Marketing and Website best practices for tax and accounting professionals

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Accountant Marketing Basics

What is marketing for accountants?

Marketing for accountants refers to the activity of promoting your tax or accounting firm/business. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • Website
  • Blog content
  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Reputation management
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Directory and citation monitoring
  • Marketplace profiles (e.g. Yelp, TaxBuzz, and CountingWorks)
  • Google My Business (GMB)
How has marketing my practice changed over time?

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the disruption of workflows across the entire tax and accounting industry. Many tax and accounting firms found their staff fragmented and spread across home offices. Client interviews have moved to video chat. According to Gartner, only 25% of meetings will take place in person by 2024, down from 60% today – and that statistic was released before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long gone are the days of paper contracts and in-person meetings. Clients are more technologically savvy than ever before. They are constantly connected to the internet in many ways, both within their personal and professional lives. Your goal as a tax and accounting professional is to consistently show up online in multiple channels.

How much does accountant marketing cost?

If you go DIY, marketing your practice and maintaining your presence costs $1622/month on average. CountingWorks PRO offers all-in-one solutions starting at just $80/month.

What software do I need to manage a digital presence?

As a tax or accounting firm you will need a variety of software solutions to manage your presence online. You will need a website to get found and a secure portal to engage your clients digitally. You should also think about investing in workflow tools that will streamline your presence, including online schedulers and calendars, e-signature tools, social media tools, blogging tools, digital workflows, video tools, video conferencing software, email marketing software, and more.

CountingWorks PRO packages all of these needs into all-in-one solutions starting at just $80/month. Those who source each type of software separately can expect to spend $1622/month on average.

How do I choose the best marketing and website partner for my firm?

There are plenty of different solutions out there. We recommend choosing a solution that covers all of the major aspects of the accountant marketing cycle. You will want to choose a partner that is able to help you manage every digital touch point along your client’s journey, from attracting a lead to converting and then retaining them. CountingWorks PRO has packages that do exactly this.

Protecting your Reputation

Why are reviews so important for tax and accounting professionals?

Most people look online to find out about a CPA, enrolled agent, bookkeeper, or tax professional before deciding whom to contact. More importantly, according to a survey by BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, up from 81% in 2019. This happens whether they were referred by a colleague, family member, or friend.

Our data from thousands of professionals indicates that our best performing tax and accounting professionals have at least ten 5-star reviews – but many have over a hundred on multiple review profile sites.

What do I do if I get a one-star review?

Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable that this will happen to your practice at some point. Before you panic, take a deep breath. Remember: It happens to nearly everyone eventually, and while it’s neither ideal nor what you would have hoped to see written about your business, there are several ways to address the situation.

Here are some easy, manageable steps you can take to deal with a negative review and maintain your practice’s online reputation:

  • Keep your cool.
  • Evaluate the situation.
  • Choose your response.
  • Rectify the situation and follow up.
  • Reevaluate.

You can read more in-depth on this topic on our blog: “You got a negative review online. Now what?

How do I get more reviews as an accountant?

Your engagement with a client doesn’t end when the work ends. If they’re satisfied with your service, they will go out and help you grow your practice – and they’ll do it without you spending your marketing budget.

Ask your clients and referrals for reviews via an email campaign, directly on your website, or even in-person at the end of a yearly tax appointment. Cultivate an environment where it’s easy to become an advocate for your practice. Give them the tools they need to tell the world about you, and if you’ve succeeded through the other steps, they’ll go out and do it.

Attracting Leads

Why is targeting a niche or specialty important to stand out from the competition?

Customers like to work with specialists over generalists. If you are in a saturated market you need to target a niche. Firms that “own” a specific market ultimately bring in more money and attract clients more easily.

You can read more in-depth on this topic on our blog: “How to Grow Your Tax and Accounting Firm by Focusing on a Niche or Speciality.”

Accountant Website Best Practices

What makes a high-performing website for accountants?

