Most firms work hard to craft the perfect marketing message. Then they build elaborate marketing strategies designed to get the message to the right people. Sometimes, however, the message is not in alignment with the total picture.
When you are trying to build a micro-niche business around your unique expertise in a specialized area of practice, everything you do and say should present a consistent and aligned picture of you and your expertise. You might ask, “If my business is built around me and my micro-niche expertise, how could it not be in alignment?”
I was approached by a firm in need of LinkedIn training a few weeks ago. They wanted The Practice Building Team to provide training in the use of LinkedIn for branding and marketing, as well as professional networking. Part of my preparation for the first meeting was to review their website, their LinkedIn profile and other things available online. I also reviewed their basic marketing documents – key marketing messages, positioning and differentiation, company overviews, services brochures, etc.
Most people with an interest in effective marketing in today’s environment will tell you very quickly that content is important and that you need to produce content for your website and other outlets about your business. As a result, many people are now writing blogs.
Blogging is an excellent content delivery platform and writing blogs is a good content delivery strategy. The first rule of blogging is to have a focused subject. The second rule is to know your audience and write for them. Ordinarily, when someone decides to write a blog, s/he decides to write about a particular subject area in which s/he is knowledgeable.
I have recently had an accountant ask me why we needed to talk about micro-niches. He believes accounting niches are adequate to distinguish accountants in any town or city. I disagree.
Your opinion might align with the accountant or with me. So, my final request for your help with research this month.
My mind is still on the lack of differentiation between accounting firms. Here is another example I believe you will find in most U.S. cities.
Let’s assume that I own a very successful business. My company produces and distributes American made (from American raw materials) products and toys for children. I have been located in part of the country with very definite (and sometimes dangerous) weather patterns. I have decided to move to your state and city. I want to take advantage of any incentives for new businesses that might be available. I need to find an accountant in your city.
Do you stand apart from the competition, or are you part of the pack? Do you see yourself as an expert with a specific and loyal clientele? Is this how your clients perceive you? More important, is this how potential clients see you? Have you successfully differentiated your practice specialty from all of the other CPAs in town?
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan in this time of crisis. We can only empathize with the families of those who have perished or been lost so tragically.
The recent double tragedy in Japan appears to be spawning yet another crisis. Clearly, Japan’s preparedness for earthquake survival paid off in spades. Surprisingly, only a few structures were damaged by the earthquake. Unfortunately, the preparations for a tsunami were inadequate in this event. Clearly, no one anticipated the effect of the earthquake and the tsunami on the nuclear power plants.
The arena for the business development race has changed in recent years. It is no longer about winning the race to place your advertisement on page 3 of the leading magazine or journal of your profession. Today, the race is to provide the content that offers the best answers to the questions of potential clients and demonstrates not only that you understand their needs, but also that you have anticipated their needs.
CPAs already know the difficulty of differentiating your firm from your competitors. Chances are very good that if you listed all of your local competitors, you would discover that all of the firms (including yours) offer essentially the same services. What is more, you all list specialization in many of the same niches (tax and audit, small business, estates and trusts).
Yesterday, I went to a new dentist for the first time. They have very high-tech equipment. They discovered that I needed a more extensive cleaning than normal. It was a very easy sale because they showed me the problem. They checked with my insurance company and came back with a piece of paper. They said, “Here’s the cost, here’s what your insurance will pay, and here is your cost. We ask that you pay half of your responsibility when you schedule.”
Busy season is no time to be worrying about your staff’s productivity. You need to know that every member of the team is working at peak capacity and productivity. Making that happen depends on you to some extent.
You set the tone for the office. A time when you are feeling grumpy or overwhelmed is not the best time to try to give your team a pep talk.