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Beyond Networking – The 6 Step DIY Gameplan To Double Your Bookkeeping Client List In 90 Days.

Hello, and welcome! My name is John Detlefs and I’ll be your host through what is probably going to be the longest post you’ve ever read in your life.

The cool thing about everything in here though, is it’s not just theory. This gameplan works, and has been tested and proven. We use it for our own marketing, and we use it for our client’s marketing.

One thing I can promise, if you implement everything below, it’ll work for you too.

So that said, gird your loins for war, and dig in!

-Double Your client list in 90 days!-

1 . Pick your target market

  • 1

    Specialise, and pick your target market

    It's easy to say you're targeting "small business" or "business owners" but in reality a great marketing campaign gets a lot more detailed than that. You've gotta drill deeper!

With every client this is our first port of call, and it never fails to create a teeny bit of a meltdown. I’ll get to that in a bit, but first let’s go through the rationale.

Imagine you have a tax problem and the ATO/IRS (or whatever department manages tax in your country) decides to take you to court. Next, imagine you have two possible people who can help you: one is a general lawyer, and the other is a taxation lawyer.

Which one are you going to call first? It’s a no brainer, right? You’re going to call the taxation lawyer because they’re a specialist in solving your particular problem!

Funny thing is, the general lawyer may well be a tax law genius, but it doesn’t matter. We’re trained as people to believe the more specialised a person’s title is, the better they must be at their job.

“But wait!” I hear you cry!

“Won’t I lose everybody outside my target market?”

There’s two things to look at here.

First, if you had that many prospects flooding in chewing up all your mobile phone minutes, then you wouldn’t be reading this post about how to improve your marketing.

Second, as your reputation grows with your target market, you’re going to get referrals anyway.

It’s just a fact that good people get talked about, and after a while you’ll start to hear “Hey, I know you generally work with {insert your target market}, but do you also work with {insert random market they want to know about}?”

So don’t get too hung up on losing market share. In the first place you can worry about it when you’re getting a tonne of calls, and in the second place you’ll get the extra work anyway.

Okay, now we’ve got past the initial freak out, it’s time to choose who your target market is going to be. My advice here is threefold:

Pick a target market that:

  1. can afford what you’d like to be paid
  2. can see the value in the services you provide

Do not, and I repeat, do NOT go for a target market that has no money. Believe me, having tried it many times, it’s a recipe for pain. You’ll just create a business where you’re overworked and underpaid, and end up hating all of your clients.

Live vicariously through my past pain - take my advice, and don’t do it.

Instead, sometimes it helps to think of your favourite client. You know the one that never hassles you, always pays on time, and raves about you to all his friends and clients?

Have a think about the industry he or she is in.. is it the person or the industry that makes them so cool? Do you happen to have an affinity with the industry so it’s easy to talk about it with clients?

Whatever you end up with doesn’t really matter.. just make sure you like the people you’re going to be working with, and they can afford your services. Everything else will take care of itself.

2. Get serious about LinkedIn

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    Get Serious About LinkedIn

    No matter how you slice it, pound for pound LinkedIn is by far the best medium for attracting B2B leads and sales. There really is no contest.

LinkedIn is hands down the best medium for getting B2B (Business 2 Business) leads and sales known to humankind.

I know that’s a big call, but I’m standing strong, and sticking with it. The value you get from a premium LinkedIn account is literally nuts. Where else can you offer to connect with literally anyone you want to, from God down to Richard Branson, and have them happily accept your request?

If you tried that sort of jazz by calling on them on the phone you wouldn’t make it past the secretary. And even if you did, their PA would fry your ass until you begged for forgiveness and hung up.

I’m not entirely sure why, I assume it’s because LinkedIn is still a relatively new playing field for most people, but there’s not as much rage on the LinkedIn network. Business people at every level are still happy to connect with complete strangers.

I mean it when I say this. Now is the time to get serious about LinkedIn, as the window will close, and early adopters will win big over the coming years.. you can never again say you weren’t warned!

