ask for Referrals

Referrals are the lowest cost and best quality lead you can get! The key here is to ASK for the referral. Clients don’t always realize you’re looking to grow your business too. If your clients love what you do for them, you’re likely to get some quality referrals!

7. Content Marketing

Content marketing includes blogs, social media, case studies, guides, and well, really anything that includes content. It’s great for SEO purposes, establishing yourself as a thought leader in the industry, and keeping your bookkeeping business top-of-mind. 

DIY content marketing is an option, but it can be time-consuming, so outsourcing can also be an effective route. 

8. Build and Optimize Your Email List

These are direct contacts of people who are or may be interested in your services. Make it easy to sign up and stay consistent when sending emails, this will help you stay top-of-mind.

Remember it is OK to remove people from your email list. If they haven’t opened an email from you in over a year, replace them with someone who will.

Need Help Getting Bookkeeping Clients?

Getting bookkeeping clients can feel like a tall order when you’re trying to build traction for your business. That’s why, as a bookkeeping business coach, I help my clients with EVERYTHING explained above. Whether it’s getting connected in online forums or building out your email list, you won’t have to do it alone. 

You can rest easy on the guidance I provide and feel confident that those first few clients are right around the corner. Visit the Bookkeepers Ignite website to learn more!

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