The world has been trundling along towards a virtual future, particularly in the last two or three decades, but I think it's safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us forward considerably. With millions of people worldwide having to work from home for most of 2020, businesses have had to adapt to remote working and internet and mobile phone providers have had to increase their capacity to levels that they've never seen before. As you can imagine, global internet usage and therefore traffic has skyrocketed during this time and it still remains considerably higher today. So what does this mean for accountancy practices like yours? It means that you need to know how to optimise your website now more than ever if you want to be found online.
This article is based upon a virtual (paid) workshop we did on how to add £2k quickly to your monthly revenue. Click here to download (for free) the whole recording of the workshop.
All together you will learn these three main takeaways:
- How to generate more income from your existing clients (without putting in place a price rise)
- How to get your clients to pay for more services (without being seen to be profiteering)
- What marketing your firm can do right now (which will cause new good clients to flock to your firm)
Remain competitive now and in the post-COVID future
As we mentioned, internet usage increased considerably this year and it remains higher than what it was pre-COVID. This means it's a better time than ever to evaluate your website for optimisation and to finally make improvements.
Imagine, a potential prospect is looking for your services. They search for a keyword that you're ranking for in Google, but your website hasn't been updated in a while so they leave your website with a bad impression of you and go to one of your competitors.
Another scenario, even worse than the first, is that you don't rank for any of the keywords that your clients search for at all. Again, this results in your competitors swooping in and taking all the potential clients and opportunity that could have been yours.
To prevent these two scenarios from becoming a reality, you need to know how to optimise your website for Google. This means addressing three key areas:
- You need to first get prospects to your website - e.g. rank high in Google and have a strong social media presence.
- You need to make that first impression count - e.g. optimise your user experience and have your website copy and blogs tailored to your clients. You need to have regular blogs being published to show that you are active.
- You need to build trust and a strong relationship with your clients - e.g. post regular, high-quality content to help/support your clients and stay front of mind when they are ready to buy.
Only when you do this are you truly competitive both now and in a post-COVID, virtual world (a.k.a the future).
How to optimise your website
Many businesses are tempted to take a step back from marketing during a recession - they feel pressured to regroup and prepare for the short-term consequences - but if you do this, you will be left behind. Digital marketing never stops, especially now as everyone is online more, so your practice will only suffer from this retreat.
SEO is a process that takes time, so you need to be focusing on optimising your website now to benefit for when we come out of the recession. Here's how to optimise your website.
Get prospects to your website
In the first step for how to optimise your website, you need to focus on getting prospects to your site. To do this, you need to be ranking highly in Google (i.e. being found for the specific keywords that your clients type into the search engine), and you need to have a strong social presence where you can share content and increase your click-through rate to your website. As well as these two avenues, you can also pay for traffic to your website.
1. Rank highly in Google
Before you focus on optimising your website for Google, you need to know your client personas (i.e. what are their specific challenges and pain points? What are their motivations and desires? Why would they come to you?). Once you have these, you can then tailor your website and content to directly target them. To see where your website needs some attention, download our free website checklist optimised for small accountancy firm websites.
How to optimise your website for Google:
- Prioritise local search - set up business listings on Advisor Directories, Google My Business, and Apple Maps etc. Also, use Google Category as a keyword for your home page on your website and make sure to have your keyword and location on every post and page.
- Optimise your keywords - once you know the keywords that your clients will search for, write blogs that target each one. Make sure that it appears in the URL, Meta title, Meta description, introduction paragraph, alt tags of images, and naturally within the text.
- Make people want to click into your website - you need to make people want to click on to read your articles so your headlines need to grab attention and elicit action. Make sure they state a clear benefit, they solve a problem or they trigger curiosity.
- Avoid the biggest SEO mistakes - don't ever duplicate content, overload your article with the keyword or buy links. Google will penalise you for it and your website won't rank.
2. Get social clicks
Another avenue to increase traffic to your website is via social media. Many accountants underestimate the power of social media, but with the way the world is moving, this digital avenue can no longer be ignored.
To increase your social clicks, here are the areas that you need to focus on:
- You need to have social media accounts where your clients are active - as a minimum, you should be on LinkedIn with a LinkedIn company page and individual accounts for your client-facing staff.
- You need to write and share content on your social channels - the goal is to get people to like, share, and comment on your posts so that you can increase the number of people who click through to your website. Don't forget to have share buttons on every article to make it easy for your readers to circulate too.
- You need to increase your social media presence - be seen on social media by joining local community groups and commenting regularly in discussions. This helps people get to know YOU outside of your firm.
