Running a company is not an easy task. You have to face your fair share of ups and downs. Some days your business will make tremendous profits while some days it will just manage to break even on the money earned. As an accounting agency, you will know much more about this tendency of a sudden change in business revenue as you may be managing it for most of your clients. While most of your business revenue depends directly on the strategic ideas you implement in providing your services, a lot of it also depends on your popularity as a company. By the popularity of the company, we are not referring to just being known among your circle and acquaintances. Basically, your accounting firm needs more visibility and awareness about the services you provide. This kind of awareness and visibility can be achieved through promotion.
What is Digital Marketing for Accounting Firms?
Talking more about the promotion of your accounting firm, digital marketing is one comprehensive method that you need to consider. Digital marketing is generally defined as the method of marketing a business through digital platforms. However, this definition is too ambiguous and confusing. Marketing on digital devices including television and radio, was considered digital marketing. This is not wrong. But the digital marketing we are referring to is purely based on internet marketing and online marketing techniques.
The face of digital marketing has changed drastically over the years. Today, digital marketing is all about expanded audience reach through the internet by optimizing content, communicating or interacting with the audience online and analyzing every step of the tactics used. The good thing about digital marketing is that you do not have to base your decisions on assumptions. You can obtain analytical data for your promotion which helps you to identify if the promotion or digital marketing technique is successful. The analytics not only helps to measure your performance post running a campaign but also aids in the planning process before running a campaign by providing important insights.
Digital marketing for accounting firms is definitely a choice and not an option to make a mark among the many professional accounting firms that are already using digital marketing.
Importance of Digital Marketing for Accounting Firms
If you ask ‘why digital marketing is important for accounting firms?’ people often say that it helps to promote your business effectively. But how do you know if the promotion was effective?. With digital marketing, it’s not just about brand recognition. There are various other objectives to determine if the promotion has been effective such as an increased return on investment, increase in the number of leads, increase in customer engagement on social platforms , etc. Let us now take a detailed look at why digital marketing is useful for accounting firms.
To Tap More Audience
Do you still walk to the pizzeria next door to pick up dinner or do you simply order it through an app? Are you still dependent on the newspaper or do you now browse live news on your phone? Would you prefer to climb multiple floors of a mall to get one shirt or simply open your laptop and browse the net for it instead? Assuming that for most of the questions you chose the second option, it’s clear that we prefer to use our smartphones to get the work done. Today, our first source of solution-finder is the internet. People first “Google” before asking someone. With so many people dependent on the internet to find anything and everything, not choosing to opt for digital marketing could be a huge mistake. Businesses around you have already understood the importance of digital marketing and are using it to pitch to their clients. For a service like accounting, professionals will first conduct an online search and then choose from the options available rather than walk into a new accounting firm’s office. So to build a clientele for your firm, you need to be able to rank in the list of other accounting firms on the SERPs.
To Compete With Competitors
Digital marketing for accounting firms will help you become visible to the online audience and thereby increase your chance to reach a wider audience. In the process, digital marketing also helps you to compete with other accounting firms that are already using digital marketing to promote their services. When competing with competitors, do not just focus on differentiating yourself from them but also learn from them some ideas that will help you grab more audience attention. If you have competitors who are performing well on digital platforms, observe them closely. Learn from what they are doing right. Find the type of content they are sharing to rank well on the SERPs. Also, take a look at the messages they are sharing with the audience that is helping them to build a connection with them. Keeping a close eye on competitors is much easier in digital marketing as content is available for all on the internet to view.
To Build Easy Communication Channel
Comparing digital marketing to traditional marketing methods, there are a lot of things that both have to offer. However, one thing that is really impressive about digital marketing is the ability to build a two-way communication channel with the audience. Think about it, when you see an ad about a product on the television and have queries in mind, there are no direct means of communication to put forth the query. However, in digital marketing techniques such as online ads, blogs, social media pages and even websites, all have some form of open channel to communicate back with the business and put forth the query you had in mind. And not just for queries, digital marketing for accounting firms gives you an opportunity to be available and easily accessible whenever your audience wants to reach you. Whether it’s through social media comments and messages, through website query forms and live chats or through emails, digital marketing platforms have various means of communication for your audience.
