10 Key Strategies to Boost Your Local Accountant Search Rankings

10 Key Strategies to Boost Your Local Accountant Search Rankings

 

Why use social media to grow your business? It’s where your customers are. There are nearly 2.5 billion social media users across the globe. And more than 50 percent of small business owners in the U.S. rely on social as their primary digital-marketing technique because of its effectiveness for finding and connecting with new customers. It also doesn’t cost an arm and leg to use like some traditional marketing methods.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to join the many small business owners who are using social to build awareness, drive sales, and gain new customers. This collection of social media tips for small business will have you well on your way to do just that.

Social media for small business: 10 tips to set you up for success

1. Start with a plan

Just like a business needs a business plan, your social media actions need to be informed by a carefully crafted strategy. As we establish in our six-step guide to creating a social media marketing plan you must:

  1. Set social media goals and objectives. It’s important to go beyond vanity metrics such as likes and retweets and also focus on factors like leads generated, conversion rates, and web referrals. Use the S.M.A.R.T goal framework—goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—when establishing your social media goals.
  2. Conduct a social media audit. This means determining who is already connecting with you on social, which networks your target audience uses, and how your social media presence measures up against your competitors.
  3. Create or improve your existing accounts. After choosing which social networks are best suited for your small business, build up your social presence on each network, in accordance with your broader business goals and audience. If you already have existing social accounts, ensure they’re updated to reflect your brand values.
  4. Find inspiration. Look at what content those in your industry are already sharing, and use social listening to discover insights about appealing to prospects and setting yourself apart from your competition. It’s also advisable to look at industry leaders (Nike, Coca-Cola, Amazon, etc.) to see what they’re doing right and how to implement those tactics in your own strategy.
  5. Create a social media calendar. This is an essential part of your all-important content marketing plan. It should include the intended dates and times that you want to publish Facebook and Instagram posts and tweets, as well as any other social media content.
  6. Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy. You should be constantly fine tuning your strategy based on performance metrics. Analyze things like number of clicks per post, the reach of your social campaigns, and the number of page visits resulting from social— then adjust and improve based on this data.

2. Decide which platforms are right for you

Not all social media platforms will be suitable for your business and the goals and objectives you’ve set. Below we offer a high-level look at the most popular platforms.

  • Facebook: The world’s most popular social media network with more than 2 billion users as of September 2017, it features the largest number of regular users, making it the most appealing network in terms of sheer reach.
  • Instagram: Instagram’s claim to fame is its visual-centric approach, where successful marketing is based in large part on the aesthetic appeal of the content you share. This platform also boasts the best engagement levels among all social networks at 59 percent, according to the 2016 Bloglovin’ Global Influencer Survey.
  • LinkedIn: The world’s largest social networking site for professionals with more than 467 million users.
  • Twitter: Twitter is renowned for its brevity thanks to the 280-character tweet limit.
  • Snapchat: A disappearing content platform that’s especially popular with younger demographics.
  • YouTube: An excellent resource for brands who have the resources to take advantage of the popularity of online videos.
  • Pinterest: What makes Pinterest unique is its users, who are searching to find ideas for all parts of their lives. This makes Pinterest ideal for driving action, such as a purchase or a visit to your website. With this information, you can begin the process of whittling down which social sites make the most sense for your business. It could end up being one, some, or all.

3. Know your audience

Determining the traits of your target audience is a critical component of market research. Without this information, you’ll have no idea how to appeal to them.
You need to know things like age, gender, location, pain points, goals, average income, etc.

One of the best ways to conduct successful market research is by creating audience personas for your customers. You can create an audience persona by:

  • Collecting demographic data from social media, surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews
  • Looking for trends within this data (behaviors, ages, occupations)
  • Establishing their pain points and goals
  • Turning these traits into representations of people, complete with names, job titles, career histories

4. Use social media to promote and sell your products or services

Using social for promotion isn’t as easy as simply tweeting about your brand every once in a while or using Facebook advertising. You need a strategy in place to optimize your results.

For starters, use the famous 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle) of social curation: 80 percent of your social promotional and selling success (the event) comes from just 20 percent of the cause (your social curation). Therefore, your social content across all your channels should be no more than 20 percent promotional. The other 80 percent should be about your customers—engaging with them and sharing relevant content that they will find valuable.

