Marketing for accountants has changed in the digital age. Client loyalty is harder to maintain, and educating prospective clients is an important part of lead generation. There are more channels than ever you can use, but that also means more to manage.
Most accounting firms need professional marketing help, both with management and creatives. It’s a process built on data and numbers (which accountants like), but also sales language and behavioral insights that delve into the imprecise world of emotions.
Here are some ideas and strategies that will help you understand your marketing options, show you valuable tools, and get you started with a winning strategy.
Accountant Marketing Idea #1: Establish Your Web Presence
Today, it’s increasingly rare that a person’s first impression of your accounting firm is from its accountants.
Instead, people surf the web and draw conclusions about who they want to work with based on website content.
This means that your firm’s website must make a professional impression. It needs to be modern, easy to navigate, and mobile friendly. It’s an information resource, a salesperson, and an appointment setter.
Here is an example mockup design from our UXI® templates:
Perhaps more than anything, you want your website to create a sense of trust. If it fails at that, you’ll never get the chance to make a first impression in person.
On a business website, clarity and simplicity outperform fancy and clever. Make sure your website communicates the value you offer and makes it easy for people to find what they’re looking for.
Pro Tip: Create an Infographic
Many online consumers today are visual learners. Include an infographic on your website to make a stronger visual connection.
Accountant Marketing Tip #2: Develop Your Unique Value Proposition
There are a few fundamental questions you need to answer for prospective clients – because they’re going to ask them. These are often unspoken, but they’re vital to convincing someone to go with you.
- What is a specific benefit you offer?
- How does your offer solve your client’s problem?
- What distinguishes your services from the competition?
When you answer these questions, you have the basis for your unique value proposition (UVP).
Your UVP is both a statement and an idea that runs through your marketing. Basically, it’s the main reason someone should choose to work with you.
Either implicitly or by inference, you need prospects to get why they should choose you instead of another accounting firm.
For example, you may specialize in working with a particular industry or business vertical. You may be an expert on certain financial issues. Perhaps you have experience working with a specialized type of software.
Here is an example of a clear UVP:
Craft a UVP that really speaks to your client’s problem. Avoid vague statements like “I’m passionate about my work because I’m passionate about people”. This is a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t clarify how you solve problems and gives you no competitive advantage.
Make your advantage clear in your ads and website content. If you don’t know why you stand out as an accountant, neither will prospective clients.
Accountant Marketing Tip #3: Outrank the Competition on Search
There are two ways people find accounting services.
The first is ask around for recommendations. People ask friends directly and get references from other businesses. Word of mouth is powerful, necessary marketing.
Second, people go online and search; instead of asking a person, they ask Google Home. Okay Google, who are the best business accountants in the area?
Start by doing some keyword research to discover the keyword phrases you want to target. Focus in on the accounting areas you specialize in and your geographic service area.
You need your firm to show up at the top of the results. There are three areas to look at.
The first is pay per click advertising (PPC). This is how you get to the top spots on search, using the auction systems on Google and Bing. PPC ads give you the most control over ranking and content delivery, but you have to pay to gain top spots.
Second, set up and optimize your Google My Business page. This is a free listing that connects to Google Maps. It’s the primary way that Google knows where your service area is so you come up for local searches. Optimize your descriptions with keywords and try to get customer reviews to increase your ranking.
Third, do search engine optimization (SEO) work on your website. This also gives you free ranking/clicks and is a good way to expand the keywords you rank for so you can get traffic from people doing informational searches. Optimize your main pages for your main target keywords, then use your blog to expand on taxes, invoicing, loans, payroll, and other accounting topics.
If you do this right, you can find your business ranking in three places on page one.
Accounting Marketing Tip #4: Reputation Matters
When you search for accountants online, several things stand out. First, you’ll notice the review site Yelp tends to show at the top of organic results.
You’ll also notice how prevalent reviews are in Google Places results:
Both of these are driven by the user-generated content of online reviews.
Review content is so influential with online consumers that it’s becoming make or break for businesses. You need client reviews, and you need them to be positive.
The best way to get positive reviews, of course, is to earn them. Outstanding work that delights your clients is the root of a strong reputation, online and off.
However, because online reviews get published, their impact is not only significant but lasting. This means you need to manage your reputation.
Reputation management is the practice of monitoring what’s said about you online and encouraging clients to leave positive reviews so your overall online rating is high.
When things go well with a client, ask them for a positive review. First and most easily, simply mention it when the job is complete. Often, they can break out their phone and give you a quick rating right there.
