Accountants don’t get the clients they want from Google.
It’s a bold statement but one that I find is a common perception from within the industry. Now, I am not an accountant and never have been, but I’ve heard this on more than one occasion.
I can see their point. Many accounting firms are simply not looking for the type of client who is searching on Google. They want big clients and apparently they don’t use Google.
But to that point, I argue that performing well in search engines is more than simply looking for new business. It can and is a great validation tool. Think about it, a business was referred to you but they want to check you out first online. So he/she heads to Google and you rank in the top 3 for ‘Accounting Firms Melbourne’. It’s impressive and this goes some way to reaffirming your suitability.
So obviously I’m an advocate of ensuring your accounting website is optimised for search but what else?
Here are three broad but telling pieces of marketing advice for your accounting firm.
A website that meets objectives
Different visitors will have different objectives when browsing your website. To grow your firm you need to understand these objectives and deliver them. If you can’t make the connection then you may likely lose the lead opportunity, no matter where they came from and from whom they were referred.
Here are a few steps to improve the likelihood of establishing the connection and making sure you get the call:
– Make sure your website is responsive for all devices
– Look to commence conversion testing to improve the user experience and conversion rates
– Make sure you display social proof including clients and testimonials
– Assess your website copy as you want to relate with your target client
Content marketing that demonstrates proficiency
The sector in my experience is under-utilising the content opportunity. There’s all sorts of excuses coming from people on why not to produce content including a lack of time, not wanting to give away IP for free and generally thinking that writing a blog post is below them.
Don’t be afraid to share information, it’s one thing to know about company structures and tax tips, putting it into practice is a completely different matter.
So go ahead and start publishing blog posts, creating ebooks, designing tax calendars and providing how-to guides.
The blog posts will be a terrific vehicle to attract extra traffic to your site and help to improve your performance within the search engines. But aside from that, when a visitor checks out your website they can read the blog posts to get an inside view into the way your firm works and can validate your proficiency.
The other material can then be used as a sweetener to subscribe to your monthly email newsletter, which will allow you to build a database of contacts that will prove invaluable in driving quality leads into the future. The email newsletter itself will provide value to existing clients, nurture potential clients and demonstrate that your firm cares about client support.
Have your accountants establish credibility online
The relationship between an accountant and an individual or business is a close one. You’re dealing with our money so it better be. This then dictates that the relationship will often be with a specific accountant.
This is important because there is an opportunity to be transparent with who is within your firm and what their specific credentials are. As a business owner we know we could go to a big name accounting firm only to have a junior assigned to our account.
Social media is not going to be a priority for the majority of accounting firms but it is a terrific vehicle to outreach and engage potential clients.
LinkedIn is the professional social network and a great start for your company to engage. You would no doubt have your company profile set up and optimised. If you don’t please do so straight away. But the key is getting each of your staff to connect to the company profile, optimising their individual profiles and engaging.
If you are actively searching for new business think about the potential of ten accountants all having 200 connections on LinkedIn.
If you’re looking to take a more subtle approach then think about the power of that next big client being able to assess your firm by finding access to each of your team members, cross-checking their LinkedIn recommendations, education and experience.
Accountants can then join various business groups on LinkedIn, monitor conversations relevant to the industry and pitch in with help when the opportunity arises. This goodwill will come back in spades.