Accountancy specialist Digital Marketing
Your accounting business website should have a number of core purposes, regardless of what strategic direction you take with it.
Whether you plan it or not, but I expect you have, your website is immediately providing an insight and a perception about your firm and then it quickly goes on to either succeed, or fail in developing a foundation of trust with your potential clients who arrived in search of answers of one kind or another.
Empathy is usually a great place to begin thinking about customers, but unfortunately it is difficult for an accountant who has never needed to hire an accountant to really grasp what is potentially in the customer’s mind and of course the same applies to every other profession including marketing. Naturally it is also true that we can’t get it right all the time, little improvements do go a long way in this field.
This lack of customer insight and associated strategy and design is most likely the reason, or at least the main reason why so many accounting firms fail to attract new business.
In addition to understanding how these potential customers are thinking, it is equally important to understand how Google search actually works.
It is critical that before you set out on this journey, you do understand how and why customers set out on a journey that leads them to enquire of a new accountancy practice and equally understand just what it takes to put the right content in their path and get them to follow a desired action like picking up the phone or sending their email to arrange a chat, or phone you to get a call back.
To waken your taste buds a little try a quick browse through this summary by our Analyst Zina after she had completed a recent research project with a major accounting firm.
Producing content for your specific target clients
To make this work you need to keep your client’s mindset at heart. The best approach used by professionals is to develop detailed personas, each on an A4 card that describes a specific individual you can relate to and give a personality to then write your content with him or her in mind. The mistake almost everyone makes, including too many seasoned writers and marketers is to imagine the persona instead of basing it on real people and of course, real research. That is definitely better than nothing, but equally it could be a long way off the mark. An extra benefit of developing these personas via research is that they describe the segments you are targeting first and foremost and then the person you are writing for. The significance may not be immediately obvious, but you could otherwise, write great content for one segment and attract another segment in their droves and the end result = disappointment.
The ideal scenario is that you identify the real problems your potential clients are seeking to solve, attract their attention and then their trust by offering some targeted advice in your content alongside of an attractive offer to get in touch.
What you are effectively doing is buying permission to talk to them further. You are NOT selling to them. The latter is a waste of energy.
How to produce the right content for the right segments
- A classic approach is to begin by brainstorming the issues in the front of client’s minds at this point in their journey.
Most accountants will be bale to reel off a long list of these problems based on recent experiences and the current issues caused by the tax system and other issues in the business environment.
- Brainstorm all the likely ways they might go about writing a Google search, even poor grammar and slang are sometimes legitimate.
- For example, your client in Birmingham may be worried about coping with the new system and wondering if he should just get an accountant.
- She might just type “MTD”
- Or “MTD Birmingham”
- Or even “MTD” problems
We all know that there are a myriad of reasons a client begins on this journey and ends up talking to a potential new accountancy provider. As you record these, many searches will emerge. For example a user may simply type “How much can I claim for R&D in 2019”. That conversation could take all sorts of twists and wind up in a long-term lucrative business relationship. The important thing is to understand that it is not a simple matter of someone typing “Accountant Harborne” and then sending you a PayPal payment.
- Take a look at the competition
The next step to building that killer list of search phrases is to see what your competition are writing content for. We tend to use data sets internally that help us get a grasp on how many searches they are receiving from their keywords and many other things like who is linking to them and referring business and so forth, but the key elements right now is to see what they are targeting and where their advertising money is being spent. Naturally if they consistently spend heavily on specific terms you know that clearly it is profitable for them and will probably also be profitable for you when you do it well. Never assume that because your competition are going after a specific niche you can’t or vice versa, every decision should be unique to your won situation, strengths, weaknesses, positioning , capacity and so forth.
- Narrowing it down and making sense of it all
If you do a good job on keyword search you will probably be shocked to find that you have many hundreds of phrases and this is simply too much content to write in any foreseeable time frame. The key to this is much like doing a business case for capital investment, you need to know which ones are likely to give you the best return. Using professional tools you can get this information and get great help with whole process for around a hundred pounds a month software subscription, but there is a substantial learning curve with all of these tools and unless you are employing an in-house team it may be wiser to work with a pro and get a better outcome.
Reducing a list of say 250 phrases to a list of 50 with the highest potential returns and a sense of more alignment to your key focus as a business is an altogether better outcome and will normally drive a dramatically higher ROI.
Outsourcing the Content Function
If I told you how long it took me the last time I prepared a set of end of year accounts you would still be laughing tomorrow. The tax inspector is probably still laughing too. Since then I have never attempted it and resisted the offers form my talented daughter.
I know how busy you accountants are and might I suggest that you allow NV8v to do your research, prepare a content schedule to cover your different needs, personas and keywords and write your content on a regular schedule providing you therefore, with peace of mind plus an informed opinion, and support as and when you need it.
Why not book a free consultation over the phone to learn about the many options, you will be surprised how affordable the service can be.