Accounting Niche Marketing - Why Specialists Command Higher Fees
Most accounting firms position their business to meet everyone’s needs in an effort to capture more business. Their rationale is that the broader I position my accounting services, the bigger the business I will develop.
The reality is just the opposite. The truth is when you try to market to everyone you end up marketing to no one. By positioning your accounting and tax services to everyone, you end up competing against every firm in the area that claims to do what you do. When this happens, price becomes a larger factor because you have not effectively differentiated your services.
Over the past ten years, accounting niche marketing has become bigger and bigger across all industries. With a niche service or industry in your accounting practice, it allows you to leverage your expertise in that one area to stand out from your competition. This differentiation not only allows you to stand out but it also minimizes competition and allows you to realize higher fees.
Develop a Niche for Your Accounting Firm
When you become known for a particular niche, the following things happen:
Your marketing efforts become more focused: When you establish an accounting niche, the pool of people you're targeting becoming smaller. This means it's going to be a lot easier to identify who your potential clients are and allows you to be more targeted with your marketing.
You become superior at meeting the needs of this niche : The more you work in a certain niche, the easier it'll be for you. You'll become very well-versed in helping this particular kind of client which will simplify your job.
Your conversion ratio increases : When a potential client sees you excel at providing services for their industry or needs, it'll become increasingly easy to close potential clients.
Your referrals increase: Since a niche is going to allow you to be super clear about what you do and and who you work with, it'll make it even easier for current clients to refer clients to you. As you continue to build up trust in your niche and got more visibility and credibility, referrals will be more frequent.
You can command higher pricing: Less competition means you don't have to compete on price. But, a niche also means you're providing a more specialized service that's more custom and sought after, allowing you command higher pricing.
To give you some analogies, look at physicians. The specialists have a much narrower target audience than general practitioners (GP’s). The GP’s have long-term relationships with patients and refer business to specialists. However, the specialists make much more money than GP’s.
The same concept applies to accounting firms. If you continue to be all things to all people and take whatever new business comes in over the transom, then it will be more challenging to process each client, your costs to service each client will be higher, and you will be competing on price more often. Rather than being just a generalist, take a page out of Henry Ford’s book and become better at servicing a segment of the market. And as Henry used to say, “any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”
In working with accounting firms around the country and encouraging them to develop niches, we had the opportunity to encourage several accounting firms to develop a niche which attracts clients from a broader geographic area by leveraging the power of the internet in conjunction with other forms of marketing. Below are a few examples of niche accounting services that are helping to attract a specific audience:
If your accounting practice is spread too thin and you’re tired of competing on price, then start developing a niche for your practice. Research your market to determine which industry might be underserved and develop a plan to capture them. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, get assistance from a coach or peer that has made this transition.
Granted, you’ll still have generalist type clients to pay the bills. But going forward, your direction will be much more focused and you will become superior in your niche.
Hugh Duffy Bio
Hugh Duffy is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Build Your Firm, a leading practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry. Build Your Firm works with small accounting firms providing accounting marketing, practice management and website development services. Hugh has thirty years of marketing experience and holds an MBA degree in Marketing from the University of Rochester.