To Create Targeted Campaigns
We previously discussed how the analytics feature of digital marketing for accounting firms is something that gives it an upper hand over traditional marketing methods. Another useful feature of digital marketing is its ability to target the audience more precisely. It is not that traditional marketing methods do not allow you to target the audience. It’s just that they have a limitation compared to digital marketing.
For example, if you are publishing a classified ad in a newspaper, you will be informed about the kind of target audience that reads the newspaper. Of course, publishing an accounting firm ad in a fashion newspaper supplement is not advisable, so you even get to decide the placement of your ad. However, this ad will still reach millions of newspaper readers throughout Canada. Among the millions of readers, how can you even figure out who your target audience would be? To be able to find a more precise target audience, you need to segment your audience. Here’s where digital marketing comes in handy. Unlike traditional marketing methods that give you a base demographics such as number of males or females, digital marketing allows you to target your ads based on more in-depth details such as age groups, behaviour patterns, areas of interest, geographic locations, etc.
To Reach Individuals and Not Masses
Creating a brand awareness is about spreading the word about your accounting firm as much as you can. That’s exactly how traditional marketing has been functioning from the beginning. However, digital marketing entered the scene and changed the pattern a little. While traditional marketing messages were planned and drafted to appeal to the masses, digital marketing enables businesses to appeal to individuals. Since we already discussed how targeting a specific audience is possible in digital marketing, using this knowledge, you can draft marketing messages that are more personalized. Firstly, you can choose to use methods that are more personal such as social media marketing and email marketing. Email marketing, for instance, gives you an entry directly into the email inboxes of your target audience. Here you can personalize your promotional messages addressing directly to your audience by their names and create a great impact. Social media marketing also enables you to have a one-on-one conversation with the target audience on your pages through comments, messages and automated chatbots.
To Measure Each Step
Digital marketing analytics is an amazing feature, but how amazing is it really? Well, it is the one feature that enables you to know how well your campaign performed. Was this possible with traditional marketing? To some extent but not completely.
Taking the example of a simple TV ad, posting an ad is a simple process wherein you need to buy a space and select a time slot. But how will you identify how the ad performed? Or how many people saw it? And if you cannot measure how many people have viewed it, then identifying if it has helped in any conversions is out of the question. At the best, TV ads allow you to find the best times to air an ad. With digital marketing, if you put a promotional message on the internet, you are able to identify how many people viewed it, interacted with it, shared or promoted it and converted through it. So digital marketing allows to measure not just the end result but every step of your campaign. What more? It also gives you insights on the type of audience that needs your services, their interest in your ads, likely methods that could lead to an action, etc.
To Save Time and Money
A radio agency, a TV ad agency, a newspaper ad publisher and a billboard ad printer, all sit in different offices and probably the route to each office also differs. This means that if you want to plan a comprehensive traditional ad campaign with all, you are going to have a long day. That is not the case with digital marketing. Since the platforms of marketing are online, your process to set up a campaign can easily be done by sitting in your very own office. No need to travel far or book appointments. Also, planning the campaigns with comprehensive analytical data such as target audience details are also available on your device. Furthermore, you can also outsource digital marketing for accounting firms to an all service digital marketing agency and save a lot of time. Coming to the factor of saving money, digital marketing platform is known to provide the best form of return on investment. Take email marketing, for instance, it is known to give you a 3800% of ROI! Content marketing and social media marketing are also ahead in the race of generating leads when compared to traditional marketing. The best part is for all these forms of digital marketing, you need to invest comparatively lesser than traditional marketing. Paid ads, for instance, start at the cost of a single click. Being an accountant yourself and doing the math, you can also figure out how beneficial digital marketing for accounting firms would be.
