Tips for Marketing Your Public CPA Firm in 2019
*Originally published June 29th, 2016, Updated January 29, 2019.
Marketing has certainly changed over the years. What was once thought to be included with advertising is now an industry in and of itself. Marketing for a public accounting firm requires a lot more dedication and time than it did years ago when buying an ad was the solution to all advertising problems. These days, accountants need to be aware of the virtual loop that is created through marketing efforts and adopt the practices necessary to see their firm grow in 2019 and beyond. Internet marketing takes a lot of time and effort. Luckily, Titan Web Agency has been helping create lead generation pipelines for accounting firms for years. Here’s what we’ve learned in our time helping businesses just like yours.
Digital marketing for accounting firms is not about keeping up with the Jones’, although, yes your competitors are doing it too. It’s about providing insight and advice, education and information to your audience so that they know they can trust your services when they need a public CPA firm. Before, the focus was on physical advertising. If your billboard was bigger than everyone else’s, chances were that you would get more calls. In today’s online world, the biggest billboard comes in many shapes and sizes; namely, a strong and bold marketing campaign.
If you’ve been struggling to figure out how to market your accounting firm, it’s likely that you’ve already discovered that “tried and true” marketing tactics of yesterday don’t work online. It’s a whole new ball game. What’s amazing about internet marketing is that your reach becomes limitless. Anyone and everyone you want to work with is online. The trick is to figure out how to find them and make them aware of your services. Contrary to popular belief, the internet is “filled” with people. It is used by people. Engaging potential clients online should not be haphazard. It requires a plan.
While referrals are still a major influence on the success of any business, the source of the knowledge behind that referral has changed. We don’t refer a client by declaring, “we saw a commercial on television.” We say, “I saw an ad on Facebook for that.” You need to go where your people are.
How Can You Effectively Get New Accounting Clients Using the Internet?
There are four main areas that need your attention related to internet marketing. These won’t come as a surprise to you, because many business owners already know the value of internet marketing and have heard some of these terms before. We’re going to take the time to explain them to you so that you understand how each practice can help you improve your online marketing for your accounting firm.
- Social media
- Website & Search Engine Optimization
- Review Management
- Content marketing
Alone, a single effort is not enough. It takes a dedicated and combined effort to bring your business to life online so that your accounting firm can be found by potential clients. It’s not a job that should be undertaken alone. Working with experts at Titan Web Agency, you can rest easy knowing your internet marketing efforts are in good hands.
You may find yourself struggling to get on board with internet marketing because your accounting firm has relied on referral sources for so long. Unfortunately, word-of-mouth is not enough anymore. It is part of the overall marketing approach that all businesses should follow, but it alone cannot help you build your business in 2019 and beyond. What is good to note is that digital marketing is not that different from traditional marketing - it’s just in a new forum. It has a new face. People will see your business in a new light. Building authority online with social media, client reviews, and content marketing will help establish your presence online and compliment the work you are doing in real life to promote your business.
1. Build A Strong Online Presence
In order for online marketing strategies to succeed, you need to build your a strong brand and presence. This does not happen overnight. As a growing CPA firm, it’s important that you be patient with the amount of work that goes into creating an online marketing campaign. When you find a local CPA firm who has a strong online presence, you can bet that they didn’t show pop up one day. They took a long time to grow and establish themselves as a leader in the industry. If you want that for your accounting firm, we can help.
Potential clients turn to their smartphone for answers to everything from what should they eat for lunch to how much money should they invest in their retirement. Your business shouldn’t miss out on the change to be seen, heard, and become an influence to clients in the accounting industry. We promote your business using best-practice tactics such as SEO,blogging, social media marketing, and more. Regardless of the industry, businesses seeking to have a strong presence online must be willing to invest the time and energy to create that presence.
2. Social Media Marketing for Public CPA Firms
Internet marketing for accountants is a long game: time, effort, and energy go into building a strong internet presence. But one marketing strategy that doesn’t require a lot of time, energy, or money for that matter is social media. You might hesitate to put your CPA firm out there on social media, but trust us when we say, it is the best thing for your company.
Don’t confuse the ease of access and publication with how easy it is to draw in new clients on social media. Success with social media requires a concerted effort and one that should not be conducted without a plan. Social media marketing puts your business front and centre and allows people to connect with your business in new ways. Deciding that you don’t want to engage in social media marketing is like giving away money. The potential for growth is huge.
Facebook, for example, has nearly a third of the world’s population online, just waiting to find companies and services like yours. How can you say no to marketing on Facebook when there are billions of people using it? It’s time to get on board with promoting your CPA firm online. Facebook lends to your credibility, authority, relationship building, referral sources, and visibility in a thriving online community. When we think about traditional marketing strategies that promote growth, these are key areas of focus and you can get them on social media platforms such as Facebook.