A high-performing website goes way beyond the design and content. Although these are important, a high-performing website is one that is ‘loved’ by Google. This means your website needs to be lightning-fast, user-friendly, responsively designed, search engine friendly, and more.

With Google’s constantly evolving algorithm, it is wise to hire experts to take care of and maintain this for your firm.

Why is website user experience important when it comes to attracting tax and accounting prospects?

When someone does come across your site, it should be easy for them to get a sense of the message you’re trying to get across – who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you can help them with their challenges.

When a potential client comes to your website, they should easily be able to understand the message you are trying to get across. It should match what you want them to think about you (without being dishonest, of course). Your photos and headshots should be current and professional. There should be several different options for how they can get in touch with you directly, whether by phone, email, or a form on your site to request an appointment or more information. Reviews from third party websites should be front and center on your homepage.

Of course, none of this important information about you will come across if your website is slow, hard to use, or looks out of date. This is why user experience is vital.

Lead Nurturing

What is lead nurturing for accountants?

If you don’t have a way of capturing contact information from people who visit your website, you should set that up immediately. Whether it’s a pop-up window after the visitor has been on a page for X number of seconds, a “get more info” form or some other medium, you need to get at least an email address so you or someone on your team can nurture the lead.

After all, even a lukewarm lead is still a lead.

Prioritize following up with your leads. Make it a requirement—not an option—to reach out within a certain (short) length of time after they initially visited your site. You can even set their contact information in an automated email campaign service that will send them follow up emails at pre specified intervals.

However you may choose to nurture your leads, just remember that timing is essential and excellent follow-up skills are a necessity.

Converting Web Visitors

How do I convert accounting clients on my website?

Unfortunately, awareness (i.e. from your website) simply isn’t enough to convert prospects anymore. Competition is high, and if you don’t nurture your leads all the way through the referral process, then they will likely turn to someone who does put that extra effort in.

Here are five of the traits you must have in order to consistently convert your web referrals into clients for your practice:

  • An impressive online presence
  • Social proof
  • High ratings on marketplace sites
  • A solid lead nurturing strategy
  • A solid answer to the question “Why you?”

You can read more in-depth on this topic on our blog: “5 Essential Qualities Successful Tax and Accounting Pros Need to Convert Web Referrals.”

Why are my website visitors not converting?

We know how frustrating it can be when your website visitors don’t convert.

You’re getting views on your pages, but no one contacts you or seems interested in engaging with your business. None of those views are converting to paying clients — and without conversion, views are essentially worthless.

There are a few reasons your site visitors might not be converting

  • You have a lack of interactive content
  • The copy on your website doesn’t share a message that speaks to their needs
  • Your online reputation is not compelling enough (i.e. poor or no reviews)
What tools does CountingWorks PRO offer to help convert web visitors?

Along with creating a beautiful website for your practice that is lightning-fast and loved by search engines, many of our built-in tools such as nurture campaigns, social media, and reputation management will aid your conversion goals.

Additionally, we offer conversion tools and interactive content including chatbots, white papers, business entity flow charts, pricing tools, quizzes, and more. Build trust by answering your prospects’ most pressing questions early on in the buying cycle.

Tax and Accounting Value Pricing

What is value pricing/value selling?

Value on its own doesn’t have to be an ambiguous idea. In reality, you can put a price on the amount of value you offer your clients. Here’s how it works:

Value selling is a sales technique that leverages customer anticipation of enjoying the benefits of the item for a sale. With this approach, the sales conversation focuses on how the buyer’s life will be improved with the asset at hand, rather than the actual features and hard-facts related to the product.

In other words, “the value is the difference between the price you charge and the benefits the customer perceives they will get.”

The more you pivot the conversation to help your prospects focus on the value of your services, the less important price will become.

You can read more in-depth on this topic on our blog: “You can read more in-depth on this topic on our blog: “How to Grow Your Tax and Accounting Firm by Focusing on a Niche or Speciality.”

