Here are some key reasons why Google Reviews should be a top priority:
Some Best Practices for Getting More Google Reviews:
When to Request Google Reviews:
The best times to request a review from a customer include:
Use email and SMS to make requesting reviews simple anytime you interact with customers.
Prioritizing Google Reviews should be at the core of your marketing strategy.
Since online reviews are immensely influential in today's marketplace, implementing a proactive strategy to generate more Google Reviews will benefit your business. It leads to higher visibility, increased sales, improved search rankings, and builds customer trust through social proof. Firms that don't focus on getting reviews risk falling behind competitors who do.
Make getting positive Google Reviews a regular part of your customer experience and marketing approach. If you need help automating and managing Google Reviews, Cajabra offers turnkey solutions designed specifically for accounting firms. Click here to schedule a consultation and get the reviews your business deserves!
The Google Business Profile is also something many firms often overlook.
Your Google Business Profile is essentially your business card on Google - it's what shows up when potential customers search for accounting firms in your area on Google Search and Maps. Given that over 90% of online searches start on Google, your Google Business Profile can have a huge impact on your discoverability and visibility. That's why you need to make sure it accurately represents your accounting firm and convinces searchers that you are the right choice.
Here are some key reasons why optimizing your Google Business Profile should be a top priority:
It Makes You More Discoverable in Local Searches
Accounting firms that optimize their Google Business Profile are up to 4 times more discoverable in local searches than firms that just rely on their website. When customers search for accounting services near them, your optimized Profile will have higher placement in the search results map and list, putting you in front of lots of potential new clients.
It Builds Your Credibility and Reputation
Your Google Business Profile allows you to showcase important credibility markers - like years in business, client reviews and ratings, certifications, awards, and photos of your office and staff. This gives potential clients confidence that you are an established, reputable firm they can trust.
It Highlights Your Specialties and Services
You can use your Profile to feature your specific accounting specialties, areas of expertise, services offered, and focus industries. This helps you attract the types of clients that are a great fit for what you do best.
It Encourages Direct Client Engagement
Your Profile makes it easy for prospective clients to contact you directly to ask questions or request appointments. You can list phone numbers, live chat widgets, email addresses, and online booking links to drive conversions.
It Supports 24/7 Visibility
Your Google Business Profile gives your firm a presence on Google that is accessible 24/7, even when your office is closed. This always-on visibility means you never miss out on connecting with potential new clients.
Optimizing your Google Business Profile For Accounting Firms
To maximize the impact of your Google Business Profile as an accounting firm, focus on these best practices:
The Bottom Line
Optimizing online visibility should be a top focus for any accounting firm looking to grow in today's digital landscape. Putting time into expanding your Google Business Profile is one of the most impactful steps you can take. With a complete, optimized Profile, you'll be able to turn more of your website traffic into conversions, consistently attract clients that are a great fit, and stand out from the competition in your market.
If you need help managing and optimizing your Google Business Profile, Cajabra offers automated marketing solutions built exclusively for accounting firms. Click here to schedule a consultation call today
When was the last time you updated your marketing message? I know- tax season has been all consuming this year, but it’s over! Once your wounds heal, and you come up for air, it's time to focus on your business. And, as we navigate how to shift from compliance to advisory work, one of the most important steps in the process is updating your marketing message.
Not just tweaking a few things on your website...I mean a well thought through real deal update. Especially if you haven’t re-visited this in a few years. The shift in the entire profession was accelerated by the pandemic, and you can’t afford to get left behind with the clients that nobody else wants!
How people find you has changed, my friends. While referrals are still very important, finding the business you want is going to take a far more proactive strategy with a clear brand message.
If 85% of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase, how likely are your prospects to select your firm based on your website?
Wait, you get your business from referrals, you say? Guess what they’re doing before they call you…
There is a handy keyword tool you can check out called Ubersuggest. I typed in the phrase ‘accountant near me,’ today, and saw that the search volume for that phrase is 40,500. Say what?! Without going down the SEO path in this article, let’s focus on how the right message can help you stand out from your competition and attract the clients you want…many of whom typed ‘accountant near me’ into the search bar.
