Digital marketing transformation can boost firms' profit margins amid inflation – Accounting Today

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Even before COVID-19, savvy marketers noticed a discernible pattern in buyers’ behavior. Relationships alone no longer drive the decision to sign with a firm. Now, B2B buyers conduct extensive online research before reaching out to a business.
This new reality makes it more important than ever for accounting and financial services firms to be visible where prospects are looking for insight and help.
Research has given us special insight into the practices of the fastest growing and most profitable CPA firms. In this article, I’ll share how digital marketing can increase leads and your bottom line.
What is a digital marketing transformation?
Digital marketing transformation is the reimagination of the marketing and business development functions for the digital age. With digital marketing, a firm can target audiences quickly and cost-effectively. Typical channels include websites, email marketing, social media, webinars and video. A digital marketing strategy is one part of a firm’s overall plan to generate leads for business development.
Many digital marketing projects are aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of new client acquisition by responding to changes in clients’ buying behavior. Others develop new products and services offerings, new pricing models, or improvements in the client experience.
Digital techniques have the advantage of expanded reach, lower costs, and the ability to pivot easily if needed. But be warned: Ensure you have the talent on staff before you start. Don’t be afraid to outsource for a successful launch.
The results speak for themselves
Can you achieve your firm’s goals through digital transformation? Hinge’s digital transformation study found that many professional service firms are enjoying great success:

These numbers are even more impressive when you put them in proper context. These results include all firms completing a digital transformation, not just the “successful” ones.
Three types of transformations to consider
Wondering where to start? Here are three types of digital transformations to consider:
1. Leverage the power of digital marketing. Over the course of the pandemic, many professional services firms noticed a declining return on investment with traditional marketing techniques.
Print advertising and conferences do not drive new business as they once did. Instead, prospects are looking at your firm online. Be sure to give them the information and the experience they expect and need to increase revenue.
Every traditional marketing technique has a digital counterpart. Face-to-face meetings can be shifted to social media. Webinars can replace the need to attend many conferences and industry events. Websites can showcase your firm and offer prospective clients an inside view of what it’s like to work with you. Created content hosted on your site and posted on social media channels will raise the visibility and authority of your firm.
2. Develop digital products. During the pandemic, many buyers looked for digital services to meet their accounting needs. Developing new online products, or pricing models, can drive new business.
As you deliver these services, keep in mind that clients today demand a seamless customer experience. They want simple access to all their information, and intuitive navigation so they can find the services they need. Make it easy for your client to use your digital platforms and they will come back for more.
Online services will never replace the expertise of a dedicated account rep and the relationships they form with long-time clients. However, online services can introduce your firm to a wider audience. If your digital experience is easy to use, these new clients will turn to your firm as their needs expand and change.
3. Develop a digital pipeline. You can drive business development with a digital pipeline — where leads are generated and nurtured, opportunities identified and qualified, and new clients closed through digital techniques.
Wouldn’t it be easier if your prospects came to you? At Hinge, we receive over 85% of our leads through inbound techniques, including thought leadership campaigns and created content. Because these leads are responding to our work and our way of thinking, they are “self-qualifying,” which makes them easy to close.
What insights could your principals offer clients and prospects?
A final thought
The question your firm faces is no longer should you use digital marketing, but how to do it well.
Digital marketing often generates a greater ROI. You can measure metrics and engagement and quickly pivot to more creative solutions that help you stand apart from your competitors.
It’s easy to make a strong case for using advanced digital techniques. And making the case is often the first step in a successful transformation.