Whether you provide accounting services to individuals or multinational corporations, your potential clients use the Internet to research their options. If you want to reach them as they conduct that research (and convince them to choose you over your competitors), you need Internet marketing.
Unlike traditional marketing, which often involves interrupting consumers’ day-to-day lives with one-way messages, online marketing can be used to develop relationships between you and your clients. It requires fewer sales pitches and a more educational approach, which can help you establish yourself as authoritative and knowledgeable. If you’re able to accomplish that, you won’t have to spend as much time actively seeking out clients—they’ll come to you.
If you’re new to Internet marketing, establishing yourself as a valuable source of information may seem like a difficult task. And while it will certainly involve investments of time and energy, they payoff can be huge if you do it well. Here are a few ideas to help you get started or you can call us at 888-601-5359 to learn more about how WebpageFX can help your accounting practice:
Individuals and businesses both want to know as much as possible about an accountant before trusting him or her with their finances, and many of them turn to the Internet for that information. A well-organized, attractive website will tell them what they need to know about your firm.
Your website should include details about your education, certifications, experience and areas of expertise. It should also include interactive tools that allow current and potential clients to get in touch with you via email or social media. Most of all, it should include content that demonstrates your ability to assist them with taxes and other accounting issues.
What have you done for previous clients? How do you approach tax season and other situations? How would you answer the most common questions people ask accountants? Include sections on your site that contain this information.
As mentioned above, potential accounting clients want to know that the professionals they hire know what they’re doing. They can get a sense of this based on your credentials, but providing useful information is even more effective. If you write blog posts and articles on your site, you not only have a chance to help potential clients, but you also have a chance to show off your expertise.
Write about the topics that you know are relevant to prospective clients and also reflect your areas of expertise. If you host your own blog, update it frequently enough to keep people coming back. If you decide to write guest blogs instead, choose sites that you know attract the kinds of prospects you want to reach. Corporate prospects, for instance, don’t visit the same sites as small businesses or high net worth individuals.
Individuals and businesses need accounting services, but they often turn to the Internet for information on what they can do on their own. While blogs and articles can go a long way towards answering their questions, webinars add another dimension to their relationships with potential service providers.
An hour-long webinar presents a great opportunity to engage with potential clients, establish your firm’s credibility, and generate more leads. However, they only work if you choose your topic and target audience carefully. Timing matters, too—a webinar on taxes, for example, would perform great between January and the middle of April, whereas an estate planning webinar could generate interest year-round.
Unlike in-person seminars, which happen only once, webinars can be replayed over and over again, continuing to generate leads long after they’ve finished. Because of this, you may want to make your webinar available for replay for a short period. Just because someone didn’t attend the live webinar doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the content—or your firm.
In a survey of CPA firms last year, content marketing was ranked as the third most effective lead generation tool for accountants, surpassed only by industry organizations and networking. This means that you should definitely be doing it—but it also means that your competitors likely already are.
While we certainly recommend that you maintain a blog and post useful articles on your site, you may also want to start offering premium content. This should have a long shelf life and cater specifically to the market you’re trying to reach. For example, you may consider writing an ebook on one of your areas of expertise, or offer a downloadable workbook that will help clients with their accounting.
This content will take longer to produce, but it can also present you with the opportunity ask for something in return. On our site, for example, we offer free marketing guides—but a few of our best ones are only accessible after visitors provide their email address.
One email address might not seem like much in exchange for a resource that takes days to put together, but look at it this way: once you’ve written the resource and published it, it can stay on your site for as long as you want. And if it becomes popular enough, it can continue to attract downloads (and build your list of email subscribers) without any additional work.
Many “serious” businesses mistakenly think that social media is only for companies who want to seem lighthearted and fun to their customers. And while it’s certainly possible to do that, platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be used for a variety of purposes. Accounting firms in particular can use them to:
Your accounting practice can do the same.
Social media provides a perfect forum for driving traffic, answering customer questions, and standing out from competing firms. And if content marketing is one of your priorities, channels like LinkedIn can be a great way to cross-promote. Thanks to new publishing features, you can write regular posts and reach larger audiences.
The marketing strategies listed above can help you establish your firm online and attract the attention of potential clients. If you need help getting started (or would like additional information), feel free to contact us! Our talented team of Internet marketers is more than happy to help you start growing your business online today.