In Our experience, Accountants have enough on their plate already with day to day work. The nuances of Digital marketing and SEO is not a priority for many accountants, just as my accounts is not foremost in my bosses mind from day to day and I have little knowledge of the changes arrived or about to hit us courtesy of the tax inspectors. Dealing with the Internet and continuous rule changes from Google is a complex business, Don’t let the stress of all this force you into making poor decisions or neglecting altogether the important issue of attracting new clients.
Read on and discover what you really need to know
Every day thousands of people are browsing online looking for a service like yours via search engines and naturally you want to optimise your website to attract some of these as customers. Some are using their phone and finding the nearest or the one with the most stars, or the one that takes calls.
If you are less than thrilled with how your website is currently performing, the most likely reason is that your site has been designed and maintained on the basis of inaccurate and false assumptions or in other words misconceptions. This is a very common issue and nothing to feel guilty about, but if true there are steps that need to be taken. Once you have a grasp of how Accounting Firm SEO works, you will save a lot of time and money and win more customers.
The big misconceptions that are crippling Accounting SEO
To be successful with marketing your accounting firm on search engines, you first need a deep understanding of how potential clients use accountancy websites and how and why they get there.
In simple terms this answers the question, what is it like for someone to realise that they need help with an accounting issue or need a new accountant and to find your firm online, select you out of the many options they will certainly have and then to contact you.
Lets take the example of a firm in Coventry that specialises in helping medium sized manufacturing businesses. What path might a manufacturer near Coventry take to become a paying client of our Accounting firm in say Birmingham for argument’s sake.
The Accountants Viewpoint
- Client realises he needs a new accountant.
- Client launches Google and types “accountant Coventry”.
- Client arrives at your website because it was listed on page one.
- Client calls your number and later in the week visits and signs up.
This is what most accountants tell me when I ask them this same question.
It is clear from the above that like most people unaccustomed to online marketing, Accountancy firms assume that a new client will have decided they need an accountant and that they will enter logical and obvious searches like “accountant ” and they are in the office at their desk using a PC.
Well the odd one does things just like that, but let me tell you:
- Those who follow this path run into a Blitzkrieg of paid adverts and listings that is very hard to compete with at any price.
- There are nowhere near enough of these to go around. In fact my personal experience suggests that half the customer lifetime value is often spent on paid advertising in a pointless battle to beat some blissfully unaware rival and the only ones rubbing their hands are at Google HQ.
Attempting to do Digital marketing in this manner will cost you a great deal of money and stress.
Here is how SEO works for accountants
Yes, the reason it looks complex is because it is, but not to a specialist.
- Only a handful of new clients set out looking for a new accountant. They are more likely to set out looking for an answer to a specific problem like “how to claim for my home office”, or “How to calculate depreciation”. Some of these answers are available on Government websites and forums so you can’t expect them to simply fall at your feet, however I’ll let you in on a secret, those sites, however well-meaning just confuse us even more and drive us right into you path if you do things right.
- What is more likely to happen is that the old niggling doubts emerge again that maybe they should just leave these stressful issues to someone else and as they do the rounds of conflicting advice, they realise how much it is costing them in time and then they find a situation whereby it is very easy to engage with a professional, they do so and find your firm easy to talk to and reassuring and have a revelation moment when they decide to dump all their problems on your desk and go fishing or knitting or whatever they like to do.
In order for you to put yourself in that path to meet them and then to engage them long enough that they want to talk and finally win their trust, you need to:
- provide honest high quality content they can trust and
- you must label and present this content in the right way that it will be found by Google based on the search terms they might enter in Google,
- then you need a very approachable interface to let them break the ice with you with no fear and
- you then need to give them an offer they don’t want to refuse
Lets return now to that assumption about the search term “accountant ”
I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but Google is gradually trying to morph into a “smartass”. Now I worked on designing and building search engines in the education sector some years ago and I agree they have a way to go yet, but people with low patience, excepting with phones, are apparently quite happy to interpret their foolishness and are constantly typing or even speaking (30% plus already) their questions into a phone or a browser. Questions like “what is the most efficient way to pay yourself from a limited company in UK 2019”
Next Google returns the blog you write about “ How to efficiently manage a Limited Company in UK 2019” for example. In reading your content they realise they are missing some important points and that you seem to really have this mastered. They like your language and style so they are tempted to ask you some questions. They follow links in your blog and find some other useful advice and one of these concepts suddenly makes them realise they would be better to consider getting professional help as long as it is not too expensive.
The wording around your Call to Action makes it clear that you don’t lock people into long term deals, you take a very affordable monthly fee and you can leave any time so they think “ Not much to lose here and it could take a load off my mind” so they make the first move.
Now its down to you how many of these enquiries you convert and how long you keep them as happy clients.
In summary, what Accounts Must know about SEO and Digital Marketing
- Success requires a strong intuition for your clients and how they feel, but equally importantly, how they go about searching for answers to their problems and what it will take to make contact and convert them to a customer. The insight to do this well comes out of genuine research especially the qualitative type, informal chats and focus groups, social media and other tools can help you gain the insight you need. Don’t forget to ask the odd client when they come in.
- Things keep changing and some things need to be tested after the fact, so professional measurement tools are hugely important to help you test different approaches cheaply and focus on the ones that work best.
- SEO firms will take substantial sums and simply give you traffic and despite the ever-growing curve, the revenue growth just does not follow. This is partly because this is what they know best and partly because it is much easier to drive traffic than tackle the challenge of converting it onto customers. SEO firms don’t ever even claim to understand human behaviour they are experts in the Google algorithm and in gaming it to deliver traffic. Don’t knock it, a certain amount of this is sadly necessary, but it is nowhere near enough.
- Digital advertising firms will point you towards adwords and other strategies and will most likely tell you that SEO is dead or some such, but this is also a misleading and costly error.
Even if you are and you probably should be spending on Search advertising and possibly re-marketing ad Social media advertising too as a balanced mix, what you need to realise is that;
- How much you pay for your advertising is greatly affected by how well your site is ranked.
- Regardless of how they got to your site, their needs are going to be similar and they will need content targeted at the problems they are wrestling with and a site that is easy to engage with. There is nothing to be gained therefore from simply building a website, putting up your phone number and buying a lot of adverts. That’s is not how it works any more.
If you would like some honest advice
If you would like help on a specific problem related to your website or winning new customers, please do feel free to get in touch. We don’t mind proving ourselves through accessibility and perhaps we can really make the difference you have been looking for.
Just click the button and book a chat with our consultant. There is no charge for this.
If you do decide to work with us at some time, we will never tie you to a contract and we always live or die by what we deliver.