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Website Design 101 For Accountants

 

Robert T. Kiyosaki said that, “The word accounting comes from the word accountability. If you are going to be rich, you need to be accountable for your money.” However, accounting is not just for the rich. It is something that everyone needs.

That’s right! From individuals, small businesses to home-run businesses to professionals to med and large organizations.

So you have a varied set of audience with different tax and accounting needs. Some may come to you for tax-related work, while others may have financial management issues. Some may even need a full-time accountant to manage their business. You have the solution to each of these problems, but, how will the audience know about it? Through digital marketing. But before you start a complete digital marketing strategy for accounting firms, you need to ask yourself if you have a good website to support your digital marketing efforts?

 

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Image Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1576417

A good website is the one that not only informs your visitors about you but also helps you to get convert these visitors into customers. Conversions take place when a website visitor performs a desired action on your website. These actions could be signing up for your newsletter, leaving an enquiry or buying your virtual accounting software, etc. In today’s article, we will dig into the technicalities of creating a conversion focused website for accounting firms.

 

Work Backwards

Before we divulge the tips and tricks to create a conversion focused website, we need you to work backwards and first understand some key metrics you need to analyze in order to improve your website conversions.

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Image Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/615525

1. Email Subscriptions

One of the best forms of customer interaction you can receive on your accounting website is the email subscriptions. If a user is ready to share their email id, they are highly impressed with your content and very close to becoming a conversion. Identifying such subscriptions is easy. Targeting them will get you much closer to a conversion.

2. Web Traffic Source

While you may consider web traffic to be an important metric for your website analysis, finding the traffic source is a more important metric to work on. Knowing the sources from where you are getting maximum traffic helps you to optimise and enhance your visibility on that source to increase the traffic considerably. There are three main types of visitor sources- search engines, referral websites and direct visitors.

3. Interactions Per Session

Interaction per session is an important metric. It is not necessary that every visit to your website will culminate into a conversion. However, if you are able to identify that a visitor had some interaction with your website, it is beneficial. If you identify what the visitor did on your website, which pages they visited and what comments they left behind, you still have a higher chance of converting them.

4. Bounce Rate

If you wish to increase conversions on your accounting website, you need to ensure that a visitor stays on it once they visit it. When a visitor opens your website but leaves sooner than expected, it is known as bounce rate. This is a metric you need to measure to find out how many users are bouncing off your website. A higher bounce rate could be an indicator of a poorly built website, irrelevant content and no conversion path.

5. Average Session Duration

An average session duration is the time a website visitor spent on your accounting website in one session. This is a direct indicator of how impressive the visitors found your website. If your website has information that is relevant and helpful for users, they will spend more time going through it. Average session duration is, therefore, an important metric. However, if a user spent more time on your webpage but has very less interaction, the chances are that the information is too much or confusing. This can reduce your chances of getting a conversion.

6. Return Visitor Conversion

Return visitor conversion refers to the website visitor that has visited your website before. The important factor to keep in mind when considering this metric is that something about your website made this user come back. You also need to figure out if the user had converted the first time or not. Even if they did not convert the first time, you can be rest assured as something about your website made them come back. Finding out this metric is important as you can then add elements for such users to convert them the next time they visit your website. For example, if a return visitor is the one who visited your website before and checked your virtual accounting software but did not convert, you can impress them this time by giving them a return customer coupon or discount.

7. Exit Pages

Website conversion is not a one-step process. There are usually two to three steps before a customer converts. For example, if you set a conversion goal of getting the contact details of the user for your gated content on tax management, the process begins when you promote the gated content via blogs or paid ads to capture the attention of the users, post which they will reach to the point of submitting their details in a form.

Often in such processes, the users can drop out midway before giving you the details and converting. You need to identify the webpage on which the users exited your website and ended the process. This helps you to then work on the very exit pages and improve it to ensure that the future users do not exit on this step.

