CPA firms didn’t always need highly sophisticated, marketing-savvy websites to attract new business. There was a day when print ads, speaking opportunities, and the occasional business magazine mention were more than enough keep the work pouring in. A firm’s website was not much more than a brochure, whose primary purpose was to display contact information.
But the digital era has reconfigured almost everything about the way businesses run. The rules of modern marketing are changing so quickly that most CPA firms just can’t keep up.
They do try, though. They publish sporadic blog posts. They go through an accounting website design every few years, trying to stay fresh. But the unfortunate reality is that none of it is enough. And perhaps worse: firms are wasting valuable time in the wrong places.
It’s time to get back in the game, folks.
Here are three critical strategies the most successful firms are using to rise to the top:
#1 Thought Leadership
Thought leadership has become an essential tool for attracting new clients in the digital era. The idea is to position your firm as an authority in your area of expertise by publishing regular content that shows off not just your skills and smarts, but your ingenuity and forward thinking.
It’s not about keeping up with trends—it’s about setting them. You want to be the guys that come to mind when people think, “I wonder what they have to say about this?” When potential clients realize they have a new problem, you want to be the first ones there with the solution.
How do you do all that? Here are just a few ways:
- Keep your finger on the current conversation in your market. Pick out the newest, boldest, most exciting ideas, and see if you can take them a step further. Publish your ideas in thoughtful, well-written blog posts on your site.
- Take a look at your clients’ current problems. Then, extrapolate them into their future problems and offer up step-by-step solutions on your website. Beating clients to their problems makes them feel safe, but it also makes your firm look wildly progressive.
- Think of the most common problems your clients come to you with. Identify solid examples of experiences your firm has had in solving those problems, write up case studies describing those specific experiences, and publish them on your site.
The first and most obvious benefit of infusing your website with valuable thought leadership is that it creates more pages and links on your website. This means more opportunities for people to find your site through Google.
Thought leadership also enables prospects to learn about your methods, and to make the connection between their problems and your expertise, without having to actually engage you directly. Remember that in the digital age, “contact us” is much further along in a prospect’s decision making process than it once was.
#2 Valuable Offers
While thought leadership is the primary engine fueling quality traffic on a website, landing pages with special offers are also key for lead generation at CPA firms. Our clients have offered white papers, eBooks, cheat sheets, and consultations, all available via special landing pages on their sites. Typically, the goods are offered in exchange for contact information.
Again, it’s important to realize that most of your site visitors are not ready to commit to working with your firm yet. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to create offers that appeal to visitors in the early stages of the buying cycle. In fact, most of our clients see over 75% of their leads coming from these offer landing pages, rather than the Contact Us page.
CPAs are great at analyzing financial data, but they rarely take the time to dig into their marketing analytics. If you want the two tactics discussed above to be of any value to your firm, you have to actually track and measure how well they’re working once they’re in place. This is done with simple backend analytics.
Monitoring where traffic is coming from and where it’s going can help you determine what information prospects are most interested in and which offers are creating the best leads. Not only can you use this information to tweak and optimize your current content and offerings, but you can also use it to inform what comes next.
Still don’t think analytics are that important?
Our team recently reviewed a firm’s analytics and, using only the information we found there, made some small design and textual enhancements that ultimately increased leads by 500%.
What would a 500% increase in leads be worth to your firm?