Finding out how to get bookkeeping clients for your business takes some experimentation. You may find some methods come naturally to you, like social media marketing, while others, like networking, are more difficult. Use this guide to learn the 6 best strategies to get bookkeeping clients. But before we begin, let’s look at why bookkeeping clients hire you. Click on this link to dive right into the strategies to get bookkeeping clients.
Why Do Bookkeeping Clients Hire You?
Before jumping into specific strategies, we’ll put ourselves in the client’s shoes. Why will they pay a bookkeeper to help them with their business finances? The answers usually come down to two major reasons.
First, companies pay bookkeepers to save time. Second, companies pay bookkeepers to reduce risk. Let’s unpack both reasons so you can market your services more effectively.
The saving time benefit tends to apply the most to smaller companies with no accounting or finance department. For example, a small e-commerce business owner might personally perform bookkeeping duties a few hours a month.
In this kind of small business, the business owner probably has multiple responsibilities like marketing, business partnerships, managing inventory, and bookkeeping. If you can help this busy business owner save even a few hours per month, they will have more time to work on other areas (e.g., marketing) that may help the business grow even further.
In accounting and bookkeeping work, accuracy is critically important. For example, if a business owner fails to keep track of their expenses in detail, they may not understand their profit margin correctly. Further, failing to track expenses correctly may have tax implications like paying a higher tax bill.
To avoid these bookkeeping problems, discipline and attention to detail are vital. If you have a track record of bookkeeping accuracy, you can help your clients to reduce the risk of misunderstanding their business results. Even better, you may be able to help them reduce their tax bill by keeping accurate records.
Other benefits to working with a bookkeeper
The first two benefits – reducing risk and saving time – are the main rational reasons business owners hire bookkeepers in-house or freelance. That said, there is also another benefit to keeping in mind. Many people don’t like working with numbers, while others feel overwhelmed by the prospect of dealing with dollars and cents.
When you step into a client’s business to help them with their business finances, you’re relieving them of a burden. In essence, you’re lightening their mental load, which means less stress for the client.
Now that you know the main reasons clients value bookkeeping services, we can dive into the strategies you can use to get more clients.
How to get bookkeeping clients: The Top 6 Strategies
An online presence, including a website and a presence on a social media platform, is the foundation of your success as a bookkeeping business. You may not come across as credible to your clients without an online presence.
Depending on your website skills (or budget if you plan to outsource this task), there are two main approaches to building your website. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each one.
Option 1: The Basic Online Business Card
An online business card is a simple website with minimal information. It can be created in one day or less. The pro of this type of simple website is speed. Since there are few pages or advanced features, setting it up is easy.
The disadvantage is that a simple website with limited content may not do much to attract potential clients. It is still worth setting up because it serves as a foundation for your business on the Internet.
You can build a simple online presence in various ways:
Website builder sites: This includes sites like Squarespace and Wix that lets you design every aspect of your site, from the blog, individual pages, and FAQs, to everything else. While these sites offer amazing functionality in designing your site’s look and feel, the downside is that it’s time intensive and requires a lot of effort.
Link sites: This includes popular services like Linktree, the popular one-page link-building site you see on every social media profile. While these sites are easy to set up in minutes, they have limited features (e.g. you cannot receive payments). Also, while optimized for social media influencers, it doesn’t convey a sense of professionalism/seriousness that’s befitting every small business type.
CheckYa profile: A third option is our custom profile feature. It allows you to create a professional and brandable profile in minutes and offers various professional services (invoicing, bookings, payments). See how Laura has set up her profile for her online writing business below.
It’s important to explore the options available to figure out what works best for your particular business case.
Option 2: The Lead Generation Website
If a simple website for your bookkeeping business serves as an online business card, a lead website serves as your 2/47 lead generation machine. This website brings you new business through blog posts, sophisticated contact forms, and email marketing.
The disadvantage is that a lead-generation website takes more effort and time to build. You might need to pay for assistance if you have limited digital marketing skills.
