How to use your website to gain new clients for your accounting business

Your website is potentially one of your most powerful marketing tools. Investing in your website is an investment in building and retaining your client base. Here’s how you can do more to get more from your website.

Attract new visitors to your site

If you want to attract new visitors to your website via Google and the other major search engines, it is vital that your site is optimised to rate as high as possible in search engine results. Keyword research and analysis and targeting of selected keywords in your site content can help your site appear higher in search rankings and make it easier for your prospective clients to access your products and services.

Invest some time in analysing how people are searching for accountants in your area and the performance of your website, as well as your competitors.  Or pay an expert to do this for you – the insights you gather will ensure a return on your investment as you learn how to optimise your website’s performance.

 

Share valuable information for free on your site

Share valuable information for free with visitors to your website.  By giving something of value, you are reinforcing your credibility and expertise, and you are showing people that you are responsive to their needs.  All they need to do is enter their email address and you can either manually email them their gift, or if you get a lot of traffic, then have your web builder set up an auto-responder for you so that the information is sent to them automatically. The aim is to give your visitors the tools and opportunities they need in exchange for the information you want.

As an accountant, you have a lot of knowledge that can help visitors to your website.  You can package that information as a tips sheet, a quick guide, or even a small e-book that you give away via your website.

Offer incentives to your website visitors

Run a competition on your website that invites readers to tick a box to receive future offers.  This is one way you can gain more information about your reader while offering them something of value that builds trust and enhances your credibility. Consider publishing a lead capture page that promotes something you can do for readers such as a ‘how to’ guide, the answer to a problem they might face, or ways they can avoid certain pitfalls.  Entice them with a compelling headline that explains what’s in it for them, and issue a call to action inviting them to leave their email address or other key information you need.

Introduce a web blog to spread the word
Start a blog on your website and email your database of contacts regular updates. If you make the content valuable and compelling, they are more likely to forward the updates to their own contacts. Just make sure you have a “subscribe” link to increase your chances of picking up new subscribers. And if you include a blog page on your website that you update regularly, make sure you use popular keywords strategically in your posts and the search engines will rate your site more favourably.

Word-of-mouth marketing for accountants

How can new clients discover your accounting services when the world has become so cluttered with marketing messages?  As an accountant, you are working in a very competitive field, so you might think it’s too difficult to be noticed amongst all the noise. Or you might have been spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages advertising that has provided a poor return on investment.

One of the most powerful tools you can use to promote your services is word-of-mouth marketing. Here’s why word-of-mouth works and how it can give you a competitive edge.

What the research tells you

According to Australian-first research commissioned by Australia’s leading word-of-mouth marketing company ‘Soup’, on average each person in Australia has 67.8 branded conversations each week.

This research demonstrates just how powerful people can be as a way to raise your profile and promote your services when they have conversations with their friends and colleagues about the products they love. It’s these conversations that spread the word about what you do well and generate new leads for your business.

Thanks to social networking tools, you now have an enhanced ability to generate word-of-mouth marketing about your products and services – a form of marketing that can give you a sound return on your investment.

Identify what makes you special

For your word-of-mouth marketing to be successful, you must offer a product or service that captures a person’s imagination and excites them so they will want to talk about it.  Take the time to define what makes you stand out from your competitors, or create a special offer that will cause a ‘buzz’ and get people talking.  And don’t just talk about how good your products or services are, ensure you can back up your claims with evidence that quantifies your competitive edge.

Raise your profile

You want your company to be ‘top of mind’ so people will talk about you and refer you to potential new clients.  Through a range of online and print channels, your aim is to be in as many places as possible. Ensure you take advantage of the many social networking opportunities that exist to raise your profile. For example, you could set up a Facebook page and encourage your customers to click the “Like” button on it. Then post specials and discounts for your existing customers and extend that offer to their contacts.

You could also join a Facebook group for small business or a business network in your area that meets on a regular basis.  Many business networks only allow one provider from each business category which means that you can be the only accountant in the group, and that means you lock your competition out, and can become the “go to” person for members in the group with accounting or tax-related issues.

Partner up

Consider partnering up with non-competing businesses to work together and promote each others’ services.  As an accountant, you could partner with an insurance broker and a legal firm and hold an information session for loyal customers of each of these businesses to update them on changes to tax laws, while also promoting insurance and legal services they may also value. This kind of cross-promotion can benefit all three businesses involved.

Reward customer loyalty

Use cross-promotion to reward your customers’ loyalty by providing a voucher or special offer from another company.  This creates goodwill with your client by offering them something they may value, and provides new leads for those businesses you choose to partner with.

Introduce refer-a-friend incentives
Offer your loyal customers incentives to refer their friends to your business. For example, your accounting business could provide a free consultation for existing customers who refer new business to you or even give them a gift to say ‘thank you’.

How to use Facebook to grow your accounting business

While Facebook is best known for its social networking capabilities, it is fast becoming a very effective way to broaden your professional network, raise awareness of your accounting practice and grow your business. Here are some quick tips for how accountants can get the most out of Facebook.

It’s not personal

Firstly, you need to distinguish between your personal profile (if you have one) and your professional Facebook profile.  You’ll need to set up a separate Facebook page for your business, with its own name as part of your account.  To do this, simply go to the News Feed of your personal page on Facebook and click on the “Adverts and pages” link in the left-hand navigation column.  From there you will be taken to a page where you can set up your business page.

Brand your business profile
Use business information such as your website address, business overview and other information related to your business as content on your business profile page.  You can also use your company logo or other brand imagery in your profile picture.

Build your network

Become an active member of business networks on Facebook by seeking groups you can contribute to.  Search for colleagues, business contacts and potential clients who have business Facebook pages and invite them to be friends on your company’s Facebook page.  Your focus should be on contributing to these networks, rather than directly spruiking your products and services. Try to achieve a high ratio of sharing information of value to the network versus talking about your own business.  And then when people in your network ask for help, you can offer your services knowing that your credibility with the group is established.

Keep it current

Create regular status updates.  For example, you might publish an e-newsletter or regular articles. When these are published on your website, they can also be included in your Facebook status updates along with links to the complete articles.  You might create a video that showcases your products or services and this can also be uploaded on to your Facebook business profile.  If you get any media mentions, or if you use Twitter, these can all be included on your Facebook business page.

Spread the love

Make sure you have a ‘Like’ button on your website which links to Facebook and makes it easy for visitors to your website to stay connected with you, and remember to promote your company’s Facebook page in your emails, on your business cards and in other high profile places.