- 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.
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.
- Home Depot,
- JP Morgan Chase,
- Zappos, etc.
And the information that you receive from clients is just what hackers want. Everything from social security numbers to date of birth to financial accounting information.
Please encrypt all inbound and outbound data exchanged electronically. Do NOT send tax returns, payroll information, QB files without encryption.
Level of Encryption
Build Your Firm websites – 256 bit encryption
eMochila (TR) portals – 256 bit encryption
ShareFile – 256 bit encryption
CPA Site Solutions portals – 128 to 256 bit encryption (varies)
We highly recommend using 256 bit encryption at all times. If your portal service periodically dips to 128 bit encryption (at rest) or you are not using encryption at all, then now would be the time to switch to a provider that is always at 256. Just saying…
With a Build Your Firm website, our Secure File Sharing tool is part of the website (no extra charge). Encryption is always at 256 bit, which is bank grade security.
All tax, accounting and CPA firms, regardless of size, must comply with The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (aka – GLBA). The legislation was designed to protect personal financial information and applies to CPAs, Enrolled Agents and tax preparers.
Accounting firms and tax preparers must comply with all three:
- Ensure the security and confidentiality of their client’s information.
- Protect against any anticipated threats or hazards.
- Protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
- Civil and criminal penalties.
- Fines up to $100,000 per violation.
How Build Your Firm can help you
- Secure File Sharing tool is part of our website service – 256 bit encryption (bank grade, higher than most portal services which tend to be 128 bit)
- Our proprietary tool is easier to use than traditional portals
- No “I forgot my password” phone calls
If you or your staff sends out a unprotected (unencrypted) tax return, K1, or QuickBooks file, that violates GLBA provisions.
Build Your Firm’s secure file sharing tool encrypts inbound and outbound electronic documents. Don’t put your clients personal information and risk. It’s simply not worth the risk.
McKinnon Patten is a Dallas Texas based CPA firm that has been operating for over 40 years. Like many established CPA Firms, they operated by word of mouth and old fashioned hard work until a newer practitioner, Mark Patten, joined them last year.
Mark’s background prior to joining the McKinnon team is impressive ranging from a Duke MBA, ten years at Ernst & Young, Global Audit Director and CFO at Morgan Stanley, and Managing Director at Stout Risius Ross for business valuations and forensic accounting.
To turn up the volume on new client acquisition at McKinnon Patten, here is path that Mark is on.
- Responsive Web Design – McKinnon Patten currently has three websites to market their practice across the Dallas metroplex and each website is carefully constructed in a responsive web design to gradually get to the top of Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Rich Content – The content on each of the McKinnon Patten websites is well organized and educates prospective clients on the collective firm services in a consultative manner.
- Niche Marketing Using a Multiple Website Strategy – To capitalize on the firm’s core competency, McKinnon Patten has niches in Oil and Gas Accounting, Business Valuations and High Net Worth Accounting. And like most established firms, they are also a generalist with various successful clients in private equity, real estate, and entrepreneurial businesses.
- Search Engine Optimization – Each website is search engine optimized to attract high levels of traffic onto the website page that closely matches what the prospect is searching for.
- Eye Catching Photography and Graphic Design – Each website incorporates photography and visual images that pull the prospect into the page so they are more likely to learn more about McKinnon Patten.
Full Disclosure – McKinnon Patten works with Build Your Firm in the Outsourced Marketing Program. Mark first connected with me via LinkedIn in 2012 (prior to joining the firm) and ultimately engaged BYF in 2014. I have no idea what Mark typed into LinkedIn to find my profile but I am sure glad he called me.
In today’s world, we are accessing the internet on wrist watches, mobile phones, tablets, talking to Siri, large screen TVs and traditional desktop computers. Given the variety of devices, Google Bing and Yahoo are advocating that we all jump on board with responsive designed websites. Here’s why you need to scrap your traditionally designed website and switch to responsive web design now.
One Website, Many Devices
Although Google is usually very guarded about their POV, they are now giving preferential treatment to websites that were developed using responsive layouts and actively recommending to webmasters that all new websites should use the industry best practice of responsive web design.
Essentially, Google prefers responsive web design because your website content resides on one URL rather than duplicate URLs (e.g., one for traditional monitors, another for mobile). This makes their job of indexing content much easier.
If you want to remain towards the top of search engine results pages, you need to obtain a responsive website now. Otherwise, your website will slowly drop further down the list and be visited less frequently.
The future of web design is responsive web design. The sooner you jump on board, the better off you will be.