Accounting websites are looking better than ever these days, but still, less than 10% of them are actually effective.
Most firm websites are nothing more than online brochures, with absolutely no lead generation tactics or sales funnels, and very little marketing strategy whatsoever.
Your website’s job is to turn visitors into clients. Anything less is a missed opportunity, which equates to lost revenue for you.
Sadly, over 50% of prospects we talk to are not even aware that their website is failing them. They blame time or budget constraints for their inaction, not realizing that the revenue they’re losing by ignoring this issue would easily cancel out their investment.
Why are so many accounting websites failing, and what are the top sites doing better?
Let’s talk about the recipe for a website that actually wins business…
1. Ability to Solve Problems
When designing a website, the first thing every accounting firm owner or marketing team needs to think about is this:
“What questions will our prospects have about our services?”
- Does this firm have the expertise I need?
- Has the firm solved problems like mine in the past?
- Can I verify the firm’s expertise?
- Have other people like me had good experiences working with this firm?
- How would the firm go about solving my problem? Do they have a repeatable process?
Site visitors need to know, quickly and clearly, that you are familiar with their problems and capable of solving them.
2. Solid Positioning
Try this quick test:
Go to your home page. You can’t scroll and you only have 3 seconds. Are you able to make out your firm’s unique niche (one that few or none of your competitors share) in either a vertical or horizontal? If not, you fail this test.
Most CPA firm websites promote themselves as being “full service,” under the false impression that they need to appeal to as many prospective clients as possible to be successful. The end result is a short client list, consisting of local and regional people who choose the firm solely for convenience and/or price.
If you’re winning business based on location or price, you’re leaving money on the table. Period.
You’re also attracting potentially fickle clients, who see you as a commodity and would happily bail for a cheaper option.
For more loyal, bigger-budget clients, you need to be more than convenient or affordable. You need to be exactly what they’re looking for.
Instead of doing everything for everyone, you need to do a few things for a few types of clients (and you need to do those things very, very well).
3. Thought Leadership
Clients want you to be a leader in your field. You can express your thought leadership through content like blog posts, research articles, infographics, webinars, and social media content.
You’re probably already doing this, to some extent. But is your thought leadership going deep enough? Are you expressing your unique perspective, or just regurgitating things you hear from other thought leaders? Are you building your authority, through your content, or cheapening it?
Remember that modern prospects find and make decisions about your firm long before you even know they exist. Your online content is how you will make your first impression. It pays to do it right.
Learn more: Why Most Firms are Failing at Content Marketing
4. Proven Experience
It is not enough to “let your work speak for itself.” You need to actively demonstrate proof of your firm’s positioning and thought leadership, well before engaging a new client.
Publish case studies, describing problems you’ve tackled and how you solved them. Display client logos on your website, particularly if they’re recognizable. Post testimonials.
People are much more likely to do something if other people they know have already done it.
5. Valuable Online Assets
Your firm’s website should include at least 4-6 “cornerstone assets,” which are big pieces of in-depth content designed to attract and drive specific website leads.
Most firm websites have one or more of the following problems:
- They don’t have enough valuable information to offer.
- They aren’t diving deep enough with their content assets.
- They have too much gated content (not accessible to the casual visitor).
For every 15-30 blog posts you write, you should have one piece of deep, thoughtful, lead generating content. This could be a longer article, a webinar, an online course, or an in-depth content round-up, for example.
Firms who follow this recommendation should aim to convert at least 2% of their visitors through online assets.
Learn more: 3 Things Top CPA Firm Websites Do Better
6. Ongoing Performance Improvements
Do you know which assets on your website most frequently result in a paying client?
Do you know which pages are underperforming?
Do you know how to write a call to action that actually inspires action?
CPAs are great at analyzing financial data, but they rarely take the time to dig into their own website analytics. The backend of your website is chock full of useful information for growing your business with relatively little effort.
Your analytics will help you understand how well your content is resonating with prospects, what you need to improve, and where you should be investing your marketing dollars. They’re also useful for proving the value of marketing, by way of raw, indisputable data.
The top 10% of firms are owning their niche and adding new content at least 2-4 times a month. They are hiring agencies to make design enhancements every 3 months and completely rebuilding their sites every 2 years. The cost of a new CPA website, done well, should be in the $10,000-$40,000 range.
In the modern market, a cheap website just won’t work. Savvy buyers can immediately tell the difference between a well-crafted site and a “we just need to get our name out there” brochure site.
One is an investment, and one is an expense. Which is yours?