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Take Your Marketing Online! by Sarah Warlick, Kelly Lucas, Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk

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CHAPTER 4

Give to Get: The Power of Thought Leadership

Marketing for accounting services is significantly different and more difficult than selling shoes, crayons, or cars. What you do professionally is complicated and not well understood by many of your target clients. Most can’t go behind you to check that you are taking advantage of every tax-savings opportunity or ensure that you have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s in an audit. They have to trust that you know what you are doing and are looking out for their best interests. What you do can’t be touched, and they can’t really take your services for a test drive to see how you do. To top it all off, you probably charge a good deal of money for your work, and I’ve never seen a firm offer a money-back guarantee.

When you take all of this and many other factors into account, your clients are really buying your experience and expertise. They have to risk a great deal of trust that you will do what is needed and best for their specific circumstances. How do you prove that you have the skills to meet their needs? One highly effective way is to be a thought leader.

“Thought leadership” is a phrase that gets tossed around quite a lot these days, and it means different things to different people. One of the best definitions I have found comes from Forbes magazine:

A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities ...

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