Internet marketing tips: A marketing consultant's perspective | AccountingWEB

Internet marketing tips: A marketing consultant's perspective

By Barbara Bix - The staff at Accounting Web wrote a post on Embracing the Internet as a Marketing Tool. When I started to add my two cents, I quickly ran out of room. Luckily, I have my own blog on the very same site, so I decided to interrupt the series on the the buying process model to share my comments below:

Here are some additional ideas that our accounting clients use to leverage the Internet when marketing their firms.

Using websites to market professional services

As a strategic marketing consultant, specializing in professional services, I advise my clients to first:

  • Think about who they need to reach
  • What they want these individuals to say or do as a result of visiting the site
  • What web visitors need to see to on the site to motivate them to take the desired action
  • In short, it's all about the web visitors, rather than the company featured on the website. Most people that visit professional service websites are there to validate that the firm is expert at solving problems like theirs.

    At a minimum, therefore, effective websites describe the business and the staff’s credentials. Some prospective clients also seek assurances that it will be easy to do business with the firm. For this reason, professional service firms with busy, tech-savvy clientele often provide on-line access to client services--as a way of positively distinguishing their firms from the competition.

    Success depends on attracting visitors to your website

    Putting up a website is like erecting a giant sign behind your office, no one finds it unless you tell them it’s there. You can attract visitors via word of mouth and conventional marketing materials. Nevertheless, the best websites contain content that attracts visitors and compels them to act.

    The most effective technique is getting other websites to link to yours. Search engines also give precedence to “keyword-rich” content. Success depends on publishing lots of web pages—each of which mentions words that describe one of your services (e.g. “tax preparation”) many times on the same page.

    Then, to get visitors to act, make them an offer they can’t refuse. For example, you may promise to review a document and credit their account when they ultimately engage you for the larger project.

    Use outbound internet marketing tools to stay top of mind

    Don't wait for visitors to drop in; invite them to stop by. It's important to reach out regularly to each of your key audiences if you want to stay top of mind. That's because while everyone checks their email, few people--outside your own firm--visit your website on a regular basis.

    We use the following tools to help our clients reach their clients and prospective clients. We also recommend our clients use these tools to stay in touch with other accountants who can refer business to them, help them serve their clients, or even join their firms as an employee. Important Internet marketing tools include:

    • Email marketing
    • Publishing articles on others' sites to generate coveted links back to their sites (authors need to include their URLs as well as their names and qualifications)
    • "Linked" in and other online networking services to generate "word of mouth"
    • Posts on others' sites linking back to our clients' sites
    • Blogs (readers can receive new posts automatically as email)

    "Repurpose" all your marketing communications on your website for maximum impact

    Then, we encourage them to add copies to their website.The nice thing about using the Internet instead of paper is:

    * Content permanently resides on your website and therefore continues to market for you long after you published it

    * Content is less expensive to distribute, and to revise for that matter.

    * Great, inexpensive, tools exist for others to find you--obviating the need for expensive advertising.

    Here's an example of how we add copies of our own marketing communications to our website for maximum impact.

This blog

by Barbara Bix - In tough economic times, more and more clients are looking to their accountants to help them improve the bottom line. Often, the best way to do that is to start with the top line-since one can only decrease expenses so far. This blog discusses concrete actions you and your business-to-business clients can use to accelerate revenues.

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Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

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Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


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Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
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Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


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Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

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