Like most things in the tech world, digital marketing is in a state of rapid expansion. We are seeing more and more of it today, both in the workplace and in our own spare time at home. Long gone are the days when executives would frown at the prospect of SEO – search engine optimization. UK advertisers will spend £14.73 billion ($19.64 billion) on digital ads this year, an 11.2% increase over 2018. Thanks to the power of Facebook, Google and Amazon ads, companies are finding new and better ways to climb to the top of the results page every day.
With that in mind, we turn to our subject, accounting firms and accountancy. An already technologically-inclined sector, accountants are probably already very familiar with the client side digital software and how to navigate through it. That being said, the secret to digital marketing isn’t just about being tech savvy. A ruthless and transformative dedication to always improving your strategy is a must – and in such a competitive field, accountants must pay attention to what new marketing trends can offer.
Improving Your Firm’s Website
Average web users often respond well to the appearance, tone and design of a page in front of them. This can make or break a potential sale. For accounting firms, upgrading and polishing your website is the best place to begin. Things to consider include adding a live chat option to connect with customers, an introductory video which explains the advantages of using your company, or other interactive and easy to use features which catch the attention of clients. Video especially is becoming a big marketing trend – with a study reporting that over half of those interviewed said they want to see video content from brands they support.
For accountants, there is also the added responsibility of handling private information for wealthy clients, which means high standards can go such a long way in terms of building your firm’s public ‘face’. For engagements with small business and private clients, a professionally designed site which is friendly and easy to use gives you a hook to stand out from firms that might appear austere, or faceless in the online world. Designing your site is a process which should reflect your firm – are you looking for serious business clientele, or a more relaxed personal approach?
With this in mind, always remember that your website is a place where you can showcase how your firm has innovated and adapted to an ever-changing online world, and can adapt to new technology. Use it to talk about the advanced software you use, the professionalism of your staff, and above all showcase the high standards of service that your clients can expect.
SEO And Search Engine Rankings
The window for customer engagement is always much smaller than we think. When potential clients Google search a term like ‘accounting firms near me’, they will likely judge a link to your firm within the first few seconds, based on your site’s search engine page rank, and any attached text which appears below that link, known as a page description. Google searches still account for over 70% of the search engine market share, so their platform is your primary concern with SEO.
In terms of maximising your potential to generate clients, the idea is to make your firm be as far up the Google results as it can possibly be, as well as making sure your link is the best choice out of the other firms that might appear. The quest for ‘getting up the search rankings’ is one of the most well-established ways to bring in clients. The more links to and from your site, and the better ‘quality’ of those links (as determined by Google) the higher up your link will appear.
There’s much more to it on paper, and a lot of SEO methods involve using proper keywords and tagging content correctly – but the best way to improve your scores is to post relevant keywords on your pages, post a lot of internal and outgoing links, and make sure your site is linked to by lots of other sites. Other methods of improving SEO can include using other methods we’ve discussed on this page, because link backs can and will make a difference.
In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3 percent in the previous year. Targeted advertising was quite likely responsible, most prominently using social media and paid advertising on either Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Ads. These services both offer opportunities to target specific demographics and age ranges, which is extraordinarily useful to accountants looking to attract clientele of a specific age.
Understanding why your successful ads are doing so well means you will be able to start gathering statistics on which platforms and age ranges bring in the most viewers. With data on your side and multiple areas of engagement, on Google, social media, and beyond, your firm can analyse the best places to invest in marketing in the future.
On Facebook, a clever firm can specifically target an age range of older people using Facebook, who live in the UK, and send ads to that demographic based on certain interests. Not only does this raise your chance of engagement, it also makes your advertising more economic.
Facebook also is one of the best places to utilise Pay Per Click advertising, which is a strategy that allows you to post an advert and pay the company for every click it generates. Google Ads also uses this feature, but it’s interesting to note that Facebook PPC is becoming a go-to strategy more recently for firms looking to save money and add another tool to their arsenal.
Social Media Pages
Linkedin and Facebook are often places where companies establish a presence or just serve as a hub to post their advertisements. However, some companies take the more hit-and-miss route of posting regular content for their company page on Twitter or Facebook, a strategy which in theory is supposed to attract more page likes or more potential clients via posts going viral and being shared or retweeted multiple times.
Trying to go viral might not be the most effective way to market your firm, but it can help if you want to attract a younger digitally inclined audience who need easily digestible snippets of content on useful topics, such as getting into the accountancy business, or learning how to balance their accounts the easy way. It’s important to note that Facebook has a younger audience demographic, with most users being between 18 and 34, and the largest demographic being men aged 25-34.
Nevertheless, posting content and links on your firm’s Facebook page is good for SEO, and also it’s where your adverts are originally created. It’s here you will compose posts, add images and links, and build your adverts – so having a good grasp on Facebook and the terms of service are key. Protocol is highly valued by companies posting on social media, and once again, the quality of your posts will make or break client engagement.
More Things To Consider
There’s never going to be a shortage of options for someone keenly interested in digital marketing. You will find so many ways, old and new, that we haven’t covered, but we’ll cover a couple quickly here.
- Email Marketing– Considered a relic by some, you still shouldn’t dismiss email. Although it can be hard to get people onto your mailing list, and sometimes they will end up there by mistake, email can still provide previous customers a way to reconnect with your company, or a way to forward the info to their friends’ inboxes. Never pass up an opportunity, especially if you can adapt existing website content to easily be mailed out, quickly and cheaply.
- YouTube – Having videos to link onto your site, blog or email makes your company seem more technologically minded. They can also be used to provide link backs to your firm’s site. You need only produce half a dozen short videos yearly, but if they’re useful enough to attract a broad audience, or conform to a specific common search query, sort informationals can give you a small viral edge and help you flesh out your social media pages with multimedia content. If you somehow manage to get popular enough, you can even monetise your YouTube offerings.
- Twitter – Considerably difficult to master, often overlooked, and one of the stranger places for accountancy firms to advertise, nevertheless Twitter is another great ‘angle of attack’ for your content. A Twitter page can always be used to link to your main website and help boost search engine rankings, via short text and link posts put out a couple of times a month. You can even be daring and try posting memes – people might even retweet them.
- Local Directories –Another more traditional way of advertising is of course making sure your firm appears in regional, national or local accountancy firm directories. These can give you a short and simple place to show your presence on the market, and provide yet another link to your page ‘in the wild’. This isn’t the most reliable method, but it’s yet another one you can use and monitor traffic through.
In Conclusion . . .
Digital marketing is far more complicated than even this long article can sum up, but by now you should have a rough idea of things to research, where to get started, and sites to consider. There are many techniques, blogs and tricks out there, even some dedicated SEO blogs and YouTube Channels to brush up on your skills. It can all start for absolutely free, but once you get better at what you’re doing and understand these systems more, you can consider investing in your business’s marketing approach in the future.
Some firms opt to spend large amounts on advertising, others on keeping an up to date and flashy website with a lot of articles to link to and from their own site onto the wider internet. It’s all a positive investment in the long run, but make sure not to rush into things. Digital marketing is something you learn over time – it’s tricky to buy experience outright. For more info on all things marketing, check out the companion book to our site by Nick Bagga.