To Niche or Not To Niche? For Accountants & CPA Firms

Written by
Whitney Hesmer

To niche your accounting firm... or not to niche...

Ever wondered if your accounting firm should specialize? 

You know, that whole 'niche' thing that marketing experts, business coaches, and accounting communities keep talking about?

Well, we're here to break it down for you.

Spoiler alert: Yes, niching is essential, but maybe not in the way that you expect. 

Let's dig into the details.

Should Your Accounting Firm Niche? 

There are plenty of reasons why your accounting firm may be thinking about niching: it makes it easier for your team to work on projects, allows you to become an expert in a specific area, reduces competition compared to "general" accounting firms, and more. And these are all great reasons.

But we’re here to explain things from a marketing point of view. 

Niching your accounting or bookkeeping firm is the only way to generate a significant number of leads for your business without spending tens of thousands of dollars on marketing.

Here’s why:

When it comes to generating leads for your accounting firm, most reputable agencies are going to take the same approach: implement SEO (Google rankings), engage in ongoing content marketing (blogs and videos), and use paid advertising (PPC).

If you exist as a generic accounting or bookkeeping firm that takes on any client across the United States, you will be competing with thousands of other firms who are doing the same.

The competition is so high that you will need to spend tens of thousands of dollars in each marketing channel before you ever begin to see results. We’re talking about spending $50k in PPC Ads, $50k in SEO, $50k in content marketing to create 5-7 content pieces a week, and so on.

The ROI on your marketing will never be positive unless you are a multi, multi-million dollar firm who can afford to “pay to play”.

This is the main reason that your accounting firm needs to niche.

So while the answer is yes, niching might not look like what you think it looks like.

What Are The Different Ways You Can Niche? 

When we talk about niching, what we’re really talking about is narrowing your target audience.

So, rather than providing payroll services for every business in America, you only provide payroll services for doctors, as an example.

But when we talk about “niching” for your accounting firm, we don’t necessarily mean that it has to be by industry.

For B2B accounting firms, there are a few various ways that you can niche:

Niche By Location

This is a big one. And with all of the changes coming to Google Search in 2024, it might actually be the best choice. An example of niching by example is:

  • Providing bookkeeping services in Raleigh, NC
  • Providing individual tax returns in Raleigh, NC
  • Providing accounting services in Raleigh, NC
  • …and so on. 

You’ll see what we mean why it’s a good idea after reading our Google Search is Changing in 2024 blog (coming soon!), but here are the quick reasons. 

Pros of Niching By Location

  • Depending on your city, it is likely much easier and faster to rank on Google in a local market, rather than competing in a busy national market. Again, this will depend on your city. Gaining market share in Chicago is going to be a lot tougher than gaining market share in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Your paid advertising is going to be cheaper. There are likely fewer people competing on your exact advertising keywords in a city rather than nationwide.
  • Your Google reviews will show. Google My Business profiles are only shown on Google when someone is searching for your services in relation to location. I.e. “The Fitness CPA in Colorado” will show the Google My Business profile. Simply typing in “The Fitness CPA” will not show the Google My Business profile since the accounting firm has a national niche (fitness businesses & gyms).
  • You can leverage Local Search Ads (LSA). This is a paid advertising lead generation feature that is only available to local businesses.

Niche By Industry

This is a popular angle. As referenced in the payroll example above, you choose to only offer your services to a specific industry, i.e. accountants for e-commerce businesses. This is a nation-wide niche; meaning your target audience is any e-commerce business owner in the United States.

Depending on the industry you choose, this may be a great choice as well. There are some really competitive industries (such as e-commerce, restaurants, and a few others) but there are some relatively easier industries to niche in as well. Your marketing agency can help run the numbers for you to see how competitive one industry is over another.

Remember: the more competitive the industry is, the more money you will have to spend to compete with the existing businesses. In marketing, you “pay to play”.

That’s why we always offer a completely free audit to our clients before they sign on with us at Markology to determine exactly how much money and how much time will be needed in order to see continuous results in your location, industry, or other category.

One important thing we will caution against: do not pick more than one industry to niche in, unless they are all related. For example, do not become the accounting firm for tech start ups and real estate. However, becoming the accounting firm for HVAC, plumbers, builders, and contractors is fine.

Niche By Tool or Special Category

Here’s another example of a niche you could concentrate on: choosing to align with a certain software tool or characteristic. For example, Xero bookkeepers or Christian financial advisors. These are both examples of narrowing down your target audience to a smaller group of people in order to reach and attract higher quality leads.