So now to get practical:

  1. Get a Premium Sales Navigator Account. It’s around $80 per month, and it’s crazy worth it. Follow the steps below, and you will never, ever regret the money.
  2. Using Sales Navigator, create a custom search aimed at your target market.
  3. Write yourself a connection invitation template, saying you’re both in the same industry, and would they mind adding you to their professional network?
  4. Run the custom search, and connect with every single person you can find that fits your target market. I guarantee within 2 months you’ll have over 1000 connections, all of them a potential sale.
    (Again, I know I go on about it, but never before in the history of sales has it been so easy to get in touch with your target market, or been as effective!)
  5. Once they’ve accepted your invitation to connect, send a nice personalised message saying how nice it is to meet them by LinkedIn, talk a little bit about your services, and then tell them to have a great week!

This is building your base. Never stop doing this. Ever. One of the hidden tricks with LinkedIn is the more connections you have, the more access to new connections you get. So keep going, keep building up those connections, they’re going to be very useful later on.

3. Create your marketing funnel

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    Professionals Always Create A Killer Funnel

    A website isn't enough. In these days of extreme competition, especially as the lines between bookkeeper and accountant are blurring, you must build a sufficiently sophisticated marketing funnel.

You probably have a website. And with all due respect, I can comfortably tell you with 99% certainty, from a sales perspective, your website sucks.

Most service websites are like the nasty drunk leering guy at the pub who won’t stop looking at your boobs. All that guy can see is what he wants, and he’s not really thinking about “you” at all.

Graphic imagery I know, but tell me, does your website basically say “HEY! I’M A BOOKKEEPER.. PLEASE PLEASE HIRE ME! FOR THE LOVE OF BUDDHA, I SWEAR I’M A GOOD WORKER!”?

Marketing is all about the art of seduction, and your website has to be an embodiment of this.

  • i

    Offer Something Valuable In Exchange For An Email Address

So we’re going to start off slow.. maybe.. “Hey, couldn’t help but notice you’re here, can I buy you a drink?”. (and no, I was never very good at picking up in bars)

Offer something for free, like a genuinely useful report or checklist that’ll be helpful to your target market. It’s got to be truly useful and desirable though, otherwise it won’t work.

And while you’re giving away free stuff, why not get their email in return? Assuming you’re offering something of value, most people will be happy to make the trade.

With an email address, you can get in contact whenever you like, offering up great reasons why, when they’re ready, you’re the go-to accountant or bookkeeper for their business.

  • ii

    Create a low ticket item you can sell your email list on

A lot of people balk at this, but if you’re truly the professional you say you are, then you have a stack of info your target market doesn’t, and that info can be turned into a product.

Great options include a 50 point tax deductions checklist, or 20 ways to minimise your tax this year, 60 ways to increase cash-flow, drop overheads, or any one of the million possibilities out there. Just remember, target this little intro product specifically to your target market. That’ll make ‘em feel special, and they’ll be more likely to take up the offer.

Once you’ve come up with your product, whack it in Word or Powerpoint, brand the bejeezus out of it, and save as a pdf. Do this for your freebie as well, but this one should be more valuable.

Now create a simple sales page selling the product, and whenever someone signs up for the freebie, redirect them through to your offer.

The technical side of exactly how to do all this is beyond the scope of this post, but a couple of useful resources are Optimizepress and X-Theme. Both rock, let you build sales pages, are relatively cheap, and work on WordPress.

If the last paragraph feels to you like it was written in a foreign language, then click here

  1. Offer one hour of your time to offer your expertise

People struggle with this one, but I promise you it’s true. If you are the professional you say you are, then your time is worth money, and you should never give it away for free.

So the next step is to create a sales page offering 1 hour of your time for $150, or whatever your hourly rate is. Don’t make it too cheap or it won’t have value, and you’ll undermine the whole “expert” thing you’ve got going on.

There are a couple of benefits to doing this. The first is that you’ll never again have to spend hours on the phone offering free advice in the hopes that someone will hire you.

The second is no-one will pay you for your consulting time unless they think you’re a bit of an expert. So you’re already a bit of a rockstar in their eyes. And deep down, even though you’re both on the call for “advice”, the client is hoping you’re the magic person who can do it all for them and take away their bookkeeping pain.

