Accounting’s Twitter Queen Talks To Us About Her Success
Who Are Cheap Accounting?
To quote their own blog:
CheapAccounting.co.uk were one of the first firms to deliver accountancy services purely online at a time when online cloud accountancy systems didn’t exist, so we wrote our own. We use cloud technology in a way that brings an ease of collaboration between client and accountant; clients can be in better control of company finances with less mistakes and worry. Our low fees mean that start-up businesses that were priced out of using traditional high street accountant can use our services.
The biggest cultural change to operating in the online world is the way in which credibility and rapport with the clients is established and maintained without physically meeting.
Our media presence establishes the credentials of CheapAccounting.co.uk as a professional firm; our accountants establish their credibility with clients by the immediacy of response to communications, dealing promptly with queries, being responsive and demonstrating knowledge. This is helped by using a number of communication channels such as Skype and sign posting our online guides, blogs and tools. Gone are the days of letters in an in-tray waiting days or weeks for a response; that approach wouldn’t survive online.
How Does Cheap Accounting Market Itself?
To quote their own blog again:
We do not throw money at buying leads and clients – in fact we do not spend a penny on Outbound Marketing. Nevertheless we continue to grow and our brand is becoming known by both clients and the accounting community alike. We believe that organic growth delivered through firmly established reputation and recommendation is the best way to grow CheapAccounting.co.uk.
You may have seen us mentioned in articles on the following sites and publications amongst many others ….
Accountancy Age, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Times, Evening Standard, Start up Donut, IoD briefings, HSBC Small Business Newsletter, Economia, Wire and Accounting Web.
Our CheapAccounting Blog receives nearly 100,000 hits per month and @CheapAccounting (twitter account) has over 4,000 twitter followers achieved through organic growth and not robots. The CheapAccounting.co.uk web site receives 750,000 hits per month from 21,000 unique visitors.
As a result of social media alone and in particular twitter, Managing Director, Elaine Clark and has become a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Money Box with her most recent appearance generating feedback from listeners of “Great show I always listen but today’s experts are really a joy to listen to – clear concise and answering the questions directly” and “Big thanks to Elaine from @CheapAccounting. Superb service following from tax advice given with @paullewismoney on Wednesday”.
Elaine has also been featured on 378 local radio station new bulletins.
Networking via social media has achieved an unprecedented national reach that could not have been dreamt of 10 years ago.
What More Does The Twitter Queen Have To Say?
Here is our interview with Elaine Clark on 12 February 2015 which we have summarised below:
What do you think of other accountants competing against you?
Our competition has validated our approach and whilst imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, slavish copying is not appreciated. Your success is not about riding on our coat-tails but working hard to achieve it for yourself.
Not many other accountants ask for our advice as to how we have built the business, most of them simply don’t believe how we operate.
Who are you target market?
They are micro businesses (0-9 employees) which make up the majority of businesses in the UK. They deserve a a great standard of service which they often don’t get from a traditional high street accountant. Our difference is the use of technology to reduce costs and provide a great service at the same time.
What does the client of tomorrow look like? We have seen an increase in self-employment in the last few years, and many of them are much more tech savvy compared to those we saw a few years ago. We believe that if we look after the start-ups from the start they remain with us for a long time. Cloud computing is “cracked” if you can do it both on-line and off-line with your clients, but speed of response from the original enquiry to ongoing work is pivotal to keeping the client satisfied and costs down. By having the pricing structure on the website, the enquiry has already qualified itself when they get in contact which keeps cost-of-sales low and the conversion rates high.
What are the plans for Cheap Accounting?
We have been going for 8 years now. We have 30 Franchisees and over 2500 clients. We continue to grow with over 220 new client enquiries in January alone. This does not even represent a fraction of 1% of the market so we have room to grow which is only limited by finding great qualified franchisees and our imagination and willingness to grow.
The biggest job currently for us is on boarding new franchisees who don’t have to be good at marketing (that’s our job) but great at their professional work. Finding suitable qualified accountants is the biggest challenge to growth for the franchise. The future is very exciting, but the key is to keep flexible and open-minded. Building the right foundation for the business is the best start we can make to have a long term and sustainable future.
Why is Twitter And Social Media Good For Your Marketing?
We don’t allocate any money to spend on marketing, just time and “ingenuity” to capture the attention of the public. Social media is good for introverts especially us accountants, who often behave like wallflowers at a school disco when it comes to traditional business networking.
Accountants are afraid to change and make a mistake. I don’t mind making a fool of myself trying to change.
To reach our target market, a plan is key to any sales & marketing activity. It does not need to be written down in some major way, but the key milestones which signal success need to be understood by everyone in the organisation. It is very important for people to remind themselves that opportunities present themselves through serendipity, and to not let any plan stop them from taking these as they present themselves. There is too much going in the world (which seems to be in constant change) to plan for these opportunities with any meaningful purpose.
Twitter has an incredible reach. Where else can you can be talking to the equivalent of “Twitterham” each and every day, than other traditional forms of marketing at very low cost. Its so easy to reach an audience and interact with them. The key to remember is that there is a silent majority which will not converse with you but know who you are, and might talk about you positively to send you even more referrals and enquiries. You have to remember that perseverance is key to using Twitter – Don’t give up as the referrals will come.
Twitter has brought us the Radio 4 opportunity with Paul Lewis allowing us to demonstrate our skills to a massive accessible audience we could not have reached before, and many radio appearances later (both local and national) has helped our reputation and credibility no end. Unlike big firms, all this comes from me which means that I have to be accessible to journalists and have a fast speed of response (unlike bigger firms) which reflects our ethos as a company.
How Much Time Do You Spend Marketing The Business?
For the last 3 years, I have been full time on business development to grow the franchise and acting as “chief cheerleader” for Cheap Accounting. Before that being on Twitter took a significant part of my time and was a massive investment and hard work, but the rewards of consistent effort has been fantastic.
Your Twitter Call To Action!
If you have found what Elaine Clark has said of interest to you as a potential client or potential Franchisee then please get in touch with her via her website Cheap Accounting where she blogs on a regular basis. Of course if you are Twitter do follow an interact with her at @CheapAccounting and of course look out for her on her many radio and press interviews where she always has something to say of interest or controversial, or both!
Elaine is especially keen to hear from accountants who want to reach for the Cloud but don’t know where to start or who are afraid of any fee erosion they may (incorrectly) perceive as a result of reaching for the Cloud.
After reading all this and you as an accountant are still not convinced that social media can grow your business then please contact us for our many examples of local firms in Staffordshire which have conquered Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ to grow their reputation, leads, opportunities and sales in a short time frame. Interestingly all of them are massive proponents of cloud computing solutions such as Xero. If you are not not top of modern marketing techniques and cloud computing like Elaine & Cheap Accounting then you will be left behind as they eat your proverbial lunch!
Look out for more interviews with other great businesses who have used social media to great effect to grow their businesses faster than their competitors!
The Conspicuous CBM Call To Action
If you know of any other great experts on any subject in Staffordshire or the WestMidlands who we should share with all our readers then please let us know via the comments or via LinkedIn.
If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.
Read what our customers say about us on our Testimonials Page – CLICK HERE TO READ