I get it. You’re an accountant, not a marketer. But, you’re also a business owner in a very competitive profession. You need to stand out.
Start with a very simple ‘one-liner.’
A ‘one-liner’ is essentially a 10 second elevator pitch. It is what you- and anyone in your firm- says when you are at a networking event, a cocktail party, or anywhere that someone asks, “so, what do you do?”
“I’m a CPA” is not good enough. It doesn’t tell the listener that they have a problem, and you have something to solve it. In Donald Miller’s book called Marketing Made Simple, he outlines a way to craft a compelling one-liner.
Your one-liner should be a simple 1 or 2 sentence statement about the problem your ideal client has, your solution, and the result. It should be so compelling that it rolls off your tongue and off the tongues of everyone on your team. Why? Because it is a very simple way to turn everyone in the organization into sales people without feeling like they are sales people. More importantly, everyone is on the same page with a message that supports your culture and why you exist.
It can go in your email signature, on the back of your business cards, on your website, even your conference room wall if you want it there!
This is exactly where I start with clients who need help clarifying their brands and creating a comprehensive marketing strategy that delivers results.
You wouldn’t be in business without the customers who pay you for your services. However, not all customers are ideal customers, am I right? Years ago, when public accounting firms were heavily focused on compliance work like audits and tax returns, your clients looked very different.
Today, small businesses are emerging from a global pandemic needing far more than tax returns and bookkeeping. They need consulting and advice from financial professionals who can proactively guide them to make smart decisions for their business and achieve their goals!
Your ideal customers are the heroes of your story. So, who are they?
You have to know them. Start by defining exactly who your ideal current clients and prospective clients are. What is their demographic? Profession? Industry? What do they fear i.e. how could they fail? What do they need to achieve success? Why would they need you? How does all of this align with what you offer and what your firm’s goals are?
Think of it this way. Imagine a prospective business owner that you believe would be a great client for your firm. Think about that person's business for a moment. They can find any number of people who can do the tax return. So, why would he or she pick your firm? Does Ms. Ideal Prospect know how to interpret financial statements? Maybe. Does she know how to use them along with other financial data in her business to plan her cash flow for this year? Or whether or not she should hire people? Make a capital investment? Change the business structure? Apply for loan forgiveness or tax credits? What industry is she in? How often does she want to hear from you? Does she expect to get a bill every time time she calls or emails? Or, does she prefer to pay a monthly retainer?
As a small business owner, it’s doubtful that Ms. Prospective Client opened her business because she wanted to interpret financial statements or strategize about how to minimize her tax liability and stabilize her cash flow. It’s also unlikely that she has the expertise to create a comprehensive financial strategy to hit her business goals. This is where you come in.
Clearly, she needs your advice and expertise. But, she needs to hear specifically and clearly how you can help her avoid failure or achieve a financial goal she has for her business.
It’s your job to craft a story that invites me in and guides me down the path to financial success in my business.
Once you have clarity around your message to the world, the next step in your marketing strategy is to create a compelling content outline for your website.
Because your website is such a crucial part of your marketing strategy, I’ll be devoting the next blog post to it. Check out Part 2, coming soon, for tips on creating a content wireframe for your website that will drive new business and serve as part of a sales funnel to build your prospect list.
Having a compelling website is paramount, and it starts with a clear brand message on the home page.
Mythbuster: your website is all about you. Wrong, it’s about your client.
Think about the last website you saw today. Did you read the history of that company? Did you care? If you read anything at all, did you just skim the headlines? Or, did you click off the site or page after a few seconds and move on?
Now, think about the last website (besides Amazon or social media:) that captured your attention and caused you to take action. If a website does a good job of making their company/product/service about YOU, well, now you’re interested, right?
How about your website? What impression are you giving your clients and prospects? Your clients don’t care that you’ve been in business since 1972. Or, that the firm prides itself on exceptional customer service and attention to detail (frankly, they expect this).
