3 Top Secret Awesome Tips... and then the normal stuff you'll get everywhere else.
We do marketing for accountants, so we know what works and what doesn’t. So, first, we will share some of our best-kept secrets, and then we’ll cover all the traditional stuff for those of you not ready to be so brave.
Depending on your area, you might have to think outside the box to rise about your competition. Here are three very uncommon ways accountants can gain clients in 2021:
If you have already invested in building a blog, you probably have enough data to develop a course. And I know you have your hands full so always feel free to outsource the copywriting to someone else. If you have a blog, they can glean from perfect. If not, you’ll have to invest some time upfront in the writing. Courses can be free or paid, video or just PDFs.
By creating a course, you can attract an entirely different demographic to your service. Think of it as a differently packaged blog. And if you monetize it, there’s always the extra revenue stream which is excellent.
This one is fantastic if you are looking to build a client base of freelancers or the working from home crowd. Go to Facebook or any other social media and reach out to the owner of a large group. Or, go to Youtube and find an up-and-coming channel. Then offer to provide a free QandA session for their followers. Or to answer questions in the case of Youtube.
Facebook group leaders are always looking for guests and someone with valuable insights. Youtube creators are always looking for collabs. You have powerful and practical knowledge that can speak directly to their audience. Do it for free, but you’ll get plenty of traffic and clients through the service. Here’s an example:
You should promote the crap out of this! I know you are crazy busy from January to April but set aside one Saturday a month during that period to help people do their taxes for free. You can walk people through their basic 1040s in a group setting. Plenty of large venues will offer their space for free if it’s for a non-profit type of event. Think churches or community centers. They will also promote your free event. This will help you in loads of ways, both in Local SEO (read more about that below) and in upgrading your profile in the community.
Okay, so those are the three fantastic but pretty out there ways to revolutionize your firm’s profile in 2021. Let’s make sure we cover the bases for everyone else:
Your firm doesn’t need to be geographically limited, but it’s been our experience that most accountants like to keep clients in the local area. This means they need their website to play by the rules of Local SEO. Because here’s the thing - Google LOVES local business. And the Google algorithm boosts geographically close businesses over others automatically. You just have to be participating in the right keywords.
Back in 2015ish, the long tail geo keyword was all the rage. That’s when websites were optimizing for terms like, “CPA orange county” or “Los Angeles CPA” etc. And while it is important for your website to note your location for user experience, it’s simply wasted energy to use geographic key terms now.
When someone geographically close to your firm types “CPA” Google will rank you. And if you have optimized your firm for “CPA” as opposed to “CPA orange county” you will rank higher and faster than those firms outside your area. Or those firms you have the geo keyterms.
Another algorithm change in the last few years is in regards to backlinks. It used to be the more backlinks the better. And then it was all about the PageRank of those backlinks. And now, backlinks have a wide spectrum of value. PageRank is pretty much meaningless at this point.
Here’s what you need to remember: Google wants to sell ads. And the only way Google is going to sell ads is if people continue to use their search engine. So it is in the best interest of Google to provide the best search results.
When you have a legitimate local business, when you are an active participant in your local community, website owners geographically close to you will naturally link to you. Remember that marketing hack above about using a church or community center as a venue to provide free services? A local link (no matter what industry) is absolutely golden to Google. It doesn’t matter if it is a free site with zero PageRank. Local backlinks shows Google that you are truly a local service provider. Another way to get such links would be sponsoring a local little league team or providing a scholarship for a local summer camp.
So local links from any industry or industry-related links nationally are typically good links. For those of you that paid some black hat SEO to get you a bunch of spammy links… your day of Google penalties will come.
Every local business needs to have a Google My Business page. And every local business that serves the public needs Yelp or whatever is popular in your area.
Creating these profiles and maintaining them shouldn’t take too much time and they give you a ton of Google credibility. Even negative reviews can give you an opportunity to sell people. As long as you create or claim ownership of these profiles, you have the ability to respond to all reviews. And you should. Especially the negative ones. Everybody understands that some people are just crabapples. When you respond to a negative review, stay above the fray, stay respectful, and always apologize. Rarely are reviewers allowed to respond back to you, so you will have the last word. Apologize for whatever part you played, take responsibility, and explain how you will do better in the future. If you respond in a nasty way, it only hurts your business.
Not only do we handle our own clients’ stuff, but we spend a lot of time doing market research in a variety of geographic areas. We are often completely dumbfounded by the lack of social media in huge metro areas. I would encourage you to look at the top 15-25 CPA firms in your area and really look at their social media. 80% of the time they either don’t have a social media profile at all or it hasn’t been updated in ages.
Then there is the top 15-20% of profiles where they just bark their promotion at regular intervals. They only post their own content, they never share or like or respond to anybody else’s profile.
It is exceedingly rare to see a CPA firm that is using social media the right way. And by the right way, we mean posting 3-5 times a day, interacting with other profiles 6-10 a day, Monday through Friday. Slow, genuine, real, daily attention. It’s a commitment (or a cost if you want to outsource it) but if you aren’t going to do that, please just delete your social profiles. They aren’t doing anything but making you look bad.
But for those that make the commitment, social media a goldmine. Creating a following of brand ambassadors will be a whole new referral network for you. SEO takes about 6 months. Social media can take a little longer. But the rewards of both are similar in that once you get over the hill, it’s pretty easy to maintain.
Whether you maintain a Youtube Channel or host videos on your website, they provide the same benefit as a blog. As long as they are properly SEO optimized, they will bring you traffic. And they show a new visitor to your site that you are open for business. We’ve all been to websites where we weren’t sure if they were still offering services. In our industry, this is referred to as “signs of life” when you go to a website to see if their blog is updated or their footer has the current year listed in the copyright section.
There’s a definite benefit to writing weekly posts or creating weekly videos. But the quality of your content is always going to be more important than your schedule. Just throwing out a quick 200 word post that’s rambling and unhelpful will not help you. In fact, consider that might be the first (and last) impression of a potential client.
On the other hand, a high quality post or video can be a huge source of traffic for years to come.
Most people don’t spend their days reviewing websites. So it might be difficult for a layman to spot an outdated design. There are loads of SEO benefits to having an updated website. Things like site speed and user experience can make a huge difference to your conversion rate. However, at a minimum, your website should be responsive. This means the design of your website changes based on whatever screen the visitor is using to see the site. In other words, mobile friendly.
Even free services have offered responsive templates in the last 5 years, so as long as your website isn’t more than 5 years old, you are probably okay. You won’t beat out your competition, but you won’t offend a new visitor either.
If you have the time to do all the other things on this list, I would highly encourage you to add podcasts or an email newsletter or paid ads. But a podcast or paid ad that creates traffic to a bad website isn’t going to improve your business. And email marketing is pointless unless people are already into your brand. I know there are lots of “gurus” out there that claim giving out a freebie in exchange for email addresses is the secret to success. To me, that’s the secret to having a bunch of freebie lovers’ emails. I have never signed up for a free report or any other freebie type thing and then converted to an actual client. And you probably haven’t either.
Spend your energy on creating valuable content that will help improve your Local SEO and maintain those local profiles. And interact legitimately with your local community.
The more shortcuts you take, the more money you waste.
If you are looking for an agency that will create a new website, maintain your blog, social profiles and hand review your SEO, let us know. We’ll even throw in copywriting your new course with our monthly Convert Package. You can tell your Customer Joy Rep that Michelle said so.
We love design and everything web marketing. This newsletter is geared towards those that share our passion. It never includes salesy stuff because candidly, our clients hire us to care about this stuff for them.
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