Part of the service we provide at Titan Web Agency is determining the right social media platform for your business. Perhaps your customers are more acquainted with LinkedIn. When thinking about promoting business-to-business, LinkedIn is a great place to provide information about your services and how you can help others benefit and prosper because of your services. We take the time to determine where your audience is online and use that information to create a customized social media marketing plan for your accounting firm.
One of the things we take the time to do with you is to discuss your ideal persona. The customer you most want to serve and can do the most good for in the world. When you know who you want to serve in your CPA firm, you are more likely to be able to seek out and find those people online. Facebook is a great platform for making connections and building relationships. Many small and medium - and even large organizations - are on Facebook and engage their audiences in a similar way. If you provide a glimpse of your world to the world, you might be surprised by the kind of positive response you get.
Breaking down the barriers to reach your customers is easier than ever with social media marketing. When you share moments that matter with your potential clients, they come to know and understand your business in a more robust way, prompting them to want to business with you now or in the future. And if nothing else, they’ll be able to tell a friend or fellow business owner about your services.
Sharing moments such as volunteering, wins, celebrations, or promoting workshops for tax filing or company events are all easy ways to reach your target audience across all social media platforms, not just Facebook or LinkedIn.
For quick messages, insight, advice, or updates about things such as tax regulations, Twitter may be a great choice for connecting with your audience and potential customers. And let’s not forget the clients you already work with - it’s important to maintain connections with them and keep them engaged throughout the lifetime of your contract with their business or family.
One of the most effective things about social media is that it helps to drive traffic to your website where other businesses can contract your firm, or individual customers can hire you to help with their taxes.
On an important note: when dealing with sensitive information, such as financial planning, taxes, and regulations, your social media posts need to be compliant with SEC regulations. We can help you understand what this means online.
Financial planning firms need to stay compliant with SEC regulations. As a result, keep a close eye on your social updates.
We should point out that social media marketing is about building relationships and creating understanding about your company. It’s not meant to act as a sales platform for your services. Making contact and driving traffic to your website to learn more about your CPA firm is the appropriate use of social media. Your conversions will still happen offline for the most part.
3. Promotion Via Website & SEO
Despite the information we have about how effective and impactful internet marketing can be, many CPA firms still don’t have a website. The ones that do have a website are not always diligent about keeping it updated. Regular updating of a website is imperative for SEO purposes and to ensure that potential clients can find your firm online. It is the difference between earning revenue and losing revenue.
Websites help you build your business’ persona online. You get to control how clients see your firm and interact with it. It’s your chance to make an impression, over and over again, and to clarify your unique selling proposition for your potential clients: why should they work with you over another CPA firm?
It’s no secret that websites help sell services. Taking the time to create and maintain a website is an important part of your marketing plan, and when done correctly, can drive sales and interactions with customers for years to come.
Your website needs to have a few key items in order to be effective in today’s split-second-decision-making world. You need a strong message, a bold brand, a unique call to action, an invitation for your website visitors to inquire with you, and the ability to be found on search engines, such as Google. But you can’t just throw this stuff up haphazardly. You need to understand who it is you are talking to online. We can help provide you with the results you expect.
In order to improve your rankings and provide a better chance of being found online, and engaging your audience once they have found you, we utilize several tactics including:
- Targeted keyword strategy
- Created content that was perfect for the target audience
- Enhanced website optimization
- Acquired authoritative backlinks (that's relevant)
We’ve been able to provide first-page rankings for customers through our internet marketing efforts. With more page views, more time spent on your site, and more qualified leads, your business will grow exponentially.
Keyword optimization helps to promote and engage audiences. It helps you rank on the first page of search engines, but more importantly, it ensures that you are talking to the right customer. It’s important to target the person making the decisions. There is no point in creating content for a human resources director in a company when the person making decisions about hiring a CPA firm is the finance manager. It might seem obvious, but many businesses are still making the mistake of targeting the wrong audience.
At Titan Web Agency, we recommend regular audits of content and provide you with strategies and proven systems that help you squeeze every ounce of potential out of your website. Every word, image, and design feature is a chance to grab the attention of a potential client.
By focusing on fixing the issues related to your website’s performance, you will find that your reach naturally grows. Your website will rank better, and you’ll be providing a better, overall experience for your audience. Regularly featuring new content about your industry can also help you build your authority online, and provide a backdrop for the services you provide through thought leadership.
To learn about how you can use SEO to drive traffic to your website, check out my blog on the biggest 8 problems with SEO.
You get one chance to make a good first impression. We want to help you make a great one!
Here are just some of the things your websites should have in 2019:
Mobile friendly: It’s crucial that your website is mobile ready (responsive) as 68% of all internet traffic will be generated by mobile devices by 2017.
User-friendly: A user-friendly site will help visitors have a positive experience. So make it easy for them to navigate around your website. Always think of your website visitors first and their experience.
Regular Simple Content: Optimized content needs to be regular and easy to read to keep driving traffic to your homepage or landing page.
Marketing for CPA firms is all about communication, so when a potential client visits your website, they should be able to understand easily your core message, your values, and the services that are offered.
