New tech and social media are driving almost minute-by-minute change in the digital landscape, creating challenges and new opportunities for tax accountants’ businesses to grow, change and thrive.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start with the bad news. Unfortunately, the behaviors and preferences of your clients, staff, and co-workers are changing, constantly. We have technology to thank for this inconvenience. It is overwhelming to figure out which new technologies to embrace and implement, and which trends you can let pass you by.
What is the good news? You don’t need to use all of the new technology. However, you must understand how it is impacting the ways people want to find, communicate, pay, and interact with your business. This requires you to adapt, not overhaul your operations. Fortunately, adapting is easier than ever. Let’s look at three ways.
Q. How will my next (non-referral) customer find my business?
A. Facebook Ads.
Go to www.facebook.com/business. You have likely seen “sponsored posts” pop up on your news feed. These posts come from people using Facebook’s advertising program. It is affordable (You can get some serious exposure for just $50-$100) and offers HIGHLY targeted options. For example, you can target ads to people based on:
- How close they live to your business.
- Net worth
- Generation (Baby Boomers, Millennials, etc.)
- Homeowners or renters
- Life Events (new relationship, new job, etc.)
- Political affiliation
- Interests, hobbies, activities
- Job role and more!
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the options. They are just that, options. The less you choose, the broader your audience. It doesn’t cost much money, so you can experiment with what works best for your customer profile and area. All that it takes to get started is a Facebook page for your business and a few minutes to get used to the system. Get after it!
Q. I have an advertising budget of zero. How can I get people to my website?
A. Let’s talk briefly about Google Maps and SEO (search engine optimization).
Go to www.google.com and type “tax accountant Minneapolis” (or choose your own city). On your screen you will see a list of businesses, and their locations on the map. You can control the information and look of your Google Maps listing. Make sure to add the following to your listing:
- Hours of operation
- Contact information
- Categories (the different services you provide)
- Short introductory message
- Respond to reviews and/or ask people to give you reviews!
To update your Google Maps listings, go to www.google.com/business
Now let’s talk about your website and SEO for a moment.
I suggest you do keyword research to see what people put into the Google search bar when they are trying to find a tax accountant. In short, you want to make sure you have the words on your website that people put into Google when they perform a tax-related search.
For example, the keyword “tax preparation Minneapolis” gets 50 searches each month on Google. The keyword “tax accountant Minneapolis” gets 40 searches, and “tax planning Minneapolis” gets 10. It is likely that some of the people doing those searches are prospects for someone who prepares taxes in Minneapolis.
Your website will perform better in a Google search if you have a lot of unique, valuable information that includes the keywords that people use when they search for information about taxes, tax preparation, and the other services your business offers.
Go to www.google.com/adwords. Once logged in, do the following:
- Click on “Tools”
- Click on “Keyword Planner”
- Click on “Get search volume data and trends”
In the box type keywords that you believe people put into Google when they search for a business like yours. Then click on “Get Search Volume.” The results will show you how often those terms are searched for each month in Google. Do your research, and then make some changes to the content on your website!
Q. I’m tired, but I have one more question.
A. Go ahead…
Q. I have an ugly website and a limited budget. What should I do?
A. I will give you three options…
- Use Facebook as your website. Why? It is free, easy to use (and make look good!), everyone uses it, it shows up in Google searches, and you can include the essential information about your business and services. If you have a dated, ugly, ineffective website, and don’t want to build a new one, just kill it and use Facebook!
- Use freelancer.com. Freelancer is a place where you can find web designers and developers all over the world who will build a website for a competitive price. Give it a try!
- Check out fiverrr.com, www.canva.com, and www.getstencil.com. These options offer easy-to-use design tools that can improve the look of your website or social media accounts at no or low cost. Check them out!
Do you have more questions or need help? Email me at Josh@convenellc.org, or text/call me at 612-481-8059.
Josh Dye will be presenting this topic as a seminar at the National Society of Accountants Annual Meeting on August 20th in Tampa. Later that afternoon, he will be leading a roundtable discussion on social media and technology for the for the tax accountant’s business. Learn more here.
Josh Dye is the founder and president of Convene, LLC, a speaking, training and consulting company. Josh is a dynamic speaker who specializes in effective marketing and communications strategies. Convene helps its clients set up and improve websites, e-newsletters, blogs, videos, social media, and marketing campaigns.