So always, repeat, always finish off a consulting call by offering a solution where they pay you to do their bookkeeping on a permanent basis. Always!

  1. Sell ‘em the whole package

At this stage, you’re no longer that leery guy in the pub. You’re that good looking piece of beefsteak who has done everything right, and said all right things. You may not go home together, but it’s time to put the offer on the table and take your chances.

Remember, you’ve got their email address, so you can always get in contact later.

So offer the best you’ve got. Create a sales page detailing exactly what your premium offer looks like. Include all the details, all of the costs, and of course as many testimonials from your previously happy clients as you can stuff onto the page.

By this stage it shouldn’t be too hard a sell. If your prospect has gone through all of the previous steps then they want your services, or they soon will, and really they’re just figuring out whether they can afford it.

So provide as much value for money as you can, testimonials out the wazoo, and an ironclad get-out-of-jail-free guarantee so they know if it all does goes pear shaped they have a safe exit option.

4. Create your own fishing ground with LinkedIn groups

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    Create Your Own LinkedIn Group

    Are you looking for zero competition while at the same time being regarded as an industry expert? Your own LinkedIn Group is just the ticket!

So now you have a tonne of targeted connections on LinkedIn, and a bunch of laser-focused sales pages on your website, but the two aren’t yet meeting up. Now it’s time to get into LinkedIn groups.

LinkedIn groups are another fantastic concept that not enough people are taking advantage of in a smart way. Basically, you’re going to create a group that your target market would be interested in, and then send a message to all of your connections asking them to join!

Sounds simple, because it is. And the real gem about groups is whenever you post something in the group, all of the members will be notified in their profile, and also by email. In time, and after enough repetition, if your members ever need an accountant or bookkeeper specialising in their target market, you’re the obvious choice.

Smart LinkedIn-ers who got onto this opportunity early have groups up to hundreds of thousand of members in size. Imagine if you had private access to 100,000 members of your target market? Play it smart, stick it out for the long haul, and that’s exactly where you’ll end up.

I’m often asked what the topic of the group should be, and my advice is to keep it simple. If you’re targeting Personal Trainers, then I’d go for “Personal Trainers Australia” or a derivative. If your particular skill is a source of great frustration for your target market then feel free to create a group around that.

As an example, most bookkeepers and accountants hate marketing. So, I created the Bookkeepers & Accountants Marketing Group on LinkedIn. That’s a valuable and useful topic for Bookkeepers & Accountants, and so I get new people joining up every day.

LinkedIn Groups is a long term strategy, but if you stick at it, is possibly the most powerful way to get B2B leads that I know of. Facebook groups can be just as good, but not for B2B.

5. Hero Content to drag prospects into your funnel

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    Start Building Lots Of Hero Content

    Nothing says "I know my shit" more than a really killer piece of Hero Content. Don't worry about giving away trade secrets, give away the farm and you'll be surprised at the response!

See this post you’re reading? It’s what’s called Epic or Hero Content. It offers crazy amounts of information for nothing. At 3387 words this post is practically a mini bachelor of online sales. The aim is by the end of it, you’ll be significantly more knowledgeable on marketing your bookkeeping or accounting services than you were before.

You’ve also been exposed to a hell of a lot of my branding. You’ve seen my logo. You’ve resisted several of my call-outs offering you free stuff that’s really valuable (well done Obi Wan, the force is strong in you).

By now, there is no doubt in my mind you’re aware of the fact I’m a marketing consultant who specifically works with Bookkeepers and Accountants to build up their client lists.

You also know that I know a fair bit about marketing. And, because I wrote this post myself, you also kind of know a little bit about me as a person. You know I’m a little quirky, and that I think the word “boobs” is a pretty racey word to put in a marketing post. You’re pretty sure I’m a bit of a nerd.

In short, we’re kind of friends. And that’s the power of Hero Content.

The trick here is to figure out something that presses the buttons of your target market. For bookkeeping and accounting services it’ll almost always centre on ways your specific target market can minimise tax, increase cash-flow, or run their backend accounting systems more efficiently.

