Accounting Website Marketing
To improve upon our dental practice coaching capabilities and strengthen our niche offerings, the Dental Accounting Association will be headed to San Diego immediately after tax season. All members of the Dental Accounting Association will be in attendance sharing best practices and hearing first hand from dental industry experts on dental practice management, fraud prevention, dental practice benchmarking, profit improvement techniques and legal challenges for dental practice owners.
Immediately following the Dental CPA Summit on dental practice coaching, we will attend the American Association of Orthodontists Annual from April 22nd to April 25th meeting prospective orthodontists from North America. The trade show is expected to attract 15,000 orthodontists into the San Diego Convention Center. The Dental Accounting Association will have a booth that will be collaboratively staffed by members of the Dental Accounting Association (all independently owned CPAs).
The Dental Accounting Association is a collaborative group of CPA Firms that are focused on tax savings, practice benchmarking and profit improvement for dentists. Each member of the Dental Accounting Association provides fixed fees (no hourly billing) and works with the dental specialists such as:
Dental Practice Management Coaches
Dental Law Firms
Dental Transition Brokers
Dental Practice Real Estate
Dental Loan Providers
In fact, our keynote speaker for the Dental CPA Summit is Patrick Wood, founder of the largest dental law firm in the United States, Wood & Delgado. Patrick will be providing a Dental Legal Update so all Dental Accounting Association members understand the changing legal landscape for dental practice owners.
Outsourced Marketing for CPA Accountants
All members of the Dental Accounting Association are independent CPA Firms scattered throughout North America. Each member CPA Firm works with Build Your Firm (BYF) in the Outsourced Marketing Program. BYF has been providing Outsourced Marketing and Coaching for over twelve years and is the leader within the accounting industry for outsourced marketing and lead generation programs. This Dental CPA Summit is the second annual in-person meeting and is supplemented by regular educational webinars throughout the year.
To learn more about BYF’s Outsourced Marketing comprehensive system, visit our Outsourced Marketing video library. BYF’s Outsourced Marketing Program extends well beyond the dental and medical industry.
The international tax global alliance dates back to 2013 and consists of independent accountants and tax lawyers who are focused on international taxation as goods and services become more global in nature.
If you are searching for international taxation guidance, then this website is well worth investigating.
Just like there are all kinds of law firms and specialties, the same applies to the CPA Firms. There are generalists and then there are specialists who provide additional expertise to law firms. Below are examples of CPA Accounting Firms that focus on the legal industry and provide additional guidance to
Law Firm Accounting and IOLTA Compliance – Maryland CPA – Graber and Associates – Graber and Associates has operated since 1993. They have two offices locations to better service lawyers throughout Baltimore, Annapolis and greater Maryland.
Law Firm Accounting – New York City CPA – Mark Feinsot CPA services law firms throughout the Tri-State region of New York. They have two offices in New York City. Mark has been a CPA for over twenty years.
Law Firm Accounting – Chicago – 1st Chicago Accounting services law firms throughout Chicago. They have three office locations to conveniently service busy law firms.
More examples of law firm accounting websites designed by Build Your Firm.
Restaurant businesses constantly juggle staff turnover, inventory management, and operating costs in order to stay profitable and ahead of the competitive pack. In fact, today’s competition is not only the newest restaurant in town but it often means competing against food trucks and food delivery (Uber, Amazon, and Google).
To help restaurants make better decisions, minimize taxes and avoid compliance issues, the savvy restaurateurs align themselves with CPA Firms that specialize in the food and beverage industry rather than the closest CPA Firm nearby. With today’s technology, specialized advice trumps location when it comes choosing the right CPA Firm for your business.
1. CPA Accounting for Restaurants – Florida Panhandle – Pensacola – Turner CPA works with all formats within the food and beverage industry. Tallahassee to Pensacola and Alabama as well.
2. CPA Accounting for Restaurants – Indianapolis – Garrison Sims CPA works with independently owned restaurants, franchises, catering, bars and brew pubs throughout Indiana.
3. CPA Accounting for Restaurants in Long Island NY – James Castaldo CPA & Associates works with restaurants, bars, brew pubs and hotels across Long Island. They understand the need to limit costs, minimize compliance issues, and financial reporting requirements to help your business operate more competitively.
4. Hospitality Accounting in Georgia – Roe CPA works with hotels, golf clubs, restaurants and bars throughout Georgia and understands the needs and demands for various hospitality formats. In some cases, a focus on internal controls is key and others need to focus on operating costs.
5. Restaurant Accounting in Northern California – Chahal & Associates works with franchise restaurants, family owned restaurants, hotels and bars across the Bay area.
