Marketing Ideas For Small Accounting Firms — Part One

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It’s a good idea before I begin sharing marketing ideas for small accounting firms to ask you an important question.  Click here to watch or read more information on IRS Back Taxes.

Here it is:

How successful do you want to be in your tax career?

Unsure how to answer it?

Let’s dig a little deeper then.

Imagine for a moment that you awake one morning to the sound of your doorbell ringing.

To your surprise, you open the door and find Warren Buffet standing on your front stoop. Along with a quick head nod, he shoves a notebook in your hand.

He tells you it’s a proven tactical guide on how to convert $100 into $1M in 365 days and that he wrote it just for you and it is 100% guaranteed to work if you follow every instruction to a “T”.

Warren turns to leave.

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Stopping, he puts his hand into his pocket and fishes out a $100 bill, turns back and hands it to you and says, “There, I almost forgot to give you that. See how far you can get with it. Good luck.”

Then he’s gone.

So, what’s your next step?

If you’re like most people I ask that question to, you would get to work following Warren’s tactics.

Why wouldn’t you?

You have three things working in your favor at that point.

  • Warren Buffet’s Assurance
  • Warren Buffet’s Specific Instructions
  • A Hundred Dollar Bill


Would you disregard the potential of the first two and pocket the $100? Many would. But I don’t think you would.

You Start Working the Plan and Start Seeing Positive Results

After 30 days following Warren Buffet’s instructions, you find yourself up $10,000.

Good, right?

Then the choice to continue with the plan gets tougher to make.

Warren Buffet’s guide says to invest 100% of the $10k right back into the next tactic he designed in his plan for you.

Do you do it?

You could pocket the $9900 and put the $100 back to work for you in month two.

Why not?

If it works again you know you just added $120k a year to your bank account.

Not too shabby.

Or you could continue and reinvest the $10k and keep working the plan to go for the $1M.

That’s a lot tougher choice.

Would you scuttle the system when it hit $100k? $500k? Would you have the discipline to not spend any of those “earnings” for an entire year?

I’m not sure I would.

So, what does any of that have to do with you or your accounting firm?

Let me explain.

Getting What You Want Out of Your Career

As soon as I found out Darrin and I were creating this Marketing Ideas For Small Accounting Firms series I knew we would need to start out by helping you leverage your existing resources before digging in to deeper strategies.

You have resources at your disposal right this instant that you can use to grow the success of your practice.

Yet there is a good chance you’re not even aware those resources exist.

Which may be why you’re reading this Marketing Ideas For Small Accounting Firms tutorial series in the first place.

The purpose of this tutorial series is to help you recognize those resources and to put them to work for you in what we hope turns out to be an easy to follow guide for you.

How far you go with everything is up to you. The more you put in place, the better off your business will be.

Darrin and I may not be Warren Buffett, but we do know how to help small accounting firms beat the pants off their competitors.

Ready to get started?


Hidden Underused Bonanza Resource – Your Authority

Establishing authority in your market may be something you have overlooked until now. So it’s a good idea to start there whenever discussing marketing ideas for small accounting firms.

If so, it’s a resource you should cultivate and start growing now.


It’s not all that hard to do, for one.


Prospects have built in filters in their brains that protect them from informational overload.

Did you know that your eyes and ears encountered 500 ads yesterday?

It’s true.

Unless you stayed away from your computer, your smartphone, your TV, or your radio that is.

There’s no way our brains can take that much overload in and still function on its other tasks it needs to do.

So, it filters anything it doesn’t think is pertinent to tasks at hand to solve.

When you establish your authority in your market:

  • You’ll bypass prospects’ filters
  • You’ll get more prospects
  • Your close rates will soar with those prospects
  • You’ll be able to increase your rates with those new prospects.

So, there’s all that.

You Already Are an Authority You Know

What you know about tax law would fit in three semi-trucks and then some.

But do your prospects know that?

When it comes to setting a good first impression you only get one shot at it.

