Find ideal clients with outbound marketing

In marketing there’s a lot of talk about the trade-off between inbound and outbound marketing, and how useful they are for accountants. Both play an important role in a successful marketing plan, so it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how they work and what the differences are.

Outbound marketing refers to marketing that we tend to think of as traditional marketing. It involves pushing messages ‘out’ to potential customers. You proactively reach out to customers knowing some of them will be interested in your business and become a client.

Outbound marketing activities include ads in magazines or search engines, taking part in trade shows and seminars, calling potential clients, sending emails, or contacting leads directly inside social media such as LinkedIn.

With outbound marketing, you’re sending a message out to people to bring them to you.

This is compared with inbound marketing, where you create content and spread messages on social media that build interest in your business or services so that people contact you first (such as visit your website and then sign up).

For more information on inbound marketing, see the guides on creating expert content to grow your audience, building an online community, and building a database of marketing leads.

Benefits of outbound marketing

People use outbound marketing because it can be effective when used strategically. Among the things that it does includes:

  • Promotes brand awareness
  • Reaches people who may not have heard of your business before
  • Generates new business
  • Encourages people interested in your services to take action right away
  • Feels familiar because people know they will receive outbound marketing communications
  • Enables you to reach a wide audience with a general message

Use outbound marketing effectively

Before you can market your business you need to know who your target market is, so you can focus your efforts. To build a profile of your ideal customer:

  • Create a demographic for your target market. Who are the people most likely to use your services and what do they have in common? Do they work in a particular industry? Do they typically have a certain position in a company? Are your ideal clients making a certain income? Do they have similar pain points? Keep in mind how they think of themselves, as well. You may refer to them as a high-net-worth individual but do they? Use the phrasing they use to describe themselves.
  • Find out where they go online. Is there specific social media they use? Do they like watching videos or prefer reading articles?
  • Explore how your target clients make their purchasing decisions. Do they conduct a lot of research before they decide to work with someone? Where do they go to conduct their research? What marketing efforts tend to engage them? Do you have existing information about which of your marketing efforts have worked better?
  • Research their main pain points so you can better understand and convey your value. What is it about their accounting or finances that keeps them up at night? What specific problems do they face? How do your services help them with that?

Decide what outcomes you want

While advertising is used to build sales, it can be effective for many other purposes, such as:

  • Establishing your reputation as an expert or market leader
  • Building brand awareness for your services
  • Affecting customer perceptions of your services
  • Alerting clients to a special offer or providing important reminders

Types of outbound marketing

Advertising is a traditional way to reach out to potential customers and build brand awareness. Among the common types of advertising:

  • Print advertising even in a digital world can be effective for some prospects. Think  newspapers, magazines, brochures, and fliers
  • Online platforms, such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, including banner ads and embedded videos
  • Outdoor advertising, such as billboards, signs or event sponsorships
  • Broadcast advertising such as television, radio, webinars and podcasts

To successfully advertise, make sure you use the channel and publication that your clients go to when they need information. If your clients are all hospitality businesses, find hospitality publications and purchase ad space in some. If they tend to listen to podcasts, consider purchasing ad time on an industry podcast.

If you serve clients in a specific industry, consider attending trade shows or speaking at industry seminars. Hosting a booth at a trade show gives you the opportunity to meet many potential clients in a short time, which can greatly increase awareness of your accounting firm.

p>Speaking at conferences or hosting industry events can also get your name in front of potential clients. Prepare a presentation that addresses their pain points. Seminars are great because they’re repeatable. You can host similar seminars at a variety of events, and the more speaking you do the more people will view you as an expert

Messages, either email or direct messages on LinkedIn, can be effective at engaging prospective clients.

  • Identify people you want to work with and find their contact details
  • Send them a personal message from your email (not from an info@businessnamehere or a bulk email provider like MailChimp because you don’t yet have their permission to reach out) describing who you are and how you’ve helped people like them
  • Include a short case study as evidence of the work you’ve done if you have one
  • Close the email with a call to action encouraging them to get in touch with you

If you send an email, introduce your firm and be clear on how the recipient could benefit from working with you. Show why they should book a meeting and why they should consider your firm. Keep the email short and simple.

See the email templates for outbound marketing for emails you can send to potential clients.

Google Ads can be effective, but it’s vital you have an engaging website or lead magnet to link the ads to. With Google Ads you will likely see an increase in traffic to your website, giving you the opportunity to convert visitors into clients, so make sure your website is attractive, clearly states what you do and who you help, is easy to navigate and includes a compelling call to action.

For more information on effective accounting websites, see the guides on turning website visitors into leads and attracting visitors to accounting websites.

If you enjoy meeting people face-to-face, going to or hosting networking events is another great way to market yourself. You’ll get to know other people and have the opportunity to talk about what you do and who you help.

To network more effectively:

  • Rather than asking the people you meet if they need an accountant, ask them to pass on your name if they know of anyone who needs an accountant. It’s a less aggressive ask, but it still gives them an opportunity to consider their need
  • At the same time, ask them who their ideal clients are and what services they provide. Let them know you’ll be happy to forward their name if you know of anyone looking for their services
  • Focus on connecting with them, rather than selling to them. Ask what they do so you can refer clients to them, but also ask deeper questions such as what they love about what they do, or what interesting trends they’ve noticed in their industry. This gives you the opportunity to get to know them better and can lead to further engagement

Set up an outbound marketing strategy

After identifying your ideal clients and deciding on the best method of reaching out, you’ll need to develop your plan. To do so:

  • Set your targets and goals, including a timeframe for achieving them
  • Determine your budget so you know how much you can spend on your strategy
  • Double check that your website is up-to-date, clear and easy to navigate
  • Schedule time to conduct an analysis of your efforts, so you know what is and isn’t working for you

Follow-up to determine what worked

Choose the marketing tactics that you feel fit your company and are likely to engage your ideal clients. Start with one or two at first. Once you’re comfortable with them and have studied the results, move on to others.

It’s important to know what worked well so you can focus your efforts on those tactics. When new clients come in, ask them how they heard about you and make a note of it. Use analytics to determine who visits your website, how they found you and how many website visitors become clients. Google Analytics can be helpful in understanding how visitors interact with your website.

Related resources

Ready to get started? Use these outbound email templates to reach out to potential clients today!

Final thoughts

Outbound marketing can play a significant role in a successful marketing strategy. By understanding your target market, using tactics that engage your ideal customers and examining the results, you can effectively use outbound marketing to engage your ideal prospects.