Then, you must use each social channel according to its strengths.

For instance, if you’re selling T-shirts or jewelry, your best bet is using Instagram or Pinterest due to their image-centric nature. If you’re an apparel, beauty or jewelry retailer in the U.S., you now have the ability to tag your images in Instagram, so detailed product information, as well as a link back to your site, appears alongside the image.

Similarly, on Pinterest, small businesses can sell their products directly on the site, thanks to Buyable Pins, allowing customers to make a purchase in only a few clicks.

5. Incorporate images, videos, and graphics whenever you can

Use visual elements as much as you can, no matter what social platform you’re using. Sixty-seven percent of marketing decision makers say that they use visual content on social media for its engagement value, according to Lewis’ The State of Visual Communications in 2016.

Incorporating visuals—from static images to videos, GIFs, and memes—in your social media content is easy. Just make sure that whatever visual asset you’re using is relevant to your content and the audience.

6. Choose quality over quantity

It’s tempting to put your brand on as many social platforms as possible in an attempt to reach as large an audience as possible. But there’s no benefit to spreading yourself too thin.

When quantity increases, quality usually drops because you’re more focused on quotas: a certain number of tweets per week or a certain number of Facebook posts per month.

Instead, focus on quality over quantity. Go where your audience is and deliver them value. You’ll be rewarded for it.

If you’ve done your research and created audience personas, you should know which platform(s) your target customers prefer. Focus your efforts there, sharing quality content that solves their problems, makes their lives easier, entertains them, etc.

Remember the Pareto Principle: The majority of your social content shouldn’t be promoting yourself, it’s about adding value for the audience.

7. Use the right tools

Save time and effort by using the tools that make social media easier.

In 2017, the average daily time spent on social media by users was 135 minutes. Running a small business demands your time and attention in many other areas—you can’t afford to get sucked into social longer than you have to.

8. Monitor and respond to all social media conversations around your business

Social media can act as a stand in for the face-to-face conversation in today’s digital world. Responding directly to the audience allows you to humanize your brand. Fail to engage your audience and they might think you’re not invested in what they want. And that’s not good for your bottom line.

More than 80 percent of all customers expect a business to reply within 24 hours of a social media posting, according to Altitude Software’s 2016 The Omnichannel Evolution of the Customer Experience.

Social media engagement also offers an opportunity for you to demonstrate your brand’s unique personality.

Don’t hesitate to reply with a bit of humor, all the while showcasing your business’ expertise. Using photographs of you and your employees at work is also an effective way of connecting with the audience, as data shows that image-rich social content drastically increases engagement.

9. Schedule content to free up more time for engagement

Sharing relevant content is important, but it shouldn’t get in the way of the time you need to actively engage the audience.

10. Find inspiration from successful brands and those in your space

There’s no shame in using winning strategies on social that other brands have used to great effect. Taking inspiration from established brands on social media and experiment with some of their tactics on your own channels.

You can also monitor and take inspiration from what your competitors are doing. If you see a great idea, you can adapt it for your own campaigns.

 

 

 

Is Your Accountant Website Losing Potential Clients? 5 Questions to Ask

Is Your Accountant Website Losing Potential Clients? 5 Questions to Ask

 

Fresh new marketing initiatives and new targets for sales have likely been discussed, but what about making ‘digital’ a real focus for your business in 2018?

Here are 5 reasons we think you would invest in a new website in 2018, and why it’s the first step towards really getting serious about making digital part of your marketing efforts for the new year. Let’s dive in…

1) Your website offers a poor experience to users on the move

 

Mobile internet browsing is huge. In 2008 a marketing analyst Mary Meeker predicted that in 2014 mobile access to the internet would overtake desktop usage. She was right, with the tipping point actually occurring in late 2013. In July 2015 another report was conducted, concluding that time spent browsing the internet on mobile devices clocks in at 4.3 hours per day (on average) compared with 2.8 hours on desktop devices¹

Of course, we’re now in 2018, so it’s absolutely critical that your website’s mobile experience is top notch.