There are ways to establish your authority and there are even more ways to sabotage it.

Setting Your Lobby Up to Establish Your Authority

One of the first impressions your prospects will get of you will be when they step into your lobby.

What kind of impression is your lobby making with your prospects?

Notice I didn’t ask how much money you spent on your lobby furniture. Having nice furniture is fine. But furniture WILL NOT establish your authority with your prospects.

Nor will the most expensive wool carpet you can find to buy.

But before we go into that, …

What I Learned in Seconds After I Walked into Darrin T. Mish’s Lobby

After working with Darrin T. Mish on various projects for several months, it took a year before I met him in person.

In the period before my visit, I thought I had grown to know Darrin well.

But I was wrong.

It was mere seconds after walking into his lobby I realized my mistake.

On the phone, Darrin is quite humble about his successes as a tax attorney. So, I never thought much about his successes.

He never brags.

But his lobby is a different story!

Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find any boasting in his lobby either. But what you will find is a couple metric tons’ worth of authority.

His lobby just oozes with authority.

How to Make Your Lobby Ooze with Authority Too

What makes his lobby so much different than the countless other attorney lobbies I have walked into?

The tactics he uses in his lobby are simple but powerful. Plus, they are 100% reproducible for ANYONE willing to incorporate them.

But what I like about them most is that is they work.

Let me break his system down for you so you can emulate it.

Create A Video and Play It on A Continuous Loop on Your Lobby Television

The first thing I noticed walking into Darrin’s office was a modest flat screen TV next to the reception window. It wasn’t the size of it that caught my attention. Or even the brand, or the HD quality.

It was the fact Darrin was on it getting interviewed by an anchorwoman on a news station set.

Talk about an instant authority booster.

Seeing him on set with a news anchor immediately established him as an upper tiered tax attorney in my mind.

Of course, he already was one. But I didn’t know it until I saw the interview on a television.

Can you do the same thing in your lobby? Of course, you can.

Instead of waiting to get interviewed by someone in the press you could create your own videos. Once you have them finished you could then play them on your lobby television.

Darrin’s big into videos himself. In fact, he even has a mini studio he set up in one of his offices.

We can lean on him to share some of his video production tips in a later tutorial.

Here’s a walk-through video Darrin sends his prospects when they schedule a consultation with him at his office (more on this tactic in an upcoming chapter of this tutorial series). You can catch a glimpse of his lobby as he walks through it.

Place Copies of Books You Have Written in Your Lobby

Have you written a book yet? If so, good, you should start using them to boost your authority in your lobby.

Replace all the reading material you have in your lobby now with them.

You want your prospects reading your books. You also want them taking one home with them.

Darrin has his library of books in his lobby. You can’t help noticing them.

If you haven’t written a book yet, I recommend you get started on one. They’re easy to do, and a great tool for boosting your authority with prospects.

You could even write short 2,000 – 4,000 word tutorials and print them and put them in report covers.

Then put them in your lobby as reading material for your prospects to find.

How easy would that be?

Let me break it down for you how easy it really is.

How to Research the Tutorials You Need to Write

At first, conducting research for your tutorial may seem like an overwhelming task.

It doesn’t have to be, though.

Let me share my system for researching and writing tutorials for my own prospects. It’s an easy system, so no worries.

First, you need to visit to find questions from your niche that you can answer.

If you’re a tax professional the following sections on their site is where you will check first:

Now, spend no more than 10 minutes looking for a good question you can base your tutorial on.

Here’s what you do next:

Building the Framework of Your Tutorial

Now that you have your research completed, you need to start adding some structure to it.

First, write the question you’re basing your tutorial on in the middle of a fresh legal pad page.

Then start brainstorming other related questions and write them down on the same page.

Marketing Ideas For Small Accounting Firms tutorial notes

This is what my notes for this tutorial you’re reading looks like. Some of my notes I couldn’t get to. So, I should save them for another tutorial.

