Most accounting firms are so busy making their websites look attractive that they don’t bother to ask whether they’re website is effective.
Of course, as you know, websites don’t bring in clients just by looking pretty. Turning visitors into paying clients, or “converting” them, takes thoughtful strategy, time, and money spent in the right places.
A website that doesn’t convert is, at best, a lost opportunity, and at worst, it’s a complete waste of time and money. So if you, like so many others, are repeating the redesign process every few years in hopes of keeping up with trends, but without investing any time or money into your website’s ability to convert, you’re simply multiplying your losses.
If you’re going to keep pouring money into your website, please: make sure that a sizeable chunk of that investment is committed to marketing strategy. This is how top firms are generating real results (and making real money), and it needs to be your top priority as well.
When we start working with new firms, the first thing we do is run a full diagnostic on the business. Typically, this starts with an assessment of the effectiveness of the firm’s website.
Over the years, we’ve seen the same mistakes repeated over and over again – things that scream “amateur” and are immediately added to our “Things to Fix” list.
When it comes to accounting firm websites, here are the 5 most common mistakes we see:
1. No Focus
Your motto or tagline is not your focus. Tired phrases like “measurable results” and “customer focused” will not differentiate you from other firms, and therefore, they’re essentially meaningless. Plus, they’ve been so overused for so long that they actually sound disingenuous, which definitely doesn’t help you build trust.
Your firm should have a clear business focus, in either a horizontal or vertical, and this focus should be immediately obvious upon landing on your website. Which services are your specialty? Which audiences do you help? Which industries do you have the most expertise in? Why do your clients chose you over the next firm?
What makes you stand out? What’s your positioning strategy?
2. Home Page Sliders
This is one of the biggest conversion killers for any website, and yet we still see it everywhere. Yes, sliders used to be all the rage – until we all realized that no one was waiting for them to rotate, and they certainly weren’t clicking on them.
If your visitors aren’t engaging with your sliders, then your sliders aren’t “working.” And if they aren’t working, then they have no business being on your website.
Sliders are also dangerous because they can be indicative of a bigger problem: your inability to commit to your business focus. It’s hard to commit to one primary headline for your site – but with sliders, you get three! Challenge yourself to zero in on your true focus with one primary headline.
Remember: you could have a great message, but if no one is reading it, it will have zero impact on your business. Stop wasting your time on sliders!
3. No Way for Prospects to Self-Qualify
This is a hard concept for many firms to get behind, mainly because it involves actively excluding certain potential clients.
But the reality is that exclusion is a necessary part of truly owning your niche. Without it, you’ll be wasting tons of time either attracting low quality leads that will never result in sales or dealing with poor fits that drain your resources and your firm’s lifeblood. (We see it over and over again, and we’ve been there ourselves.)
The fix: make sure you’re clearly identifying who your target clients are, in a way that allows them to easily recognize themselves through your web copy. For example, if you charge a premium rate for your services, go ahead and put a ballpark range directly on your site, so that there will be no surprises later.
Forget “but we want to sell our services in person first!”
No. Your website should have the capability to effectively sell on its own. That’s the whole point.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll never attract or work with a client who doesn’t fall squarely into your niche – it just focuses your marketing efforts, so you can spend more time catering to the highest quality leads (those most likely to become good, long-term clients).
The result, for you: more money, in less time, with less wheel-spinning frustration.
4. Poor Storytelling
We’re not sure why firms still insist on using their About pages to tell long, boring stories about their histories and their founders. Yes, these details are sacred to you, but trust us: your clients (and even moreso, your prospective clients) do not care.
Then, firms fill the rest of their site with vague fluff about their experienced team members, their commitment to customer satisfaction, their long track record of success, yadda yadda yadda. Slap a different name and logo on the page, and it could be any other firm.
What visitors are trying to figure out is: why should I chose this firm over another one?
Your website’s job is to tell people what makes you unique, in a way that also demonstrates your intelligence, your industry savvy, and your experience. The idea is to show visitors this stuff, rather than just saying it, so it feels effortless and genuine.
Show visitors that you’re in tune with your audience by speaking to their problems, in the language they would use. Show them that you understand exactly what they need, and that you have the expertise to give it to them.
Include client testimonials, which boost social proof by showing that others have trusted you first. Write blog posts that demonstrate your industry knowledge. Get active on social media, building trust and further proving your expertise.
5. No Early Stage Calls to Action
Most firms are pretty good about sprinkling their contact info all over their sites, and even including some kind of offer, such as a free consultation.
Here’s the problem: getting in touch with a business and scheduling a consult are both late stage calls to action. Meaning that they’re only applicable to the small percentage of site visitors (marketers estimate it’s about 4%) who are already on the verge of making a buying decision.
Without calls to action that focus on earlier buying stages, you’re missing out on 96% of your site visitors. Make sure you have at least one solid call to action on each page, with most of them geared toward this early stage crowd. Your suggestions could be as simple as reading a related blog article, downloading some free content, or just visiting the next page.
With early stage prospects, your goal is not to close a sale, or even hint at it. At this point, all you want to do is encourage them to dig deeper into your website, and maybe share an email address.
If you’ve done this right, they’ll be back when they’re ready.
How Does YOUR Website Measure Up?
Now, take a look at your own website and see how many of these mistakes show up.
Then, take our 5 minute website audit to do a more in-depth review of some of your most important pages.
Your website should be built on a strong marketing strategy that puts your firm in a position of advantage over your competition.
Anything else is a waste of time and money.