Professional accountants might share the same title, but their job can widely vary – from focusing on individual tax returns, to providing QuickBooks services to SMEs, to offering audit support. That’s one of many reasons I delight in consulting with them as much as I do.
Regardless of their niche, one undeniable fact is true in every case: just as with any business that offers goods and services, accounting professionals need clients. An accounting professional might be at the top of her class in school and very good at working with clients to boot – but unless and until she gets enough clients, her talent essentially means nothing.
Therefore, one of the first and most important question any accountant can ask is, How do I get my clients?
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The best way is with good accountant websites.
Today, if you are not online, you will simply not be able to generate enough leads or sell potential clients on the worth of your services.
This won’t change in the future, either. With thousands of students studying accounting, coupled with one of the most challenging of economies, finding clients is becoming a very competitive endeavor. Having a website will remain critical.
Here are 10 tips for how to use accounting websites to find accounting clients:
I. Ensure that your website isn’t amateurish. Technology has change the web. Creating a site is no longer a rarefied craft. There are several choices out there that allow you to obtain a domain name (your URL or web address), as well as easy-to-use software programs that will allow you to tailor your website to target the clients you want.
II. Don’t try to do it yourself – use a web designer. While your strength is with numbers, a professional web designer knows how to make your site look great and run smoothly.
Even if you have a good eye it takes much more than that to make high quality accountant websites, it takes training in things like navigational structure, meta tags, alternative text, flash, java, framed links, search engine optimization, and much much more. The trick is to not just attract visitors to your site, but also keep them once they arrive. To that end, your site should be both lovely to look at and chock full of helpful info.
III. Make the best possible use of social media platforms for marketing accountant websites. This isn’t as much of a hassle as you may have heard, although the more energy you put into it the better your results will be. The simple act – which takes all of half an hour – of creating profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is enough to gain exposure.
Facebook is the most important of these. Start there. Make a personal profile first, and then mock up a simple “fan” page for your accounting firm. Ask your friends and current clients to “like” your page and you’re on your way. You can use these sites to send out advertisements about business deals and reminders about tax season.
IV. To get more visitors to your site, you need to post plenty of links to other sites (as strange as that sounds). The best way to do this is to add links to your social media profiles. If someone visits your site and likes what they see, this will be an easy way for them to help you spread the word. Add a button that says “Like me on Facebook” or a “Follow me on Twitter” link and your social profiles will get a boost.
V. Your clients who have websites can use a plug – and adding a link to their site gives you a benefit, too (because the more links on your site, the better). People judge you by the clients that have hired you, so brag a little about who trusts your work.
VI. Take advantage of merchant websites that can help you get leads – such as eBay and Craigslist. These, and other similar sites, have extremely high traffic rates and are designed with classified sections that advertise services.
VII. Traditional advertising in newspapers that show your firms web address can generate significant traffic to accountant websites. Take a look at your local papers. You might be able to also get in their online edition, where you could either be listed in their “marketplace” or be featured in a banner ad. Where possible try to concentrate your ads in business and financial sections and include a tag line that will entice business owners to call. In addition, seek out papers and local publications in surrounding towns that aren’t too far for a new client to travel from.
VIII. Be proactive; see if you can find websites that cater to accountants alone. Sites like Accountant-Finder.com list accountants for a small fee, making it that much easier for leads to find you.
IX. Don’t turn up your nose at lead-gen websites such as adknowledge.com, either. There are plenty out there and they may bring in new business. These services, when used properly, can get you in contact with the clients you want and who need what you have to offer.
X. Lastly, make it a point to find the veterans in your field. Ask how they find clients, and then mimic them. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. Find online resources – such as Websites4accountants.com – that can teach you some tricks on how to obtain new clients.
Getting prospects for your company is tough. But don’t allow this to bum you out. Putting time and money into getting a professional CPA website is an achievable way to make this daunting goal come true – and gets your business humming.