When looking at accounting website templates for the first time it’s easy to get distracted. Many providers will offer you what they think you want to see rather than what your firm really needs. To that end many accounting website template providers will neglect a websites long term marketing appeal and sell an illusion of quick ‘n dirty prospect conversion.
There are a lot of reasons for this. First of all these websites are cheaper to build. Long term marketing requires a number of specialized tools and features that add to an accounting website template’s development costs. Perhaps more important, however, is that promises of short term conversions offer a significant appeal to customers new to the internet.
Unfortunately anyone familiar with internet marketing knows that this is a false promise. Very few of your first time visitors are going to be looking for an accountant. The vast majority of the people visiting your site are looking for information. It won’t matter how flashy your site is or how expertly written your sales copy is if you don’t offer a visitor the information they want the overwhelming majority of your visitors are going to leave without giving your site, your brand, or you a second glance.
There are a lot of reasons not to push too hard for a first visit sale. Dedicated buyers are going to buy whether you push them or not.
Unfortunately the reality is that not many of your visitors are going to be dedicated buyers. Maybe our visitor already has an accountant she likes. Maybe she’s still able to use the short tax forms. This doesn’t mean she’s not a good prospect!
According to market research the average life expectancy of a client/accountant relationship is 6 years. That means statistically speaking just about everyone visiting your site is a long term prospect. Maybe her accountant is at the end of his practice. Maybe he’ll get married and move. Or take a job with a large firm. Any number of things could happen. Even poor folks could need you someday. Income changes. People get married. One day they could start their own business or even just buy property. I’ll never forget the panic I felt the first time I laid eyes on a 1040 long form and knew I needed to fill it out.
The real key to using a website to grow your firm is providing not only the information the visitor wants, but also offering such an overwhelming quantity of high quality content that the visitor will come back again and again. What we’re offering them isn’t just a service page and a contact sheet. We’re offering them a library of financial information. Each visit exposes your brand to them again and again. Long term marketing isn’t about making a sale, it’s about positioning yourself as the natural solution to turn to when the prospect is ready to buy. Down the road it’s a pretty safe bet that everyone will need an accountant, and if your website has been engaging and informing a prospect for months or years when that time comes the odds are you won’t even need to make a sale. The prospect will call you pretty much ready to buy.
So… How can you identify accounting website templates with a long term marketing strategy?
It’s fairly simple really. Look for content.
Financial guides and free-reports are great soft sell tools and are very effective at attracting return traffic. They also offer a great side benefit in that they can help you cross-sell your off season services to your existing clients. Use these articles to showcase ways you can help your clients save money, and position you as the expert that can help you do it. You want your visitors to have easy access to them. Divide them up into categories (Business Owners, Home Owners, Self Employed, etc) and make them searchable to make it easy for visitors to find information of interest to them.
Other great features for luring repeat visits are interactive financial calculators, tax due date pages, downloadable tax forms and publications, and most importantly a high quality email newsletter.
Aggressive old-school marketers will advise you to block this content. They’ll tell you to use it to “trap” email addresses for direct marketing. DON’T DO THIS. As soon as you start demanding contact information you’ll alienate your best prospects. Savvy visitors will know full well that if you won’t give them what they want one of your competitors will.
When looking at accounting website templates keep long term marketing in mind. Look for these features in addition to the standard short term marketing features; services pages, contact forms, driving directions, etc; pretty much all providers offer. Long term marketing will not only bring in more conversions over time, it will also bring in better ones.
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