The stats above just show that we’re consuming websites on the move as well as when the feeling takes us, by impulsively searching for services we require or products we might need, such as during an ad break whilst sitting on the sofa watching TV.

Why is this a reason to invest in a new website?

As a business you can’t ignore the change in the way people are consuming websites. You need to ensure that your website looks fantastic and offers a flawless user experience (UX) on mobile devices (as well as desktop ones too). Otherwise you’re going to lose potential business – no question about it.

If your website was redesigned more than a year ago it’s also worth noting that Google has started to roll out its “Mobile First Index”. Because most people are now browsing the web from their phones, Google is starting to determine where your site ranks based on how your website renders on mobile, rather than on desktop. Here’s some more information on this if you want to read more.

Even if your current website is responsive and adjusts when viewed on a range of different devices, if it was created even back in early 2017, chances are there are improvements that can be made now we know more about how users interact with responsive websites.

We see 2018 as the perfect time to redesign your website to put mobile users first.

2) The content on your website isn’t communicating the right message anymore

 

 

Content – often left as the last piece of the puzzle in a web design project – is actually one of the most important elements of your website. Why?

Because words go a long way in converting your website visitors into customers and clients. Pair up awesome design with great content and you’re on to a winning combination.

So, what’s the problem with content on many business websites?

  • It’s not regularly fine-tuned and updated, so it makes your website appear extremely stagnant, and can even make your business project a totally different message to the one you intended.
  • It’s written like a series of statements and facts. E.g. “We were founded in 2009 and offer web design services to small businesses”. Rather than in a way that addresses the problems your clients are facing and how you can solve them to make your client’s life easier.

Why is this a reason to invest in a new website?

Content is still king online, more so in 2018 than at any other time, so having a website that makes it super-easy for you to effortlessly add new content is essential if you want your website to be a success this year.

A website redesign is also the perfect time to re-evaluate your message and re-work your content to make sure it’s resonating with your target audience(s). Our top tip would be to also ensure that if you do redesign your website this year, make sure you pick an easy to use CMS (Content Management System) and put a lot of work in to fine tuning your content and making sure it’s of high value to your prospects.

3) Your visitors can’t easily find what they need or complete an action on your website

 

The ideal client you want to appeal to may have changed over time in your business, so there’s a good chance your website is outdated in this respect too.

Can visitors find valuable information on your website? Information that’s valuable enough and compelling enough for them to make contact?

You might also have a few different types of user visiting your website, each type looking for something different. Does your current website cater for all their individual needs?

Why is this a reason to invest in a new website?

It’s a valid reason because if your visitors can’t find what they need, or carry out tasks they want to complete on your website, then it’s ineffective and a complete waste.

Our top tip here to avoid this with any website redesign you carry out in 2018 would be to create “user stories” or “user personas”.

This is where you give your customer type one a name (e.g. Customer #1: John) and create a persona for him, and list tasks he’d likely be looking to carry out or information he’d be wanting to access on your website.

Often, once you’ve got all your personas mapped out (you might have three or four) you’ll get a lightbulb moment, giving you clarity on how to structure your new website and what kind of content you need to include to ensure visitors convert into clients / customers.

4) You aren’t using video on your website (and on other channels too)

 

You’re bound to have noticed that video played a big part in 2017 when it came to inbound marketing strategies.

According to an awesome infographic from HubSpot ², Groupon Works has concluded that by 2017 video will take up 69% of all consumer web traffic (the equivalent of 4x as much as web browsing and time spent emailing) ³.

Creating high valuable, useful, entertaining videos and publishing them on YouTube and other social media channels is a great way to generate web traffic, especially as filming and recording is easier now than ever.

Why is this a reason to invest in a new website?

Video usage will only increase in 2018 as our attention spans get shorter and we demand more information quickly, so embracing video is a no brainer if you want to get serious about inbound marketing.

Including video in a big way on your website is also increasingly popular now. Why? It’s just so engaging if done correctly. The way in which you use video on your website will differ depending on the type of business you’re in. Are you selling a product or service? Try having an explainer video created for your new website, and then integrate it front and center on the homepage. I’d be willing to bet you’ll see an increase in conversions.