6. Restaurant Accounting in Houston TX – Mike C Manoloff PC is a leading CPA Firm for restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Houston providing restaurant accounting, tax and payroll services.
7. Hospitality Accounting for Restaurants, Bars and Hotels in Atlanta GA – Delerme CPA works with all types of restaurants, lodging and night clubs throughout Atlanta.
More custom design examples of restaurant accounting websites.
However, accounting for the oil and gas sector requires additional expertise and decades of experience. That’s why many energy businesses in Texas reach out to McKinnon Patten CPA. McKinnon Patten has been helping oil and gas clients for over fourty years, which very few CPA Firms can say.
To be a long term player in the oil patch, you need to balance risk and uncertainty. That’s why experience in a dynamically changing marketplace is imperative. The original founder of McKinnon Patten CPA was a roustabout in West Texas oil fields and later served as a senior executive in Sun Oil Company. The oil patch permeates all aspects of the CPAs at McKinnon Patten.
If you are searching for additional guidance from your CPA Firm and would like additional connections to open doors, contact Mark at 214-696-1922.
While most CPA Accounting Firms tend to avoid churches and non-profit organizations, there are benefits to developing this area of expertise. First, there is less competition in your immediate area so your marketing area becomes broader geographically. Second, the depth of services that you provide become more advanced after you acquire enough. And third, you start to generate more referrals.
CPA for Churches and Ministries – Florida – Sizemore & Associates provides accounting and outsourced controllership for churches, parochial schools and faith-based colleges throughout Florida and Georgia.
CPA Accounting for Churches and Ministry – Michigan – Strategic Accounting and Tax Solutions provides church accounting and outsourced controllership for churches, non-profit schools and faith-based organizations.
More examples of Church Accounting websites designed by Build Your Firm.
The sales process can be arduous when you have a steady flow of leads coming into your office and plenty of existing work sitting on your desk. Between the appointments that stand you up and unproductive consultations, many accountants get discouraged with the process and wonder how to perfect it.
Conceptually, the sales process is an upside down funnel (a.k.a. inverted pyramid) that has several layers which your prospects must go through. In other words, you start with a wide base of leads and the prospects work way down the funnel to a tiny spout at the bottom when you close clients and bring them into your practice.
Much to my surprise, most small accounting firms struggle with separating the wheat from the chaff (e.g., qualifying leads), how long it takes close prospects, and then wonder why diamonds are not dropping thru the spout of the funnel.
Breaking your sales process into individual steps makes it much easier for non-sales professionals to appreciate how the process (or dance) works. Below is an illustration of twelve steps that you can take to capture more diamonds.
Step 1 – Define your target audience into monthly buckets – Rather than target businesses based on proximity to your office location, target businesses by industry sector (e.g., restaurants, lawyers, manufacturing, wineries, etc.).
Step 2 – Build your “field of dream” – To establish yourself as a subject matter expert, develop a niche website which establishes your firm as having an expertise within an industry. Build a compelling story to address their pain points. To overcome their skepticism, acquire certifications and/or become a member of an association which gives them the confidence to hire your firm over their current “generalist” accountant. In other words, the niche website should become the needle in the haystack they are searching for…
Step 3 – Craft a targeted message – Develop a direct mail letter that speaks to your target audience. You want a letter that is compelling and identifies with the problem that keeps the prospect up at night and how your service helps to solve this problem. The most effective message will have emotion and passion wrapped into the letter, not industry jargon.
Step 4 – Send a follow up message – Develop another letter that builds upon your first letter. If need be, break the target audience into sub-targets (e.g., break general construction into HVAC, electricians, painters, roofers/siders, etc.). Craft a letter targeting this specific subsegment (e.g., HVAC/plumbers), not to the general construction industry. Hit this audience 3-5 times within a six month period.
Step 5 – Qualify ALL leads generated – As the leads come into your office, ALL leads must be pre-qualified by answering a series of questions before you agree to a meeting. Start the selling process on the phone before meeting in person.
Step 6 – Add ALL prospects to your LinkedIn profile – Add each new lead to your LinkedIn profile.
Step 7 – Add ALL leads to your email newsletter list – All existing clients and prospects should be getting your email newsletter. This will add value to your relationship and educate them on the breath and depth of your services and keep your firm top of mind. Even if they don’t come on board after your initial consultation, keep them on the list. They may come on board many months later or refer someone to you.
Step 7 – Keep a running list of all leads generated and status on a spreadsheet – Every lead that comes into your office should be recorded onto one spreadsheet with the source of the lead, date, contact info, service requested, quote, and next steps.
Step 8 – Send follow-up letters to promising leads from 1-3 months ago – For those consultations that are pending and getting cold, it’s time to warm them up and send them a letter that keeps them luke warm. Customize it around their situation and why they should get started now.