3. Pay for traffic to your website
Another great way to get prospects to your website is to pay for traffic. Now, this may sound scary, but it's not once you know how it works. It also means that you don't waste money on ads that do nothing AND it can give you some insight into your audience that you didn't know (things like age, gender, location etc).
If you want to pay for traffic to your website, definitely use an expert in Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads. They can help you track your ad spend and efficiency religiously, and they can make sure that your ads actually achieve what you want them to.
Make the first impression count
Once you get your prospects to your site, you want them to stay there so you need to make that first impression count. Why? Because we all make first impressions based on what we see in front of us and these impressions tend to last well beyond that moment. Countless studies have shown that when someone experiences something before other things in a sequence, they remember that first thing more. This is called the 'Primacy Effect' so how can you use this cognitive bias to your advantage?
To make a good first impression, here are the areas that you need to focus on:
- Your website needs to be easy to use - make sure to have quick loading pages that aren't too 'text-heavy.' Use images which emotionally engage with your ideal clients and make sure that the design is mobile-friendly! Keep adverts to an absolute minimum, make pop-ups relevant, and don't have any auto-playing video or audio - you don't want to annoy your visitor because they will just leave immediately.
- Your content needs to be beautifully presented - we like things that are visually pleasing, so focus on your content presentation to make it appealing. Make sure that there are lots of white space between text elements, that font types and sizes are consistent, and that text is broken up into chunks with sub-headings, bullet points, and images.
- Your content needs to valuable and of a high-quality - make your content about your ideal client (not your firm) and write in their language. The easier you can make it so that the client can identify your niche, what you offer, and how they can benefit from your services, the better. Less is more here, so grab attention with your words and let your firm's personality shine through.
The goal here is to make your website visually appealing and easy to use. Appearance affects how trustworthy, credible, and powerful people think you are. When it comes to user experience, you want your site to be easy to navigate so that the user stays on longer and leaves feeling satisfied rather than leaving immediately and being annoyed at how difficult it is to find what they want.
To see where your website needs some attention, download our free website checklist optimised for small accountancy firm websites.
Build trust and a long-lasting relationship with your potential clients
Once you've got your prospects to your website and you've made a good first impression, the next thing you need to focus on is building a relationship with them. Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy so you need to stay front of mind with them until they do. To do this, to secure your place as your clients' first call when they're ready to buy, you need to maintain a strong online presence, create authority and trust through your content, and you need to encourage people to read more on your website.
To build long-lasting relationships, you need to:
- Optimise your home page - as well as all the elements you must have on your home page (e.g. headline, logos, your firm's contact details etc), it's essential that you answer 4 key questions for the client: Who are you? What do you as a firm specialise in? Which type of clients get the best value from working with you? How your firm is different from other accountancy firms? To see where your website home page needs some attention, download our free website checklist optimised for small accountancy firm websites.
- Optimise your about page - the mistake many firms make is writing the about page just about them. You need just a quick introduction to your firm and the rest needs to be about how you can help the prospect. You need to show them that you understand their specific pain points and challenges and how you can help them overcome them.
- Encourage your prospects to stay on your website - a key tip for how to optimise your website is to make it easy to navigate. This means having clear tabs at the top of your website (about us, services, pricing, contact us etc). To keep people interested, it also helps to have links throughout to relevant blogs and pages.
- Offer incentives to obtain your prospect's information - is there a useful checklist you can make to help your prospects? Maybe a questionnaire for them to find out which areas they need help with? Maybe you write a monthly newsletter with useful tips and advice that they could benefit from? These are incentives which you can use to capture the emails of your prospects and voila, this is the basis for a very long-lasting relationship to form between you.
Now is the best time to (finally) refresh your website
There are so many prospects that you could be missing out on online, whether because you're not ranking for keywords that you're supposed to or because you're not utilising your social media channels or because your website is difficult to use or the message isn't clear. With the effects of the pandemic still going strong, there isn't as good a time as now to finally update your website and make sure that it is optimised for your target audience. Don't miss out on any of these prospects because you're not doing what you should; now you know the three steps for how to optimise your website:
- Get your prospects to your website (through Google and LinkedIn)
- Make the right first impression (with your website and content)
- Build a long-lasting relationship (with your content and offerings)
To see where your website needs some attention, download our free website checklist optimised for small accountancy firm websites.
Learn how to quickly add an extra £2k of monthly recurring income to your practice (even if you are a reluctant business developer)
Download (for free) the workshop recording of 'How to quickly add £2k of monthly recurring revenue to your practice' and you will discover:
- How to generate more income from your existing clients without putting in place a price rise
- How to get your clients to pay for more services without seen to be profiteering or ambulance chasing
- What marketing your firm can do right now which is going to cause new good clients to flock to your firm