Let’s start with something few people who create websites will tell you.
Your website won’t generate ANY leads for you unless the right people look at it.
So this is NOT a post about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or using backlinks, paid advertising or Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts to drive traffic to your website.
It’s also NOT a post about blogging or regularly updating your website in an effort to attract more search engine traffic.
Instead I am focusing on why your website isn’t turning enough of your visitors into leads. (It’s then up to you to convert the best of those leads into clients of course).
The simple truth is that, whether you spent a lot or a little on your website, you need it to help generate business for you and to provide a return on your investment.
How might that work in real life I wonder?
You need to consider two types of visitors and why they are looking at your website:
1 – Strangers searching
Someone searches online for an accountant (typically they will look for someone local to them). You hope that your website appears high in the search results and that the prospect follows the link to your site.
Or, you may be using PPC or another form of advertising to get strangers to visit your website.
However they find you, you have to hope that your website enables the visitor to quickly see that you can help them with their problem. That is, whatever it was that prompted them to conduct the search or to follow the advert.
You also need to help them to see who you are and to make it easy for them to contact you.
2 – Referrals and recommendations
Beyond those people searching online, your website also needs to engage another group of people.
That is those who have been intrigued by your online content, met you or been recommended to you. When they check out your website this needs to confirm what they have heard or require.
However visitors come to your website, you want to engage the serious prospects.
The key issues
If your website isn’t generating the type of leads you want, it’s probably for one of two reasons. Either:
- You are not attracting the right people to your website; or
- Because even the right people cannot quickly find what they want and decide that you’re right for them.
One easy mistake to fix is on your ‘about us’ and ‘contact us’ pages. However much (or little) business you are getting through your website, you will get more when you reveal your name and who you are (maybe even with a decent photo too).
Most people want to know who they are contacting – not just the name of a firm.
Are you ‘just another accountant’?
This is the other factor to consider.
If a visitor has seen a number of accountants’ websites, does yours enable them to see what makes you special, different and right for them?
I’m not talking about having a glitzy, bright very distinctive website – although that MIGHT help. Much more important is whether YOU and your services, style and approach are distinguishable from the others.
Despite popular claims that ‘we are different’ etc, most accountants’ websites are almost interchangeable. If I took all of the content (words and stock images) from two such websites and switched them around, even the practice owners probably wouldn’t even notice!
Many accountants’ websites spell out what all accountants do, they list all of their services and explain what bookkeeping means, what preparing accounts means etc.
I wonder how many visitors read or care about these explanations? I believe that most of them know (or think they know) what accountants do. If you are going to spell things out, at least do so in away that distinguishes you from others – and make sure you do so in an engaging way.
What problems do visitors to your website have that you can help them to solve?
When I’m working with an accountant 1-2-1, I often ask what an ideal client looks like. What sort of person or business do they most want to win as new clients?
Some accountants love new start-ups. Others only want to take on established businesses that want to move away from their old accountant.
My question then is why is this not clear on the accountant’s website. Why do those who don’t really want more start-ups business have websites that imply they want to work with start-ups?
Why do so few accountants’ websites have distinct messages for these two quite different type of visitors? And why do so few focus on engaging those people whose old accountant has let them down, over-charged or under-served them?
Experience tells us that not all prospects search online for an accountant. Instead they search for ‘tax advice’ or for some other problem they have and for which they want an answer – or someone to help them.
This is one of the reasons why the FindaTaxAdviser.online website operates as a lead generation site for tax advisers and also for accountants with tax expertise. The site is powered by the Tax Advice Network of which I have been the Chair since 2007.
If you search online for ‘tax advice’ you will see that the website is already highly ranked. As a result they have long received thousands of visitors each month. But many of these visitors really need a local accountant rather than a specialist tax adviser. They just don’t think to search for ‘accountant’!
If you are going to promote your specialist expertise, whether in tax or any other matters, on your website, do so properly. By which I mean doing more than simply listing out a bunch of services you COULD provide IF a client asks for them.
The focus of this blog post was to highlight why your website isn’t generating the leads you want and what you can do about it.
The key tips I have referenced above explain why I recommend that you:
1 – Be more open about you and other key people in the business on your ‘About us’ page.
2 – Instead of a generic email address on your ‘contact’ us page, let visitors contact a named person (and give them the option to email rather than to only fill in a form).
3 – Make clear that you are not ‘just another’ firm of accountants. Simply asserting this is not enough.That’s what everyone does (which makes you all the same!)
4 – Focus on the problems that you solve for clients.
5 – Stop trying to appeal to anyone and everyone. ‘Talk’ to your ideal client so they know they are in the right place. And discourage those who you don’t want.
6 – Be honest about your specialist services – the ones you provide on a regular basis rather than those that only crop up occasionally
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