Your entire brand message needs to tell a story. More importantly, it needs to invite your prospects into that story and make them the hero.
If you haven’t read Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand, I recommend it. This is a quick and compelling read for anyone trying to create a clear, concise message around a brand- especially in a competitive environment.
As he states on the first page, “Customers don’t generally care about your story; they care about their own.”
Look at every page of your website through your ideal customers’ eyes. Make it about them. Invite them into your story, and become the guide that leads them to success or helps them avoid pain.
The goal of your website is to get people to take action, so you need to establish a message – a value proposition- that will compell a visitor to take action.
Honesty. Integrity. Our business is your business. We put customers first. Our professionals set us apart. We provide the highest quality services.
Are you nodding off yet? And, wouldn’t every one of your clients just expect these things at bare minimum?
Be specific and clear.
Less is more. You don’t need paragraphs and paragraphs of words.
As basic as this may sound, make it easy for people to act! If you have a tiny message at the bottom of your site somewhere beckoning the visitor to ‘contact us at’…that isn’t good enough. Make it easy for people to interact with you by giving them a specific button to click (above the fold) that compels them to act. Your call to action should be prominent on your homepage so it’s hard to miss!
Once you have your message clear on your website, don’t overlook the importance of social media. You have a great message- now get it out there! LinkedIn and Facebook are both good platforms to be visible and set yourself apart! What better time than 2021? According to an article by Katie Tolin, entitled “7 social media strategies for our new normal,” social media engagement increased 61% in a matter of weeks mid-March 2020. Accountants are ESSENTIAL to small businesses- this is a great way to get in front of people and offer value. But, if you are going to do it, be consistent and offer value.
Video is a powerful component to any marketing strategy, and it a great opportunity to showcase your firm's people, knowledge, value, and even client testimonials. According to this article at lemonlight.com, 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
If you aren’t using video to communicate your message, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Whether it’s setting up a YouTube channel or simply including video messages in your emails to clients and prospects, video is an absolute must for getting people to pay attention to your marketing message.
Hire a marketing expert who knows how to guide you through creating a brand message and marketing strategy that elevates your firm above the competition.
The shift from compliance to advisory services is well underway. Is your firm’s marketing message strong enough to attract new clients and keep your existing clients from going somewhere that offers them a more compelling story?
Why should you even be thinking about marketing your firm during tax season? You’re busy, exhausted, and you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel yet. There’s an elephant in the room that is soooo tempting to ignore with the pressure of tax season bearing down. That elephant has a name- it’s COMPETITION.
People have so many options for getting their taxes done now that they don’t have to use a local accounting firm anymore. Clients who need proactive advisory services will seek and find them. In a few years (or less), you don’t want to be left with the clients you make the least on but who suck up the most of your time.
Marketing your firm during tax season is a great way to increase business with your best current clients and drive new ideal clients through your door (virtually or physically)!
Yes, this tax season has been insane. Despite that, you can set your business up for success after tax season by doing a few simple things now that won’t take any additional time.
1. What’s in the return vs. what’s on it…is key to new opportunities.
Before you present a return to your client, you will have obviously reviewed it. The question is, HOW are you reviewing it? Are you tediously and manually so in the weeds of a detailed review that you miss an opportunity for tax planning? A business restructure? A contribution to an IRA that could increase a refund or reduce a balance due? A Schedule C that indicates opportunity for bookkeeping or cash flow stabilization?
You have to find a way to spend less time reviewing 1040 returns in order to shift your focus to what the return is telling you. It is easier and less expensive to cross sell to existing clients than to bring in new ones. The tax return is your vehicle to get proactive and offer valuable services to clients that will help them improve their financial position moving forward.
2. Set an appointment for post tax season when you review or deliver the return.
For the clients who represent opportunity beyond the return, get an appointment for the next meeting booked on the calendar when you meet to review or deliver the return. It will save you time and phone or email tag later-and potentially lost opportunity.
