Monthly Archives: June 2012
Some of the more entrepreneurial accounting firms (or savvy) are using several websites to improve the quality of their lead generation. In other words, they realize that they are not limited to just one website and have embarked upon a multiple website strategy to generate more leads and improve the quality of their lead generation.
By all means, the large regional CPA firms have dramatically improved their online presentation. Most were extremely slow to come to the dance because every decision has to be agreed upon by the partners (more like a UN Summit). However, their visual presentation is now consistent with their brand image and the core services are communicated onto one corporate website. And yes, most of the savvy large firms are supporting the website with quality blog posts and with social media as well, which leverages their critical mass and deeper bench strength.
And while the large CPA firms had their kumbaya sessions and moved like a tortoise, several smaller accounting firms are using a multiple website strategy to penetrate the niches, improve lead generation, and moving quickly like a jack rabbit because they realize that effective internet marketing is inexpensive and it works.
Below are examples of accounting firms using a multiple website strategy to make more money. The corporate website positions them as both a local generalist AND the niche website positions them as a boutique firm which focuses on a specific type of business or service.
Example # 1 – Small CPA Firm in Northern Virginia – Two Website Strategy
Example # 2 – CPA Firm in Fresno CA – Multiple Website Strategy
Example # 3 – Small CPA firm in Massachusetts – Two Website Strategy
If you would like to improve the quality of your lead generation by attracting more inquiries around a particular accounting service or industry concentration, we highly recommend you consider exploring a multiple website strategy.
Don’t assume one website fits all needs.
When small business owners visit your website, does the website effectively educate the prospect on the type of service they want? Does it differentiate your practice from other local firms? Does it exude a personality? Is there local photography that reinforces the market where you operate your practice? Are the owners opening up or hiding behind the curtain?
Each day, I see accounting firm websites that are so stale and fail at the most basic level. Here are several examples of fundamental mistakes:
- Most accounting websites assume that the initial experience starts on the home page. In reality, interior website pages account for 60% of the initial page views because search engines determine what page you land on. That means your service pages need to stand on their own and not assume the visitor started from your home page. Most accounting firm websites DO NOT have a phone number on every page which is a fundamental mistake. For example, if someone is searching for an accountant to help them with QuickBooks and use Google/Bing/Yahoo to locate a local provider, the search engine will often drive you to a page dedicated to QuickBooks accounting services. This landing page needs to effectively communicate what service you provide, how your practice is different, persuade them that you are adequately qualified, and provide them with several options to contact your accounting firm (phone number, free consultation form, etc.). So let’s go to Google and type in Baltimore QuickBooks training and on page one, you will find Thomas J Palm PA or click this link. This landing page is an interior page discussing their QuickBooks training and set-up services, it clearly communicates that they are Intuit Certified (both QuickBooks Advanced and QuickBooks ProAdvisor logos at top of page), and the phone number is on the page twice.
- The profile page is usually lame and cowardly (e.g., About Us, Our Team, Who We Are page, etc.). So after the website prospect reads about how impressive your services are, they often want to better understand who you are as a person before handing over the keys to their financial well being. Unfortunately, this is where many accountants fall flat on their face by using a lame stock photo and/or canned content about the accounting firms Professionalism, Responsiveness and Quality. This demonstrates a total lack of marketing. Here are examples of what I mean by a lame profile page:
- Canned Firm Profile – Read how this accounting firm dropped the ball. No personal photos nor bios about the firm owners.
- Where’s Your Real Bio? – Tell me your depth of experience. There are tons of CPA’s in my market so why should I hire you? Where did you attend college and where did you learn your craft?
- I Don’t Care About Your Mission Statement – Tell me who you are as a person and why I should hire your CPA firm.
- Do I Know the Owners? – These partners put little effort into this.
- No Profile Page at All – This website is patriotic but not very persuasive.
- What does today’s weather forecast have to do with accounting and tax services? Yes, the summer’s in Minnesota can be nice but why show the weather during tax season when it’s below 0 degrees? Will providing the weather forecast generate more leads? Does it bring back more clients to my website?
Here is an example of a large CPA firm that is doing things right. As full disclosure, they are not a BYF client but the photography is well done, you get to know the owners, and the content is well constructed regardless of what page you land on.
Your website is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. It’s a relationship builder. Do it right the first time and it will earn you more business.
When it comes to email newsletter marketing, is your email newsletter totally canned or is it personalized to your local marketplace? In other words, do you think a newsletter that is customized to your local market and clearly comes from you is more effective than a canned email newsletter that is the exact same newsletter used by thousands of accounting firms around the United States and has virtually no personalization? Yes, I totally understand that the canned version saves you time.
Before you answer, let’s look at a few analogies. When you receive a mass mailed direct mail letter, can you tell immediately? When you receive a robo call, can you tell? When you receive an email newsletter from a local business, can you tell by it’s distinctive personality and humor? If so, then why are many accountants using canned email newsletter for such a personalized service?
A personalized, local email newsletter is easy to see and connects with clients and prospects. And, it’s an efficient way to guide your clients on what they should be doing to make your practice more smoothly (aka – making your life easier). Below is a current example of a local email newsletter which ties into Father’s Day, Graduation Celebrations, Local Minor League Baseball team along with a raffle for a local restaurant. Yes, the image is hard to read but this clearly illustrates how local, organically developed email newsletters can be far more effective for your accounting practice than a canned email newsletter.
Be authentic. Be local. Be organic. Stay away from canned email newsletters that are used by thousands of accounting firms.