We’ve all done it. We start to research something online, and then get distracted by an interesting link — and then another — that makes us forget what we were searching for in the first place.
Your accounting website is competing with all that noise.
At least 150,000 new website addresses are created each day, according to digital commentator Mashable. Google is responding to all this noise by looking at a company’s entire online image to decide whether or not it is worthy of any visitors.
In our big data blog post, we talked about using Google’s massive data collection to find topics that will interest your web visitors and tie to your accounting services. Once you have an idea of why your target audience needs help and how they are searching for it, then you can add elements to your website that support leads, cross-servicing and even recruitment.
Don’t miss a great lead.
What? Your firm relies on referrals to get the best clients? Guess what, they’re online looking at your website…maybe even right now.
Example: Business owner has a need and hears about you. She goes to your website to check you out.
What does she find? “Hi, we’re an accounting firm.”
She already knows that. She wants to know if your firm is the solution to her problem.
You have less than a minute to hook her and about 4 minutes to intrigue her. Four minutes is about the time it takes to make a sandwich. What do you want her to learn in that four minutes (while eating her sandwich) that will get her to contact you?
You want visitors to spend more time so that you look better than your competitors. Believe us, we’ve scrutinized enough accounting websites to know which ones grab our attention and which ones make us wonder if the firm is still in business.
Let’s say your accounting firm works with construction companies. Your construction company friends are heavily expense driven. They are looking for ways to sustain cash flow through their projects and monitor job costs in order to make a profit. Does your website home page explain how your firm solves issues like cash flow and proper job costing? It should.
Address those concerns through a home page scrolling banner blurb, a sidebar article, a trade association logo, or a testimonial from a construction client. Entice your visitor to go deeper into your website to read case studies of how you’ve helped other construction clients, take a quick survey or download a custom guide.
Also, do your social media channels share links to construction-related articles on your website — in case that referral went to your social media sites first — and do your team members connect with professionals in construction?
Enhance cross service.
We’ve interviewed dozens of accounting partners, and many of them are client service masters who do very well at expanding business with their existing clients. However, they need help.
Younger professionals need resources to help them understand which services they should promote to existing clients…and why. Clients themselves — many of whom have never used your website beyond logging into a client portal, should be invited to explore the content on your website to consider additional services and see how they relate to the services they already use.
Leverage your website content to showcase how services inter-relate to each other in a service or industry niche. It will help your team support a conversation around additional services.
For example, let’s say your physician’s group client is using your tax and assurance services, but hasn’t made the leap to completely outsource back-office functions. Talk about the features and benefits of that arrangement by sharing content from other medical industry sources, a blog post or diagram on how back-office outsourcing works or a case study of a succession transition to outsourcing. When you bring up the idea of outsourcing, you don’t have to sell it. You can simply point to your website and encourage your client to explore the information there. Then schedule a “check-in.”
Entice recruits to your way of life.
Let’s say you need to recruit a mid-career professional. This person may or may not be married, may or may not have kids, but will definitely consider what the new opportunity may mean for cost of living and lifestyle.
Candidates have to envision themselves in a new life, whether they are coming out of college or leaving an existing position. Your pitch to them is not about working at an accounting firm. It’s about stories of teamwork, solving puzzles, having fun together, creating a life and reaping the rewards.
You have to be one part storyteller, one part travel agent, one part psychologist and one part mentor to guide them to a decision.
Your website lets them explore and imagine in a safe way before they have to talk to anyone. Give them details about your city or region. Share fun facts about your team. Definitely share pictures on social media. And let your recent recruits speak about how your firm is different.
Your website home page should immediately call out to candidates with a team member profile, best workplace awards and scenes of life in your city. If you are among the early brave firms offering remote work options, make sure that detail stands out immediately on your website and job sites.
How’s your overall online image?
Unless you are tracking through a marketing automation tool, you don’t always know the entry point of each visitor to your website. It could be through social media, another website, a trade publication link or an ad. For this reason, your entire online brand image needs attention. It includes your website, your social sites, your publicity and online mentions by other websites, your popularity in searches and your relevance to searches. Make sure that any negative press is pushed to page two or three of searches by producing new content and getting more positive press and mentions.
Usually, you don’t need a whole new website (unless it isn’t mobile friendly). You just need to leverage the information already there and make sure it speaks directly to visitor needs, pains and interests.