At Titan Web Agency, we can design your site and promote it in a way that helps you reach your target audience without leaving anyone behind.
Centered website design.
If you are keen to develop and manage your own website, we highly recommend using a website builder that has built-in user experience features so that you don’t have to think about how your audience will interact with the features and messages. You might consider:
4. Review Profiles are Important in Internet Marketing for Accountants
Whether you like it or not, people are going to review and judge your website and your business. It happens all day, every day, so you might as well get used to it and find a way to use positive reviews as a way to drive traffic to your website. Profiles on platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, Google and more provide opportunities for your audience to speak their mind about your services.
Remember the importance of making a good first impression: this is one of the main reasons you want to always leave a customer feeling like they learned something or gained value from your firm. Angry or disgruntled customers take to the internet to express themselves. We can help you manage reviews so that your business doesn’t suffer.
First, you need to take ownership of the profiles. Many businesses appear in searches on platforms such as Yelp, but if you have not “claimed” the business, you have no control over the content that is shared on that platform. Without control, you have no ability to respond to those complaints or rave reviews!
When you claim your platform, you immediately become better informed and are better able to process issues that are happening around your business’ operation. If you experience a problem with a customer, you have the ability to show the world that you care and respond appropriately. Almost as important as positive reviews is the way in which you show up to respond to negative reviews. If you engage in conversation with a customer who is not happy, remember that all eyes are on you. How you respond will leave a lasting impression of your business with people who read that message.
Online marketing for accounting firms is an ongoing process. Managing reviews is an important part of that process. Encourage your customers and clients to submit reviews so that they can help you grow your business. Even negative feedback can help you make changes that leave your business better than it was before. You just have to be willing to listen. If you want to learn more about generating positive reviews for your business, we can help.
5. Content Marketing Helps Generate Traffice to Your Website
For the last several years, there has been an upward trend toward content marketing. This kind of marketing involves a great deal of commitment from a business owner to engage in, but help is just a phone call away with Titan Web Agency. Content marketing involves many key components, including:
- White papers
Keep in mind, not every audience will need or want all of these components. You’ll need to consider how you can use content marketing in an effective way to reach the kind of audience you want to serve. Blogs help keep your audience engaged on a regular basis. EBooks provide a larger amount of information and may be a good lead generation tool for your website. Whitepapers provide a great deal of authority and the opportunity to share new research and knowledge in your field. Deciding who it is you are talking to will help you decide how you should engage them.
The best way to utilize content marketing effectively is to always be answering a question. Consider what your audience needs to know and provide that information to hem in a variety of formats. For accountants, common questions to address might include how much a client should save for retirement or how much they should put away to pay their quarterly taxes in their business.
As a CPA, you can grow your business using content marketing strategies. If you publish strong, original content on your blog, you can become known as the place for people to find answers to their questions. Providing educational posts and blogs that consumers care about will help to keep your audience engaged and provide a high return on your investment down the road. When you are the source of valuable information, customers are more willing to do business with you. Content can come in many forms, but the key is to be consistent and concise.
Always lead with value: provide value ahead of time for your customers. Teach them things they wouldn’t normally get from a CPA. Provide with them templates, tools, advice that they can take action on and see results. Take the time to write newsletters, create giveaways, and compile your blog into an eBook that you can offer to someone who gives you their email. It all works if you do.
Tip: Build a content calendar and develop parameters for what you’re publishing and when you’re publishing it. It can be as simple as a regular email or blog post every Friday at 2:00 PM.
When thinking about your content marketing strategy, remember that it is a long-term strategy that needs to be incorporated with other internet marketing tools for CPA firms. The truth is that it can take up to a year to see the kind of results you want with content marketing alone. Coupled with other impactful social media marketing, website updates and SEO efforts, you can see a better result, sooner.
To execute on your content marketing strategy, you need a plan. You also need to understand your market. Consider the following questions when creating your content marketing plan:
- What are they motivated by?
- What are they worried about?
- What services are they searching for?
- What are the words and images that they respond to?
At Titan Web Agency, we take the time to explain to you the timelines, benefits, and risks associated with content marketing. Publishing without a plan can lead to frustration and profit loss. Using tools such as Google Analytics, we can provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your audience, the content to share and learn about how they engage with it on a regular basis.
Get Help With Your Internet Marketing Strategy
When it comes to creating an internet marketing campaign that matters, nobody does it better than Titan Web Agency. Working with a reputable marketing agency that specializes in internet marketing for accountants can make all the difference in your efforts and bottom line. While not everyone is going to be your customer, we provide the best chance of finding your ideal customer online.
At the end of the day, if you aren’t taking advantage of the online marketing strategies that we’ve outlined in this article, you are missing out on many opportunities to grow your business and make lasting connections with your customers. If you need help promoting your accounting firm online, we can help.
Reach out to us today to discuss creating a customized internet marketing plan for your CPA firm in 2019.