- Bookkeeping clients use a variety of online sources, including social media and search engines, to find businesses like yours
- Online ads can help you maximize your reach and achieve higher lead conversion rates without busting your budget
- Building relationships online and through in-person networking is key to gaining quality leads, long-term clients, and referrals
Almost every business owner needs a bookkeeper, and as a bookkeeping professional, you’re confident that you know your stuff. However, competition can be stiff when you’re up against other local professionals, online services, and the DIY approach.
If you want to show your ideal clients that you’re the best solution for their needs, you’ll need to learn how to market your business—it’s the key to landing new bookkeeping clients and keeping them coming back.
Fortunately, there are a variety of low-cost effective ways, both online and in person, to find new bookkeeping clients and successfully grow your client base.
How to get bookkeeping clients
Even if you’re the best bookkeeper in your area, you need to market yourself to ensure potential clients know it. Just about everyone these days is experiencing content overload, with brands fighting for attention on every platform. Prospective clients may turn to another solution if you don’t stand out.
The good news is that effectively promoting your business can be as simple as focusing on these five steps that work for both bookkeeping firms and freelancers.
1. Use social media marketing
With most Americans using at least one social network, social media marketing is a key part of every lead generation strategy. It gives you a chance to reach thousands of potential clients where they’re already looking for bookkeeping services or, at the very least, spending time online.
For example, LinkedIn can be a useful marketing tool since many working professionals (who may be prospective clients) already gather on that platform to network with their industry colleagues and grow their businesses.
Below are two ways you can effectively market your bookkeeping services on social media platforms.
Share your expertise
Bookkeeping clients want to work with professionals who are experts in their field. Even if your bookkeeping business is a side hustle, your professional profiles should make it look as if you live and breathe bookkeeping.
Instead of getting overly promotional, offer value by consistently sharing financial tips and resources on social media sites.
If you don’t have time to post every day, use automation to schedule social media posts in advance. Your followers and connections will start associating your knowledge with you and your brand, positioning you as an industry leader.
In addition to posting content on social media, consider hosting a webinar or podcast or offering to be a guest on an existing financial podcast. You can reference any interviews or guest appearances on your website to demonstrate your skillset.
Engage with potential clients
Social media isn’t just for content marketing—it’s also a great relationship-building tool. Respond to users when they like or comment on your posts, and proactively engage with potential clients on their posts too.
Consider specializing in a particular niche, such as bookkeeping for small business owners, full-time freelancers, or entrepreneurs.
This will keep you top of mind with the potential of becoming their go-to bookkeeper when they need your services.
2. Enhance your online presence
Social media platforms aren’t the only places potential clients look for you online. Part of getting bookkeeping clients is effectively expanding and enhancing your presence across the web.
First, ensure you’re showing up on search engines, directories, and business platforms. If you haven’t already, a great starting point is creating a business website and claiming your Yelp Business Page. More than 80+ million people visit Yelp each month looking for businesses of all kinds.
Once you have an online presence, consider optimizing it in these ways:
- Keep your business details up-to-date: Double-check everything from your address and phone number to your website and business name to ensure they’re listed correctly wherever your brand appears.
- Add keywords to your pages: Include words that are related to bookkeeping throughout your site and business pages to help improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and get discovered by more potential clients.
- Share your credentials: Are you a Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)? Are you a registered QuickBooks ProAdvisor? Do you have a Xero certification? Build credibility by mentioning your credentials in your page bios and on your website’s “About” page.
These simple steps can help you reach more people in your target market and show them you’re a professional they can trust.
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3. Solidify your referral base
When securing new bookkeeping clients, it’s essential to understand how to build and activate your referral base. People trust their friends’ recommendations, so the more people who refer clients directly to your company, the more high-quality leads you’ll gain.
Here are three tips to help you create a word-of-mouth referral base to draw in new bookkeeping clients.
Offer a referral program
An easy way to encourage your current clients to provide referrals is to offer incentives for them to do so. Your referral program doesn’t have to be fancy or costly. It can be as simple as offering a reward, such as a gift card or discount on bookkeeping services, in exchange for a successful referral. You can even provide smaller incentives for bringing a prospective client in for a free consultation.
