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Does Your Website "Connect" with Prospects?

Does Your Website "Connect" with Prospects?

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by Hugh Duffy

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When small business owners visit your website, does the website effectively educate the prospect on the type of service they want? Does it differentiate your practice from other local firms? Does it exude a personality? Is there local photography that reinforces the market where you operate your practice? Are the owners opening up or hiding behind the curtain?

Each day, I see accounting firm websites that are so stale and fail at the most basic level. Here are several examples of fundamental mistakes:

  • Most accounting websites assume that the initial experience starts on the home page. In reality, interior website pages account for 60% of the initial page views because search engines determine what page you land on. That means your service pages need to stand on their own and not assume the visitor started from your home page. Most accounting firm websites DO NOT have a phone number on every page which is a fundamental mistake. For example, if someone is searching for an accountant to help them with QuickBooks and use Google/Bing/Yahoo to locate a local provider, the search engine will often drive you to a page dedicated to QuickBooks accounting services. This landing page needs to effectively communicate what service you provide, how your practice is different, persuade them that you are adequately qualified, and provide them with several options to contact your accounting firm (phone number, free consultation form, etc.). So let's go to Google and type in Baltimore QuickBooks training and on page one, you will find Thomas J Palm PA or click this link. This landing page is an interior page discussing their QuickBooks training and set-up services, it clearly communicates that they are Intuit Certified (both QuickBooks Advanced and QuickBooks ProAdvisor logos at top of page), and the phone number is on the page twice.
  • The profile page is usually lame and cowardly (e.g., About Us, Our Team, Who We Are page, etc.). So after the website prospect reads about how impressive your services are, they often want to better understand who you are as a person before handing over the keys to their financial well being. Unfortunately, this is where many accountants fall flat on their face by using a lame stock photo and/or canned content about the accounting firms Professionalism, Responsiveness and Quality. This demonstrates a total lack of marketing. Here are examples of what I mean by a lame profile page:
    • Canned Firm Profile – Read how this accounting firm dropped the ball. No personal photos nor bios about the firm owners.
    • Where's Your Real Bio? - Tell me your depth of experience. There are tons of CPA's in my market so why should I hire you? Where did you attend college and where did you learn your craft?
    • I Don't Care About Your Mission Statement – Tell me who you are as a person and why I should hire your CPA firm.
    • Do I Know the Owners? - These partners put little effort into this.
    • No Profile Page at All – This website is patriotic but not very persuasive.
  • What does today's weather forecast have to do with accounting and tax services? Yes, the summer's in Minnesota can be nice but why show the weather during tax season when it's below 0 degrees? Will providing the weather forecast generate more leads? Does it bring back more clients to my website?

Here is an example of a large CPA firm that is doing things right. As full disclosure, they are not a BYF client but the photography is well done, you get to know the owners, and the content is well constructed regardless of what page you land on.

Your website is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. It's a relationship builder. Do it right the first time and it will earn you more business.

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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.