Step 9 – Call the luke warm prospects again – Make a follow-up phone call to your prospects that are still on the fence (e.g., prospects you met 2-6 months ago). Try to identify why they haven’t taken a step forward and address their fear. Try to make the move risk free for them and address their inertia. Get them to take a baby step forward.
Step 10 – Invite the old prospects to meet you for coffee – Send an email and invite the fence sitters from 6-12 months ago to coffee. Create a compelling reason to get together and mention that you have something to share with them (e.g., free book or special report) that is relevant to their business and can help them improve the quality of their life. Soften up the approach and use the meeting as a vehicle to discuss their business in this economy. Operate like a business coach trying to help them oversee their business, not an accountant.
Step 11 – Send invitations to clients and prospects for upcoming events – Create a prospect event that is informational in nature. For some events, you can be the presenter and others can be done by outside professionals. The more you make the event specific to their industry, the better off you will be in getting them to attend.
My point is that the selling process is ongoing because some prospects take 1-3 years to close while others are instantaneous. Yes, the courting process takes ongoing effort to remain top of mind and overcome their inertia. The challenge is to recognize that the process is not transactional, it’s evolutionary and takes a series of steps to capture more than your fair share of new business.
Have you considered “unbundling” your marketing message to attract more leads?
Over the past ten years, many industries have begun unbundling their services into smaller bite size nuggets to generate more inquiries for their services. Sometimes, this change is forced upon them and other times, it’s opportunistic to generate that initial discussion, which leads into multiple engagements down the road.
Unbundling has been huge for the music industry. In the olden ages, the music industry would bundle together a batch of songs (e.g., album) and sell the bundle for higher price. With the digital age, songs are now unbundled and purchased a la carte. As a result, the barriers between music artists and genres has lowered thus creating over 1,000 bewildering microgenres.
In the restaurant business, have you found yourself getting sucked into ordering tapas which end up costing you more than buying one comprehensive entrée? This is what unbundling your services can accomplish for your accounting practice.
To illustrate my point, have you considered delivering your services in the comprehensive manner that you’ve always done but also offering them in smaller pieces? In other words, breaking a full service, comprehensive set of “we do it all” generalist message into smaller micro websites which break the message into smaller, more meaningful a la carte pieces.
In addition to your main website which communicates you are a CPA Firm in Raleigh serving all types of businesses, have you developed micro websites which break your marketing message into smaller bite site messages which make it appear that your firm is dedicated to a certain type of client who is searching for more expertise? Here are examples all from one accounting firm:
Real Estate Accounting – This website is designed to attract property management, real estate developers and construction firms. It paints a picture for the prospect that we understand real estate accounting so the prospect is more inclined to call Gomez CPA.
International Tax – This website is designed to attract interest from companies outside of the US doing business in the Raleigh Durham area ranging from manufacturing, import export, to distribution businesses of all types. It also generates leads from expatriates and local residents with more complex filing requirements (e.g., foreign bank accounts, multinationals, etc.) seeking international tax expertise.
Dental Practices – This website is designed to attract leads from pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and general dentistry across North Carolina. The visual images and content are focused on dental practices who are looking for a Dental CPA Firm.
Try the best of both worlds to maximize your lead generation. That’s right, you can position yourself as both a local generalist with the one stop shopping approach, and also break your message into smaller bite size pieces like tasty tapas.
In today’s online world, 85% of consumers say that they read online reviews about local businesses as part of their decision making process. Whether this is looking online for a movie, restaurant, contractor or hiring an accountant, we all use online reviews to lower our risk of a bad experience.
There are review websites that rate contractors, employers, products, doctors, and all kinds of professional services. These online review websites make the world more transparent for buyers and shoppers of all kinds. Eventually, it will be very hard to hide underneath the online review radar screen.
Focus Your Efforts
Because obtaining reviews takes a concerted effort, we recommend that you focus your efforts on the review websites that will give you the highest return. Typically, this means trying to obtain reviews from your clients in Google, Yelp, and Intuit Find-a-ProAdvisor. We would recommend skipping things like Angie’s List, Judy’s Book, and smaller review websites. For our industry, they just don’t have enough market share to support the effort.
What Is Taboo
The review websites take reviews to heart and go the extra mile to protect their brand. For example, Yelp actually reviews nearly all of your reviews and looks for patterns to filter out fake reviews. Google looks at your IP address to see if the review is the same IP address as the business and filters this out. Here are some of the things that are taboo in this new online review world:
- Placing testimonials on my website – In today’s jaded world, most website prospects will tend to ignore your carefully crafted testimonials on your website. That’s because most realize that you ignore the negative reviews, only show the positive reviews, and probably wrote the review for your client. Quite frankly, negative reviews often are very enlightening and helps the buyer more than you realize. For example, Amazon has made this into a major selling point for their online reviews (e.g., best/worst review).