5) You don’t have a clear ‘digital strategy’

 

Having a ‘digital strategy’ in 2018 is going to be imperative. If you don’t have one now you need to work on putting one in place, and your new website can be the centerpiece that brings it all together.

A digital strategy is really the process of specifying your businesses vision, goals, opportunities and related activities to maximize the business benefits of digital initiatives. It’s basically putting in place a digital plan to succeed online.

Let’s say you’re a florist. Your digital strategy might be made up of:

  • regular social media posts on your business Twitter / Facebook pages, sharing new products, bouquets, arrangements to encourage engagement and sharing among followers.
  • the creation of videos on your YouTube channel and website educating users about how to pick the right flowers for the right occasions.
  • publishing high value articles in the blog on your website to encourage sharing, distribution and as a result more traffic to your website.
  • weekly email newsletters to your customer list informing them of special offers and promotions and recycling content you’ve posted on your website.

As you can see it’s really all about content creation and distribution on different channels.

Why is this a reason to invest in a new website?

Because your new website will be the central hub where you are adding and publishing new content which can be shared across all the channels mentioned in the florist example above. All your digital activities should point people back to your website, which if finely tuned and professional in its appearance will convert those visitors into customers.

 

2018 is the right time

A new year is the perfect time to address the five issues we’ve mentioned above and your website should play a key role if you’re going to take digital seriously and want to see results. Far too many businesses sit back and leave their website to get outdated. If you utilize it and integrate the points mentioned in this article you can drastically improve the return you’ll get on your investment of a website redesign. So to conclude, get serious about digital in 2018 and you can without doubt make 2018 your best year in business!

5 Reasons an Accountant Company Needs Content Marketing

5 Reasons an Accountant Company Needs Content Marketing 

 

Constantly clamoring to grab the attention of prospective customers, small businesses are competing with a lot of noise. To avoid getting skipped over or ignored, savvy digital marketers must craft messages that their target audience wants to see. When small businesses communicate with their customers by providing information instead of offering a sales pitch, the consumer will listen. The message and the brand are no longer an interruption, but a valued information provider.

There’s a name for this tricky tactic — it’s called content marketing. Content marketing means consistently creating and distributing information that is valuable and relevant to those people within a small business’s target audience. Ultimately, the goal is for your content to entice a consumer to do business with your company.

You might be thinking, “That’s not what I do — I’m not a writer!” But whether you sell gizmos, fix cars or build homes, content marketing for your company can help you attract and retain customers.

Here are some of the ways content marketing drives results for small businesses.

1. Boosts brand awareness.

Consistency is a key ingredient to a successful content marketing strategy. This means publishing fresh content at a regular frequency, creating many opportunities for a target market to see the company’s name. Your brand becomes familiar to them, and you’ll be top-of-mind the next time they need your services.

2. Builds an identity as a trusted expert.

If there are 50 attorneys in a town but the only one provides helpful information that educates the community about plumbing maintenance, problems, options and innovations, that brand will stand out as the expert. By doing this, a brand is demonstrating its expertise, so prospective customers need not question or research its know-how. Since this small business is helping consumers without getting paid for this advice, it will also earn a reputation for being trustworthy.

3. Encourages your client to take action.

When consumers need to spend money or make time for a service, it’s natural to procrastinate. However, once a consumer gets clear answers to his or her questions, or hears a story that he or she can relate to, that person could finally be motivated to make a purchase or schedule an appointment. Producing content that guides a consumer through the buyer’s journey (awareness, evaluation, and purchase) results in more sales.

4. Shareable content brings people in the door.

Creating a steady stream of fresh information on a variety of topics opens several avenues to drive traffic to a website — through search, social media, traditional media and more — which ultimately results in phone calls, orders or foot traffic. Marketing tactics that are already in place, such as pay-per-click advertising, digital banner ads, public relations efforts, social media accounts and search engine optimization don’t work as well without content to promote.

These vehicles need something to talk about and link to. Publishing new, relevant content gives people a reason to click. Covering unique, timely and seasonal topics will interest a broader audience and encourage repeat visitors. It also boosts ranking in search results, making it more likely that potential customers will find your small business before one of your competitors.

