Accountants Websites: 6 Deadly Mistakes that Kill Growth
By Patrick McLoughlin
One of the major factors preventing sole Practitioners from growing is a constant downward pressure on fees. It can leave you feeling unappreciated and fearful of the future.
Whilst some business owners always look for the cheapest possible option the majority search for value. It’s only when they can’t see any difference between the services available that their attention shifts to fees.
The majority of accountants’ websites don’t differentiate, they generalise. They sell accountancy not the difference and outcomes the particular accountant can bring. If you generalise yourself expect fees to be the number one issue from your enquiries and referrals.
Follow the points below to do your experience justice and grow with high value clients.
1) Writing from your perspective not your potential client’s
No one cares about us, just what we can do for them. So make sure that you write from the readers’ perspective, not your own. Good accountancy marketing means the word ‘you’ should feature far more than ‘I’ or ‘we.’
Get into the mind-set of your website visitors. For every sentence you write ask yourself if it’s of interest to the reader. Think about what you offer, that your competitors don’t, and your clients’ value.
We have to fight human nature and keep focused on the purpose of the wording. It’s an age old trap to fall into. As Dr Johnson wrote over 200 years ago: ‘That which is written to please the writer rarely please the reader.’
2) Ignoring your greatest differentiator
You might be surprised that there are still websites out there that don’t even mention the partner’s name. The About Us section is anything but. Instead it features the usual meaningless explanation of high standards and professional qualifications and friendly service.
Make sure your website features an About Us page. And make sure that the page is about you. The best way to sell professional services is through demonstration. So talk about the outcomes you have achieved: the work you’re most proud of, how you have positively affected your clients’ lives.
You can’t be all things to all people so stop trying to be.The more you dilute your focus the less appealing you are.
3) Not telling your website visitors what to do
It’s estimated that less than 5% of website visitors are ready to buy or make a direct enquiry. So let’s make sure that this small number of top prospects are given every reason to start talking to you.
Don’t leave it to chance, direct your visitors with clear links to the pages you want them to visit. Tell them what to do in clear, certain terms. Tell them to download your free report or pick the phone up and call you now. The brighter and bolder the buttons (marketing jargon is Call To Actions) the better the response.
4) Being too formal / stuffy
For some reason there’s an inclination for us all to write entirely differently to how we speak. The temptation to break into ‘formalese’ is difficult to resist.
Yet ask business owners about their greatest frustrations of working with their accountants and “they can’t explain the accounts in a way I can understand” always features high on the list.
So make sure you come across as friendly, approachable and someone who speaks their language. Don’t try to impress with big words, always use shorter, simpler language. Help don’t assist, buy don’t purchase etc.
5) Publishing your fees
There’s a time and place to talk about fees and it’s not at the start of the conversation. First comes value then fees. As you don’t know what a client values before you talk to them, you can’t build value as they perceive it.
6) Pointless Testimonials
Here are some typical testimonials grabbed from sole practitioner’s websites: (wording slightly altered to protect the guilty from Google searches!)
XX provide a professional service and are always available at the end of a phone when I need advice.
We have worked with XX for many years. We have always found them to be honest and reliable.
I could go on but I think you understand where I’m coming from.
Too many sole practitioners make claims that represent the minimum standard, the very basics to warrant consideration. If all your client can say about you, after several years of working together, is that you’re honest and reliable surely that does more harm than good?
Make your testimonials specific. Focus on the outcomes you achieved for your clients. Explain the benefits and what would have happened without your support.
Testimonials are also a great accountancy marketing tool that can improve your lead conversions. Ask clients to write about the concerns they had about working with you before they appointed you. Then let them explain how those concerns were proven groundless.
Here’s an example:
“I was unsure about appointing XX because their fees were so much higher than we were paying. Looking back it was one of the best business decisions I ever made. I know that we would never have doubled our profits in just 2 years without their help."