3. Ask for Google and Facebook reviews and testimonials when you review or deliver the return.
This is a super easy way to market your firm. When you are delivering a return or reviewing it- you are adding value. You also have your client’s captive attention. Just like booking the next appointment at that point, ask clients if they would mind doing a Google or Facebook review about their experience. I suggested this to a firm recently who followed through, and guess what? They were shocked at how many clients did it!
Take it a step further and ask for a testimonial (quote or video) that you can include on your website or YouTube channel. 85% of consumers conduct online research prior to making a purchase. That same firm I mentioned that got several social media reviews? They also asked for testimonials. Not only did they get several, they also got clients offering to do video testimonials. What do you think that is doing for their advisory business?
According to this article about why and how social proof influences consumers, “an average of sixty-six percent of customers said the presence of social proof increased their likelihood to purchase a product.”
4. Create an incentive for a referral.
Another easy way to market your firm during tax season is to mention a referral incentive at the end of a tax return review or delivery. Your value is never more top of mind with your clients than when you are in front of them. Leverage that opportunity to offer a simple referral incentive. By offering an incentive, such as a discounted future service or gift cards to a local restaurant (client?), you’ll give them a reason to think of others they know who could benefit from your expertise.
5. Deliver value to your clients and prospects by posting FAQs.
You’re getting the same questions every day and answering them over and over again. These are also questions that your prospects have- but may not be asking you. Why not show how proactive you are as an advisor and post a few FAQs and answers each week on your social media?
It costs you nothing, shows that you are in tune with your target audience, and it serves up value at no cost to keep you in front of clients and prospects. Why would they go elsewhere if you are being proactive?
One of the firms I work with is killing it in their niche. When I asked them why these clients are coming to them, the managing partner told me that every single new client said “we needed someone proactive and our old CPA was not.”
Recently, I received a note from an accounting firm owner who said, “I’d like to talk to you about my marketing.” When we connected a short time later, I quickly realized that in his mind, marketing was SEO. And only SEO.
Many firms I’ve worked with invest heavily in SEO to make sure they are appearing in the right searches and are ranked highly. This is a great strategy for driving traffic to your website, no doubt about it.
But, the bigger question…a very important question…is what are you going to do with those eyeballs once they land on your site?
Did you know that people will spend an average of between 45 and 54 seconds on a website? Considering that the average human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, you have very little time to engage someone before they move on.
Without the ability to immediately draw someone into a story about your brand on your website, you become a casualty of the human attention span. And, all of the money you spent to get people to your website is lost.
Your brand must tell a story.
Which leads to mistake number 2…
As tempting as it is to want to tell people about who you are and what you do, they don’t care.
But, wait, isn’t that why they went to your website to begin with? To learn about you? Of course. And what they see immediately will determine what they do next. People who are most likely to do business with you are really looking for a clear and compelling path to solve a problem they have.
Your job is to draw those eyeballs that landed on your page (aka your ideal prospects and clients) into a story that recognizes their problem and positions you as a guide who is going to meet them where they are and help them get where they want to be.
You have to…
So. Your website isn’t really about you. It’s about the story you tell your clients that is about them. A story that is clear and demonstrates that you understand their problem, you can empathize with it, and you are the right person or firm to lead them to their vision of what success looks like in their eyes.
“Our experienced team is ready to help.”
“We’ve been in business for XX years.”
“Our team of experienced professionals put our clients first.”
Not only is this all about you, but literally every firm could say any or all of these things. They are empty phrases that cost precious brain calories your readers are not willing to invest if you don’t draw them into a story. And, they don’t make you look any more qualified to solve your clients’ problems than everyone else who says the same thing.
So, what do you do?
Think about your brand’s story through a different lens. Put your ideal client at the center of your story. Focus your message around identifying their problem as it relates to your services and positioning you as the expert who is THE choice for taking them from where they are today to where they want to be. Cast a vision for what success looks like for them. And, above all, make sure your message is clear, concise, and compelling to your audience.
Finally, less really is more when it comes to copy on a homepage. Be sure your message is clear, compelling, able to be scanned quickly, and invites your audience into a story that will make them want to take the next step with you. Show them how to do business with you, and then guide them to take action.