5. Keeps your website fresh.

Most consumers today rely on the web to find the information they need to make decisions. So, a website often will be a consumer’s first impression of that business. A stagnant, stale website is less interesting and less professional than one with updated content that changes regularly. Undecided consumers who are researching their options might check out a website and social media presence more than once. When they come back, seeing something new and relevant makes their visit a better experience — and shows that the brand is a professional organization.

Content that provides basic information is everywhere today. If you want your content marketing to be successful and work for your business, you need to go deeper than everyone else. Think about what the next step is after someone learns or completes the basic steps. Be specific and give the audience more than they can find anywhere else.

By focusing on your content, you’ll be ahead of your competition in terms of delivering the best content to your target audience. Next, promote that content as much as possible, track your results and identify where you can make improvements. As you learned above, you need to be adaptive if you want your content marketing investments to truly work for your business.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy. You can support it with short-term tactics to drive immediate results, but its power in growing a brand and business comes from its ability to generate long-term, sustainable, organic growth for your company. That means you need to make a commitment to publishing quality content on a consistent basis. Don’t give up. Persistence wins when it comes to content marketing.

10 Social Media Tips for an Accountant Company

10 Social Media Tips for an Accountant Company

 

Why use social media to grow your business? It’s where your customers are. There are nearly 2.5 billion social media users across the globe. And more than 50 percent of small business owners in the U.S. rely on social as their primary digital-marketing technique because of its effectiveness for finding and connecting with new customers. It also doesn’t cost an arm and leg to use like some traditional marketing methods.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to join the many small business owners who are using social to build awareness, drive sales, and gain new customers. This collection of social media tips for small business will have you well on your way to do just that.

Social media for small business: 10 tips to set you up for success

1. Start with a plan

Just like a business needs a business plan, your social media actions need to be informed by a carefully crafted strategy. As we establish in our six-step guide to creating a social media marketing plan you must:

  1. Set social media goals and objectives. It’s important to go beyond vanity metrics such as likes and retweets and also focus on factors like leads generated, conversion rates, and web referrals. Use the S.M.A.R.T goal framework—goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—when establishing your social media goals.
  2. Conduct a social media audit. This means determining who is already connecting with you on social, which networks your target audience uses, and how your social media presence measures up against your competitors.
  3. Create or improve your existing accounts. After choosing which social networks are best suited for your small business, build up your social presence on each network, in accordance with your broader business goals and audience. If you already have existing social accounts, ensure they’re updated to reflect your brand values.
  4. Find inspiration. Look at what content those in your industry are already sharing, and use social listening to discover insights about appealing to prospects and setting yourself apart from your competition. It’s also advisable to look at industry leaders (Nike, Coca-Cola, Amazon, etc.) to see what they’re doing right and how to implement those tactics in your own strategy.
  5. Create a social media calendar. This is an essential part of your all-important content marketing plan. It should include the intended dates and times that you want to publish Facebook and Instagram posts and tweets, as well as any other social media content.
  6. Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy. You should be constantly fine tuning your strategy based on performance metrics. Analyze things like number of clicks per post, the reach of your social campaigns, and the number of page visits resulting from social— then adjust and improve based on this data.

2. Decide which platforms are right for you

Not all social media platforms will be suitable for your business and the goals and objectives you’ve set. Below we offer a high-level look at the most popular platforms.

  • Facebook: The world’s most popular social media network with more than 2 billion users as of September 2017, it features the largest number of regular users, making it the most appealing network in terms of sheer reach.
  • Instagram: Instagram’s claim to fame is its visual-centric approach, where successful marketing is based in large part on the aesthetic appeal of the content you share. This platform also boasts the best engagement levels among all social networks at 59 percent, according to the 2016 Bloglovin’ Global Influencer Survey.
  • LinkedIn: The world’s largest social networking site for professionals with more than 467 million users.
  • Twitter: Twitter is renowned for its brevity thanks to the 280-character tweet limit.
  • Snapchat: A disappearing content platform that’s especially popular with younger demographics.
  • YouTube: An excellent resource for brands who have the resources to take advantage of the popularity of online videos.
  • Pinterest: What makes Pinterest unique is its users, who are searching to find ideas for all parts of their lives. This makes Pinterest ideal for driving action, such as a purchase or a visit to your website. With this information, you can begin the process of whittling down which social sites make the most sense for your business. It could end up being one, some, or all.