Even better, it can include all of these things in the one post! Trust me, these things may seem obvious to you, but most people have no idea how to manage their business finances. Your post and your services provide real value. Your post will matter!

Remember, Epic Content provides Epic Value, and your audience will both remember you, and be grateful for your generosity.

Oh, and they take a crazy long time to write, so get started now. 🙂

6. Facebook Advertising & your Custom Audience

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    Get Into Facebook Advertising For The Win!

    You'd be surprised at how many of your LinkedIn contacts are also playing around on Facebook.. and the traffic is a lot cheaper!

Chances are you turned up to check out this post because it was being promoted in your Facebook feed or perhaps because it was promoted in the Bookkeepers & Accountants Marketing LinkedIn Group.

Either way, by landing on this page you’ve been pixeled. Don’t worry, it nothing scary, it just means Facebook has registered you’ve checked out this page, and can now be targeted with very specific advertising built with you in mind.

After the initial “Oh my god! Stalker!” reaction, I want you to take a deep breath and have a think about this. From a marketing point of view, it’s pretty cool.

The only people who find your Epic Content are going to be those who could probably do with taking advantage of your services. So it just makes sense to track who lands on the page, because they are your ideal warm leads.

And that’s your last job in the 6 part marketing plan:

Start using Facebook advertising to a) get people to your Epic Content, and b) start sending targeted marketing to those who arrive!

As an aside, Facebook Advertising is hands down the most cost effective way to advertise online that I’m aware of, with the possible exception of paid email marketing, which is well beyond the scope of even this epic post.

The best thing about Facebook is it allows you to create a custom audience, and then market specifically, and only, to that target audience.

Getting back to LinkedIn, most people don’t know it, but you have the option to download the email addresses for every single one of your connections, as a nice little Excel .csv file.

In a second piece of awesomeness that again, no-one is really aware of, you can take those contact email addresses, upload them to Facebook, and in so doing create a custom audience that you can market to!

Think about that for a moment. Once the power of this starts to hit you, you may well feel a little woozy. Sit down if you must. Once you’ve calmed down we can move on.

So now you have two jobs, and two jobs only.

  1. You want to promote your Epic Content as much as possible.
  2. You want to promote your LinkedIn Group as much as possible.

These will be the engine rooms that run your campaigns.

Every time someone lands on your Epic Content they’ll be pixeled and you can start to send targeted advertising to them via Facebook. Your custom audience will be growing, and every single person on your list is a warm prospect to work with you in the future.

Every time someone gives you their email address in return for the free goodies, make sure you send them a follow-up email that promotes your Group. And make sure you promote your Epic Post and other free goodies to everyone in your group.

The whole thing ends up being very circular, but everyone is happy because you’re offering valuable information that’s genuinely useful.

Eventually, a certain % of visitors will sign up to your free goodies, and from there they’ll enter your marketing funnel, where you’ll start to book paid consulting calls, and land more long term paid gigs.

And that’s a wrap!

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    Bonus: Bring In Outside Expertise!

    Unless you have a tonne of time on your hands, and you're willing to learn all the ins and outs, it's often a lot easier just to outsource your marketing.

At this stage your eyes are probably starting to glaze over, and your brain is heading deep into information overload. My advice right now? Bookmark this page so you’ll be able to find me again later, and go have a lie down to process.

Remember, this isn’t theory, this is a working proven process for getting more clients.

So rather than focusing on the “if”, the real question now is, how, and when, are you going to implement it for your business?

The answer depends on where your bookkeeping or accounting practice sits.

If you’re at the beginning of the game, have only a couple of clients and are cash-flow poor, then your best bet is find a community of other bookkeepers and accountants from around the world who are doing the same thing, and work side by side with them.

You can find such a community here, and here. They’re both run by me, and you’ll get fantastic value out of them.

If your business is a little more mature, and you’re at the stage where you can afford to bring in outside expertise to setup your marketing funnels for you, then feel free to pop along to here, where we offer that service!

No matter which you choose, it’s been a wild ride, was fantastic to meet you, and hopefully we’ll talk real soon. 🙂


{insert signature}

John Detlefs

Founder - Hummingbird Advertising