Monthly Archives: February 2015
– Search engine optimized websites (no extra charges) – brief video
– Pay Per Click advertising campaign management
– Retargeting advertising
Learn how we can generate more productivity from the internet for your accounting practice. Call 888-999-9800 x1.
While buying another accountants practice sounds like a less risky approach to getting into practice, it really is not. The price tag is very high and the attrition rate is higher than most buyers realize.
Learn the positives and negatives associated with building an accounting practice versus buying someone else’s accounting practice.
Building is the better near term and long term solution for accountants.
Learn why accounting firms are handing over the entire marketing function to Build Your Firm in 2015. Many of the firms have been outsourcing the marketing and lead generation to Build Your Firm for 5-8 years, because it works.
Isn’t it time to explore your options?
As the online marketplace becomes more crowded and old school methods of marketing cease to work (e.g., cold calling, yellow pages, etc.), the power of content marketing becomes more important each and every day. And while there are tons of descriptions of content marketing, it means creating and sharing content that’s relevant and valuable to our target buyers. When done properly, content marketing pulls prospective buyers to all types of businesses and motivates them to buy.
Here are the core reasons why having great content is key to growing your accounting practice.
Content is KING with Google
To stay near the top of the search engines, you need to deliver a steady stream of content to attract Google’s interest. In return for providing great content, Google will provide your website with more visibility when a prospect is searching for the type of services you provide.
Today, Google has nearly 70% of the market share for web searches. With this dominant market share position, Google has been able to demand (and extract) tons of free content in return to higher placement within the search engine results pages. In other words, if you want more visibility and web traffic, you have to feed the beast with tons for fresh, quality content.
Content is King on Social
Providing interesting content on social media is another way to generate awareness for your firm and break through the clutter.
Typically, social media for accounting firms consists of a blog, Google+, LinkedIn and a company Facebook account. Providing a steady flow of interesting social posts will generate sharing and create awareness amongst people who never would have heard of your firm.
Content is King with Prospects
While we’d all like to avoid writing content, the reality is that well written content sells. If you’ve read one of the books below, you know that prospects read and well written books may turn into blockbuster movies.
American Sniper by Chris Kyle
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Content is King on Your Website
Last, but certainly not least, is that the content on your accounting firm website must be powerful and create a picture in their mind. This content can reside on the website or a blog integrated into your website.
Outstanding content on your website acts like a powerful magnet sucking prospects to your front door step. And once they arrive, they will gradually get sucked into the services that you provide. And with the right call to action, some will pick up the phone and call for a consultation.
Content marketing is a critical component of inbound marketing and building your accounting practice.
In every community, there are religious organizations that still have the need for accounting and non-profit tax compliance. And yet, most accountants overlook faith based groups affiliated with churches, ministries, temples, synagogues, parochial schools, hospitals, colleges, universities, and day care. Some of these groups are huge and need independent guidance.
Here are some examples of accounting firms that have not overlooked this sector:
The best accounting firm websites pull in new business and deliver an excellent return on investment for their owners. Excellent websites produce quantitative results that are easy to measure in dollars and cents, not about how many tools it comes with. By all means, the best websites also have integrated tools but owning an accounting practice is about making money and your website needs to pull in new business.
The best accounting firm websites accomplish these things in spades:
- Great websites “brand” the firm and create a positive image in the minds of clients and prospects. In simple terms, the best websites create an image that is more favorable than if they walked into the office front door. This branded image will come together with excellent graphic design, awesome photography, persuasive content throughout the website, and great navigation. When these key items come together, prospects quickly find the answers to their questions and call to discuss their problem or situation.
- Quality content over quantity. Content on the best websites educate prospects on what services are provided and best types of clients for the firm. Excellent content is persuasive, informative, gets to the point and can paint a picture like a phenomenal book writer.
- Use amazing photography to paint a picture and draw in the prospect. Photography is what the eye gravitates towards before reading text on a page.
- The website must be easy to locate in Google, Bing and Yahoo. It must be search engine friendly, highly visible, and optimized for desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices using responsive design.