Different Forms of Digital Marketing for Accounting Firms
What makes digital marketing for accounting firms a strong choice is the varied types within it that helps you to market and promote your company as you wish. Every firm wants to promote itself and its services in a certain manner. While some may want to come forward as a more open to communication company, others may want to position themselves as a thought leader in the field of accounting. Some may just want to generate pure leads. Whatever be your end goal, there are several types of digital marketing to achieve them.
Social Media Marketing
It’s been a long time since social media stopped being just a platform for friends to socialize. Today, it’s mostly used by people to keep building their network and keep a tab on the happenings around the world. While social media users are using social media to inform themselves about the world and others, you can use it to pitch your services to them. Since social media has become so popular among the masses, it’s here to stay for quite some years now. Using social media to promote your accounting firm is not a big task. Many accounting firms are already doing it. You can start by checking what your competitors are doing on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It is essential to figure out the pattern that other accounting firms are following to build a connection with the target audience.
Social media marketing can be of two types. Organic social media marketing and paid social media marketing. The simple content that you post on your social media pages and that gets liked by your followers is a part of organic social media marketing. Here you do not pay to get your posts promoted. Whatever you post is on the pages, and its reach is dependent on the strength and information of your content. The more impressive your content is the more shares and likes it will receive. Paid social media marketing, on the other hand, is the process in which you pay to give your organic posts some boost and increase its reach among your target audience. This type of posting is commonly known as a sponsored posts.
Content marketing is the method of not promoting your accounting firm explicitly but in a more subtle manner through content and information sharing to help the audience. In this form of marketing, your messages are not focused on informing about your business but about what your business can do for the audience. The goal of content marketing is to create a buzz around your accounting firm, its services, and how you can help the audience. So the key marketing goals of content marketing will be around lead generation, brand awareness, increase in web traffic, etc. To make content marketing work for your accounting firm, you need to keep it consistent by constantly creating informative content and building the audience trust. Trust-building is a long term process that cannot be achieved by simply posting content once or twice.
In digital marketing for accounting firms, you have multiple options when it comes to content marketing. Anything can be content, whether it’s videos, images, blogs, and so on. We have chosen a few of these that you can successfully use for your accounting firm promotion.
Whitepapers are long form content that is rich in information. This type of content is generally created by professionals who have a lot of information to share regarding a single topic. The motive behind creating whitepapers is to educate the masses in detail about the topic. For an accounting firm, this type of content can be of great help to educate the general public about topics such as bookkeeping, taxation, auditing, etc. If you do so, you will not only showcase thought leadership in your domain but also build the trust of the audience to approach you directly with further queries.
Blogs have been the oldest form of content marketing. Blogs are articles that are both long form and short form. These are articles that are available on your website and talk about the different aspects of your business and industry. Blogs are beneficial in getting organic website traffic and are often considered helpful for your SEO efforts. If creating a detailed whitepaper seems tedious, consider uploading regular blogs about different nuances of accounting or taxation services. Come up with blogs revolving around the problem areas of your target audience. When a person looks for anything online, they tend to start their search by raising the problem question in the search engines. So by addressing the problem areas, your blog holds a better chance of featuring in the top ranks of the SERPs.
Infographics are images with a graphical depiction of the information along with textual content to support the graphics. The idea behind creating infographics is to appeal to online users who are not very keen on reading long blogs. An infographic goes down well with such audience as it makes the information graphical and easy to comprehend.
