From Omnia: Are you an established firm of accountants looking to grow your client base, or a new accountant setting up for the first time? Either way, your digital strategy is going to drive your growth. You may feel that accountancy is founded on traditional and secure methods of working. Therefore, the digital tips and tricks that work for commerce may be counterproductive in financial sectors. However, people are more and more looking for online services, and you need to be sure that your brand is visible online.
Start by defining a clear identity
Before stating your claim to a corner of the internet, you need to be sure of your identity. What do you want people to know about you? The ethos and values you feel define you should permeate through every decision you make online. From the language you use to the design you select, the level of support you offer to the tools you create; these all combine to build your brand. Consistency and trust are the cornerstones of this identity, and without this, you will do more harm than good.
Who will want your services?
As well as seeking clarity in the message, you need to be sure of the people who will be interested to hear what you have to say. Accountants come in various shapes and sizes. You may specialise in small and medium-sized enterprises; you may be a tax specialist; you may be used to managing the financial accounts of large or multinational companies. Whatever your market, you need to talk directly to them.
Choose the most appropriate channels
As an accountant, you are not going to want to appear too frivolous. Although social media may have some role to play, the most appropriate channels for digital marketing would likely be a well-built website and the use of email marketing. You can then use your social media accounts to promote the blogs that appear on your website. Your blog can be used to create click bait that encourages the user through to your services page.
Notice that the link between the channels. Your brand identity, your understanding of your market, and the message you communicate needs to consistent across the channels. The person clicking through a search engine or through an article you promote on social media should receive the same impression of your company. Any sense of inconsistency will compromise the trust that is essential to accountancy firms.
You should also use SEO terms specific to your accountancy specialism and your target market. You are looking for your site to appear high on the first page of search engine results. When a potential client searches online for an accountant, they are not going to scan past the first two or three results. More than any other sector, financial organisations must appear professional and authentic. If you appear too far down the results, you give the impression that you are a firm with limited resources and/ or compromised reputation.
As well as using appropriate keywords, links, images, titles, and so on, you also might want to consider search engine ads – such as GoogleAds. Advertising on search engines allows you to leap to the top of the list – and offers powerful analytics that can help you understand your potential client base.
Word of mouth
It is easier to keep a client than it is to win a client. Therefore, you should also use your digital marketing to earn the loyalty and lifelong commitment of your customers. This commitment can be won with useful online tools or the speed with which you communicate. Your help icon on your website should be the most efficient tool used by your customer.
The reason to keep the hard-earned client is not only to sustain the bottom line. You are looking for growth and not just to maintain your income. Therefore, this consistent wooing of your current clients will create strong testimonials. Word of mouth recommendations from the friends and family of your existing clients is the strongest sales tool at your disposal. If you read any article guiding people requiring financial advice, the suggestion is to seek out a company that has already been used by someone you trust.
There is so much fear about the online world and our finances that accountants, along with advisors, brokers and banks, have a tougher time establishing trust. Therefore, courting your current customers using your digital assets could be a much more robust use of these channels than trying to close new deals.
Finally, but probably most essential to your growth, is the use of digital tools to network with other professionals. Gaining a following on sites such as LinkedIn can establish your expertise. If you become the go-to person on a set financial topic, you can expect to enjoy proactive clientele seeking you out. Equally, by making connections on such sites, you can spot the decision-makers in an organisation and understand better who to approach with a pitch about your services.