Automation (AI) will displace jobs in the accounting and bookkeeping sector; sadly our education system (including Certificate IV and legacy commerce degrees) can’t teach everyone to be smarter than robots when it comes to replicable activities. Yet, people, not machines, will always remain the trusted advisors for business owners. The missing link is marketing, which, in the words of one bookkeeping firm is “a huge hole”. Bookkeepers are expert at helping business owners maintain their books and read financial statements, but marketing does not come easy. Very few firms would deny the need to build a pipeline of high-paying work that holds up over time. The disconnect lies in the mindset: firm owners need to invest in marketing; they also need to embrace the mindset that they are a salesperson.

You’re a business owner too

You/re running a business, and businesses need marketing. If you look around at the marketing ‘machines’ in the sector – the franchise systems like ‘Jims’, platforms like ServiceSeeking and networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. It is easier than ever to get in contact with people. Embedding yourself in the industry you want to service is one of the savviest ways to build a business – and the most effective way to find out what your potential client need.

It’s a mantra, it’s also a marketing strategy: know your niche, know the community and get ingrained in that community. While professional associations may deliver CPE credits they cannot deliver the kind of connections that produce prospects for your services. Specific industry conferences may seem like an out-of-box experience, but can be the best way to meet new clients fast.

The follow through

It’s one thing to attend an event and present your credentials, but it’s another to follow through. That’s a cornerstone of marketing. Those relationships need to be nurtured by articles, tips, or a call up at a later date. The referral is the advanced version of a follow-up, and another element of an effective marketing strategy. Ask the happy client, “Do you know of anyone else who may need my services?”

Marketing is not an abstract word when you consider it in its most simple form.