One of the biggest issues facing any tax accounting practice’s marketing plan is how to attract traffic and more importantly, how to attract quality traffic in areas you want to grow. Just putting up a website is no longer good enough. Generating content and improving your visibility across the web is how you grow.
In the old days, SEO “experts” simply gamed the system, and brands could dominate. This is not the case anymore. Google has changed the rules, and newer technology has created many entry points for both online conversations and brand building. The prospective clients now control what messages they engage with.
If tax accounting practices want to build relationships with potential clients, they must do it on their prospects’ terms. They must communicate without selling first. This means sharing useful and educational information as a primary objective, with the understanding that relationships and engagements will eventually come when this is done correctly. Readers don’t want “content”; they want compelling stories that make them feel.
You are not selling tax preparation or even accounting. You are selling a relationship!
So what is a modern tax accounting firm to do to attract more traffic?
Step 1 is to look at your own database.
Who are your top referral sources? How can you generate more word of mouth from your existing audience? Can you connect with your influencers in the area, whether they are bloggers or other professionals?
The answer to success is simple. Be more responsive to your clients' needs. Be proactive with outgoing client communications via email, your blog and social media. Make sure your marketing communications are useful to your reader. Make sure they share important facts that affect your audience's lives, whether success is means growing their businesses or protecting their net worth.
Step 2 is to improve your online presence.
Basically, think of the web as a popularity contest. The more exposure and credibility you have, the more you will see inbound links from other websites, viral sharing and indexing of your web properties. Do not think of marketing as hard selling. Think of sharing your knowledge across multiple platforms. If you follow the requirement that the content you are creating is useful to your readers, it will have a greater chance of getting shared and talked about. You want to be the expert in your field. From here, you want to have has many citations and profiles as possible. You want to crowd out the competition on the search results pages. This means owning Yelp, Google+, the major directories and specialized informational websites. You want to own your reputation online. Lock down the entire first page of the search results for the terms you want to own.
Step 3 is to specialize. The narrower the better.
Nothing is harder than to target everyone. In fact, you will end up talking to no one. You can choose a couple of verticals to start. For example, if you want more doctors as clients, you can start a blog with articles teaching doctors how to manage a practice and protect their wealth. The best part is that your clients will talk to other prospects in the same vertical. A rumor, whether it is true or not, starts that you know more than the other guys because you specialize in their niche. Plus there is less competition for keywords and traffic.
It is hard sometimes to cut through the clutter of marketing tips, especially with an entire industry of SEO and traditional advertising consultants scrambling to stay relevant. Sometimes the best approach is the path less traveled.
This is part 1 of a 7-part series on the 7 stages of tax accounting life cycle marketing. Follow our blog or visit frequently to get the latest updates.