 

 

Consider URL Tracking

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Image Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/website-url-go-button-www-web-454460/

To create a conversion focused website for accountants, you need to identify and measure the different metrics. Of course, tools like Google Analytics will provide this data. However, for enhanced data analysis, you should consider URL tracking. URL tracking refers to the process of adding unique identifiers in your URL that help you find the conversions and traffic you are receiving through your paid ads. It helps you to bifurcate organic and paid traffic accordingly to work on your strategy. So let us now learn how you can do URL tracking for your accounting website. We will be using Google Analytics. However, you can use any tool of your preference for URL tracking.

1. Build Your URL

In order to measure the above mentioned metrics, use a tool like Google Analytics. For those who have already created their account on Google, you now need to use the Google Analytics URL Builder. This builder will enable you to tag campaign tracking parameters on your URLs. The process to use it is very simple. First, you will add the link to your landing page which you plan to use for your paid ad. Then you need to add the campaign source which will be the search engine if the ad is being published on the search engine. Next, you need to add the campaign medium, which is the ad model you are using, such as PPC along with the target keyword, ad content and campaign name. The builder will then give you a long URL that now includes the tracking parameters.

2. Use the URL

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Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/6635768527

With your tagged URL ready, you now need to put it to use. Add it as your ad destination in Google Analytics. Also, replace it with the old URL of your campaign to start the tracking. With the new URL assigned to the campaign and Google Analytics, the actions taken in the ad will be tracked and accounted in the Google analytics, making it easy to analyse.

 

 

3. Set a Goal

Finally, set goals in your Google Analytics to make the conversion tracking process simpler. To create goals in Google Analytics, you need to go to the ‘Admin’ section and choose the ‘Goals’ option. Now click on ‘+New Goal’ and create a goal based on your desired conversion. In Google Analytics, the goals are of four major types:

  • Destination Goals: This goal is based on the URL destination. These are assigned to specific URLs such as popup forms, acknowledgement pages, etc. to measure the actions taken by the website visitor on the specific page.
  • Page Per Session Goals: The page per session goal tracks the number of pages a user visited when they opened your website. The more pages a user visits, the better your website is performing at engagement. Similarly, if the website visitor opens fewer pages, you need to work on your webpages to make them more engaging.
  • Event Goals: To set event goals, create events. With the help of JavaScript, include elements such as social media buttons in your web pages and track them. These events then become your goals.
  • Duration Goals: With the help of this goal, you are able to track how long a visitor stayed on your website post clicking on your ad or URL. The good thing is that you can set a limit of time spent by the user and track users that spend time less than your goal time. This goal will help you improve your website quality.

 

Combine Goals with Analytics

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We have so far discussed how Google Analytics keeps you on track with the conversion of your accounting website. Let us now move to another free tool by Google that enables you to combine your goals with analytics further- Google Tag Manager. This is a free tool that allows you to deploy tags and tracking pixels in your website to make the tasks of analysis easier. These tracking pixels make it easier to transfer website data to Google Analytics. It basically allows you to manage the code of your website on your own. As Google Tag Manager requires some amount of coding knowledge, it is advisable to take the assistance of a developer when using it.

Google Tag Manager has three main elements to enhance the tracking of your conversions:

  • Tags – Tags are tracking pixel codes that are not only provided by Google but also other third-party tools. These perform the task of informing the tag manager what it is supposed to do. Some common examples of tags include Google Analytics Universal Tracking, Facebook Pixel, Heat map tracking, etc.
  • Triggers – A trigger is an element that informs Google Tag Manager about when to perform a task based on the tag applied to the website.
  • Variables – Variables are the additional conditions that the Tag Manager may need to make the tag and trigger work effectively.

Learning and understanding Google Tag Manager is a difficult task. However, once you get the hang of using it effectively, it is a beneficial tool to help you customize data. With the help of Google Tag Manager, you can track content downloads, outbound linking, clicks and other actions on the website. Additionally, Google Tag Manager helps your website load better and faster. It is compatible with other analytical tools as well. What differentiates GTM from Google Analytics is that it enables you to track much more than just events. With it, you can scroll movements, video tracking, heat mapping, etc. All this will help you create a conversion focused website for your accounting firm.

 

Utilize Paid Ads

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Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ads-adversting-adwords-digital-marketing-942324/

There are two types of traffic you receive on your website, organic and paid. Organic traffic is the one that you have less control over. It’s the traffic that comes to your website through the search engine. Paid traffic, on the other hand, is the traffic that comes to your website through paid ads and sponsored content. In order to create a conversion focused website for accounting firms, both the types of traffic. A smart way to improve your website conversion rate is by utilising paid ads appropriately. Here are some tips for the same.

 

 

1. Have Call-to-action Buttons

A call-to-action button is an integral part of a paid ad. It is the element in your ad that enables a user to take an action after reading your ad content. A CTA of a paid ad is much different compared to your general CTA button on a website. It is more like a compelling statement that urges the reader to take an action. Here is an example.

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2. Include Your USP

When you create a paid ad for your accounting firm, you are not alone, hundreds of other accountants have the same idea. This means that you need to really plan your ad well to rank high on the search engine result pages and get the attention of the audience. One way to do that is by using your USP to stand out. Find out what sets your accounting services apart and highlight it in your ad.

 

 

3. Back Your Content

When you look for a dentist, don’t you look for reviews before you choose one? Of course, you do. The same is the case with accountants. Before choosing an accountant, people would want to read the review and rating of an accountant. Adding this to your paid ads will work wonders as not many accountants will opt for it, making your ad stand out to the users.

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4. Use Effective Landing Page

A landing page is where a user is directed to once they click on your online ad. Now if you create an ad about virtual accounting but the CTA takes the user to a tax management landing page then you lose the money on that one click. Once the user is convinced to click on your ad, your landing page is a chance to make them convert and become a customer. Create landing pages that support the information you promised in the ad and also do not forget to add a call-to-action in your landing page as well.

Work on No Conversions and Part Conversions

We have been discussing the different elements you need to pay attention to in order to create a conversion focused website for accounting firms. But sometimes even the best of efforts can fall short if a small thing goes amiss. The most disappointing scenario for a business is to optimise everything and get the customer near a conversion but then getting no or part conversion. No conversion refers to zero conversions. Part conversions take place when a customer is close to converting but backs out in the end. For example, a website visitor decides to buy your virtual accounting software and is filling in the card details but then suddenly drops the idea of buying.

For your accounting website, your efforts may get you good web traffic, good website time by visitor and enough clicks too, but still, the conversion part may be lacking. Here are some reasons why this could be happening.

 

1. Lack of Audience Analysis

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Image Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/360905

Conversions happen when the audience become customers. This process is not that simple as before the audience become customers, you need to identify the target audience from the audience. This is because, not everyone will be interested in your accounting services at all times. Everyone on the internet is an audience. Your target audience are only the people who require accounting services. A handy marketing technique is to always have your target audience personas defined. Most of you will have this persona defined. However, you cannot simply base your strategy on these personas as they are assumed personas at the end of the day. To support these personas you need intensive research that has the answers to what your audience wants, why they want it, and what major problems they have that you have a solution for. You could also speak with your existing clients to gain more insights on this.

From the findings of this, you can then divide your audience further into groups. Within your target audience, you will have people with different accounting needs. Some may be individuals with personal taxation needs, while others may be businesses with comprehensive accounting needs. Creating these groups will make it easier for you to create need specific pages and campaigns to target them. This will improve your conversion ratedrastically.