More Reasons to Consider Niching Your Accounting Firm

If we haven’t convinced you to this point, don’t worry, we have more. 

Aside from the “pay to play” aspect, there are a few other reasons why you should consider niching your accounting firm: 

Niche for Accounting Firms

Unique selling proposition (USP)

By niching in a certain location, industry, or software tool, you will naturally become the authority in your space. You will be honed in on all of the regulations for your specific state or industry, and can advertise this advantage to clients.

For example, if you are the go-to accounting firm for crypo investors, when potential clients visit your website, they will get the sense of your expertise and authority. You speak their language, you have the answers, and you can service their needs from start to finish.

Word of mouth referrals

Similar to the point above, by focusing on one niche you will naturally provide a great service for your clients because you will have more time dedicated to becoming the authority in your area. This means that when your existing clients are attending industry events, community groups, and other networking engagements, they are more likely to share your business with others.

This has been an amazing growth strategy for our business and we guarantee that social proof works.

Less competition

As long as you do the research in the beginning, choosing a niche will lead to less competition and more high-quality leads. Clients who type “accountant for marketing agency” into Google are much more likely to get in touch on your website once they see that you only specialize in marketing agency accounting.

More manageable for smaller firms

As a small or medium accounting or bookkeeping firm, hiring employees who know the accounting intricacies across multiple industries or multiple states is going to be difficult. The same goes with producing website content for lead generation. Concentrating on a niche will make training, servicing, and marketing, much more manageable processes for small to medium-sized firms.

Exit strategy

From a branding point of view, niching in one particular area is attractive when and if it comes time to sell your business. We recently had a Markology client exit after niching in “accounting for therapists” for just a few years. We saw firsthand that brand equity and market share add $$$ to your valuation!

How to Choose Your CPA Firm’s Niche

Now that we have you convinced, it’s time to choose your accounting firm’s niche.

And unfortunately, we can’t really do this part for you.

You know your business the best. Think about who you enjoy working with and what you enjoy doing.

Are there clients that you’ve naturally taken on recently that come from the same industry?

Additionally, what are you good at?

If you don’t live in a huge city (like Miami or Chicago), we strongly recommend considering using your location as your niche.

Local targeting sees much faster marketing success than national targeting.

And depending on the strength of your website & SEO presence, it’s not impossible to compete even in the larger cities.

One of our clients ranks #1 for gyms & personal training in Los Angeles, and it only took 9-12 months for us to get them there.

However, this will all depend on your existing marketing efforts and your domain rating.

Once you have it down to a few potential niches, that’s where we (or your marketing firm) can help.

After an introductory call at Markology, we offer a completely free audit where we can run the numbers for you and let you know just how competitive your potential niches are. We take a look at things like search volume (how many people are searching a month), search difficulty (how competitive is it), and existing domain rating (the strength of your website and ability to outrank others).

If you’re in search of a good accounting firm marketing agency, you can book your first call here.

What Happens After You Niche? 

Finally, after you’ve chosen a niche (location, industry, or special category), there are a few things you’ll need to do to implement the niche across your marketing.

  1. Overhaul your branding: It’s important that your entire website, content, email, and social media branding resonates with your target niche. I.e. If you’re a tax firm for construction businesses, you’ll likely want to use construction images in your branding. As soon as you come to your website, it should be evident that you only specialize in construction.
  2. Change your messaging: Equally as important, you’ll need to change your messaging. Make sure all of the services you provide speak directly to how they will benefit your target audience. Your potential clients don’t want to know how you save businesses money in tax strategy every year. They want to know specifically how you save businesses like theirs.
  3. Change over your content strategy: Every blog and video you do should speak directly to your target audience. If someone is searching for a “chart of accountants for construction” - your blog and downloadable template should be the first one they see!
  4. Join LinkedIn, Facebook, and community groups: Finally, we encourage you to join groups that are relevant to your target audience, whether local or industry. Get involved in conversations and offer valuable, free advice to your audience whenever you get the chance. This is how you create a name for yourself in the industry; one of trust, credibility, and value!

And that’s it! That’s all we have to say about niching.

In short, it’s essential to narrow the target audience for your accounting or bookkeeping firm.

Consider going local first. Otherwise, choose an industry or special category that is less competitive than others.

If you need help, we’re always here to help. This is what we love doing!

You can check out some of our other recent blog posts (here is one on Creating your Content Strategy for 2024) or schedule an introductory call to see how we can help your firm.

Until next time!

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