Apple’s climb to the top of the business ladder has been astounding people for two decades. And you can leverage their marketing tricks to attract clients to your accounting firm.
Apple’s rise to the top of the business world has really been something to behold.
In fact, many people don’t really give the company enough credit for its amazing rise. Back in the late 1990s, Apple was little more than a struggling computer manufacturer. In fact, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1997.
Bringing Steve Jobs back into the fold changed Apple’s fortunes. And in the years following that pivotal decision, Apple has established itself as a consumer electronics juggernaut.
From near-bankruptcy in 1997, the company now posts quarterly revenue figures in the tens of billions of dollars. In fact, its 2020 Q1 revenue alone reached a whopping $91.8 billion.
You’re probably asking why any of this is relevant to you as an accounting firm owner…
The simple fact is that despite all its success, Apple is still a business like any other. It still faces the same challenges in terms of marketing and selling its products.
But unlike most businesses, Apple has experienced incredible success in those areas.
In terms of marketing, business owners can learn a lot from Apple. And in this article, we’re going to look at how some of its marketing techniques might be applicable to your firm.
Tip #1 – Emphasise What Makes You Unique (Instead of Competing on Price)
Have you seen how much an iPhone costs these days? Apple definitely isn’t shy about asking its customers to pay premium prices for its products.
But what you may not realise is that this is all a part of its marketing strategy.
The company has recognised that competing on price is a fool’s game. It’s what businesses do when they have no idea how to market themselves.
When price is your only differentiator, you create a transactional relationship with your clients. They look at you as little more than a service provider. And if they can find that same service for less money elsewhere, they won’t stick with you for long.
Apple charges more than the competition because it has established its unique value proposition. This is the one thing that sets it apart from all the other companies in its niche.
In Apple’s case, it’s the company’s unique design philosophy. Nothing looks quite like an Apple product, from its packaging right through to the design itself. That design philosophy allows the company to build a brand that doesn’t rely on low prices to make sales.
And that should be the central idea in your marketing. Instead of trying to attract clients with low prices, think about what makes you unique. Focus on the areas where you offer value that no other accounting firm can offer.
Then, make that unique value the focal point of your marketing.
Tip #2 – Use Language That Your Audience Understands
Apple knows that the market isn’t especially interested in technical specifications. They’re buying into the brand more than they’re buying the features of Apple’s products.
The company understands this in its marketing as well.
Rarely will you see an Apple ad that goes on about all of the tech that’s in the product. Instead, the company speaks to its target audience in a language that they understand. They remove all of the complexity and have a simple message that appeals to their audience.
In accounting, complexity is often a problem.
Though you’re working with business owners, they often don’t understand accounting jargon.
And the more you use complex terminology in your marketing, the more likely it is that you’ll turn people off.
The key here is to understand what your audience really wants from you. What pains and problems do they have? How do you solve those issues with your service?
Explain all of this in your marketing and you’ll start speaking your clients’ language.
Tip #3 – Simplicity Is Your Friend
Building from the previous point, Apple relies on simplicity in all aspects of its marketing.
Beyond the language, this simplicity becomes evident in how the company creates advertising.
For example, Apple doesn’t waste time telling people where to find its products. And they don’t delve into the technical specs. At most, they’ll pick a single feature to focus on.
Generally, they allow their products to do all of the talking for them. Apple’s marketing shows the product in use and then paints a picture of what their audience actually wants.
This simplicity in messaging leaves no room for confusion. When people buy from Apple, they know exactly what they’re getting.
Can you say the same about your accounting firm?
Don’t bombard your prospects with offers and services. Figure out what they really need and focus your marketing campaigns on that.
As an added bonus, this simplicity will help you when building business processes. The more that you try to do, the more complicated you make your business. Pick a niche and focus on it.
Then you can create the simplicity that sells.
Tip #4 – Don’t Get Stuck on a Single Marketing Channel
A lot of accounting firms get stuck on one marketing channel that works. For example, you might run a Linkedin campaign that gets decent results. And you should absolutely keep pushing that particular channel.
Just don’t push it to the point where you ignore all the other potential marketing channels.
Apple famously leverages product placement in addition to its traditional advertising. Your firm likely won’t be able to get your services on TV. But there are other ways you can leverage this technique that allow you to hit multiple channels.
For example, you could allow influencers in your niche to use one of your services. In exchange, they can provide a review of the service on whatever channel they’re prominent on.
Using this tactic, you could have third parties creating content about your services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. These influencers may also post content on their own websites. And on top of that, you can leverage your own content marketing strategy to hit those channels too.
Tip #5 – Create an Experience for Your Clients
Apple doesn’t simply release products.
They create entire experiences for their clients. They hold huge tech conferences and make every product launch feel like an event.
That’s a huge part of their marketing. By creating an experience, they’re giving their customers something memorable to hold onto. They’re establishing themselves as an engaging brand, rather than just a product manufacturer.
Again, your accounting firm may not have the resources to hold full-scale events focusing on your services. But you should still take this idea of creating an experience to heart. If your service feels like every other service out there, it’s not special.
And that means it’s replaceable.
Show your clients that you’re not just any old accounting firm. Tell stories and find ways to take them on a journey with you.
Make it clear that they’re getting much more than a service when they work with your firm.
They’re getting a partner that focuses on making their lives easier and better.
Tip #6 – Target Your Audience’s Emotions
Apple has mastered the art of appealing to its audience’s emotions.
You can see this in the original ads for the iPad. While a whole lot of buzz surrounded the technology, Apple took a simpler approach with its marketing. They simply showed people in a relaxed setting, having fun using the device.
The effect was to show the audience that this new tech wasn’t some scary thing that they needed to learn about.
Instead, it was a simple addition to their lives that would make things more enjoyable for them.
Your accounting firm can use similar tactics.
Don’t focus on the technical details behind your service. While your clients need to know this stuff, leading with it isn’t going to make them want to work with you.
What will appeal to them is evidence that you can help them to solve key problems in their businesses.
Every single prospect in your world has a particular pain that makes them feel like they need help. They might even feel like it’s hopeless to look for a solution.
Confront those pains in your marketing and you’re taking aim right at your prospects’ emotions. That’s going to attract them to you long before the logical decisions get made.
Accounting Like Apple
At first, it might not seem like Apple can teach you much about marketing for an accounting firm. They’re in a completely different niche and they sell products, rather than services.
But as you can see, there’s a lot that you can take away from how Apple markets themselves.
Aim to appeal to your audience’s emotions and stop speaking in technical jargon. The simpler your message, the more likely you can get people to connect with it.
Leverage the power of influencers in your niche so that you can hit multiple marketing channels. And finally, never allow price to be your selling point. It only takes one firm to come along with lower pricing to render that strategy obsolete.