- Best accounting websites capitalize on the “About Us” page by providing photos of the key people in the firm along with well written bio’s. Take a leadership role and be proud of your experience and team behind you. Some of the best websites even show personality in this section, which starts to create a trusting relationship.
- The best accounting websites provide a phone number on every page of the website. Your goal is to obtain inbound phone calls from prospects and acquire new business. At the bottom of each service page, there should be a call to action telling the prospect to call your phone number and who to ask for. Sounds simple but most website vendors don’t do this because it takes extra work. It’s marketing 101 and generates more leads for you.
- Best accounting websites have a blog integrated into the website. This will establish you as a subject matter expert and support your placement in Google, Bing and Yahoo. It’s also an opportunity show more personality and create a working relationship.
- Best accounting websites are supported by pay per click and retargeting advertising. Pay per click advertising can drive immediate traffic to the website informing them about the accounting services offered. As they consider the decision over time, they start to see retargeting advertising which reminds them of the firm again and seeks to pull them back to the website so they take action (e.g., make an appointment).
In addition to generating new business, the best accounting websites support your back office productivity and client relationship building in the following ways:
- Capturing payment electronically – Although simple, most accounting firms do a poor job of controlling accounts receivable and getting paid promptly. The best accounting websites facilitate payment by eCheck, but also accept credit cards as an alternative form of payment. Payments can be initiated by client and/or accounting firm. Single and recurring payments.
- Secure File Sharing – The best accounting websites provide a file sharing tool with 256 bit encryption at all times. 128 bit is not acceptable given our current online world. Portals are a pain because most clients forget their password so secure file sharing tools like Build Your Firm’s Secure File Sharing or Citrix Sharefile (both provide 256 protection at all times) are incorporated into your website.
- Integration with your software/cloud providers – The best accounting websites integrate seamlessly with all of firm tax, accounting, and cloud providers.
- Email Communication System – The best websites provide email communication capabilities that allow you to send out email newsletters (automatically or customized) and general email communication reminders/updates.
- Reputation Management – The best accounting firm websites incorporate a reputation management tool into your website so it is easier for your clients to enter reviews into Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages and other online review websites.
The best accounting firm websites make money for you, which is where the rubber meets the road. If your current website is not making money for you, consider making a switch.
About ten years ago, you would win the website marketing race with your primary website. Heck, it worked well and the return on investment (ROI) was a no brainer. At that time, there were many accounting firms that had terrible websites which were online brochures.
As more accountants eventually caught on five years ago, it became more challenging to stay ahead of the curve and still get more than your fair share of website leads. That’s when the general public became aware of search engine optimization and pay per click advertising. The ROI was still very attractive but you had to spend more to acquire the same number of leads each month.
Today, it is harder and harder for a single (primary) website to be placed towards the top of the search engine results pages for all of the services you provide. And if you operate in multiple geographic markets, it is even harder to be towards the top because your message to the search engines is more complex and less clear.
As some accounting firms now have integrated blogs, social media programs, pay per click advertising, retargeting advertising and reputation management, it becomes more competitive to dominate the online lead generation game.
So what is the solution?
While there is no single solution, many savvy accounting firms have deployed a multiple website strategy to obtain dominate search engine placement for their practice and to create that aha moment that business owners seek (someone that understands and works with businesses like theirs). In other words, they have deployed a “diversified marketing” approach rather than put all of their eggs into one basket. Some accountants will deploy a geography based strategy to support their multiple locations and others will deploy a hybrid which is a primary website that focuses on location along with multiple websites for their areas of concentration (or niche).
Here are a couple examples:
1. Northern Michigan CPA Firm with a primary (location based) website and two niche websites.
Traverse City CPA Firm (primary location)
2. Utah CPA Firm with two location based websites and one niche.
Provo CPA Firm (primary office location)
Salt Lake City CPA Firm (office location)
3. Long Island CPA Firm with primary location and three niches.
Long Island CPA Firm (two office locations)
4. California CPA Firm with two locations and three niches.
If you are serious about website marketing in today’s competitive environment, then you should develop an aggressive multiple website marketing tactic to improve your inbound marketing strategy.
