Are you able to file corporate taxes for your clients in your sleep but struggling with ways to market your accounting firm or convert your web traffic? Don’t feel bad. Marketing your business locally and properly designing a website so it’s firing on all cylinders can be a challenge. Local marketing isn’t always about search engine optimization (SEO) and optimizing your site so it grabs leads from every small business in the area looking for tax advice.
Local marketing is about making the most of your client base through engagement, website usability & great customer service. This post is about optimizing your website so it converts new visitors and using web technology and old-fashioned good business practices to keep your clients remembering you throughout the year and not just during tax season.
So, without further ado, here are five things you may never have thought of to develop interest in your CPA practice and generate more leads online.
1. Stop Being So Camera Shy
It’s all about converting visitors into customers, right? Putting a face (or faces) to your brand is a great way to make your practice stand out. Most potential customers are going to contact you through a Google search. That means you need to think about what you can do to win an online audience. While your bow tie may work wonders in person, it’s not going to win an online visitor.
Oh wait – it is! When it comes to finding a CPA online, people are going to feel more comfortable seeing the accountants they are going to be working with. Go hire a professional photographer to take some pictures of your staff. Pin a picture of your crew on your homepage and link to your about us page with head shots of your employees along with compelling bios that would make Mr. & Mrs. Random Internet Visitor want to use you. When comparing two companies side by side, I’m going to prefer the CPA that shows me pictures of the people who are going to be fiddling with my money along with bios that showcase how adept they are at fiddling with said money.
2. Busted! Stop Hiding Your Pricing
One of the biggest letdowns when it comes to professional services websites, including CPAs, is the absence of transparent pricing. Of course pricing will vary depending on the client and their needs, but if you are targeting local small businesses give the client an idea! I like surprises as much as the next guy, but I get pretty irritated when I make an appointment with someone and then find out the cost structure to be completely different from what I envisioned.
While you don’t have to throw out a quote sight unseen, you should attempt to manage expectations by providing visitors with something to work with. Something like pricing starts as XX or we charge XX per hour and most transactions take XX hours to complete. Even throwing some prices that you know are consistent like your standard charge for personal tax preparation makes you more appealing and should increase conversions. Check out firms like Jackson Hewitt or H & R Block, they have pricing right there online! I’d bet that they play “add-on roulette” when they give you an exact quote, but I’d be willing to bet they convert more visitors because they have a starting point price advertised on their site.
3. Distinguish & Customize
Your website should include information about your standard accounting services, such as bookkeeping, auditing, tax preparation, and the like. These are expected components of any CPA’s site and reading that you can do them makes people feel warm and fuzzy about using you. But you also need to focus on what you do differently or better and why. Convey these things to your visitors. Things like “Our Tax Preparation Services Are Different Because…” followed by 5 points about why you are better can go a long way. People don’t really like to read so bullet points work well here.
Yet another way to stand out in this crowded, competitive online environment is to market niche iterations of your services. In addition to your “payroll” page, why not include a page geared toward retailers, an additional one to restaurants, and another for construction companies. Your motivation here should not be ranking in search results for related terms but to convince visitors that you bring something special to the table when serving those industries. Speaking about bringing something special to the table, create a restaurant payroll specific page & give some quick points about what makes you a better choice for the restaurant industry.
4. Will You Remember Me After Tax Season?
Are you contacting your clients to thank them for their business? I’m not talking about emails here (too easy). I’m talking about sending a thank you mailer to your clients – like a hand written post card or promotional item and a hand written post card. The key point here is a hand written post card. Nothing says, “I loved working with you and want to earn your future business” more than a hand written post card a week or so after tax season or after a teeth grinding audit. Imagine how something as simple as a hand written post card will dazzle your clients.
They will be thinking “The next time I need , I’m definitely using . Those CPAs sent me a post card!” This may sound like a common professional courtesy – and it is – but it can do a great deal to develop business with new clients who only recently contacted you through your website. No one ever sends hand written post cards anymore – but you will and it’s going to make people want you more than sprinkles on ice cream. This brings me to our next item (don’t be disappointed if it’s not ice cream related).
5. Staying in Contact & Anticipating Needs
I saved this one for last, because sometimes you can do everything in the world (i.e. recommendations 1-4) but you never hear from a client again after they exploit you for your CPA prowess. Sure, they might have only contacted you once to help with an IRS audit, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need an accountant in the future. By staying in contact with clients, you are more likely to be there should another need arise.
If your clients subscribe to your blog or follow your practice on social media, you can maintain interest with compelling posts and timely news updates. Make sure your twitter handle and Facebook url are all over your marketing media and website, but also make sure people are linking into you – that’s the tougher part of this suggestion. As much as you would like to, you can’t hack your client’s FB account and force them to be your friend, but you can let them know that you are going to be dripping valuable tax insights, reminders, and even special discounts periodically. Check H&R Block’s twitter feed. They are dripping content every few days and it’s not all boring content. Post some fun stuff & people will engage with you.
Nicolas D’Alleva is a severely sleep deprived small business owner. Nicolas owns a website design firm called Spotted Frog Design and a 24/7 call center service provider called Specialty Answering Service. For more information on either of Mr. D’Alleva’s companies, please click on the links above!