How do I implement value pricing in my practice?

The best way to implement value pricing in your practice is with packages. Packaging involves creating a clean, clear product out of your service and making the intangible, well, tangible.

The types of packages your practice can offer are infinite. They can be developed based on level of service, business classification of the client, complexity of their finances, or even a specific niche. It’s all about optimizing your offerings–and the specific services you excel at–to be as efficient and valuable as possible.

Think about it from the buyer’s side: Your prospects don’t really know what they’re getting from you until they’ve already paid and experienced your services. So, rather than giving them abstract information about what you will do for them during the hours they pay you, show them the results they will get from working with you–for an exact price.

You can read more in-depth on this topic on our blog: “How to Use Packaging to Take Back Your Time and Grow Your Tax & Accounting Practice.”

Client Experience

How can you improve your client experience?

You can improve your client experience by making it as easy to work with you as possible. This includes things like packaged services, eSign, a secure portal, due date reminders, online scheduling, and more.

Additionally, tax and accounting pros should be responsive and communicative with their clients. Make sure they know how to reach you and when you are available. Give multiple options for contact – email, video calls, phone, website contact form, etc.

Finally, aim to be pleasant to work with. Send email greetings for birthdays and holidays, let your personality shine through, and most importantly, be friendly.

I am worried my clients won’t like working with me virtually. Is this true?

Probably not. While there may still be some clients who prefer face-to-face meetings, many enjoy the convenience that comes with meeting, exchanging documents, and working together online.

Before COVID-19, we were seeing a small (but growing) group of CPAs, EAs, and tax professionals embracing virtual tools. From value pricing and eSign to KBA and secure portals, many forward-thinking practices were already making significant transitions into the digital age.

What may have taken 3-5 years before has happened in a matter of months with the COVID-19 pandemic: The virtual practice has been pushed to the forefront.

What are the easiest ways to improve my client’s experience?

Here are some easy ways to improve your client experience:

  • Use an online scheduler
  • Offer multiple meeting options (e.g. video call, phone, in-person)
  • Use a secure portal to keep client info safe
  • Send out email newsletters with due dates, the latest stories, and other blog content
  • Keep in front of clients year-round by sending email greetings for birthdays, holidays, etc.

Content Marketing/Social Media

What kinds of content should tax and accounting pros be creating?

In terms of written content (i.e. blogs) for your tax and accounting website, here are some ideas of topics you could write about:

  • Small business issues
  • Tax preparation/planning
  • Entrepreneur inspiration
  • Tax and accounting news
  • Personal finance
  • Recent legislation or regulatory changes
  • Etc.
Do accounting pros need to be active on social media?

Accounting and tax pros definitely need to be active on social media. 45% of the total world population are using social networks, with over a million new people joining social media every single day. Business goes where the buyers are, and nowadays you can (and will) find them on social media.

In case you’re not convinced, here are five reasons why your practice should be maintaining an active and engaging social media presence:

  • Your target audience is already using the platforms.
  • People will notice your absence.
  • Your competitors are using social media, whether you decide to or not.
  • You can take the free route or choose to invest in highly lucrative social advertising.
  • You can control the conversation about your brand and establish yourself as a thought leader.

ead more in-depth information on each of these steps on our blog: “5 Reasons Why Social Media Is Imperative for Tax and Accounting Practices.”

Do accountants need to be active on YouTube?

We definitely recommend that accountants have an active page on YouTube. Here are a few reasons:

  • Over 80% of all traffic will consist of video by 2021. (Cisco)
  • Having an active YouTube channel will have significant SEO benefits, as YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches a month. (Forbes)

90% of consumers say a video “will help them make a purchasing decision.” (Social Media Today)

I am a private person, is it possible to be active on social media without showing my face?

Yes, it’s always possible to have a social media presence without showing your face. While a picture can definitely help prospects to feel a connection with you, it’s your personal choice.

