Marketing 101 - Key Elements of a Marketing Plan 


     

    As CPA firms look for new ways to grow their practice and ensure their ongoing success, marketing has become an increasingly critical part of their business. But what exactly is involved in marketing? What it means for CPA firms is finding out what existing and potential clients really need, letting them know you have what they need, and ultimately, delivering those services to them.

    Even if you don't have a formal marketing plan in place, chances are you are involved in some form of marketing that communicates a message to your clients. For example, even something as mundane as your business cards and letterhead conveys certain messages about your firm.

    While there are many different approaches to marketing, every successful marketing approach addresses four basic essentials: Product, Audience, Awareness and Delivery.

    To determine the best marketing strategy for your firm, start with a detailed self-evaluation.

    • What are your firm's strengths?
    • What are your firm's weaknesses?
    • How do clients perceive you?
    • How does the competition perceive you?
    • How do you perceive your competition?

    As you contemplate these questions, also think about the future and the goals you want to set. What do you want to accomplish in the next six months? Twelve months? Five years?

    Next, consider the four essentials:

    • Product What services do you offer? How are they different from your competitors? How are they better?
    • Audience Who is your target audience? How can you reach them?
    • Awareness What do people think of your services? How can you increase their awareness?
    • Delivery How are your services delivered? How responsive are you to clients?

    Now that you have considered where you are and where you would like to be headed, its time to put your marketing plan in writing. Putting your ideas in writing allows you to organize your thoughts into precisely formulated strategies. A written plan also will provide you with a means for measuring your progress along the way and for making any adjustments that may become necessary.

     




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