The best way to create a lead generation website, including a blog, is to use a self-hosted WordPress website. Many websites hosting providers, including GoDaddy and Bluehost, offer WordPress websites for a low monthly or annual cost – potentially less than $100 per year if you find a promotional offer.
Strategy 2: Use Networking Skills To Meet Potential Clients
Networking is a proven way to get clients. As a bookkeeper, there are a few ways to use networking to gain clients. For this example, we’ll assume your business is relatively new (i.e., you’ve been in business for less than a year).
Start With Your Warm Network
To start a bookkeeping business, you’ve probably already developed considerable bookkeeping skills. For example, you might have worked as a bookkeeper or accountant at a company. Or you might have completed an educational program covering bookkeeping skills.
When you’re starting, reach out to people who already know, like, and trust you. People in your network are the most likely to give you a chance when you’re just starting.
To implement networking, start by making a list of 100 people in your network. Next to the person’s name, include the following columns: email address, phone number, where I know this person (e.g., family, past job, school), and their job title (including people out of the workforce). To build your list, check your social media lists, email inbox, and the people you see daily.
With this list in hand, look for people who might have an immediate need for bookkeeping services, like business owners and people who work in finance and accounting. We’ll contact those people using the following email script (make sure to adapt the details to reflect your business).
Networking Email Script For Potential Clients:
I started my freelance bookkeeping business earlier this year and thought of you. I’m experienced in using Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Excel. I typically help business owners save 5 hours per month. With that extra time, you can focus more on growing your business!
Can I send over a few times when we can connect in the week?
What about the rest of the people on your networking list? They might still be able to help you. The approach is slightly different, though – your goal is to seek introductions to potential clients. Everybody else you know – including students and retired people – has their networks and might be able to introduce you to even more potential clients.
Use the following email script to help your friends, family, and colleagues quickly introduce you to potential clients.
Networking Email Script To Seek Introduction:
I started my freelance bookkeeping business earlier this year and thought of you. I’m experienced in using Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Excel. I typically help business owners save 5 hours per month.
Do you know any business owners with ten employees or fewer in Michigan? If anybody comes to mind, it would mean the world to me if you could introduce me!
These email scripts are just a starting point. You may need to follow up a few times to engage your network fully. After you run through this process a few times, hopefully, your network will bring you a few initial opportunities.
Strategy 3: Social Media Marketing
You might not have an extensive personal network in your quest to learn how to get bookkeeping clients. Or you might find that your network does not have many opportunities. In those situations, you need alternative strategies to get clients. That’s where social media marketing can make a difference.
Since bookkeeping is a business service, LinkedIn should be your first and primary area of focus. After covering LinkedIn, we’ll look at a few strategies to use other platforms.
How to get bookkeeping clients using LinkedIn?
To make the most of LinkedIn, use a combination of strategies: outbound and inbound. Outbound marketing means directly contacting potential clients and offering your services to them. Inbound marketing means creating a presence on the platform and attracting people to you.
If you’re starting, focusing your effort on outbound marketing is best. On LinkedIn, this means using a few key features:
Search For Relevant Hashtags: Use the search bar at the top of LinkedIn to search for hashtags related to your business. For example, the #bookkeeping hashtag has over 30,000 followers. Read through the posts and accounts to see if any of the postings look like a potential client. Send a connection request and introduce yourself if you see a relevant posting.
Search Using The Jobs Tab: LinkedIn has a jobs tab where companies post job postings. In October 2022, we found thousands of bookkeeper job postings. When you see a job posting, don’t apply directly to the job posting. Instead, check out the company posting the position and then introduce yourself to somebody at the company involved in bookkeeping (e.g., an accounting or finance manager)
In addition, LinkedIn allows you to build a following by creating content. The most popular formats include text posts (i.e., articles for longer posts and LinkedIn status updates for shorter updates) and videos.
