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A Better Marketing Mousetrap to Acquire Clients

Morgan CPAsMorgan & Morgan CPAs has a straightforward slogan – "We make your life less taxing." The same principle can be attached to our approach to marketing the firm. We strive to build a better online "mousetrap" that brings prospects to our doorstep and significantly shrinks our sales funnel. Following this idea has allowed us to grow the firm by 23 percent in the past year.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Morgan & Morgan is a family-owned practice offering strategic tax and assurance services to more than 400 individual and corporate clients. With the exception of myself and one other employee, the remainder of our seven staff members work from home. Our ideal clients are restaurants, chiropractors, salons and property management companies. This has been a huge help in our marketing efforts as we know exactly what types of businesses we work well with.

I prefer not to spend a large amount of time "chasing" prospects. My goal is to pick up clients because they call me – not the other way around. Here's how I accomplish this.

Plan and Organize
Everything starts with a marketing strategy and a plan for how you will execute on it. These strategies and plans can be extreme, or they can be simple. But you have to have both. I have a checklist that I use daily that incorporates marketing efforts into my regular work routine. I find that if you don't put 20 percent of your time towards marketing your firm each day, then the tasks at hand become overwhelming and new client acquisition becomes that much more daunting.

Build a Sticky Website
Our firm uses quality content – think blog posts and resources that are extremely relevant to our target prospects – to attract online visitors and move them from prospects to clients.

I consider our website the "front door" for our marketing efforts. As such, I have to make sure it has everything a prospect would be interested in to attract strong leads. I regularly author resource-oriented blog posts that are populated with search terms my prospects would use to find an accountant. The website also features a resource center that offers calculators, a refund tracker, testimonials and important forms. All of these help contribute to the firm's credibility and virtual footprint, as well as SEO (search engine optimization) that helps navigate new prospects to our website. Finally, the website showcases the industries and services my firm specializes in and features a dedicated web page for each, which help personalize the experience for prospects and simultaneously show that we truly understand the nuances of their respective industry.

Once visitors are on my site, they also find a bevy of information that explains what the firm does, what we believe in and who we are. This includes videos, photos and bios. Our service packages are clearly outlined online with information on what each level entails and the associated costs. By the time a prospect calls, that individual has 99 percent of the information needed to become a client.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As mentioned earlier, a big component of building a better inbound marketing-focused website is search engine optimization. You can have the best content in the world, but if it doesn't include keywords or strings of keywords that your prospects would use to find an accounting firm, then it won't convert for you.

Our website acts almost like a utility, with enhanced functionality that increases the number and length of visits. We don't just want a website – we want an experience. With this in mind, we give prospects the opportunity to accomplish things such as getting their credit report or prequalifying for a mortgage payment.

A large part of offering these conveniences to clients hinges on adopting the right technology. For example, with my new clients can easily access, review and approve payment for bills from any computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. They don't have to chase down invoices or contracts because they are hosted within and available on demand.

Supplemental Marketing Activities
While our inbound marketing brings us a majority of our clients, we still supplement this flow in more traditional ways. I often present at seminars or conferences targeted toward our ideal industry prospects. Also, I automatically add a tagline to all my emails: "Thank you in advance for trusting us with your referrals." This encourages any recipient to think of Morgan & Morgan CPAs when a colleague asks for a referral. The firm is also active on social media, where we share our content and link back to our website.

The firm's marketing strategy and plan is not 100-percent optimized just yet. There's always room to reassess and recalibrate. But I would much rather answer a phone call and on-board a client in 10 minutes than spend hours tracking down one prospect.


Hugh Duffy MBA

Hugh Duffy is co-founder and chief marketing officer for Build Your Firm, a leading practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry.  Based in Madison, Conn., Build Your Firm works with small accounting firms providing accounting marketing, practice management and Web site development services

Prior to co-founding Build Your Firm in 2003, Hugh was a Vice President of Internet Marketing for Business & Legal Reports (BLR), a business-to-business publisher for small and medium sized businesses.  Prior to BLR, Hugh was a Director with a publicly traded global internet media company, 24/7 Real Media responsible for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships.  The foundation of Hugh’s marketing background is fourteen years of consumer packaged goods marketing with Schick, Nabisco, Clorox and Coca-Cola. 

Hugh has 25 years of marketing experience, an MBA degree in marketing from the University of Rochester and a B.S. in finance from the University of Maryland.  While at Maryland, Hugh was on a golf scholarship and his coach was Fred Funk, PGA Tour player.  Today, Hugh’s golf game suffers and he is content watching his two kids play college lacrosse.

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