Welcome to the first in an occasional series in which we ask business owners and entrepreneurs how they promote their business. Our first subject is Annette Ferguson, the founder of Richmond accountants Superaccountant.
She founded her business back in 2009 and now works with about 80 clients across the country offering accountancy and book-keeping (and she is our accountant!).
She takes a twenty-first century approach to accounting – modern and nimble. Her team work remotely and she encourages her clients to use the cloud for their accounts, making the exchange of information as simple and painless as possible.
As you might expect her approach to marketing and PR is also 21st century.
She doesn’t employ a PR agency so she does her own marketing and creates most of the content herself. She has found the best way to spread the word about her services is to use social media, primarily Twitter and Facebook.
When she first started the business five years ago, she did a lot of local networking, getting out and about to make her face known, but found that didn’t necessarily work very well for her.
“After about a year and a half of eating a lot of meals out, I got a bit fed up and disillusioned. It took up a lot of time, and I kept meeting the same people – which is of course the point. But many of them were never going to buy from me because they already had an accountant, so it became just like going out with friends. So I decided to move my networking online.
“I found Twitter and Facebook were a great way for me to show who I was as a person – after all, people buy from people. Now, 99.99% of her marketing is done online.”
She enjoys using Twitter and Facebook and with the latter uses a mixture of organic content and adverts. Content includes accountancy and business news updates, blogs, inspirational picture quotes and lead magnets such as free ebooks, reports and webinars to drive people to her website and help build her list. So far she has over 1,350 likes of Facebook and 2,500 followers on Twitter.
One social media network she hasn’t really exploited is Linked In.
“I find it a bit clunky, and in truth it’s not a network I really enjoy using, and if I find it a chore, that probably comes across.”
Annette also has a Youtube channel with a range of simple short advice videos which she creates herself about everything from the Secrets of Business Maths to What Sewing and Business Have in Common, and from time to time she sends out a printed newsletter.
“They are all aimed at small businesses, but are not all tax and accounting related. Showing your expertise and positioning yourself as an expert links everything I do, from blog posts to podcasting. I’m trying to build a tribe of people.”
Not surprisingly for an accountant, Annette keeps a close track on which of her marketing strategies is most successful. Each piece has a tracking number on it, so she can track which lead to the most inquiries.
At the moment, she isn’t trying to secure coverage in traditional media – that’s her next step I definitely see the value of traditional media. They say people need to see you seven times before you buy, and people absorb information in different ways so I need to get the print dot joined.”