Part I: The critical role of
“Integrated Internet Marketing”
by Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A.
A major impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been the undeniable importance of digital marketing for CPA firms of all sizes. More than ever, your clients are relying on online methods to receive information and make buying decisions.. What can you do to adapt?
In general, those CPA firms with effective digital marketing campaigns have experienced significant increases in website traffic, e-blast metrics, and social media interaction. As we have progressed through the initial stages of California’s “resilience roadmap” and employees in lower-risk workplaces have returned to work, those metrics have been changing. However, no one knows when the governor will declare us to be in stage 4, the “end of stay at home order.” Even when/if the entire workforce returns to their work sites, it is predicted that online usage and purchasing has changed, possibly permanently.
All these circumstances amount to the critical need for your firm to address, and likely enhance, your digital marketing efforts.
Key Principles of “Integrated Internet Marketing”
Several years ago, my firm coined the phrase “Integrated Internet Marketing” to explain a better method to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your online marketing activities. This approach is even more important now during the pandemic. Why?
Integrated Internet Marketing is a systematic process of combining the various parts of your digital marketing into a cohesive, efficient and productive campaign (e.g., branding, websites, SEO/SEM, social media, and e-communication campaigns). Wouldn’t everyone want this, especially during the difficult economic times of COVID-19? Of course! However, the reality is that most digital marketing efforts by CPA firms are disjointed and ineffective to some degree; Integrated Internet Marketing is critical in reversing these failures.
Your firm can use the principles of Integrated Internet Marketing to adapt during and after the pandemic. Key aspects include:
- Strategic planning is applied to generate a synergistic benefit, so that the combined effect is far greater than the sum of each individual activity.
- Tactically handling each detail so that every component is maximized in effective results (for example, website and social media posts, combined with an e-blast).
- Clear communication and professionalism (vs. disjointed and dissimilar messages, incomplete, or missing key details).
- Compelling messaging is critical to attract and engage your targeted markets (avoiding the impression of disarray or lack of impact due to inconsistencies, errors and lack of a cohesive plan).
- It requires experienced marketing management, typically one firm handling all of it (vs. multiple vendors, each of which tells you that their product/service is the most important, and who generally don’t communicate well with each other, if at all; resulting in disjointed efforts and poor results).
When implemented effectively, Integrated Internet Marketing considers the firm’s goals and weighs pros/cons of each technique so that there is a greater likelihood of achieving those objectives and generating new business. A key focus is efficiency, productivity and reduced costs.
Avoid “One Size Fits All” Marketing Products
While you search for vendors to help with your digital marketing campaign, you’ll likely encounter persuasive salespeople who attempt to convince that their product is “THE answer” to your marketing needs (i.e., we’ve all encountered SEO/SEM firms that think every CPA firm should use them, no matter the target market or practice area). This is in direct opposition to the principles of Integrated Internet Marketing.
Usually this person lacks a formal education in marketing and pushes their product above all other options, no matter the specifics of your firm’s services or targeted market. A true marketing professional could never conscientiously do so.
This about it – could there possibly be one marketing technique that can be effective for every market? Of course not! Each market segment has different needs. Otherwise, everyone would use that approach (e.g., SEO/SEM) and nothing else!
Don’t miss the next issue!
In the next issue, we will discuss developing profit-driven goals and exceptional branding steps to consider in your COVID-19 era digital marketing efforts, using Integrated Internet Marketing. If your firm is interested in implementing digital marketing, contact us