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Experience meets innovation at SME Financial.

Established for over 30 years, SME Financial has carved out a niche as a top-quality accountancy practice offering its clients outstanding service and support. Great customer experience has always been important.

Because it has always operated so strongly on word-of-mouth recommendations, SME Financial had only a minimal digital, social media and marketing presence until 2020. But the pandemic changed all that: with in-person events out of the question, it was vital that the business stepped up to meet the challenge. Fortunately, SME has long been an early adopter of technology and is a Xero Gold Partner.  They had a great mindset and an openness to CX strategy. So it was important to them that they ensured the online presence reflected the company’s experience. And this further showed their commitment to innovation.

“It’s important to me that SME stays up-to-date with technology. But social media isn’t something I understand well,” says director Geoff Hamilton. “I needed someone to come into the business and tell me what we needed, then implement a strategy. Liz Pinfold Reed was exactly the right person for the job. She and the Good CX team took care of all our BAU marketing. They created plans and carried them out, while my Financial team was able to focus on their core job of advising Kiwi businesses.”

A 52% growth in organic traffic from SMEs

Firstly, Liz began by meeting with the SME team and comprehensively understanding the business’s unique personality and marketing requirements. Once she had a strong sense of SME’s personality and direction, the Good CX team launched into action. This included creating a new logo suite and WordPress website. Next, the team launched an Instagram channel; and initiated a content strategy for Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Happily, every platform has grown dramatically thanks to regular posting of quality visual and written content. With a simple focus on Organic traffic, this still included tripling the LinkedIn followers and reaching nearly 60,000 people on Facebook. Perhaps most helpful has been a 52% growth in organic website traffic thanks to SEO-led design by Good CX. Moreover, SME Financial is now the number one organic search result for ‘sme accounting firms’ in New Zealand, it has a five-star rating on Google and 1599 people found it on Google in 2021, up 21% from the previous year.

“Even without many in-person events, we got a surprising number of new clients in 2020,” says Geoff. “I think a lot of that was down to Liz’s work on our online brand. Before working with Good CX, I think we missed out on lead conversions because people looked us up online and were underwhelmed. Now our online presence matches the quality of our service and our team, which translated into an unexpected jump in client numbers in a year full of disruption.”

“Good CX made it easy to completely transform our brand online”

NZ’s past years of Covid lockdowns have been a particularly vital time for SME Financial to be connected to their clients. And keeping them updated about pandemic support was an essential part of Good CX’s social media strategy. In total, during FY2021, the team at SME provided 268 free hours of support to clients. That’s the equivalent of $53,500 in fees. Hundreds of their clients’ businesses were buoyed up by rapid access to wage subsidies and other packages. Pre-emptively, SME notified clients of changes or new support options within hours of announcements. This formed part of an overall content strategy that also included compelling case studies, outstanding imagery and written content delivered across many media platforms.

“One of the best aspects of this process has been the way Liz has managed so many different strands,” Geoff says. “She’s worked with our team, our clients, with local graphic designers, her own team of offshore web designers, SEO experts and photographers. It would have been impossible for my team to do what she’s done – her work has allowed us to focus on what we do best. Fortunately, Good CX made completely transforming our brand online easy and stress-free.”

BAU Marketing ready to be managed by SME’s empowered team

“When choosing an Accountant or Business Advisor, credibility is so important. That’s especially true for SMEs who may not have a Financial team member in-house. What the SME team really understand is the importance of sharing their knowledge and demystifying accounting,” says Liz Pinfold Reed regarding the SME Team. “Its been great to see how actively the team have got onboard. When you see the SME team with their clients, the trust they share really is evident.” A favourite project of hers was working on a co-branded ebook with Xero Software. “A great initiative was the ebook, “The Tradie’s Guide to Going out on your own“. We developed in response to the growing demand for construction-based Tradespeople during the pandemic.  SME felt this segment needed support and shared their top tips for getting up and running. Content like this has genuine utility to everyday New Zealanders who keep our economy ticking.” says Liz.

Ongoing, the aim is to empower the SME Financial team to take on the task of managing the BAU marketing. Just as important as setting everything up is ensuring it can be transitioned for day-to-day management. So, armed with industry-standard tools, including WordPress and optimised social channels, the team are now ready to fly solo.

See more of the SME Portfolio.

Before working with Good CX, I think we missed out on lead conversions because people looked us up online and were underwhelmed. Now our online presence matches the quality of our service and our team, which translated into an unexpected jump in client numbers in a year full of disruption.

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