By Max Alter, Videos For Accountants
Let's not beat about the bush: everyone is talking about
video as a 'must'. Must-have, must-do, or else you're a has-been. Yet accountants seem to be uniquely immune to this kind of talk. When you search online, there isn't a video or thumbnail in sight.
Do accountants know something, perhaps by dint of their analytical skills that others don’t? Or do they buck the trend to their own detriment?
What is this talk about online video?
Online video has been coming on in leaps and bounds for almost ten years. It has now grown to such an avalanche that telcos are scrambling to provide sufficient bandwidth. In the next 3 years, they expect online video to take up 90 percent of total internet bandwidth. It is certainly taken seriously by the big players.
What are these videos?
We have all seen videos about cute little kittens, podgy toddlers biting big brother’s finger yet again or records of stupid accidents serving up their portion of schadenfreude. This is one end of the spectrum, the poorly made, highly personal home camcorder flic taken on the hoof that goes viral. But this does not concern us here.
Then we find multi million pound advertising features like this 13 minute video for Jaguar directed by no less a celebrity than Ridley Scott. This is the extreme other end of the scale, the Hollywood style ad become mini-feature film, which will be multi-purposed on TV, online, in the cinemas including “The Making of...”. This will go viral, too, but it does not concern us either because it is above all a branding exercise for very deep pockets.
We are after something else entirely: the home made look with a professional touch, the personable video that connects directly with its target audience. Although these videos are professionally made, they don’t have to be expensive at all. What they have is above all clear sound, good lighting and/or simple graphics, and most importantly, engaging, quality content.
You see where this is going. Yes, not only could accountants use online video, they will have to jump in just as pretty much all of them now have a website.
Video is the future of communication, the conservative nature of the accountancy profession notwithstanding. And early adopters of the right approach will get a head start.
What is the 'right’ approach for accountants?
It is the same as for any other business:
Give the client what the client wants and not what you, the business owner or accountant, wants to give.
Website visitors are fickle. They need to be captured fast. This can only be achieved with engaging, client focused content. The flip side of this is equally true: a bored audience will leave you instantly. It only takes a mouse click.
A captivated audience, however, will love you. Your viewers will come back for more; they will talk about you, recommend and refer you.
How can accountants achieve this?
That’s easy because accountants hold one major trump card: They are already regarded as experts. Their major challenge is to communicate this expertise successfully, which means giving their audience a chance to confer authority status on them.
This is above all achieved with client focused, quality content that their viewers, that is their current and future clients want: simple and clear answers to basic questions.
Expositions on ‘Predictive Index and Forecasting’ are not going to create the fan base accountants need. A clear, straight forward and engaging explanation of the difference between a sole trader and a limited company will. Any start up and many an established sole trader will want such basic information.
Two things will happen if accountants follow suit:
• Their expertise becomes perceived authority in the eyes of their visitors, and
• They stand out from the competition.
Repeating this makes magic happen:
• Their visitors will be interested,
• Their presentation will make visitors convey status and authority on them,
• Their websites will be talked about,
• More of their information will be eagerly anticipated,
• Their visitors will become fans.
Once they become fans, they will buy from them, refer them, and spread the word about them without having to be asked.
This is very far from wishful thinking. Report after report provides facts and figures about increase in conversion rates, online purchases and customer loyalty through the use of online video.
Accountants are no exception. In fact, accountants can even do one better as they are not selling simple products: they can leverage their profession and combine text and video to step up from video to content marketing.
The combination of videos and articles is unbeatable. Not only does it unite the two online marketing tools that have been shown to have the highest ROI, well produced videos with engagingly written articles will make their websites visible and stand out from the grey mass of accountancy websites. It will also help them future proof their websites and dominate the search results.
Content marketing is the future. In other industries and primarily in the USA, it is already the present. The UK is waking up to it. Alas, UK accountants are still asleep.
It is a sad fact that the vast majority of accountancy websites in the UK do not use video. And most of the few who do tend to get it wrong. A solitary video on a website simply is not enough. Videos that are edited versions of conference talks or poorly lit and with bad sound don’t cut the mustard any longer. These videos are not engaging; they are boring. Don’t underestimate that your audience is evolving and has become much more demanding because online video is evolving fast. The solution is simple: Give your audience what they want, and do it often.
For a profession like accountants, content marketing done right is the royal road to growing their practices. Here are examples of how to get it right.
This strategy consistently applied will turn visitors into fans. And fans generate word-of-mouth publicity that is priceless.
In answer to our question: Yes, online video is a ‘Must’ for accountants if they don’t want to be left behind by the competition.
Max Alter founded his Videos For Accountants programme to help accountants capitalise on their natural advantage without having to pay premium prices. His Big Videos Local programme uses online video to help local businesses achieve increases in conversion rates, and therefore sales, in excess of 300 percent.