Accounting Websites Can Attract New Clients – Absolutely!!
Your website should be a profit center for your accounting practice and generate a steady flow of qualified leads. If it is not, then something is wrong….
What most accountants really want to know, first and foremost, is how their investment in a website can be used to recruit new clients. After all, at the end of the day, every out of pocket expenditure needs to have some payback to justify itself.
Over the last 10+ years, most accounting firms created websites that were little more than online brochures. Calling cards, if you will. These types of websites would be nothing more than text on a page with no photography and poorly written content. And they did a poor job of “branding” the accounting practice. In other words, the website was worthless.
Pretty soon, thanks to advanced technologies and higher connection speeds, all of us were introduced to websites that were rich in content, photography and graphic designs that were easier on the eyes – and websites evolved as various tools became more available and affordable. Today, whether you decide to design (or redesign) a website yourself – or use an external website development firm to create a new website, here are some key ingredients for acquiring new clients from the internet.
Don’t Ignore Search Engine Optimization. You really may be tired of hearing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but you simply cannot avoid implementing SEO on your website. IF you want your website towards the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing, it must be optimized for search engines and done properly. Most firms give this just lip service.
Here’s a simple exercise. If you haven’t ever searched in Google, Bing or Yahoo! for your accounting firm, try it – but try it in two ways:
- Search by the words, “accounting firm” in combination your local city or area (e.g., Dallas accounting firm). Now you can see that there are many more results.
- Repeat this search over using a string of keywords which describe your other services (e.g., local city quickbooks accounting, local city payroll services, local city outsourced controllership, etc.).
So, if you were a prospect who wanted to find an accounting firm in your local area, which firms are you more likely to contact – the ones that show up near the top of the page or your firm that shows up on page 9?
When done properly, SEO works like a charm by delivering quality traffic to your website, which in turn gets your phone to ring. The process of SEO generally takes 6-12 months to work effectively, sometimes longer.
Use Pay-Per-Click Campaigns. Another great way to find clients is to conduct pay-per-click advertising campaigns. If you think advertising is only for the big dogs, think again. With pay-per-click campaigns, you decide how much you want to spend per month, and when you reach that amount, the campaign is no longer available until the beginning of the next cycle.
It’s a fact that people are more likely to click on a listing shown in two places on the results search page, so if you create a combination of SEO and pay-per-click campaigns, you’ve just doubled your chances of having a prospect ask for more information.
How much to spend depends not only on your budget, but also on the time of year and the population in your local marketplace. Most firms increase their spending during busy season because that’s when prospects are more likely to search for an accounting firm.
Make Your Practice Unique. We’ve become a society of scanners, not readers, so when prospects find your site, what they want to know is how you can help them solve their problem and if you are the best firm to address their specific needs/issues. In many cases, they think they need a specialist.
To address this perception, several accounting firms have decided to have multiple websites. One accounting website might position them as a local generalist and then they have 1 or 2 niche websites for their areas of concentration so it attracts a higher quality clientele into the practice. For example, a person who is a deadbeat and hasn’t paid taxes in years feels that must work with a firm that positions themselves as providing IRS Problem Resolution services, rather than a generalist accounting firm. This is often the case with other types of clients like non-profits, healthcare, retail, oil and gas, international tax, etc.
Accounting firm websites can act as a silent salesperson for your practice and deliver new clients to your doorstep, if done properly.