How Accounting Websites Are Generating 100+ New Clients a Year
Very few accounting firms are reaching their potential for bringing in new business. Most aren’t even in the right ballpark.
We define a successful accounting website design as one that generates 20% of their new business from the website alone. Bust most firms are lucky to get 1-2 quality leads a month, and they’re even luckier if just one of these leads becomes a paying client.
Without help from their websites, most firms rely solely on referrals to drum up new business. And while word of mouth marketing is and always will be the #1 most effective marketing method, it’s also the method firms have least control over. Plus, by nature, it’s the most sporadic and unreliable.
The top accounting firms are attracting at least 100 new clients a year from their websites alone. They’re using razor sharp market focus and a solid sales funnel to reel in clients automatically, day and night, leaving them free to focus on more important things.
Here are a few key things successful accounting website are doing RIGHT:
1. They’re embracing a narrow niche
In the modern market, an accounting firm’s success is rooted in its positioning, not its versatility. Most firms are still bragging about their “full service” capabilities and dousing their websites in generic content that sounds exactly like the next guy’s.
They don’t stand out because there’s literally nothing to differentiate them from the next firm. It’s this sameism that forces clients to throw up their hands and go with the lowest bidder (and if your strategy is really to compete with low pricing, you might as well close up shop right now).
So many professional service firms are too scared to commit to a specific market niche, so they try to represent everything all at once. But they fail to realize that trying to stand for everything is the same as standing for nothing at all.
What top firms are doing is establishing their niche and building their reputation as a thought leader in their field (aka someone who has fresh, new ideas).
What unique experience does your firm have that could add some nuance to the industry conversation? What is your team extra passionate about (what kind of work do they like to do best)? Who are your best clients and why are those relationships so strong?
The tighter you focus your firm, the more successful you’ll be as a firm. If you need some help figuring out how to properly position your firm, check out our complete positioning guide.
2. They’re creating quality content
Tons of firms have been cranking away at the content marketing machine for years, and still, they’re not seeing results.
Why? It’s usually because they’re either not creating the right kind of content or they’re not creating enough. Firms with underperforming websites fall back on the same tired “tax updates,” year after year, instead of taking the time to produce thoughtful, insightful, meaningful content.
Here’s what you want to do:
- Write content that builds relationships with potential clients. You want them to feel like you’re advising them personally (for free!) through your writing, rather than just touting your knowledge. What are the most common questions new clients ask, and how could you address those up front? Instead of trying to sound qualified, focus on sounding helpful.
- Add new content to your website regularly. Your last blog post might have been on point, but if it was written two years ago, it’s now hurting rather than helping your credibility. Work toward producing 5,000 words of fresh content each month.
We’re not just talking about blog posts here, either. High performing firms are creating a much more diverse set of content, including deep-dive reports, webinars, case studies, and social media posts.
Here’s a great example of a well-rounded firm content strategy:
- Blog posts: 3-5 per month
- In-depth research reports: 1-2 per quarter
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) posts: 30-60 per month
- Webinars: 1-2 per quarter
- Infographics: 1 per month
- Case studies: 1-2 per quarter
Then, of course, you’ll need a strategy in place to market the new tools you’re creating. Your promotional strategy should include social media, email marketing, and SEO, at minimum.
3. They’re telling visitors exactly what to do next
Every single page on your website should end with a next step – a call to action. Menus, no matter how visible and intuitive they are, are not enough.
If a visitor lands on one of your blog posts, what do you want them to do after reading it? Should they read a related blog post? Subscribe to your newsletter? Sign up for a free consult? Take a quiz or fill out a form to learn more about their problems?
You need to make it wildly, stupidly easy for visitors to both navigate your site and to initiate a relationship with you. A phone number splashed across multiple pages isn’t enough – give them a compelling reason to make a move. The most common first move is related content and pages, but depending on the page it might be appropriate to ask the visitor to share an email address, usually in exchange for something free like a downloadable guide or quote.
When it comes to website navigation, most accounting firms are doing it wrong in one of two ways:
- They have few or no calls to action. After reading a random blog post, visitors are given no next steps, and therefore, they vanish into the abyss of the internet forever. At the end of one page, they’re not directed to the next. Every firm should include calls to action for the following three things, at minimum: related content, newsletter sign-up, and contact us.
- They try to close the sale too soon. Less common but still problematic is over-eager selling. You need to understand where visitors likely are in the buying cycle, depending on what they’re looking at. If they’re just reading a blog post, they’re likely not yet interested in your company at all, but might be up for reading more content. If they’re looking at your pricing, they’re clearly ready to make a purchase soon and are probably ready to initiate some sort of contact with you.
4. They’re doing SEO
It’s 2017 and still, so many firms are neglecting the basics of search engine optimization. Yes, this is still a thing, and yes, it’s still important.
At least 50%-75% of your site’s traffic will come from search engines. You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a month with an SEO company to get good results, but you do need to make sure you have the basics.
- Page titles: Tell Google what each page is about.
- Custom page URLs: Write search friendly URLs that are keyword rich.
- H1 tags: Title tags. Google looks for these specifically, so make sure your titles are formatted to use them.
- Internal linking: In your content, link to other content. Use anchor text with a buried link.
- Clear content: Make sure your content is related to the page title and H1 tag.
Your goal is to basically to tell Google the story of your page. You want to make it easy for search engines to understand what each page is about and what keywords/phrases you want to be associated with. (Do you know?)
5. They’re nurturing prospects
If you’re already doing everything above, you should be ready to start growing a list of prospects. These prospects have expressed interest in what you’re doing, in some tiny way, but they need nurturing before they will become a client.
Your target should be to garner at least 5,000 active prospects in your database.
If you have fewer than 5,000 active prospects, you’ll want to start growing this list through the methods described above. You don’t need to make any massive investments in marketing automation at this stage of the game. A simple email platform like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor will work great and give you basic nurturing capabilities.
If you’re at or above the 5,000 contact mark, this is where you can start to maximize your marketing efforts by creating multi-funnel nurturing streams. Consider investing in a marketing automation solution that gives you more robust capabilities, such as Act-On, Marketo, or InfusionSoft.
As you grow and nurture your database, mildly interested prospects will slowly start to turn into active clients, and the process will compound itself exponentially. Growth in your prospect list should directly correlate to increased revenue from year to year.
6. They’re investing in (the right) digital marketing
Most firms just assume they can’t afford digital marketing. Or, if they are spending some money on this, they’re usually spending it on the wrong things. (Like, a new website design every few years.)
The key to finding 100 new clients next year from your website is to structure the website in a way that maximizes the opportunity to convert on every page. You can’t just create content, hit Publish, and cross your fingers. You need to invest in each piece with the right promotional strategy and calls to action.
You’d be amazed at all the marketing tools and options available, many of which don’t cost much if anything at all. You can go farther than you think with a smart strategy and a committed team.
Most firms are happy to invest in fancy new websites, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. But when it comes to the marketing tactics that actually win customers, they’re shockingly, unreasonably frugal.
Contrary to what many believe, successful firms aren’t spending the most – they’re spending the most intelligently.
Trying to decide how to spend your marketing dollars? Shoot us an email and let us know how we can help.