Lead generation programs using outbound marketing (e.g., cold calling, door knocking, etc.) to capture leads has been on decline for several decades now. For whatever reason, many accountants still consider using cold call telemarketing even though they personally hate the tactic themselves. If you are considering deploying a smile and dial campaign, I strongly urge you to reconsider for the following reasons.
- No Longer Effective – “Cold call” telemarketing used to be effective 10-30 years ago. And fax marketing was effective 20-30 years ago. However, the public outcry was so loud that politician’s enacted legislation called the Do Not Call list and Junk Fax Prevention Act. And while the do not call list does not apply to business-to-business marketing, the public sentiment is still the same. Getting unsolicited cold calls, junk faxes and someone knocking at your door trying to sell you something are no longer in vogue and have a lower ROI.
- Here’s your sign – When the providers of cold call telemarketing start going out of business in waves, that’s a clue that cold calling is not effective any more. As the comedian Bill Engvall would say, embracing cold call telemarketing to create a long lasting, trusted advisor relationship is a non sequitur. “Here’s your sign.”
- Telemarketing leads are hard to convert and quickly turn your service into a commodity because the prospect has agreed to an appointment with very little interest in your accounting practice. And after thinking further, they often cancel the appointment before meeting with you. In fact, they probably know nothing about you and your firm and don’t care until the price is lower than what they currently pay.
- Retention rates are shorter for telemarketing, fax marketing and door knocking than inbound marketing. That’s right, the average duration of a new client obtained through outbound marketing will be shorter because they will leave you once the next person offers a lower price.
- People like to shop but hate being sold to. In other words, we all enjoy the hunt and are willing to shop online to find products and services which meet our needs. However, most of us hate being pitched and sold to.
Personally, I can’t remember the last time I agreed to engage in a serious dialogue from a cold call, unsolicited fax or a door knocker. Think about it yourself, when was the last time you bought something from one of these annoying tactics?
Build Your Firm advocates inbound marketing which essentially motivates the prospect to call your office. This leads to a more consultative dialogue about what services your accounting firm provides and whether a fit exists. The end result of an effective inbound marketing campaign is higher quality lead generation, higher fees, higher close ratios and longer retention rates.
If you would like help with marketing your accounting firm, then consider Build Your Firm’s Outsourced Marketing Program where we manage all of the marketing for you.
By now, you know whether it’s gonna be a
banner year or ho-hum.
If you would like to step it after tax season, we’d
welcome the opportunity to discuss becoming your
outsourced marketing team.
Our approach is different. That’s why many firms have been working with us in a
perpetual fashion. Here’s a snapshot on why you should consider Build Your Firm’s
1. Inbound Marketing Approach – We don’t believe in telemarketing and CSRs. Those
are old school methods that are not sustainable, focus on price and attract low end clients.
Our inbound marketing system is designed to get business owners to call YOU. That’s right,
the prospects call you which makes the discussion more consultative and less sales oriented.
2. Higher Quality Clientele – We target higher quality clients so your firm will
eventually operate at higher profit margins.
3. Annual Fee – Our annual fee is less than hiring a marketing person. And, you will
be able to retain us longer than hiring some marketing person off the street who knows
nothing about the accounting industry.
4. Building is less expensive than Buying – The cost to purchase another practice is
1.2 – 1.3 times gross fees. Our total costs (all in) are about half of that. And if you follow
our practice development system, the business that you acquire will sell at a higher
multiple (higher than 1.3 times gross). Building is much better than buying.
Our business model for the Outsourced Marketing Program is sustainable. That’s why
half of our clients stay in the program well beyond the initial three years. Our retention
rate for the Outsourced Marketing Program is amazing, because the process works.
To be considered, complete our application or call us at 888-999-9800 x1.
Our May slots after tax season are taken. Next openings are June 2015.