Make sure to promote your referral program on social media, in your email marketing, in person with clients, and beyond.
Partner with local businesses
Your referral base doesn’t just have to include your current clients. You can also ask for referrals from other businesses in your area.
Consider partnering with local businesses that aren’t direct competitors but have a similar target market as your own business. For example, you could partner up with a business consultant. Whenever their clients are looking for bookkeeping services, your referral partner can exclusively refer them to you, and you can reciprocate when your clients are seeking their services.
This is a great way to promote your business locally, as it could get you access to a network of people in your target audience through a business they already trust.
Create a stand-out customer experience
At the end of the day, people in your network will only refer you if they love working with you. Go beyond basic bookkeeping and provide outstanding customer service. Build and maintain relationships by engaging with your clients at least once a month, even if they’re not actively in need of bookkeeping help.
Your level of service can inspire your clients to promote your business through word of mouth or by providing a client testimonial.
4. Amplify your content with online ads
If you want to multiply your potential reach without wasting your budget, consider online advertising for your bookkeeping business. Online ads—like Yelp Ads or search engine ads—help you get premium placement, including above relevant search results. They also allow you to reach a large volume of people outside of your existing network.
You don’t have to pay a lot to reap the benefits of online ads. Digital ads are designed to target high-intent consumers who are ready to purchase specific products or services.
This allows you to more easily connect with your target market without wasting money on people who won’t be interested in your services. The result can be higher conversion rates and a higher return on investment (ROI).
Plus, with cost-per-click (CPC) ads like Yelp Ads, you can pause your ad at any time and set a daily ad budget so you never overspend.
5. Network to build connections
When you’re a bookkeeper, many of your clients are business owners too, which is why networking with professionals, both online and offline, is well worth your time.
Online networking goes beyond engaging with followers on social media. Send direct messages to your connections to initiate a relationship, then work toward a face-to-face meeting or video chat. Making a personal connection can bring you one step closer to converting your lead.
If you meet in person or are heading to a networking event, bring your business cards and ask for others’ cards so you can follow up after the event.
Whether you’re networking online or offline, be genuine. Get to know your potential client as a person. This allows you to form a long-term relationship rather than just chatting once and hoping they choose you for future accounting services.
Attracting new clients to your bookkeeping business
Whether you’re a solopreneur with a new bookkeeping startup, a small business owner, or the leader of a large accounting firm, digital marketing strategies like improving your search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and buying online ads can help you get your first client or generate new business leads.
At the same time, don’t forget to create and nurture online and in-person relationships through networking, earning referrals, and partnering with other local businesses.
Establishing a strong online presence and creating lasting relationships is a great start as you learn how to get more bookkeeping clients for your business. When you’re ready to dive a little deeper into ads, take a look at our guide to the best places to advertise your business.
How do I find my first bookkeeping client?
Getting your first bookkeeping client can be the hard part because you won’t yet have reviews or testimonials you can use to market your business.
Start by offering your services to friends, family members, or other professionals in your existing network. If you’re struggling to find paying clients, consider discounting your services or bartering until you gain more experience.
You can also try cold-calling businesses that might require bookkeeping services or looking at job postings on freelancing sites like Upwork.
How do bookkeepers charge clients?
The best way to charge bookkeeping clients depends on how much work you’ll be doing for them. For a small business that only needs occasional services, you can charge by the hour: $21 is the average wage for a U.S. bookkeeper, but you can charge more if you have any additional credentials or certifications.
Other options are to charge a flat fee or retainer, a percentage of the client’s business income, or a separate fee for each account you manage for them.
How many hours does client bookkeeping take?
The amount of time it should take you to do bookkeeping for a client depends on how big their business is, how many bank accounts they have, and whether they or you use any accounting software to make your job easier.
A freelancer may only need you to reconcile their bank account for a few hours every month, while a small business may need you to handle taxes, billing, and payroll, which could take several hours per week.
In addition to monthly bookkeeping responsibilities, your clients may have quarterly or annual obligations they need you to take care of.
How many clients should a bookkeeper have?
As a solo bookkeeper, you’ll need between 10 and 30 clients to make a full-time living. Beyond that, you may need to hire an assistant to help with the workload. The bigger the projects, the fewer clients you can take on.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.