Does your website create favorable impressions of your accounting firm when people find it on the internet? Does it distinguish your practice from the other boring accounting firms in town? Or does it suck like most accounting firm websites?
As it stands, accountants have a terrible stereotype in the marketplace. Given this, the need to be unique is higher than normal given the prevailing stereotype that accountants are boring.
What is Personality?
Personality is the characteristic that makes us unique and identifiable. Some of us are endearing, some are honorable, some are witty, and others are rough around the edges. Just as personality makes each of us unique, your web site should have a personality that sets you apart from other accounting firms in town.
Marketers use personality as a vehicle to understand branding. In focus groups, marketers will often ask people if this product was a car, what kind of car would it be? And based on those answers, you have a pretty good sense of how the general public was viewing your brand and your TV commercials.
To illustrate the importance of personality, let’s take politics since it’s on television constantly. Whether you like him or hate him, Barack Obama has created his own identity and demonstrated consistently that he is willing to show some personality as the Comedian-in-Chief. Examples include the recent Correspondents dinner with Jimmy Kimmel, trip to University of North Carolina with Jimmy Fallon, tonite show with Jay Leno, and Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. And each year in March, Barack goes out on a limb and even picks teams for the NCAA basketball tournament on ESPN regardless of picking sides and offending hoop fans. Now contrast that to Mitt Romney and despite his good looks, stellar business credentials, and a solid job overseeing the Winter Olympics, he has fallen flat on personality.
Personality matters. Personality drives website traffic and encourages them to come back, even if you made a mistake. Yes, we all frequent businesses that are not perfect and occasionally make mistakes (like your favorite dining spot).
Does Your Web Site Look the SAME as Everyone Else?
Given the stereotype that our industry faces, do you really want to have a boring web site that looks just like every other accounting firm out there? And why does your web site show today’s weather forecast? Do you really think people are searching on accounting firm websites for today’s weather forecast? And why is the website loaded with stock photos of calculators and headshots of people that look nothing like the owner?
In our industry, there are a few website development vendors that have 3,000 – 5,000+ clients in the US. So in a large city like Los Angeles or Chicago, the largest website vendor probably has 300-500 accounting firms using very similar websites with the same stock photography, same weather tool and very little personalization. In fact, the page that is dedicated to meeting the firm owner is boiler plate copy that puts you to sleep like elevator music. Come on, show me your picture and why I should hire you rather than sticking your head in the sand and giving me lame computer generated text about your firm values and commitment to quality.
How to Create Personality in Your Website
Building a personality on the internet starts on the home page of your accounting web site. Your home page should have some photos of your local market, maybe your office building, and some prominent locations that locals know is home. The second logical place is on your About Us page, where there should be pictures and well written bio’s on the key members of the firm. Last, a blog is another venue to show your personality.
Show your colors online and paint a picture for your clients and prospects on why they should hire you.