Also, follow up with an email that includes links to a few review profiles you’d like to get more content on.
Monitor what’s said about you online and respond to any legitimate issues. Reviews offer helpful feedback that help you improve your services. If you remedy the situation, you can often get the client to change the negative review.
Keep in mind how much impact review content has on consumers. Those reviews will play a big role in winning the trust of prospective clients.
Accountant Marketing Idea #5: Introduce Your Firm With A Video Commercial
Most CPAs don’t even consider creating a video, which opens up a great opportunity for those who do.
Video is an effective way to introduce your firm, review your services, and give your message a personal touch.
People today like videos. They’re easy to view on phones and get the point across quickly. You can also optimize your video for search on YouTube and easily get top ranking since most of your local competition isn’t there. Here is an example video:
Embed your video on your homepage and share it on social media. A professionally developed video commercial can have high long-term ROI.
Accountant Marketing Tip #6: Advertise On Facebook
Many CPAs still see Facebook as a frivolous social media platform with posts about kids they barely know and news that’s mostly fake.
But they are overlooking the incredible targeting power and reach of Facebook advertising.
For example, say you create a white paper you’d like to get out to CFOs in NYC. You can target the 5 Boroughs and people with job titles of CFO or controller. Then create a post that uses your white paper as gated content, so they have to provide contact info to read it.
Or you could target couples with income of more than 100k a year who’ve bought a new home in the last six months and may be expecting a child. Create a Facebook Lead Ad for a consultation on how they can get deductions as new homeowners and parents.
Also, be aware of Facebook Ads personal attributes policy. Basically what this states is that you can’t directly imply anything about a person’s financial situation.
Did your 401k take a beating last month?
This will be disapproved. Instead you’d need say something like:
“We turn 401k into happy retirements.”
Facebook is an excellent platform for testing ad copy and exploring potential target segments.
Pro Tip: Use Facebook Messenger
Messenger apps are an increasingly popular way for consumers to reach out to businesses. People often prefer these text-like messaging services to directly calling a business, frequently using them on mobile devices.
Be responsive during business hours to these messages. Treat them like incoming phone calls. You can also use a chat bot to answer basic questions. Again, since many CPAs don’t use this service, you can gain a competitive advantage, particularly with mobile traffic.
Accountant Marketing Tip # 7: Use CRM Software
Many CPAs are aware of and use customer relationship management software (CRM). You need to maintain your accounts, but also consider how you can use it as a marketing tool.
Track new leads in your CRM and integrate it to your email marketing automation. Maintain a history of all contacts you make with leads so you can send content to inform them and nurture the relationship.
Then, use your CRM to maintain contacts with your existing clients with a customer retention strategy.
Remember that today, new competition is always lurking, ready to advertise aggressively and lowball on price to steal your clients. They’ll use many of the tactics we are discussing here.
Don’t let your clients forget how much you appreciate their business. Send a periodic newsletter with financial tips and advice (content that can double on your blog). Host events, offer special services, and go out of your way to provide value. Never stop marketing, even to people you think are loyal to you. It costs less to retain existing clients than it does to constantly have to earn new ones.
Accountant Marketing Tip #8: Run Retargeting Ads
Even when you do everything well with your ads and website content, you won’t convert most leads the first time they visit your website. People surf away, distracted by the limitless content of the internet.
This is why retargeting is so important. Retargeting ads are aimed people who already visited your website, and can also be used for people who reacted to your Facebook posts.
When someone engaged with your content once, there is much greater potential that they’re interested in hiring a CPA. Retargeting ads create touch points that move them further into your sales cycle and ultimately into being a client.
Standard retargeting serves up banner ads after someone visits your website. Run these on Google Display or Facebook.
On Facebook, you can also retarget people who react to a post or engage with your page.
The idea is to nurture their interest, increase awareness of your brand, and get them back to your conversion content so they become a client.
Retargeting is really effective with today’s fast-paced consumers. Don’t overlook it.
Accounting Marketing Tip #9: Hire Professionals
Marketing and accounting firms actually have a lot in common. There is work the layperson can do if they want to take the time and effort, but in reality it’s better to turn the work over to pros.
Marketing is so multifaceted and dynamic today that it’s all but impossible for a busy CPA to manage.
Marketing 360® developed software and consulting services designed to manage the daily tactics of digital marketing. It provides you with data so you can understand the strategy without having to handle every detail.
In the end, you want ROI from your marketing investment, which is exactly what our software is designed to show you.
Going it alone isn’t worth it. Contact us today for a demo of our software or to request a free website mockup.