Becoming a successful accounting firm depends on how well you know your clients and how your business can help solve their problems. If you don’t know your client type well, you could be losing out on effective marketing, missing opportunities, and even be making mistakes on establishing your brand. Not only can this make your firm suffer with current clients, but you’ll also have a difficult time getting new prospects.
To really focus in on your ideal client, experts recommend creating a fictional buyer persona that represents your ideal client. This character embodies everything your business wants in a client. Using a persona, when done properly, can help you realize who you are working for, how you can reach them, and how your services will best help them.
So, who is your ideal client?
As mentioned, a buyer persona is your ideal client. It’s the person you had in mind when you set out to create your accounting firm. The biggest mistake that people make when they start to create a persona is that they are too general. For example, it’s not enough to say that your ideal client is anyone who needs help with taxes and lives in your city. Because the details about your buyer persona are so vague, they won’t give you much insight or provide you with any value. It’s important to be as specific as possible when creating a buyer persona. Include information such as:
- Personality traits
- Job responsibilities
- Behavior patterns
- Family life
- Core values
- Biggest obstacles to happiness
- Most common complaints
Of course, you can add more details that help you flesh out the type of client that you want your business to attract. You can "discover” the attributes that your ideal client has by looking at real clients, listening to customer feedback for your business as well as your competitors' business, attending trade shows, reading trade publications, and more. If you give the buyer persona plenty of detail, you will truly understand the real people you want to help.
How does a buyer persona help your business?
It may feel a little silly creating a fictional client, but it doesn’t take long to see the real value in the exercise. Once you have defined your buyer persona, you can use their “perspective” to make business decisions. It can make your decisions clearer when you consider what your client might say or do as a reaction to a new marketing push, a client thank-you program, or to decide what kind of content they want to read on your firm’s blog.
Because your persona is the ideal client, it is also the focal point from which you can start to find those real clients that your persona represents. Even though your ideal client is only fictional, you now have some well-developed insight into how to find them in real life. As you work with your real clients and gain insight into their needs, you can then adjust your buyer persona as well as your business.
Adjusting your buyer persona
It’s a mistake to think that the buyer persona you create first will never change or evolve. If you are doing a good job and finding success, your buyer persona should change over time. As you get more feedback from clients and data from your marketing and customer service efforts, you’ll learn a lot about your client base and your company. You can adjust your buyer persona accordingly based on the information you gather.
Your buyer persona should not be the only customer profile you concentrate on. Of course, there are plenty of prospects that still need your services. Many of them will align closely with your buyer persona and they will benefit from the services you provide. Some accounting firms discover that they really serve two different types of clients, especially if they specialize in an accounting or financial niche. It would be appropriate for you to create two personas if your marketing research supports that. However, don’t create or rely on too many different personalities or you risk diluting your efforts and attracting no one.
Buyer personas are a way to visualize client needs
Just remember that a buyer persona is really a stand-in for the thousands of real clients out there who need your business. By focusing your marketing, customer service, niche services, and more on your buyer persona, you will be sending out your message in ways that your target audience will find appealing, relatable, and interesting. The closer a potential prospect is to your buyer persona, the more your services will resonate, and it is more than likely they’ll become your client.
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