3. Know your audience

Determining the traits of your target audience is a critical component of market research. Without this information, you’ll have no idea how to appeal to them.
You need to know things like age, gender, location, pain points, goals, average income, etc.

One of the best ways to conduct successful market research is by creating audience personas for your customers. You can create an audience persona by:

  • Collecting demographic data from social media, surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews
  • Looking for trends within this data (behaviors, ages, occupations)
  • Establishing their pain points and goals
  • Turning these traits into representations of people, complete with names, job titles, career histories

4. Use social media to promote and sell your products or services

Using social for promotion isn’t as easy as simply tweeting about your brand every once in a while or using Facebook advertising. You need a strategy in place to optimize your results.

For starters, use the famous 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle) of social curation: 80 percent of your social promotional and selling success (the event) comes from just 20 percent of the cause (your social curation). Therefore, your social content across all your channels should be no more than 20 percent promotional. The other 80 percent should be about your customers—engaging with them and sharing relevant content that they will find valuable.

Then, you must use each social channel according to its strengths.

For instance, if you’re selling T-shirts or jewelry, your best bet is using Instagram or Pinterest due to their image-centric nature. If you’re an apparel, beauty or jewelry retailer in the U.S., you now have the ability to tag your images in Instagram, so detailed product information, as well as a link back to your site, appears alongside the image.

Similarly, on Pinterest, small businesses can sell their products directly on the site, thanks to Buyable Pins, allowing customers to make a purchase in only a few clicks.

5. Incorporate images, videos, and graphics whenever you can

Use visual elements as much as you can, no matter what social platform you’re using. Sixty-seven percent of marketing decision makers say that they use visual content on social media for its engagement value, according to Lewis’ The State of Visual Communications in 2016.

Incorporating visuals—from static images to videos, GIFs, and memes—in your social media content is easy. Just make sure that whatever visual asset you’re using is relevant to your content and the audience.

6. Choose quality over quantity

It’s tempting to put your brand on as many social platforms as possible in an attempt to reach as large an audience as possible. But there’s no benefit to spreading yourself too thin.

When quantity increases, quality usually drops because you’re more focused on quotas: a certain number of tweets per week or a certain number of Facebook posts per month.

Instead, focus on quality over quantity. Go where your audience is and deliver them value. You’ll be rewarded for it.

If you’ve done your research and created audience personas, you should know which platform(s) your target customers prefer. Focus your efforts there, sharing quality content that solves their problems, makes their lives easier, entertains them, etc.

Remember the Pareto Principle: The majority of your social content shouldn’t be promoting yourself, it’s about adding value for the audience.

7. Use the right tools

Save time and effort by using the tools that make social media easier.

In 2017, the average daily time spent on social media by users was 135 minutes. Running a small business demands your time and attention in many other areas—you can’t afford to get sucked into social longer than you have to.

8. Monitor and respond to all social media conversations around your business

Social media can act as a stand in for the face-to-face conversation in today’s digital world. Responding directly to the audience allows you to humanize your brand. Fail to engage your audience and they might think you’re not invested in what they want. And that’s not good for your bottom line.

More than 80 percent of all customers expect a business to reply within 24 hours of a social media posting, according to Altitude Software’s 2016 The Omnichannel Evolution of the Customer Experience.

Social media engagement also offers an opportunity for you to demonstrate your brand’s unique personality.

Don’t hesitate to reply with a bit of humor, all the while showcasing your business’ expertise. Using photographs of you and your employees at work is also an effective way of connecting with the audience, as data shows that image-rich social content drastically increases engagement.

9. Schedule content to free up more time for engagement

Sharing relevant content is important, but it shouldn’t get in the way of the time you need to actively engage the audience.

10. Find inspiration from successful brands and those in your space

There’s no shame in using winning strategies on social that other brands have used to great effect. Taking inspiration from established brands on social media and experiment with some of their tactics on your own channels.

You can also monitor and take inspiration from what your competitors are doing. If you see a great idea, you can adapt it for your own campaigns.