Accountants looking for new clients today cannot afford to overlook online marketing and advertising.
So what are the options?
YOUR OWN WEBSITE
So you have your own website and it is great as an "online brochure" and an excellent place to steer new prospects to. But unless you have the ongoing budget (usually underestimated) and ongoing hours of manpower (also usually underestimated) to actively market your website you are unlikely to atttact many brand new clients to a website other than those you have already emailed or handed your business card to.
Social media platforms are undoubtedly where most of the internet population spends 90% of their time. So let's look at some of those platforms:
By far the biggest social media platform on the web today, you will certainly have an audience on Facebook. You could start a Facebook Page for your firm but that will be linked to your personal page. This means that most of the marketing and announcements you make about your firm's facebook page will be going out to your family and friends. Most of them will already know that you are an accountant. Also - do you really want to pester all your family and friends for likes and endorsements? Do you want to totally intermingle your private life and public life?
Publishing posts on your Facebook Page (like tweeting on Twitter) is ultimately a return to the old media paradigm of push marketing (as opposed to pull marketing).
Unless you're prepared to put in hours every week keeping your page up-to-date and fresh, and timeously answering any comments (good or bad), your page will soon look stale and give a bad impression.
Linkedin is an excellent platform for those in the corporate world. Essentially it is where your detailed online CV lives - critical for industry networking and job prospects. But that is not where the majority of SME owners go to when they are looking for an accountant. There is nothing wrong with having a Linkedin profile, but you certainly can't stop there.
Besides Facebook and Linkedin there are countless other platforms, but none of them are a close fit for accountants. Twitter is great if you are a celebrity or in the news business. Instagram and Pinterest are great if you're in the creative arts. But where can you just be an accountant?
NICHE INDUSTRY SPECIALIST DIRECTORIES
Niche directories are the experts at attracting people online that specifically require those services. That is, after all, their main function. As a serious contender to attact new accounting clients you really can't afford to be left out of the loop.
Even if you have your own website SEO experts around the world recommend listing on online directories - specifically those that are recognised as authority hubs within their industry. This gives your own website an endorsement in the view of the Search Engines, and can boost your own websites rankings (offering money for links back from high quality websites has been going on for years, but unless the back links appear natural - like those from industry directories - Search Engines often penalise this behaviour).
As with all things - not all Intenet Directories are created equal. Some of the pitfalls to look out for when deciding whether to list on a directory or not:
Directories that offer too many different types of services/products can never focus their marketing efforts to the same degree as specialisit directories.
Be aware of "free lisiting" directories. Usually these directories are full of out-dated information, and the information on each listing is sparse (input on-the-fly). If you've ever tried looking for a service/product on a "free listing" directory you will know how frustrating they can be. When people pay to be listed on a directory they ensure their info is comprehensive and up-to-date.
Try and ascertain how long the Directory has been in business, and that it is still currently being managed and developed. The internet is littered with start-up directories that you can still find online, but behind the scenes have actually been abandoned many years ago. Operating a specialist directory is not a get-rich-quick reality - it is a challenging enterprise that requires large resources and ongoing expertise.
Fortunately we can safely say that at FindanAccountant we pass the test on all of the above. So if you're a South African accountant looking for new clients. click below:
The first prize for accounting firm online marketing is obviously to have ALL of the above: Your own website, A Facebook Page, A Linkedin Profile, A Twitter feed, and one or more Directory Listings. They all work together and all boost each other. If you have the ongoing resources and manpower to maintain and regularly update all these platforms - go for it!