Trust is a fundamental value in the relationship between a business owner and an accountant.
It’s therefore no surprise that recent research from PracticeWeb has found that the majority of SMEs like to have an accountant who is local to their area and who has knowledge of their business sector.
Our recent insight report ‘What do SMEs want from accountants?’ surveyed 100 SME owners for their views.
We found that 60% felt it was some degree important that their accountant was local, while 71% said it was important or very important that their accountant knew their industry.
With this in mind, here are some useful things you can do to attract more clients.
List your firm on Google My Business
When it comes to looking for an accountancy firm, the first thing a potential client will probably do is Google firms in their area.
This means a Google My Business listing is a no-brainer. It is a free online directory which displays information about a business next to details of its location.
For example, if you’ve ever Googled a business in your area, e.g. ‘dentists in Bristol’, then you’ll know that a list of them will appear at the top of the search rankings, with address details and a map pinpointing their locations and distance from you.
Capitalise on this for your business by listing your accountancy firm today.
You can include a logo, link to your website and photos to build a good first impression. It also includes a reviews section where customers can rate their experience with you.
A Google My Business listing really should be an essential part of your SEO strategy. For more tips on using this tool, visit our recent blog post Google My Business: making a first impression.
Get reviews from locals
Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business, according to software company BrightLocal’s ‘2018 Local Consumer Review Survey’. The same survey also found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses.
These stats show that building positive word of mouth for your business online is vital.
Encourage customers to post a review online, be it on your website, your social media channels or on Google itself.
If anyone does complain publicly about your service, respond quickly and courteously, owning any mistakes you know you might have made. People positively respond to honesty and understand that everyone can make mistakes.
Own your expertise
Our research shows that the majority of SMEs place a high value on their accountant having knowledge of their particular industry.
While we don’t necessarily advocate that you narrow down your accountancy proposition to be single-industry-specific, it is helpful to list the variety of clients you have on your website.
Case studies and testimonials are a good way to showcase the range of industries you work with, as are individual pages for specific industries.
For example, you could create a service page within your website, say ‘accountancy for solicitors’, and put some Google Ads spend behind it so that your business ranks highly for this specific search term.
You can also tailor your content to appeal to specific industries – through blogs, email newsletters and targeted social media posts.
For example, if a lot of your clients run retail businesses, you could create a campaign focusing on this sector, targeting people who run similar businesses and highlighting your expertise in this area.
Get keyword savvy
Long gone are the days when you could litter your website with lots of keywords and phrases and hope that you’d get to the top of Google rankings. Their algorithms are way too sophisticated for that. But keywords do still hold power, provided they are used properly.
Search engines value quality content that’s genuinely useful to users. So, if you want to target clients in your locality, think about how you can tap into this.
One way is to use Google’s Keyword Planner, which lets you filter keyword searches based on location, and see popular search terms in your area.
You can then look at how to weave these words naturally into your own website through page content, blog posts, URLs and image tags.
Remember, authenticity here is vital. Don’t shoehorn terms in just because you can. Create content that’s genuine, relevant and interesting.
To see how your competitors are using keywords to target customers in your area, try the free SEO tool Ubersuggest.
You’ll get data on all their traffic, including what keywords they’re ranking for and how much cost per click they’re paying for.
For more on this, check out Ubersuggest founder Neil Patel’s short YouTube video ‘A Simple Hack to Finding the Right Keywords to Rank #1 on Google’.
Think about voice recognition
Increasingly people are using voice recognition tools like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Alexa to verbally ask for answers to queries. This means that it’s worth thinking about the conversational queries people might ask to search for accountants in your area or in specific industries. Does your website content answer them?
Optimise any content you think is valuable for your visitors. For example, people often use words like ‘best’ or ‘nearest’ in search queries, so reflect this in your content.
Likewise, often with voice recognition, people will ask questions about services within specific localities in towns and cities, so make sure these are clearly mentioned on your website.
For example, if you have more than one branch, clearly list and provide maps for all your addresses, rather than just head office.
Another useful way to answer conversational queries is by adding an FAQ page to your website listing common questions.
Write succinct, relevant answers, which search engines can easily pick up and use to provide answers to voice recognition queries.
We hope that you find these tips a useful starting point for reaching out to potential clients in your area and in any specific industry sectors you work in.
As with any content strategy, the key to success is to track and measure what you’re doing, noting what works and what doesn’t and adapting your plan accordingly.
If you’d like to know more about how to use your web content to attract clients in your area or those working in specific industries, get in touch with us.
Gain further insight on what your market is saying about what they want from their accountant, by downloading the full report.
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