Monday, January 26, 2009

Closing Deals by Hosting Seminars

Chris Perrino, Principal, Business Development, Barnes Dennig & Co., recently presented this program at the AICPA Accounting Firm Marketing Forum. He knows what he's talking about since Barnes Dennig hosts about 18 events per year. Their seminars are free. The goal of these events is to make client/prospect relationship development easier.

The three critical parts of seminar success - topic, topic, topic. The title needs to be honed, the speaker needs to be honed, and the topic choices should demonstrate your firm's industry expertise. Here are a few sample winning topics:

  • Economic Reality for Manufacturers
  • Rich Contractor, Poor Contractor: Pricing for Profits & What Makes a Good Contractor
  • Building and Engaging Your Dream Board
  • Tax Reduction Strategies for Developers

Here are a few other tips for seminar success:

  • Entertaining speakers outscore those with better content.
  • Send a "Save the Date" 6-8 weeks prior.
  • Send weekly e-mail reminders starting one month prior.
  • Expect 20% to 30% no shows.
  • Consider holding seminars at not-for-profit client locations, e.g., museum.
  • Do not hold seminars on Mondays or Fridays.
  • Barnes Dennig's contractor seminars are hold at lunchtime, all others at breakfast.
  • Consider co-sponsoring your seminar with a law firm or bank. Barnes Dennig hosts four seminars featuring "celebrity" speakers that are co-sponsored.
  • Invite clients to have lunch with the celebrity speaker after the seminar.
  • Follow up consistently.

What I've learned so far is that seminars can be an excellent source of new business. It is a face-to-face marketing tactic that demonstrates your firm's knowledge and expertise. Chris' final thought was that hosting seminars takes a lot of time, money, and patience. He's right, and that investment can deliver quite a return for your firm when implemented correctly.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Maximizing Marketing Communications

Mitch Reno, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, The Rehmann Group, presented "Top 10 Ways to Maximize Collateral!" at last week's AICPA Accounting Firm Marketing Forum. Mitch was his usual entertaining self and provided us with a scorecard (below) and many examples.
  • Select and Segment Audience (5 points) - REACH, correct profile, psychographic and demographic understanding
  • Lead with a Headline (10 points) - USP, questions, emotion, humor, attention grabbing
  • Create Arresting Visuals (15 points) - Use of color, size, unique images, brand building continuity
  • Devise Clever Copy (15 points) - Relevant, clear & concise, easy to read, on point, actionable
  • Add Dimension (5 points) - Pop-up and cut outs, 3D, and interactive
  • Repeat and Touch Again (10 points) - Frequency, repeat content, create repetition within and across vehicles
  • Call to Action (5 points) - Next step, easy to find and act
  • Integrate MarCom Approaches (10 points) - PR, direct mail, events, electronic, broadcast, etc.
  • Electrify Pathways (10 points) - Linked to emarketing, captures email, self-guided education reach
  • Track Results and ROI (15 points) - Track and measure the impact of every investment

How do your collateral materials measure up?

Monday, January 19, 2009

AICPA Accounting Firm Marketing Forum '09

The Annual AICPA Accounting Firm Marketing Forum was held on January 15-16, 2009 in New York City. Walter Timoshenko, CMO, Weiser LLP and Sally Glick, CMO, Sobel & Company once again put together a fabulous program, this year focused on the theme of communication. Topics ranged from branding to collateral to events to crisis communications to social media to integrating all of these components.

I'll be sharing what I learned over the next week. For now I thought it would be fun for you to hear about the best ideas from the perspective of the participants. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management

Capstone Marketing continues its research with Bay Street Group about the Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management. Be a part of the study and receive a free copy of the results! Here are the links to all of the active surveys:

Job Satisfaction and Staff Development:

Tech Savvy:

Client Service, Satisfaction and Expectations:

Marketing and Business Development: