Gold Rush: Xero Gold Partners, Making The Most Of Your New Status

By Posted in - The Public Blog on September 29th, 2013 8 Comments

So you’re a new Xero Gold Partner. Well done. We know that Xero Gold Partners don’t achieve that by accident. (If you’re not yet a Xero Gold Partner, see our 10 Steps To Becoming a Xero Gold Partner blog post here.)

After the back slapping and satisfied grins have died down (you should enjoy the milestone, after all), you might turn your thoughts to commercial matters, like making the most out of your new higher profile as a Xero Advisor.

Marketing Strategies for Xero Gold Partners

Promoting, Leveraging and BANKING Your Xero Gold Partner Status

Xero Gold Partners – Enter ‘The Virtuous Circle’

Reaching Gold Partner status is a significant milestone because you’ve just entered a virtuous circle where the number of businesses contacting you about switching to Xero will increase even more due to your much more prominent Xero Advisor listing. Your Gold Partner logo on your website will also increase enquiries, as obviously it gives people confidence that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to Xero.

This means it’s an upward spiral from here.

If you leverage it properly and continue the growth.

Xero Gold Partners have been asking us…

What triggered my sharing of the following tips on the blog here was when two members of our Modern Marketing Academy for Accountants — one firm in Australia and one in the UK — asked the same question on the same day, in our member support forum. (By the way, if you’re a member you can log in and see the detailed discussion thread here)

The Australian firm asked:

“We have just moved into Xero Gold status. We want to make sure we take advantage of this with regards to marketing; PR; SEO etc. Your thoughts?”

The UK firm asked:

“We have taken the step to Gold Partners of Xero. There is a land grab going on for Xero clients. How can we up the ante with our marketing, within our finite resources, about Xero and the cloud?”

Great questions. Why should Xero Gold Partners rest on their laurels? And as the UK firm mentioned with his “land grab” comment, there is a frenzy of activity–hence the Gold Rush theme of this article–as the early-mover firms in each market get on board with Xero and race towards becoming Xero Gold Partners, due to the inherent virtuous circle effect.

To Xero Gold Partners – Our Detailed Advice

The following is an excerpt of my reply, in our Member Support & Discussion forum…

===START OF FORUM REPLY===

A list of items, including obvious and not-so-obvious action items include:

  1. Ensure your website includes the Xero Gold Partner logo. (You might be surprised that we see many Xero Gold Partners who initially don’t get onto this simple task. Should be done Day 1.)
  2. Ensure you have a Xero landing page on your website that is SEO optimised to rank well for Xero plus the target search terms of your location and search terms that your target niche(s) are likely to search on
  3. Ensure that landing page has as its objective, a download or sign-up incentive so that they end up in your MailChimp subscriber database. The aim of traffic is conversion into your Hopper, which will then send them along your marketing machine’s Conveyor Belt. [Note to non-members: 'Your Hopper' is Module 2 of our Academy, about how to accelerate the growth of your marketing database, and 'Your Conveyor Belt' is Module 5, which is about building an online and social media lead generation and pre-education system that automates the '5 touches before a person buys' process for your firm.]
  4. This is an advanced tip, but massively improves website effectiveness: A/B split test your Xero landing page to see which headline (for example) works best for conversion, or which image etc. Tools like Unbounce.com and Visual Website Optimizer facilitate this A/B split testing (which is one of the money-making secrets of the modern online marketing world — seriously — because you continually improve the effectiveness of your online content based on data/results, not gut feel or theory.
  5. Use the Google Keyword Planner (formerly known as the Google Keyword Tool) to search for terms you are thinking of targeting, so you can see how many local monthly searches are being done on various related terms. You just need a Google account (e.g. you have one if you use Gmail or YouTube etc.) to use this tool. Shout out if you need guidance on using it. It allows you to find terms that people are perhaps searching more on (i.e. you’d get more traffic from) that the phrases you originally had in mind. You can also see the Competitiveness of the phrases, meaning whether the phrases are ones that lots of other sites are going after (via Google Adwords/Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising). You want a balance of high traffic but moderate or low competition.
  6. Include your search terms in the blog post (and/or web page) title (so that the keywords also appear in the URL of the blog post and/or web page), and also in Heading 1 (H1), Heading 2 (H2) tags, are bolded (strong emphasis) and used throughout in a frequent but natural way. (Do not “keyword stuff” — that is, don’t use the target phrase too often, or Google will demote your site in its search results)
  7. Ask your Xero Account Manager about co-funding of Xero-signage on the busy main road near your office — if you have access to such signage. Get that professionally designed and Xero will pay half the signage cost (last I saw on that at Xerocon last year, that was the case).
  8. Have Xero Gold Partner logo added to stationery, in-office collateral (flier in waiting area), email signature graphics, even car signage.
  9. Get a photo professionally taken with your Xero Senior Account Manager handing you a certificate or trophy, signifying the achievement, and then issue a media release to the local press about how you are transforming local business’ processes with cloud-based computing and process improvement via Xero and its Addon Partner software integrations. Be sure to include a quote from a client or two who love Xero and who can cite some results or time savings/efficiencies etc. that Xero is helping them achieve.
  10. Be sure to include an article about your new status as Xero Gold Partners in your next eNewsletter, but write it in a way of “What This Means To You Is…” (i.e. benefits) for the reader. In other words, the great things about Xero, your expertise in it, the results it is getting for clients etc. The article focus shouldn’t be “We’re Xero Gold Partners, aren’t we great,” but rather “We’re Xero Gold Partners and excited about continuing to help more businesses, in an even more in-depth way, as our Xero expertise deepens,” or words to that effect.
  11. Start recording screencasts (1 to 3 minutes each) of how to use certain aspects of Xero, and post them to your YouTube Channel and then embed the videos in a blog post each time. You can watermark the videos with your firm logo and the Xero Gold Partner logo (we can explain how).

There are more things you could do, too.

If that’s overwhelming, let me know. Even if you start by just doing a few of the items above, that’s a great start.

All these tasks are the sorts of things our Virtual Marketing Assistant (VMA) Service could handle for you each month too. On that, here’s an article we did for a client just yesterday where he provided the base copy (rough draft) and we then had our copywriter polish it up, and then I polished it from a strategic viewpoint and suggested and created the graphic (based on the Henry Ford metaphor the client suggested in his original draft): [Hyperlink removed from this public blog post to protect our client's investment in our VMA Service]. Xero centres-of-influence and Xero Senior Account Managers have already retweeted the article link. We suspect a lot more exposure will come from it too. Just thought I’d share an example of how to get educational yet cut-through marketing content out there re Xero.

Ask as many questions, as broad or as detailed as you like, about any of the above.

Cheers
MC

===END OF FORUM REPLY===

A little backstory…

Before I published the above tips publicly, team members at PARADOX questioned me, “MC, are you sure you want to share that? There is a lot of ‘secret PARADOX sauce’ and detailed advice in that forum reply? Maybe keep that just for Academy members?”

On one hand that is logical and commercial thinking. Don’t give away free advice.

So why did I?

Sharing this information gives you a glimpse of the ‘inch wide, mile deep’ expertise we have in helping accounting firms with their online marketing for lead generation, especially around attracting businesses who want to switch to Xero. We provide specific, pragmatic advice in our member forum like this every day. Seeing the detailed response above, sheds light on how day-and-night different we are from generalist practice management consultants and coaches who skim across marketing topics, but don’t go ‘mile deep’ to get to practical specific advice in these areas. That is not to disparage practice management consultants and coaches. Not at all. As generalists, they perform a crucial role. You need to get your operations and management ‘house in order’.

We only work with what we term ‘the innovative 5%’ of accounting firms (and larger bookkeeping businesses) around the world.

That’s one of the reasons we love working closely with so many Xero firms: by virtue of the fact they are already embracing the cloud and Xero, they pre-select themselves as being innovative and willing to embrace change. We find that Xero Gold Partners in particular are a pleasure to work with and really hit the ground running with the modern marketing strategies and technologies we teach and implement with them.

So… enough of the backstory…

As a Xero Gold Partner, which of the tips above have you implemented?

Which do you want to implement?

Below is a very concise summary you can use as a checklist for implementation as you leverage your status as Xero Gold Partner. Print this blog post out and table it at your next management meeting for discussion. If you’re not implementing these things, you are not fully leveraging the opportunity that is right in front of you:

Marketing Checklist For Xero Gold Partners

  • Add Xero Gold Partner logo to website
  • Xero landing page on website
  • Use Google Keyword Planner to identify high traffic, moderate/low competition search terms
  • Xero landing page SEO optimised for target search phrases
  • Xero landing page has a download incentive/sign-up linked to email subscriber database
  • A/B split test Xero landing page
  • Co-funding of Xero signage
  • Xero Gold Partner logo added to stationery, in-office collateral, email signature graphics
  • Photo professionally taken with Xero Senior Account Manager
  • Media release issued to local press, including quote from a client about Xero
  • Article about your new status as Xero Gold Partners in next eNewsletter (and on blog)
  • Record screencasts on how to use aspects of Xero
  • Post screencasts to YouTube Channel, then embed videos in blog post each time

Share your experiences in the Comments below. How have you best leveraged your status as Xero Gold Partners?

Or perhaps you consider that is your own ‘secret sauce’…?

(8) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Jeremy Harris - Reply

    September 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thanks MC. It’s really useful to have these practical tips to form a marketing strategy around gold partner status. I think that a landing page on our website is one of our most important next steps.

    Gold for us means less than half of existing client organisations are on Xero, so there is still plenty of selling to do with our current clients. At the same time, we need to be marketing to prospects.

    Equally important IMO is selling additional services to clients on Xero. With all this live data, there is so much potential for KPI reporting, benchmarking, cash flow forecasting and more.

    At a practical level, one of the challenges is managing the data that we now have at our fingertips. We can either go in to every organisation on a regular basis (say once a month) or look to the add-on community. One of the add-ons that I am excited about is DiGA from Business Backbone in the UK. You can design exception reports such as organisations with more than x number of unreconciled transactions, wages as a percentage of sales exceeding a benchmark, or even which clients haven’t logged in to their file for x days or months! Whatever is available through the Xero API, you can report on. Now that will help us to be “proactive” (that old chestnut).

    So much opportunity – gotta love working with Xero!

  • Ben Walker - Reply

    September 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Loving this MC – just achieved gold partner status on Thursday night last week… Celebrated in the office on Friday and looking forward to the rep that it brings.

    Definitely have to get onto some signage, photo with the Account Manager and enewsletter release ASAP.

  • Michael Carter - Reply

    September 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Hi @Jeremy. Thanks for your Comment. Some great points there.

    Glad to hear Xero Landing Page is on your To Do list. We’ll help you with the implementation, SEO and ongoing measurement and testing of that.

    That’s exciting to hear of the growth you still have available within your existing clientbase; though as discussed, we’ll also be helping you target two niches for specific lead gen to attract your ideal client types moving forward.

    Re the additional Xero-related services, such as KPI reporting, cashflow dashboarding etc., add that to your Clientshare Matrix so you have have a clear and objective gap analysis on which clients already have–and which clients should be invited to take up–these services. The sales process we’re teaching you in tomorrow’s consultation can be used to sell any advisory/optional service. Works predictably. (The firm that is ranked No.1 in the recent Good Bad Ugly benchmarking survey is one we’ve coached in this process — a Melbourne sole practitioner doing $1.8m revenue at very good margins.)

    The DiGA tool from Business Backbone in the UK sounds incredibly useful for advisors. I sat in on their presentation at Xerocon and had a good chat with them, thanks to you making me aware of them. I will learn more about the details of their tools. Their exception reports and alerts that you mentioned, will enable you to be–to use an analogy–like a security company where you get alerted to issues that you can respond to for early intervention! Rather than flying blind and basing advice on financial reports (or crime reports!) that are by nature retrospective.

    It’s an exciting time to be an advisor, if you embrace both the technology and the methodology and skills required to actually sell and deliver the advisory services, and then leverage these through your team — It is essential (for profitability) that advisory services be designed form Day 1 for the team–not the Directors/Principals–to be able to deliver them. We’ll show you the steps for that.

    On that, in the upcoming Good Bad Ugly events Business Fitness have invited me to speak at in Sydney and Newcastle, I’ll be explaining the Systemise-Scale-Sell model that is working so well with firms re selling and profitably delivering advisory services. Business Fitness will be doing more Good Bad Ugly events later in year too.

  • Michael Carter - Reply

    September 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Hi @Ben. Congrats! Great work on your eBook draft too. Feedback on that coming your way in the member forum today. Keep me posted as you implement each item in the checklist above, and call out for help/guidance at any stage too. You’re building good momentum.

  • Steph Hinds - Reply

    October 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I would add one more simple thing to this list. Explain to people you meet and in 1st appt etc what Gold Partner Status means.

    We went Gold quite some time ago now and a lot of people don’t really understand what that means.

    You get much more out of the status when you have your *spiel* of what that means to your business and for them.

    • Michael Carter - Reply

      October 1, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Very good, practical advice. Thanks @Steph. Yes, and with emphasis on what it means for them, as you mentioned.

  • Grant Smith - Reply

    October 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Having gone Gold earlier this year I thought we were doing all the right things, I was wrong, there are some great things in the list above. I’ve been meaning to get round to the landing page for some time but see this now as a must and we are also missing the offers/sign up..

    All in all MC you have given some great food for thought and more work to do!

    Thanks

    • MC Carter - Reply

      November 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Hi Grant. Make sure if you have any questions about the strategy, technology or content for your Xero Landing Pages on your website, start a Discussion in the Member Forums for the Modern Marketing Academy. Happy to guide you on that, as part of your membership. Cheers,

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