With each post you make, add relevant hashtags to attract potential clients. For example, you might be interested in attracting growing e-commerce companies. Therefore, adding hashtags like #ecommerce may help you to attract clients.
The exact type of content you create depends on the market you serve and your expertise. Generally, it is wise to have a mix of offers (i.e., making a post that directly invites potential clients to contact you) and posts designed to attract people (i.e., bookkeeping tips or posts about common bookkeeping mistakes).
Strategy 4: Freelancer And Gig Platforms
Social media and tapping into your network are excellent ways to focus your efforts on acquiring clients for your bookkeeping business. What if those methods don’t feel right for you? There’s another option – using freelance platforms like Upwork and Freelancer.
When using these platforms, there are pros and cons to consider. The advantage of using a freelancer platform is that clients actively seek a freelancer to help them solve a problem. As a result, it is often easier to sign up new clients. There are disadvantages, though.
These platforms often charge fairly high service fees, up to 20% in some cases. Those high fees directly reduce your income. In addition, the platform owns the customer relationship, making it more difficult to take the customer off the platform. In addition, these platforms may require you to use their payment and invoice methods rather than your preferred method (e.g., CheckYa).
If you decide to use these platforms, we suggest supplementing these platforms with at least one other strategy to diversify your business growth.
Strategy 5: Upselling and Cross-Selling
You will gain a few new clients using the first few strategies. Now, you are responsible for delivering outstanding results to clients (i.e., financial reports free of errors and delivered on time). Once you fulfill your standard service offering, look for opportunities to upsell and cross-sell services. Upselling means selling a higher-priced service, while a cross-sell is a different service offering.
The specific additional services you sell to clients depend upon your skills. For instance, let’s say you are an enrolled agent with the Internal Revenue Service. Your upsell service to bookkeeping clients might be to offer tax planning or tax preparation services.
Another option would be to sell financial consulting services to clients. You might have clients spending $100,000 per month on various expenses. As a bookkeeper, you may be able to find ways to help your clients better manage these expenses.
This might include negotiating payment dates (i.e., aligning all bills to be paid by the last business day of the month). Alternatively, you might research alternative business credit cards for your client so that they can receive better benefits like cash back or travel rewards.
Strategy 6: Referrals
Signing up a new bookkeeping client is a significant success. It requires time and effort to build a trusting relationship with your clients. What if there was a way to be seen as a trusted advisor more quickly with potential clients? You’re in good luck – referrals offer precisely this kind of shortcut.
No guide on how to get bookkeeping clients would be complete without covering referrals. Unlike other marketing strategies, getting referrals is fast!
All you need to get started is at least a satisfied bookkeeping client. Once you have delivered good results to a client, contact them to ask for a referral. Make this request short and focused so that a client can efficiently respond. Use the following script as a starting point.
Referral Email Script To Get Leads From Current Clients
Subject Line: Introductions
I’m happy to let you know that I’ve completed the third month of bookkeeping for you. Earlier today, I sent over the monthly revenue, expenses, and profits summary report.
I’m writing to ask for an introduction to other business owners who may need bookkeeping. My ideal client runs an e-commerce business with ten employees or fewer. When a name comes to mind, reply to this note, and I’ll share the next steps.
By the way, you get $100 off one month of service package for each referral who becomes a client. I believe in rewarding clients!
How To Make More Time Available To Get Clients
Now that you know how to get bookkeeping clients, another question may come to mind. How are you supposed to find time to put all of these strategies into practice? Start by realizing that you only need to put about five hours (i.e., one hour per week, for example) into marketing to see long-term results.
If you have too much on your plate right now, it’s essential to make time to get more clients. To free up time, look closely at how you’re using your time.
Are you creating monthly invoices from scratch or waiting for clients to mail a check to you? In those cases, switching to a digital invoicing solution like CheckYa can help. You can save time every month with invoice templates and payment reminders. Even if you save just one hour per week, that’s enough time to grow your bookkeeping business!