- Asking clients for reviews – Yelp has a policy of discouraging businesses from asking clients to post happy reviews. One way that they spot this is if your accounting firm has 0 reviews for years and then all of a sudden, gets a few in one day. To avoid getting filtered out, space out your reviews over time so they appear more organic. However, it is fine to make customers aware that you encourage their feedback and online reviews. Yes, this is a subtle difference.
- Fake reviews – This is a major no no and has consequences. In 2013, Samsung was fined over $340,000 for building fake reviews. In NYC, there was a major sting operation called Operation Clean Turf and fines totaling over $350,000 were dished out to 19 companies for fake Yelp reviews.
Process We Recommend
The process for Google, Yelp and Intuit are very different. Below is my recommendation on how you can proceed down this path and develop a 5 star reputation online. I will assume that your back office is worthy of 5 star reviews and seldom has complaints.
- Local Listings – To obtain reviews, you must “claim” your business in Google and Yelp.
- Google – To obtain reviews in Google, the person posting the review must have a Google account of some kind (e.g., Gmail, Google+, etc.) to authenticate who they are. While a pain, we all have to play by Google’s rules given their market share. Their intentions are valid because they want to validate your identity before posting your online review on their review service.
- Yelp – Given the filtering process that Yelp has created to weed out suspicious reviews, we recommend posting a few reviews of your favorite restaurants. After posting 3-4 online reviews, then you should post online reviews for business clients that you genuinely support and recommend. Pace this out gradually at say 3-4 per day. Start with business clients that will appreciate this the most like restaurants, retail outlets, fitness trainers, subcontractors, etc. In other words, pay your clients a compliment forward by scratching their back before asking them to reciprocate for your accounting practice.
- Intuit Find-a-ProAdvisor – If you want more QB clients, then create a profile within Intuit’s Find-a-ProAdvisor website fully and support the profile by obtaining QB Certifications. Then, create a list of satisfied QB clients. These reviews will be the easiest to get posted.
Having a solid online reputation generates leads, increases your conversion rate on prospects, and creates word-of-mouth advertising benefits that benefit your practice in ways you never anticipated.
Generally, 98% of visitors to your website never take that next step. In other words, they read a couple pages on your website, may like what they see, but don’t call or register on your website. If you think about your own behavior, this probably makes sense to you as a prospective buyer. In other words, you like to browse online for tons of information and prefer to shop online incognito.
As a business owner, what proactive steps should you take to increase the number of inquiries and target your advertising to people who are actively shopping for accounting and tax services? Have you considered behavioral retargeting?
Behavioral retargeting (aka – remarketing or retargeting) is a form of online advertising targeted to consumers based on their previous internet shopping behavior. In other words, suppose you were shopping online for an SUV and noticed that you were all of a sudden seeing lots on ads for SUVs. In fact, the ads were for Jeep and Ford Expedition, all of which you were seriously considering. Is this a coincidence that you were seeing tons of online advertising after visiting the Jeep and Ford Expedition websites? No, this would be an example of behavioral retargeting where these brands have placed a cookie onto your browser after you visited their website, and they are now targeting ads based on your potential interest. This is behavioral retargeting, at its best.
Another example might be Salesforce contact management. You may have visited their website to better manage your marketing and realize Salesforce is advertising everywhere you visit online. This is retargeting and they are trying to raise your awareness of their brand, seeking to influence your perception of them, and encourage you to return to their website.
Amazon uses retargeting as well. It’s very cost effective.
Basically, retargeting is serving ads to people after they left an advertiser’s website. Retargeting pinpoints advertising to prospects soon after they visit a website and is very effective. Retargeting helps companies advertise to visitors who leave without making a purchase – which is approximately 98% of all website traffic.
How We Do It
Build Your Firm is combining the power of pay per click advertising (aka – PPC) from Google Adwords in conjunction with organic search engine optimization to drive prospects to your website. After these prospects visit your website and browse elsewhere on the internet, they will soon see online ads for your accounting firm, in an effort to raise the brand awareness of your firm and seek to motivate them back to your website so you ultimately obtain a lead. Within the accounting space, Build Your Firm (BYF) is the only marketing firm providing this combined service to maximize your lead generation.
The availability of BYF’s combined service of pay per click campaign management along with retargeting advertising is limited on a market by market basis. Call Nita Sabo x156 to see if your market is available and the projected costs.
Build Your Firm is a certified Google Adwords Premier Small Business Partner and has been providing pay per click advertising services since 2005.