I want to get into websites and online presence this week.
But before we get there, let’s talk about the future of business and how firms, and companies in general, need to interact with clients.
The future of accounting is visual, social, and community-led.
As accountants, we don’t have a good reputation with non-numeric stuff. And if we cannot make what we do visual or easily consumable, we will be further behind.
We understand information faster when it is presented to us visually. We will opt for a visual presentation over a written or numerical one as we can consume and process it more quickly.
Google is changing the way that search results are displayed. They are shifting from their traditional list format to visual search results.
This visual appetite was highlighted in a report that says that Gen Z searches Tik Tok and Instagram more than Google.
In addition to telling people how to solve their problems, we must show them.
Being found visually is just as important as the beautifully well-written copy on your website.
We need to have social proof and presence.
I rejected being social online for a while when I started my firm. I didn’t see the need.
However, as more and more people get all of their outside information from their online social circles, social presence is an absolute must.
Clients may be hesitant simply because they cannot verify you’ll be a good fit without a social track record.
Curated reviews on your website have little to no value, as people would instead do independent, online verification.
If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:
The truth is that people will rent out their homes and cars to strangers based on their star ratings from prior transactions.
Social credibility and presence is the new verification.
Creating a social touch point with non-controlled reviews is the first step to gaining confidence with potential new clients.
People are gathering in groups and tribes like never before. We are learning that a hive mind and collective information gets us what we need faster than going at it alone.
As accountants and bookkeepers, we are unique community connectors, because we are the second (but usually the first) person most familiar with a business’s financials.
If we have a niched firm, we are that common advisor for similar businesses. We are at the beginning of a community where we help groups of business owners with similar issues.
I see a time when firm owners can create communities of clients for whom they do no tax or bookkeeping. More on that another time.
Those three predominant trends will be the basis for my comments about how accountants and bookkeepers general market on their websites and other social platforms.
How Many Firms Think They Attract Clients
In the absence of nothing else to talk about on our websites, we tend to lean into talking about ourselves and what we do.
We list the services we offer – some of those lists are long.
Is there anything less inspiring than this list? Nope.
Some firms tend to list their qualities that should be obvious. Saying you are trustworthy and professional is an absolute given and is the bare minimum as a professional.
We talk about the years of experience and diverse industries we have worked in. These details establish your expertise, but the clients are thinking about themselves and their problems, not your professional travel log for the last 12 years.
The final thing a lot of firm use is forosophobia – the fear of taxes and the IRS (yeah, it’s a thing). Fear and shame have been a long-leveraged marketing tactic. Fear will bring needy clients that will follow you blindly and send you a mountain of questions and concerns.
None of the old-school marketing tactic work anymore.
Good clients don’t operate like that.
What Clients Are Actually Looking For
Google has given us an incredible thing. If you need to change sparkplugs on your 2007 Hyundai Accent, google has your answer. If you want to bake a gluten-free celery cake with raisin embellishments, Google has that too.
People now look for specific answers to the questions.
Business owners now look for accountants that use industry specific language.
This is Small Batch Standard’s landing page, not a niche page tucked away in a distant webpage.
Is there any question about who this firm works with? Craft breweries are known for their small batches and their artisanal approach. Even their name is hyper-specific.
Next, clients are looking for problem-solving messaging. This is where focusing on them is replaces focusing on yourself.
MDtax.ca speaks directly to a pain point for most physicians in Ontario Canada, as the complexity of the benefits of owning a corp increases.
They need to know that you understand their situation. The old marketing saying still carries weight:
When you market to everyone, you market to no one.
Your website is part of your online + social presence, but it cannot be the only thing. Being social on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, or Snapchat is important.
I am not saying you must post daily, but rather deliver valuable content that speaks to your niche on the channels they frequent.
Tiffany at Bastian Accounting For Photographers has nailed this perfectly. She is accessible and social and has created a community-led firm. Her Facebook group currently has 5,200 members.
She knows where her ideal clients are and is now an undisputed expert in her niche.
The added benefit of being social is you create relatability. People buy more from people who they relate with. Hiding behind a polished corporate image no longer instills confidence. It raises suspicion.
People want to know who they are dealing with.
Your website (and landing pages) are your digital storefront. Your social presence is your magazine adverts and networking events.
Spending time on your message and presence is the first step to filling your sales pipeline with firm scaling clients.
Build The Firm You Want,