 

2. No Conversion Planning

Every conversion needs a specific type of planning. The commonly used model to strategise conversions is the conversion funnel. The concept of a conversion funnel provides you with an idea of the user flow from the time of getting familiar with your business until the time they convert. It has four major sections, Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action. In a conversion funnel planning, you decide on a strategy for each of these steps to make the conversion process a success by the time the user decides to choose you or not. Using this model as your base, you cover all open gaps in your conversion cycle with an effective strategy.

 

3. No Lead Management

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Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152123747@N06/32863956976

Optimizing the off-page elements and running paid ads will get the target audience on your website. They will go through your content and find what they need. But how will they convert into a client for your accounting firm? It depends on how you manage them once they become a lead. You worked hard on getting a lead, but if you don’t persuade the lead further, all efforts are lost. It is essential to not only contact the leads but also stay in touch with them until they convert.

For instance , you receive an email subscription for your gated content about small business finance management. This is a user who is either already running a small business or is planning to start one soon. This is your opportunity to persuade this lead into becoming a conversion. Reach out to the user through email and offer them a free 30-minute business consulting. Give them a bait to go ahead and connect with you. This is how you nurture your leads. In fact, you need to pay more attention to lead management as  leads are more likely to convert compared to the target audience.

 

 

4. Lack of Compelling Content

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Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/notes-macbook-study-conference-7102/

Strategising is indeed important to get conversions. However, you also need to use your words wisely to connect with the audience. At this point, the user has found your business website and is on it. Now you need to utilise your content to build their interest. What you need is a tone of content that connects with users and an offer that is hard to resist. Create landing page content that is informative, helpful, and in the end, has a CTA with a good offer.

For example, offering a tax season discount will actually work well for you as it is one time of the year when almost every business or individual is looking for an accountant. Now offering the same old service won’t make you stand out. However, offering the same service along with and additional service for cheaper rates is bound to get you conversions.

 

5. Bad Website Structure

A website needs to be ready for conversions if you want conversions. Comprehensive website with a lot of information and elongated paths to reach a webpage will just increase your website view time. However, it will not culminate into an action or conversion. Sometimes less information is better than more. Having precise website content that talks to the point is essential. Also, create the structure of your website in such a way that it should create a clear conversion path for the user. The call-to-action should be clearly visible.

Create Post Conversion Landing Pages

To make a conversion focused website for accounting firms, you need to go the extra mile apart from the general elements. Have you heard about post conversion landing pages? These are pages that further engage the user after they have become a lead. When you get a lead through a landing page, they are interested to know more. By using post conversion landing page, you take a chance while the iron is still hot.

You can use these pages in multiple ways. These pages can be useful to get more data about a user who simply shared their email id. It is also a good way to promote your social media pages now that they are following your newsletter. For conversions where a user left a query for you, you can have a post conversion landing page that gives a quick answer to a quick query on the spot. This will make the user happy and confident that you are quick in your service as well. Here are some quick tips on how you can create convincing post conversion pages.

 

1. Make it Interesting

The user has already seen your landing page so do not create a similar page for your post conversion. Include elements and design that are interesting and intriguing such as a video or an image. You could also have personalised thank you message now that you have the name of your lead.

 

2. Suggest a Giveaway

For a user that has just shared their details for a newsletter or some other content type, offering more is a great idea. If a user just converted into a lead by giving their details for gated content, use a post conversion page that offers them a registration for a free webinar about the same topic. You can also have a page suggesting free consultation here.

3. Talk to the User

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Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/doos/4501727789

As you have the details of the leads, use it to your benefit and create messages which addresses them personally. In your post conversion landing pages, stop the lead from leaving and have pop-ups or redirected pages that bid goodbye to the user or asks them what else they want. These pages can also be used to bring back users that have unsubscribed by offering them a re-subscription discount.

 

In your field of business, a website is of great importance as it acts as your social proof on the web. Having an impressive website is, therefore, necessary. However, today, just having an impressive website is not sufficient. Today your website should be able to get you conversions and leads. So if you want to be in the league of progressive websites, hire a digital marketing agency.

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.

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