The biggest challenge you face as an accounting firm is acquiring clients. How do you convince clients to opt for your small to medium sized firm that’s barely a few years old in comparison to the Big Four? The online world can provide respite.
Your accounting business does not have the history, the reputation or even the money to attract high paying clients. However, if there is one platform that you can beat the big four accounting firms and any other competitors, it is the online world. By appearing at the top of right search engine results, you can loop clients into a sales funnel which will convert them.
It does not take history, reputation, or money to appear on top of a search engine result, rather all it takes is good search optimization on your website.
Compared to large accounting firms, your accounting website has several advantages.
As a small business, you automatically bring flexibility to the table. Modifying your website was never easier. Whether it is a trending topic or a seasonal topic, you can change your home page, add a service page or post a blog with ease.
A large company has three to five levels of management that need to give their approval before a website can be altered. In the online world, speed is of the essence to capture a trending topic.
There is a traditional norm for how business websites should look or sound. Large accounting firms tend to stick to this norm. You do not have to do so. Whether it is your visual presentation or content, you can be bold and creative. For example, The Blunt Bean Counter has content which you simply will not find anywhere on the web. It has accounting knowledge shared in a very humorous manner.
Online Marketing Focus
The online platform offers a vast array of mediums for your business to be on – social media, blogs, podcasts, search engines, and email. Rather than focus on multiple platforms, you can narrow down your focus on just SEO. For large corporations, the focus is given to multiple platforms and they fail to truly standout on any platform.
The biggest mistake you can make is to appeal to everyone. Large corporations have clients across the scale and don’t necessarily have a niche audience. Since your business has a niche audience, your search optimization can specially target your niche audience.
As a small accounting firm, you can create an atmosphere that comes off as authentic, which helps build trust with your readers.
Here’s how a small-medium sized accounting firm can compete with a large accounting firm.
Keywords which Big Competitors are Unwilling to Target
A large part of SEO is keyword optimization. Select keywords that big competitors are not willing to use. Large competitors are unwilling to target keywords that don’t have high search volume, that their audience generally doesn’t use, or that aren’t sales oriented. They don’t use these keywords because large corporations are unwilling to innovate when it comes to search engine optimization, and rather stick to the norm.
These are keywords you can leverage.
The standard of keyword optimization is to target one or two keyword phrases. A long-tail keyword phrase is a phrase of more than three keywords. It’s more of a query, for example: “how much does accounting services cost”.
Keyword Related to Specific information
What information is your audience specifically searching for? When conducting your keyword research, identify keywords that showcase information which your audience is searching for, such as: reduce tax, tax investment, and tax free saving account rules.
Tap into Hard-to-Monetize Content
What hard-to-monetize content specifically refers to is content or information that has a low chance of conversion. This is the type of information which your audience is searching for much higher up the sales funnel.
Rather than tap into a search query of Accounting services in Edmonton, you turn your website into a resource center that keeps bringing the audience back. You do so by offering a wide range of information that they would be looking for.
The above image is a look at your accounting sales funnel – in terms of the information that your audience is searching for. When your audience is looking for information regarding how much business tax they have to pay, they have not even thought about hiring an accounting service. However, by providing answers to all their questions, you build a brand recall. When they finally arrive at the lower stages of the sales funnel, your brand would have already created a strong presence.
Creating Hard-to-Monetize content is a long-term strategy, but over-time, your website becomes the go-to place for any accounting queries and is actively chosen over any large corporate brand.
Build 10x Content
Rather than just come up with a single content piece to “How much business tax do I have to pay”, create 10x content pieces. This way, you thoroughly tap into the question from all angles and provide answers to questions which your audience didn’t even think of yet.
Large corporations are national and international brands, hence their SEO strategies won’t focus on geo-local optimization. This gives your accounting website an advantage. If you geo-local optimize your website, you will be able to rank above others in local searches. Here are some starting points on how you can do so.
Mention your Address: Ensure that your business address is located on all your web pages, preferably, the footer.
Register for Google My Business: Google My Business is a platform that allows you to get your business onto Google Maps and Search.
Include Geo-Local Keywords: Geo-local keywords are keywords that have a location term in them. For example: Best accounting services in Edmonton. Make sure that your keyword strategy includes geo-local keywords.
Geo-Local Service Pages: Geo-local service pages are an effective way of targeting your audience across geographies such as Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park.
The online world offers a perfect opportunity for your business to grow unhindered by tough competition from the Big Four or other large competitors. By using good SEO strategy, your accounting firm can generate sufficient traction online, which you can convert into sales. Because large corporations have an established brand name and client traction, they fail to sufficiently leverage SEO. Their mistakes are your business’s gains, so ensure that you utilize each and every one of these points to give your brand a boost online.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.