Move Your Practice Online Series: Step 7-Market Yourself

Ten years ago, when I decided to join the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program and start my own bookkeeping practice, doing any sort of marketing was, quite literally, the furthest thing from my mind. I had no idea that I was doing it already on a small scale, nor was I able to foresee the changes that would be coming to make it so much easier.

So much has changed since I started Kildal Services LLC in 2004. Back then, marketing meant brochures, some static ads and a webpage. Regarding the webpage – you were good to go if you had a webpage that had your contact information and described your services. The interaction was pretty one way – you telling potential clients what you did. These days… there’s a little more to it, and I know that it can seem a bit overwhelming.

Which puts us here, at Step 7 in the Moving Online series. It can also be titled Leveraging Social Media to Get Help Clients Find You. But really, that’s sort of cumbersome, don’t you think? Thanks to all of you for following along on the journey – it started almost a year ago and we’re a bit past the halfway point.

I cannot express the importance of having an online presence enough. And not just any online presence. You need to have a plan. There are questions that you need to ask yourself:

What is my target audience?

What channels do I use to reach my target audience?

What are the best tools to manage these channels?

Who will be the one to manage them?

 Once you determine your target audience, you need to do some research to find out where they are  (there are a ton of websites that will help you learn about social media demographics). Look online for industry forums, support sites, LinkedIn groups Now you find out where they are, then take a look at what channels you’re comfortable utilizing and start there – pick 1 or 2 channels to start with and begin by establishing yourself as a thought leader, an expert in that area. Don’t constantly hit them up with HIRE ME HIRE ME HIRE ME.

Write an article on how you solved a problem for a client, or in your own practice, or link to an interesting article from which you think your target audience might benefit. A how to video or document is always good. I wrote a blog piece a year ago about job costing in QuickBooks Online from which I still get new 1-2 new clients a month. You can also start your own group, like my fellow Michigander, Reesa McKenzie did, on LinkedIn.

I spoke with a few colleagues about how they’ve used social media to create their presence, establish themselves as experts, and ultimately grow their audience and business.

Cathy Iconis, of the Iconis Group, does a weekly QuickBooks Online tweet chat, and tells me how she got started: “Just like chat rooms, twitter was a place to meet and connect with new people. I started out by following the people that were following some of the people I already knew. From there, I tried to engage people and build relationships with them online. In the end, it worked! For the first year or two of my business, I could say that all of my clients came from my efforts on twitter.

Since then, I have evolved on how I use the different social platforms, but the intent is always the same. I am there to engage with people and build relationships. It is no different than any other in-person networking event. You don’t want to be the one constantly passing around your business card and moving on to the next victim, I mean person. Instead, you talk to people, you listen to people, and you do what you can to help people without expecting anything in return. Without building that connection, it will be really hard for anyone trust you with their more personal part of their life – their finances.”

Woody Adams, one of my co hosts and cofounders of Radio Free QuickBooks, uses YouTube videos to help our listeners and grow our audience. He tells his story here: “When Radio Free QuickBooks came about, we created a Youtube page and I began uploading all the videos I had on my site to share with a broader audience. Currently we have nigh 200 short videos on the YouTube page, covering topics from QuickBooks Pro, Premier & Enterprise Solutions as well as QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Online Accountant and QuickBooks Accountant feature sets. Again, the goal to build awareness of what any one product can do. Our Radio Free QuickBooks goal is to provide a free resource to help any QuickBooks user be more effective, and QuickBooks consultant really be the hero for their clients. I hope it helps you.”

It’s also important to remember that you need to do in person marketing as well. Look to local Meetup groups, conferences, or chamber meetings & networking groups.  Again, avoid the hard sell – I’ve found that I get more referrals by letting people know they can contact me with quick questions – and then answer them without charging if they truly are quick questions. They’ll remember that you helped them, and will you’ll get word of mouth references. Just make sure that you let them know exactly what type of clients you’re looking to take on. If you work mainly with attorneys as an expert witness, like my friend Dawn Brolin, odds are you don’t want them to send you someone looking to have their payroll cleaned up.

Obviously, the goal of any marketing plan is to create awareness about your business and attract new clients, but other benefits are there as well: establishing yourself as an expert or enabling your practice to provide transparency and customer service.

One of the most important parts of all of this – regardless of whether it’s online or in person, is interaction. The flow of any plan is to engage the audience, which will build their trust in you and your practice and eventually hire you or refer you to potential new clients.

Your call to action for your marketing plan:

–       Determine your strategy: What is your goal? Who is your audience?

–       Find your audience? Choose 1-2 channels to connect with them

–       Evaluate and Adjust – Examine metrics and analyze what’s working, what isn’t and make changes as needed

One last parting thought on all of this – have fun with it. Everyone loves cat pictures.

Read Step 6 – Specialize

Next: Step 8 – Use video conferencing to meet with clients



  1. Kay F

    Just read this full series! Great info. Just what I needed to help clients move their businesses to cloud…THANKS!!!!

    • StacyK


      Thanks for your comment! Glad I could help 🙂

      -Stacy K


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