While retailers and consumer-centric businesses embraced online marketing years ago, accounting practices have been slow to embrace digital marketing strategies. The pandemic has accelerated adoption, but for most businesses the shift to digital marketing remains more reactive than proactive. Many digital tools and techniques remain unknown to the top management of companies.
This problem has been compounded by decades of accounting marketing tradition rooted in the belief that new business is best developed by referrals. However, although referrals still occur, they do occur less frequently. Buyers of accounting services are increasingly likely to research and do business online. If you want to get their attention, you’ll have to do it through a screen.
Fortunately, there are a number of solutions, channels, and online approaches that are proven to help businesses like yours effectively reach and engage target buyers. To develop your own online marketing strategy, you will need to focus on two fundamental drivers of lead generation: online tools and digital content that attracts your target audience.
Reaching New Business Perspectives: Online Tools That Work
Effective online marketing relies on several web tools that drive prospects to the top of the sales funnel. Each of them can generate leads successfully if used correctly:
- Lead generator website: Let’s face it. Most accounting websites are not dynamic, compelling marketing tools. These are often jargon-filled, selfish promotional vehicles that aim to tell site visitors how great the company is. To become a lead generating machine, your website should make it clear that your business understands your prospects’ problems and needs and can provide solutions to address them. By providing potential clients with objective and valuable information, you show what it would be like to work with you.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The vast majority of professionals use the web to find the services they need. However, they won’t find you unless the web knows you’re there. To do this, you need to optimize your website content so that search engines – and therefore prospects – can find you. This is called organic search and is primarily driven by the availability of useful and authoritative content on your website. It helps if that content is original.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: While organic search is one of the most valuable and effective tools for attracting leads, PPC can help you get to search engine results pages. It’s usually cheaper than traditional space advertising because you only pay when someone clicks on your link and you can track and analyze your results to make your campaign even more effective.
- Online Networking: This is the activity that takes place on social networks. So while specific social media platforms (such as LinkedIn or Twitter) may be the real tool, it’s the networking that takes place there that really engages with prospects. While the style of interaction can vary widely from Twitter to LinkedIn to Facebook, it’s always about building the right relationships with the right people. Just like with traditional networking, your level of success will be directly proportional to the time and attention you invest in it.
Digital content: the fuel that drives your marketing engines
None of the above tools will work without relevant content to attract your target audience. Your content can take many forms, but several are particularly effective in attracting leads to your website and other online platforms:
- Industry Research Reports: They are excellent lead generators. They attract prospects with valuable information while also boosting your visibility, credibility, and brand value. It is, however, essential to choose research topics that are of exceptional interest to your target audience. As an added bonus, research reports provide an exceptional opportunity to partner with an industry trade association or a non-competing company. It can help reduce your marketing costs and increase your credibility with the implicit endorsement of the industry group.
- Webinars: Much like traditional seminars, webinars should be educational in nature – individuals will want to attend because they believe they will learn something new and valuable about their issues or priorities. Webinars are generally offered free of charge. The value they bring to you is in the registration information you collect from attendees, as well as market intelligence based on their questions and comments, all of which can help you focus your marketing efforts and grow. future topics.
- Marketing Videos: Well-produced educational videos are great marketing tools for accounting firms. They can attract and nurture prospects by providing valuable information on topics of interest and helpful explanations on complex accounting and financial topics. Videos are also great for showcasing the expertise and experience of different members of your team.
- White papers and eBooks: Both of these tools are detailed, in-depth information tools that provide attractive pay-per-click offers and website giveaways in exchange for filling out a sign-up form. A little research on the target audience can quickly generate a list of relevant valuable topics that will attract your best prospects and get them engaged with your business. A resource section on your website filled with eBooks and white papers covering a wide range of valuable topics will go a long way in building your company’s reputation as an expert and industry leader.
- Blogs and guest blogs: Blog posts are a great driver of leads to your website. Blog posts are the cornerstone of almost any SEO campaign, providing opportunities to post and distribute keyword-driven content that will improve your search engine rankings and bring leads to your website.
Guest blogs are a great way to expand your reach. If you have great content, it’s worth submitting it to posts or blogs that feature guest posts. This type of “earned media” can boost your search engine rankings and drive readers to your site when you target high authority online publications.
If you don’t have an online marketing strategy yet, now is the time to develop one. Combining online and traditional marketing to create an effective and comprehensive marketing program is an exceptional way to boost your business visibility and generate significant growth.