Paid advertising is a basic form of online advertising in which an advertiser pays an ad publisher to showcase the advertisements on different platforms. The payment format of paid advertisements is a little different from your traditional ads. Even though it’s a paid form of marketing, the costs have a very minimal starting range making it a good choice for small and medium size businesses to market their services. Some of the most common cost models of these ads include CPC (Cost-per-click), CPM (Cost-per-thousand impressions) and CPA (Cost-per-action). Another benefit of using paid ads is that it allows you to publish your ad on multiple platforms such as:
– Google Ads
Google Ads are one of the most common types of paid advertising platform. With Google Ads, you are able to place classified style ads on the SERPs. These ads will then feature on the SERPs when a person looks for similar keywords that you used in your ads. The bidding systems within the ad campaign planning allows you to pay for top ranks on the SERPs. This, in turn, helps improve the visibility of your ad on the SERPs.
– Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are also very creative. These ads allow a user to customize their ad in the format of image-based posts, slideshows or videos along with taglines and marketing messages. Facebook Ads also offer audience targeting options. In Facebook Ads, the audience targeting is more detailed, making it a great platform to target specific audience groups.
– LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn Ads are also a good platform to place your accounting firm ads. It is a social media platform that focuses on connecting professionals based on common areas of expertise. Placing ads on this platform, therefore, gives you the chance to tap professionals who will be in need of accounting services. Also, LinkedIn Ads can be of great help for recruitment purposes. These ads can be customized as per your messages and pushed on the newsfeed or inbox of your audience.
– Twitter Ads
Twitter Ads are also popularly used by businesses to promote their services. These ads allow you to place a clutter of posts and profile badges among the newsfeed of your targeted audience. Like all the other platforms, Twitter Ads are also goal-oriented.
Email marketing is one form of digital marketing for accounting firm that allows you to have direct personal communication with your audience, right through their inbox. The process starts by first acquiring the email id of your audience along with a consent to email them. Generally, this is achieved by building your email list through pop up forms on website, subscriptions, etc. Once you acquire the email ids of your target audience, you can then use it to send emails to engage with them. The trick when using email marketing is to make your email subject lines appealing to click. You should have catchy subject lines that encourage a user to actually open the email. To make your subject lines click-bait, you need to focus on the audience. Give them something they will like to see or hear, and they will open your email. If you end up sounding too promotional, your email open rate may drop.
An automated email is something you can consider once your email marketing efforts take off. Automated emails allow you to send pre-planned emails to your email list. Automated emails are a good option for the following situations.
Welcoming new users who have just subscribed for your emails.
Follow up for users that became leads bet never converted.
A friendly reminder for customers to leave a review for your business.
A follow-up email for users who downloaded a whitepaper from your website.
General promotion emails about discounted services.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO is a process of optimizing your content and website to make it noticeable for the search engines. By this optimization process, your website and content will rank in the top links of the SERPs and eventually direct more traffic on your website. We already discussed how blogging is one aspect that is beneficial for SEO. It is because when you write blogs, you get the opportunity to add elements such as keywords, tags and website links to the blog that will help your content and website rank on the SERPs. So how does this ranking work? There are two parts of search engine optimization.
On-page SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website to rank high on the SERPs. For this very purpose, there are multiple steps and methods that one can use to make your website SEO-friendly. Some of these methods include:
Using well-researched and targeted keywords within the content to rank well on the SERPs.
Making your website load quickly by removing unnecessary aspects.
Making your website responsive to load on any device size such as desktops, mobiles and tablets.
Working on title tags, alt tags and meta tags of your content.
Adding links to your content.
Adding images with alt tags.
Off-page SEO focuses on steps and methods of optimizing your content through other sources apart from working on your website aspects. In this process, you have to look outside of your website at ways and means of increasing your rank on the SERPs. Some common examples of off-page SEO include:
Working on your social media profiles to enhance your online presence.
Enlisting your accounting firm on different online directories.
Identifying all brand mentions and connecting them back to your website to manage online reputation.
Backlinking and acquiring external links.
Submitting guest blogs on other websites.
Digital marketing for accounting firms is something that is not only important but crucial, given the digital consumption of the masses today. You are bound to get more attention towards your accounting firm through digital marketing than traditional marketing. So stop contemplating and get in touch with a digital marketing agency today.
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.