For accountants, generating leads online is like baking a cake. There are several ingredients required, a bit of hard work, plus some trial and error but, like baking, practice makes perfect.
Has all this talk of cake made you hungry? Well, before you shoot off let’s have a look at five online strategies you can use to cook up the perfect lead generation strategy.
LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social networks with 467 million members in the last quarter of 2016. It is becoming THE place for connections, networking, and unique content for businesses - perfect for accountants looking to reach out to other businesses and expand their reach. A 2015 survey found that 79% of accountants are using social networks like LinkedIn to reach potential clients - expect this figure to be much higher now.
If you are already on LinkedIn or before you start connecting with other businesses, make sure that you have invested some time in your personal and company LinkedIn profiles. Your personal profile should not simply be a CV but more a reflection of your skills, business ethos, and personality. You want to make people want to work with you - not employ you within their company. Connect with existing customers you already know and ask them to provide some recommendations and endorsements on your profile. LinkedIn has tools to do this automatically.
Next, make sure your company profile is updated and relevant. When somebody lands on the page it will only have seconds to make an impact. Explain what your accountancy business does and the value it can add in one or two lines and add this to your profile. Include a unique cover photo and your company logo to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Then, you need to use LinkedIn to promote information and content your customers will want to read. Try to avoid using it to endlessly promote your business or services, instead use it to promote a blog for example which provides unique educational content aimed at your customers. This tactic will increase the number of shares, visits, and - ultimately - visitors and leads you receive. Spend 20-30 minutes per day to promote content, connect with existing customers, look at other businesses they follow, and respond to any invites or follows you receive. This investment of time on LinkedIn is a sure fire way to help accountancy businesses grow and will generate returns.
Up to 75% of small businesses are on Twitter, so this platform is a likely place where your customers are ‘hanging out’ online. You need to make sure your accountancy business meets them on Twitter. Like all social media platforms, make sure you have invested some time on your company’s Twitter profile to make it engaging and clear on the services you offer.
You can use Twitter to search for and then follow your existing and potential customers so you can see what they are tweeting about and then join the conversation. Your customers may tweet about a problem online which your business can offer a solution to. A tool such as Followerwonk is a great way of searching for customers, analysing them, and optimizing your time and efforts.
Marketing platforms such as HubSpot have tools which allow you to monitor social media automatically for any mentions of your business or services you provide. For example, you can set an alert against the search term “accountancy advice” providing immediate notifications when this hashtag is used so you can respond immediately. This search feature is an excellent tool which vastly improves the lead generation capabilities from Twitter. Like other social media platforms, an investment in time (and possibly money) is required but this will be returned in increased website visits, leads, and customers for your accountancy business.
Don’t be alarmed! A podcast is an excellent way of delivering content to your audience and really differentiating your business. It is also much easier than you think. A podcast can be embedded into your website and easily shared across social media. Remember a podcast about why your business is so great is not as interesting or as useful as, say, a podcast about how the latest budget changes will affect small businesses. Have a think about what your potential accountancy customers would want to listen to. A topical podcast distributed at the right time will generate a lot of shares and listens, resulting in traffic to your website, and leads for your business.
Creating and sharing a podcast is not as daunting as it sounds. Our research has found Podbean to be a cost effective and simple way to start podcasting.
A webinar is simply a meeting over the internet. As well as the obvious time and cost savings over face to face meetings, webinars present a perfect way for potential customers to find out more about your business and helps you to close deals.
Webinars will allow potential customers to ask you questions in real time and receive answers immediately. They will also allow you to start building relationships, gaining trust, and getting to know the people that you are going to depend on in the future. Make sure you pick a topic that a) your invitees will be interested in and b) you have a good understanding of. Then start inviting your contacts.
Creating and hosting a webinar is not an expensive or difficult process. A tool such as Google Hangouts allows you to create and host a webinar for free.
One of the most overlooked marketing tactics for accountants is video marketing. With YouTube, the numbers speak for themselves. They have over 1 billion regular users - 33% of all internet users. So there’s no better way to get your company brand out there than creating a video to share with the world.
Videos create views. Videos in an email have a 200 -300% better open rate, and adding a video to a landing page can increase conversion by 80%. Have a read of these stats if you need any more convincing on the power of video.
A common misconception is that you personally have to feature on the video or need to use costly recording equipment. This is not the case and the video could be a screen recording of something your customers may find useful. There are many free tools for screen capture: one example is Ezvid, but there are plenty of others online.
An example of a screen recording video could be a recording of how your customers can upload accounts data to your website. Videos have a long shelf-life, are easily shared, and are great for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and generating leads online.
Speak to your existing customers for inspiration on what they may find useful.
The Importance of Accountancy Lead Generation
To revert back to our baking analogy, the five social media strategies above are your ingredients' list for a strong accounting lead generation. All you need to do know is to try them out in different quantities to see which creates the perfect lead generation cake for your business.
What's the next step?
After you begin to generate leads, then what? Find out ways to grow your business by understanding Google metrics, building a smarter, user-friendly website, turning clients into promoters and more.