Who's ready for some tough love?
If you are consistently following best practices in the industry for marketing your tax and accounting practice but continue to see poor results, it may be time to look into other possible causes for your troubles.
As difficult as it can be to take a hard look in the mirror, the issue may be originating with you, your practice, and your reputation. No one likes admitting to flaws, but self-reflection is a vital part of developing a solid name for yourself in the market.
If you feel like you're doing everything right to market your tax and accounting practice but still can't seem to break through, how can you find where the disconnect lies? And how can you fix it?
Consider how your practice looks to prospects
One of the biggest areas where we see tax and accounting pros having self-awareness issues is with reviews. While simple word of mouth referrals may have brought you most of your clients in the past, that referral pipeline has been disrupted. Now, there is a key middleman to keep in mind:
Whether potential clients receive your name from a friend or colleague, or simply find your practice when they start searching for a professional online, one of the first things they see will be reviews past clients have left for you. These could show up in many different areas: on Google, social media, or other sites like TaxBuzz and CountingWorks.
A 2018 survey by BrightLocal showed that 86% of consumers used online reviews for local businesses and 78% trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations. On top of that, our recent CountingWorks study found that accountants, CPAs, and tax professionals are the most important advisors for small business owners, so it only makes sense that these prospective clients would seek external confirmation of a professional's qualifications before choosing to work with them.
Now, approach this litmus test from the viewpoint of a new prospect:
They are in need of services you offer. They ask a colleague for a referral or go searching online to find a professional that meets those specific needs. With so many options right there at their fingertips, they can afford to be picky and will only reach out to someone proven to be high-quality. There is a very high probability that they will Google your name and look at client reviews.
For example, they come across the Google My Business listing for your practice and see that you've been rated an average of 2.8 stars across 7 reviews. Just before finding you, they came across a professional in the same niche as your practice with an average of 4.9 stars across 44 reviews. Not ideal, right?
Who do you think they'll choose?
Building a positive reputation online through reviews takes hard work and long-term dedication. It's not only a matter of consistently asking clients for reviews and handling the negative ones when they inevitably appear—these are important items on the checklist, but there's a deeper issue.
Are you internalizing the feedback you receive and making changes to improve?
If there are certain opportunity areas that continue to be mentioned in reviews, then don't be too proud to take them to heart! Those comments are essentially free continuing education for your business.
If multiple clients say that you are difficult to reach and unresponsive during tax season, how can you fix it? If several reviews note that your practice delivers reports later than promised, should you hire more staff to help with the workload? If you were a prospective client looking for tax and accounting help and saw the reviews left for your practice, would YOU hire you?
It is vitally important to think beyond just what is said about you online and to consider the causes of those words. Take positive feedback as confirmation of the things you're doing well and should continue to prioritize, but also embrace the negative feedback and view it as an opportunity to improve and grow your practice.
You must be constantly aware of what the marketplace is saying about you: this is the only way to know what actions you must take to improve the experience of your ideal and likely buyers.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about understanding (and improving) your online reputation, contact us today at 1-800-442-2477 x3 or set up some time to speak with one of our digital marketing experts. We're here to help!