The way people go about finding their ideal accountant or accounting firm has changed. Although word of mouth and referrals continue to be a source of new business for many, the more progressive firms have discovered a way to extend their reach well beyond word of mouth and they are reaping substantial benefits and winning new business.
So how has marketing for accountants changed and what is it that many accountants get so wrong when marketing themselves online? Here are three common mistakes:
Fail #1: They ignore the fact that we're well and truly in the digital era
Sure even the most traditional of accounting firms nowadays do have a website, but that, typically, is where it ends. They think of a website as a brochure - a static, text heavy page or collection of pages of dry uninspiring copy that talks about the firm, its partners, history and services.
There are thousands of websites for Australian financial advisors and accountants. If your firm is to have any chance of its website attracting your next customer you will need make it a priority to update it with new information on a regular basis (more than weekly). Your site also needs to offer your customers (current and potential) a consistent positive experience regardless of whether that be on desktop or mobile platforms.
Fail #2: They talk about themselves. Way too much.
Ever been at a party and someone talks non-stop about themselves without ever drawing breath or bothering to find out about you? Or, been at a networking event and the person you meet pulls out their business card and launches into their sales pitch before they even know whether you're a suitable prospect for their services? You'd be looking for the first opportunity to head for the exit, right?
Our attention spans, when surfing the internet, are literally shorter than that of a goldfish. Unless your ideal buyer sees value or relevance in your web content he or she is off like a flash. Off on a mission to find something that answers their question in a way that resonates.
Most of us go online in search for solutions or answers. So think about the questions your ideal customers have or what problems they are trying to solve. Your website should be a valuable resource for them. A place where they want to spend time, return to and one they want to recommend to their friends. This involves "thinking in colours" on your part and really understanding the people whom you want to attract to your site.
Use easy to understand language. Many accoutants make the mistake of pitching their content at peer level. Your clients are not accountants. Use words, terms and language that will resonate with them. Make "always be helpful" your mantra and leave the sales pitch at home.
Fail #3: They make it too difficult
One of the empowering aspects of the internet is that, as consumers of business services, we can search to our heart's content without picking up the telephone and risk having to talk to a pushy or overly keen person. This is where accounting firms often miss out on creating real engagement with potential new clients who might be interested but who aren't ready to contact you. In other words, they like what they find on your website but they aren't willing to reach out and risk being put through a "sales spiel".
If the contact us button is currently the only way for web visitors to identify themselves to your firm, you're missing out on a critical opportunity to engage with potential clients who are in the early stages of their decision-making process. A lost chance to start building a relationship and positioning you and your firm as trusted advisors.
Smart marketers of accounting and financial services firms create resources that offer real value to potential customers. This could entail eBooks, Guides, Calculators and Webinars and can be accessed by providing a name and email address.
But there is so much material out there already" I hear you say. "People no longer fall for that do they? "
The answer is that it depends entirely on how much your materials are valued. If you put time and effort in creating something that is relevant and helpful to your ideal client you will have success with this conversion method.
If you do this well and combine it with a sensitive and relevant lead nurture strategy your efforts will deliver new business.
But won't all this annoy our customers?
No it won't is the simple answer. If your inboud lead generation strategy is relevant to what your ideal customer is looking for, it won't be considered annoying.To the contrary your content will be welcomed as helpful. The recipient is always in the driver's seat. He or she can opt-in or opt-out of receiving your emails.
It is the trusted advisor's way of building a relationship. There is no need to be pushy or "salesy". As long as your voice and message resonate, your customer will naturally be interested in engaging further. The art is in really understanding what it is your customer needs from you at each stage of their decision-making and delivering exactly that. Click the link below to download our eBook and learn more about lead generation for Sydney accounting firms.