To people who have had little experience with digital marketing, it seems like a very chaotic industry, one where very little is set in stone and where everyone seems to be scrambling for the best possible results without much strategy.
As such it may feel somewhat off-putting to accountancy practices which deal in cold, hard numbers. The final result is that many an accountancy practice decides to forego digital marketing altogether.
This is a mistake for a number of reasons.
For one, digital marketing is nowhere near as chaotic as it may seem and there are people and agencies who know very well what they are doing and how they can get results for their clients. Furthermore, with an ever increasing number of people looking for all kinds of services online, (including accounting services), not doing digital marketing amounts to giving up on that portion of the market.
In short, accountancy practices need to do digital marketing, but they need to do it the smart way.
The crucial first step in venturing into the world of digital marketing is deciding on what your goals are, that is, what you are trying to achieve with digital marketing.
Some accountancy practices are way behind and they want to build their online presence from the ground up, with a new website, social media presence, blogging and perhaps even some paid ads.
Some accountancy practices have been around for some time and they need a facelift that will show they have finally entered the 21st century.
Other accountancy practices have more specific goals, such as increasing web traffic by 400% by the end of the year or increasing their conversion rate threefold in a four-month period. For some practices, it is even simpler than that – they want to see an increase in revenue that comes from the web.
As you might have noticed already, the goals need to be time-sensitive as there is very little point in identifying your goals and not deciding on a time frame in which they are to be achieved.
Setting goals should also involve working out a digital marketing budget which will decide whether your practice can afford to hire professionals or whether it will be doing its digital marketing on its own, perhaps with a bit of help from interns of some kind.
A Modern Website
While some accountancy practices might try to do it the really old-school way and go without an actual website, the majority will still realize that a professional, well-executed website is the starting point for all digital marketing efforts. This is where you will be attracting potential clients to and this is where they will convert into paying customers or at least find ways in which they can do it offline.
A modern accountancy website does not have to cost an arm and a leg. It should be sleek, not aggressive and it should provide the visitors with a quick and simple experience that will not take any effort or time. Just imagine what you would like to experience when visiting a company website.
It would also be a good idea to do at least some basic on-site SEO for your website and to start writing a blog where you will share the news about your practice, provide accountancy advice, solve people’s problems or even comment on recent events that might affect the industry.
Search Engine Marketing
Since a large number of people search for services like accounting using search engines, you need to ensure that your practice appears as high in the results as possible. This is done by running a good practice and by doing search engine marketing. This will entail doing search engine optimization, where you will try to find ways to become more visible in search engines. Sponsored search will cost a bit more money, but it can also be quite useful.
Content marketing usually works best in combination with search engine marketing, as you produce interesting content that will drive traffic to your website and make it more reputable in the eyes of the search engines and therefore people who look for accountants online. Your content can be anything from articles to white papers and how-to videos that you will post on YouTube. The important thing is to include links that will lead to your website, thus raising its profile in search engines, providing added benefit.
While some people say that email marketing has all but died, this is simply not the case. Email marketing still yields good results; especially in comparison to some more hyped digital marketing tactics. It is also very easy to track and tweak, making it a more straightforward digital marketing technique than many others. Of course, email marketing requires time to master, but it can be really a great way to get new clients for your practice.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing entails the use of various social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest) to market one’s business and while many accountants believe their industry is not best suited for social media marketing, it can be quite useful. Social media marketing not only spreads the word about your practice, but it also allows you to engage your clients and potential clients and to make them brand ambassadors, to use the modern parlance.
For someone who has had experience with traditional marketing but not digital, display advertising is probably the most straightforward and understandable kind of digital marketing. With display advertising, your brand is being presented to internet users in various forms – website banners, pop-up ads, floating and expanding ads, etc. This kind of marketing requires a bigger investment than the majority of aforementioned, but it can also be very effective.
Last but definitely not the least, there is mobile marketing which is aimed at people who browse the internet using their mobile phones. Believe it or not, but mobile internet users overtook desktop internet users back in 2014, meaning that you simply have to do some mobile marketing if you can afford it. This can involve simple ads, mobile search ads, ads within games or apps, or even SMS and MMS marketing which may seem obsolete but which still gets the job done.
Do a bit of research. Find out more about the different types of digital marketing and try to find information on how they can be applied to accountancy practices. You will be surprised how much you can achieve.
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