I have always said the quickest way to see the health of your tax accounting practice is to survey your client base. Most practices look at clients as extended family members; people they see at least annually to get together to discuss life and dreams. What your clients say about you online matters. I have experienced this firsthand with our accountant marketing clients and have put together two case studies below.
Case Study 1 – The skeptical tax accountant
A client of ours on the East Coast emailed me to say that reviews were one of the dumbest ideas he had ever heard of. What were we thinking, building TaxBuzz.com? After some back and forth, we convinced this professional to give it a go. And wow, what a rousing success. He has over 40 five-star reviews and counting. The professional is on his way to dominating his local market. Why, you ask?
Modern marketing has made honest reviews and transparency a key factor when prospects choose to hire you. The more proactive you are to seek out reviews and build your recommendations, the more likely a referral source will be to stop shopping. If they were referred by another client, it just reinforces the recommendation. But that is just the start of it.
First, you should display your reviews on your website so users can read all about you. Second, you should share your best review snippets and link back to your TaxBuzz.com profile on social media sites. And most importantly, as you add reviews to your TaxBuzz.com profile, you are actually rewarded by Google and the search engines in a number of ways. In technical terms, reviews provide your profile with fresh content that Google loves. It also provides the search engines with an abundance of keywords to index—what we in the industry call “long tail search terms.” So what happens over time is that your profile will start showing up higher in the search result fields when people type longer search phrases.
Instead of searching for “Orlando CPA,” someone may search for “the best CPA in Orlando.” You will find that clients will say things like “best” in the reviews. They are actually supplying the keywords for you. Many times they use terms you would not think of but that are what clients actually search for. Over time, the five-star ratings will push your profile higher in the search rankings. This will also build your overall brand reputation, helping raise other online properties like your website and social media sites in the search results.
An unintended benefit to the reviews is seeing real-life examples of the benefits of working with you: Words like “responsive” and “keeps me up-to-date” are common in email newsletters.
Case Study 2 – The reactive tax accountant
As of the publishing of this blog article, we have not had one negative review for clients who have proactively reached out to their client base. We have a system in place that has worked wonders, generating thousands of five-star reviews for clients—not just on TaxBuzz.com, but on Google + and Yelp.com as well.
Occasionally, professionals on our TaxBuzz.com directory site get negative reviews. This is reason #1 why tax accountants should be proactive in protecting their online reputation before something like this happens. Putting your head in the sand and praying it won’t happen to you is foolish.
Like positive reviews, negative reviews get picked up by the search engines. What can happen is that when people google your name, the negative reviews may actually display above your own website. This is really bad for business.
Now, my example of the reactive tax accountant:
Whenever a review comes in, TaxBuzz.com will email the professional with a copy of the submission. TaxBuzz.com will look at every review and will take action on submissions that do not meet our terms and conditions. But TaxBuzz.com is an open forum where clients can express themselves about their client experience. This professional received a negative review late on a Friday. According to TaxBuzz.com FAQ, users can contest a review. We follow a policy of due diligence to confirm that the reviewer is/was in fact a client. We are not an arbitrator of the facts. This tax pro questioned the validity of the review, and we opened up a ticket. The pro was also smart enough to react to the negative review by reaching out to his client base to start building a library of positive reviews. Over the weekend, he was able to attract 8 five-star reviews. They were all legitimate, coming from separate IP addresses. The first thing this accomplished was to bring a one-star rating up to 4.5 stars. Better yet, we identified the review to be against our terms and conditions and deleted the negative result.
Now, if you Google this pro’s name, the TaxBuzz.com profile with a five-star rating shines bright near the top of the results. This will translate into more business and lead conversion. The moral of the story is to get off the sidelines and take control of your online reputation. Modern-day word of mouth now includes social sharing sites and reviews. Up to 70% of consumers believe what they read about you online. This is a huge number. It is what we call an “aha moment.”
Our accountant marketing clients who follow our comprehensive strategy have been dominating this tax season. Many have filled up their calendars with quality clients who came to them through review sites like TaxBuzz.com. Our mission is to safeguard your reputation. This is a long-term strategy that keeps delivering year over year. It is very difficult for a new competitor to break through when you own the market.
Perhaps it is time to stop being reactive and start being proactive when it comes to your reputation. Past results show you will be pleased.
If you need more convincing, here are some top-rated tax accountants’ profiles to review: