If one of your clients has an experience with your firm, they’ll tell a friend and who will tell two friends and so on. Referrals are one of the most traditional growth and marketing strategies tax and accounting firms rely on to grow their business. But referrals today have a tech twist that forward-thinking firms will want to master.
Referrals are no longer just word-of-mouth recommendations during phone calls or face-to-face conversations between a client or partner and a prospect. They’re now driven by online reviews, social media posts, video testimonials and your firm’s general online presence.
Even if they look different, referrals are still a solid growth strategy for firms of all sizes. According to a 2021 survey performed by Accounting Today for Wolters Kluwer, 51% of all firms are focused on obtaining referrals from current clients and partners as a way to fuel their firm’s growth.
Here’s how to make the most of new referral sources and why ensuring your customers’ satisfaction—often shared widely and loudly—is more important than ever.
Online Sources of Client Referrals
Don’t misunderstand – a referral may still be a direct recommendation, and word-of-mouth is as powerful as ever. But with 93% of US consumers searching online for a local business in 2020, you can’t ignore what your online presence says about your firm. A post—positive or negative—from an influential member of your target market will reach many more people than your networking efforts ever would.
That’s not to say that you should give up attending local events and nurturing relationships. But in a world where Yelp and Twitter give people a platform to tell their customer service stories, firms that neglect their digital presence will quickly be left behind.
Referrals today could include:
- Video testimonials—either positive ones strategically solicited by your firm or negative ones posted by angry or dissatisfied clients
- Online reviews on websites like Google Business, Yelp, Angi, Nextdoor, or your own firm’s Facebook page
- Social media posts that refer to a client’s experience and tag your firm
Positive reviews on public websites as well as positive mentions on clients’ social media pages have been shown to increase customer trust, help firms rank higher in search ratings, and provide a direct line to prospects.