Because of the subjects I write about, the blogs I read and how many accountants write to me, I see loads of Accountants’ Pay per Click (Adwords) adverts. And most of them are evidently a waste of money.
If you use Pay per Click (PPC) you’re hoping that your advert will catch someone’s eye.
Your advert may be aimed at those people who, having searched for ‘accountant in Harrow’ choose to ignore all of the search results for accountants in Harrow; and instead choose to click an advert on the side of the page. And if they click on your advert you will ‘pay per click’. Of course most people ignore these adverts and simply choose one of the natural search results.
Your advert might also be intended to appear on other websites whenever someone is reading about something related to accountancy or tax. You are hoping that they will see your advert and click on it.
How often do YOU click the adverts that you see in either of the above scenarios?
Never mind. Let’s assume that you still think that ‘pay per click’ adverts are worth a try. You will still be wasting your money unless you understand a really key insight.
Your advert MUST lead to a webpage that echoes the advert. The thing that many accountants’ pay-per-click adverts seem to forget is that it’s a huge waste of money if the advert leads to a generic page on your website that makes no specific reference to the subject matter of the advert. When that happens most people then ‘bounce’ off your site as it doesn’t answer their question or give them what they were searching for.
So if your advert notes that you are ‘Accountants in Harrow’, the webpage that users get to when they click the advert must also make clear that you are in Harrow. If it says you are in Greenford – the fact that you think you can service clients in Harrow will not be enough. You will have paid for a click that won’t lead to an enquiry.
Equally, if your advert talks about tax savings then the web page this leads to must talk about tax savings and not just be the standard home page of your website.
If you ignore this simple fact you will be wasting money on paying for people to click on your adverts even though few of them will then follow up with you.
A friend of mine is a PPC expert and works with businesses that are looking to grow the number of enquiries they get from online adverts. Peter tells me that he will not take on a client who is wedded to their old website and simply wants ads that will direct visitors to their site.
He points out that this is not why anyone places online ads. We agreed that the real purpose of any such advertising is to generate worthwhile enquiries from ideal prospective clients. As all online ads lead to websites, Peter insists on starting with a redesign of the accountant’s website. And he encourages his clients to allow him to make all key decisions in this regard.
I tend to think he’s probably right in that few accountants understand what is really relevant when it comes to attracting visitors, interest and enquiries via their website. Accountants are, or should be, experts in the services they offer to their clients. Rarely do such services and expertise extend to marketing strategy, user experience and psychology. In this context, as so often, a little knowledge can be dangerous – and when it comes to PPC it can also be rather good news for Google’s share price.
I also agree with Peter that the leads generated by websites are dependent on authenticity and appropriate messages – not on stock photos, standard interchangeable phrases and archetype imagery.
I was impressed by a recent case study about what happened when Peter worked with a 3 partner accountancy firm in Ealing, West London. They already had a website which looked nice but wasn’t generating sales leads. It was a cause of frustration because they wanted to grow their firm. Peter and his team created a web based marketing system and PPC campaigns that immediately generated more leads than predicted – and at about half the cost per lead predicted. This resulted in the firm doubling their investment in the campaign within two weeks of launch.
If your firm has 10-50 staff in the UK, is not competing with firms in Ealing and you are prepared to invest to secure more of the clients you really want, please email me and I will be happy to pass on a copy of Peter’s case study along with his contact details. (Mark AT bookmarklee.co.uk)
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