How a CPA Firm Quadrupled Earnings with Local Marketing

CPA uses local marketing strategies to increase earnings

Paul and Teresa Mueller quadrupled annual sales of their accounting firm in seven years. How? One key is Mueller and Associates CPA’s community-focused marketing strategy. The firm has a dominant presence in its local market both in person and online. The couple shared insight into why their brand dominates, and how yours can too.

The Mueller and Associates CPA brand shows up everywhere in its market, which is not typical of an accounting firm. But, the Muellers don’t operate your average accounting firm, the couple said in a recent interview with LMI.

Paul, Teresa and the rest of their staff are seen all over town at community events. They rank highly on Google searches without using PPC advertising. And, they have an awesome 37% average open rate on their company emails. The Muellers offered a few key steps to building your brand awareness as a local business.

Define Your Brand

First, fine tune your brand identity, and coordinate your marketing efforts to support that identity. Paul sums up Mueller and Associates CPA’s brand in three simple words: Fun. Hero. Guru.

“Those three words are what makes us tick. They’re what’s unique to our brand,” Paul said. All marketing, from the firm’s informative email newsletters to its humorous digital advertising and website, convey the fun-hero-guru theme.

Prepare To Invest

Local Marketing Initial InvestmentMueller and Associates CPA makes participation in and sponsorship of community events its top marketing investment. The firm spent about $30,000 last year on marketing. He notes that the initial marketing investment is highest in the early years of building the brand. “As the brand gets solidified, you don’t need to spend as much as a percentage of revenue,” he said.

The firm’s four full time and three seasonal staff members are encouraged to get involved in the leadership of local organizations and take part in community events. “It’s part of our firm’s values. We support it by letting them have time off to attend, covering dues, etc.,” Teresa said.

Continue Identity Through Digital Marketing

While the bulk of their marketing budget is earmarked for community events, the Muellers invest significant time and effort to digital marketing. Their website, social media business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn and email campaigns carry out the fun-hero-guru identity and community-oriented focus as well.

Mueller and Associates’ email newsletters have been the most fruitful part of its digital marketing. The firm has a list of more than 1,400 opt-in subscribers who receive the firm’s “advisory” emails. Paul writes the content for every newsletter and uses Constant Contact to manage distribution.

His open rates are above average in the upper 30th percentile because he only sends out timely content that is specific to his clientele–primarily Colorado-based business people, including those in the craft brewing, lodging/hospitality, artist/creative and oil and gas sectors. “Our people know that when we send them something, it’s probably worth opening and reading,” Paul said. He shared more ways local businesses can boost email open rates.

Example of Local Marketing Identity Building

Mueller’s Hints for Email Success

  • Do Provide Pertinent, Helpful Content
    Offering content that is pertinent and useful to your customers is the number one way to ensure they’ll want to read your emails. Provide analysis of news, explain why it is important to them, and offer concrete action steps. You’re the expert in your field, so show it in your content.
  • Don’t Distribute Regularly
    It depends on your market, but Paul advocates not sending a regularly-scheduled newsletter. Being irregular and only sending emails when you have timely information to share builds trust and creates a sense of urgency with your readers.
  • Do Keep It Short and Sweet
    Get your newsletter down to one page. “Give people enough to make it newsy, but you don’t have to give them the whole load,” Paul said. Be sure to make your contact information easy to find, so they can call you for more details.
  • Don’t Lose Them With Your Subject Line
    The subject line of your email may only be a few words, but they’re arguably the most important words you’ll write. Paul uses his public speaking experience to approach his email subject lines. “Once you have them laughing you’ve got them listening,” he said. Use a word or phrase that will grab attention and offer a pay-off for reading. It can be something unusual or humorous, but it needs to be concise and accurate about what’s inside the email.
  • Do Maintain Opt-in Mailing Lists
    Paul doesn’t purchase mailing lists. He developed his own over years of community involvement and building his client base. With nearly 1,500 subscribers, he continues to grow his subscriber base as he and his team meet people and get permissions. Be sure to clean up your list too by immediately dropping bounce-back email addresses and occasionally culling long inactive addresses.

Reach out to Mueller & Associates, CPA
phone: 970.667.1070

How to Run a Business With Your Spouse

Local Marketing CoupleMarried for 38 years, Paul and Teresa Mueller of Mueller and Associates CPA have been in business together for eight. As a CPA firm, they’ve worked with many clients with husband-and-wife management teams. Their biggest piece of advice: have distinct roles in the business for each spouse.

“You can do business together, but don’t work together,” Teresa said. Paul handles the tax issues, while Teresa handles the accounting side. Of course as owners/operators of a business, some management decisions will need to be made together. But, clear-cut division of responsibilities at work makes for successful business operations.

“Otherwise, you just go home mad at each other, which puts both the business and the marriage at risk,” Paul said.

Heather Henstock
Heather is the Managing Editor for Local Marketing Institute. She has been the associate publisher and editor-in-chief for magazines serving the baking industry and has a passion to help local business owners succeed and thrive!