Search Engine Optimization

How long does it take to rank organically?

It takes around 6-12 months to rank organically on Google.

What is a Google My Business (GMB) profile?

Google My Business is Google’s version of a business directory. You may already be familiar with Google My Business listings (they often appear on the right-hand side of Google search results). These listings are free to claim, and give you control over how your business information appears on Google.

How do I get my accounting website to rank on Google?

In order for your CPA, EA, or tax website to rank on Google, we recommend a few steps:

  • Audit your current Google footprint
  • Make sure your site looks good on mobile
  • Claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing and build up reviews
  • Optimize for local search
  • Write valuable, SEO-optimized content
  • Aim for featured snippets
  • Fix broken links
  • Optimize for voice search
  • Fix your H1 and H2 header tags
  • Optimize your site images  
  • Keep an eye on Google algorithm changes
  • Get active on social media

Read more in-depth information on each of these steps on our blog: “12 Secrets to Get Your Accountant Website to Rank on Google”.

My website speed is slow, I fear this is affecting my rankings. Is this true?

In short, yes. The speed of your site is even more important now, following Google’s page experience update, which started rolling out on June 15, 2021. In this update:

  • The importance of speed, performance, and aesthetics increased
  • Three new metrics for user friendliness were added
  • Visuals became more crucial
  • And much more

All in all, most experts sum it up by saying that customer-centric websites (those that focus on user experience) will perform better on Google.

You can check your site speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Digital Client Life Cycle

What are the advantages of digital workflows for accountants?

Nothing makes a virtual practice more efficient than scrapping the manual workflows and replacing them with paperless workflows. From setting up tasks to reminders for staff to completing recurring tasks, a digital workflow makes it possible to work with staff and clients, remotely, anywhere, anytime.

What are the advantages of virtual interviews?

Virtual interviews (or meetings) have many advantages for both you and your clients, including:

  • Convenience for all parties
  • Removal of geographic limitations
  • Growing your business more quickly
  • Health & hygiene (contactless)
  • Last-minute scheduling if needed
How do I retain my tax and accounting clients?

We have identified the following 8 traits of our most successful practices who excel at client retention:

  • Maintaining constant contact
  • Making it easy for clients to communicate with you
  • Being responsive
  • Aiming for transparency
  • Embracing digital experiences
  • Building a mobile-friendly, speedy website with a clear value proposition
  • Having a solid five-star review profile
  • Being likable & showing some personality

Read more in-depth information on each of these steps on our blog: “8 Ways to Grow Your Practice by Focusing on Client Retention.”

CountingWorks PRO Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I trust CountingWorks PRO?

CountingWorks PRO has been serving tax and accounting professionals for over 25 years. People often ask why we choose to focus on small tax and accounting practices. For us, it’s simple – the relationships. We have been in this industry for two and a half decades. We have grown and sold ImageOne, who at its peak served over 40,000 professionals nationwide. We know you and how your office works. We care about your success.

In 2011, CountingWorks PRO launched the latest in marketing automation for tax and accounting professionals. By being on the leading edge of online marketing trends, you are assured that your brand is never stale or out of date. Today over 7,500 tax and accounting professionals use CountingWorks PRO to automate their practice.

If I am not technically savvy, can I still use CountingWorks PRO?

Definitely! The great thing about CountingWorks PRO is that we automate almost every aspect of your marketing, making it easier to “set it and forget it.” We also have a full knowledge base and training videos to answer any question you might have about the platform, marketing your practice, and more.

What if I do not have the time to market my practice or use CountingWorks PRO?

If you feel like you don’t have time to market your practice, then CountingWorks PRO is exactly what you need. Our all-in-one solution helps you set your marketing and client experience on autopilot, so you can spend your valuable time on what matters most – providing 5-star services to your clients.

Build, grow, and run your firm with CountingWorks PRO