Don’t spend more than 10 – 15 minutes on this task, either. You’re already a seasoned pro so you won’t have any issue filling the page with questions.

Organizing Your Tutorial

At this point, read over the questions you have in front of you on the legal pad.

Choose 10 – 12 you like the best and transfer them over to your word processor. I happen to use the Hemingway App  because it helps me write at a 4th to 5th-grade reading level. Which makes it easier for my readers to scan through if they are in a hurry.

Next start organizing the questions into the sequential order you want them in. Then start writing answers for each of the questions you have listed.

By the time, you’re done with this you will have close to 1000 words written already.

This stage should take you no more than an hour for you to complete. So, don’t edit as you write. Save that for later. Instead just pound out answers to your questions.

Crucial important last and final point:

Writing the Actual Tutorial – Filling in the Gaps

You still have a bit of work left before you have a finished tutorial in your hands.

Read each question again as well as your answers to them and fill in the gaps that will come to mind.

In my tutorials, the gaps I find sometimes are large enough to drive a freight train through.

So, don’t sweat the missing gaps.

You’re writing on a topic you know up and down. You’ll be able to flesh your answers with no problem whatsoever.

When you feel like you have written answers to each of the questions to the best of your ability, you’re done.

You’re not writing to get published. You’re writing to answer questions your prospects might have.

Plus, and this is huge…

You established yourself as an authority with your tutorial. Now all you need to do is make sure your prospect finds them before meeting with you.

Printing Your Tutorial

Since I post my tutorials online I don’t have to worry about converting them to PDF and printing them.

If you’re posting them in your lobby, you’ll need to. I recommend not spending a lot of money on the design of the PDF, though.

A simple search on for “PDF Design” should land you a good vendor at a fair price to do the job for you.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg on what you begin doing to build up your authority.

Let’s continue…

Share Train Wreck Stories

This is another strategy that Darrin utilizes to build up his authority. It’s such a simple one I’m surprised more tax professionals don’t use it.

What you do is write down the victories you have achieved for your clients on the next page of your legal pad.

One victory might read as John Doe saved $890 because of a deduction you found for him. Or you helped Capital Uniforms catch an embezzler with one of your audits.

This task shouldn’t take you more than an hour, tops. The longer you’ve been in your career the more successes you will have, of course.

Now grab an audio recorder and get to work recording a “story” for each of the successes you wrote down.

  • Don’t mention any names.
  • Don’t exaggerate.
  • Stick to the facts.
  • Share how your client responded to the success.
  • Share how the success made you feel.
  • Keep each success story under three minutes.

How to Use the Train Wreck Stories Once You Completed Them

There’s three ways you can display the train wreck stories in your lobby once you’re done with them:

  • Take the audios of all your stories and create a master mix with them using Audacity. Then instead of playing the music over the radio you play that as a loop instead. If you don’t have enough to stretch out to an hour, then it’s best not to do this. Otherwise you will drive your prospects batty having to hear repeats.
  • You can print the success stories you wrote out and put them in one binder and distribute them throughout your lobby.
  • You can create simple videos using the audios. Then loop the videos on your lobby television.

Here are a few examples of Darrin’s train wreck stories you can model your own stories after.

In Conclusion – Marketing Ideas For Small Accounting Firms

Building your accounting firm can happen one or two ways. One, you can spend a ton of money on advertising and hope it pays off. The other is to start leveraging resources you already have.

In this chapter, we focused on tactics you can put in place that will advance your authority in your market.

It’s something you already have. When it comes to accounting you know your stuff.

All we did was share ideas on how to display that authority to your prospects. Whether you put them in place is up to you.

But I’ll end with the same question I started with:

How successful do you want to be in your tax career?

About the Author

Matt LaClear is a marketing trainer based out of Mason, Mi. He works with Darrin Mish on various projects including this tutorial series. He invites you to read his free report, Transform Your Website into a Prospect Magnet and thanks you for reading this chapter in the Marketing Ideas for Small Accounting Firms Series.

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