Accounting firms present unique challenges for website development, as there’s usually little to look at and, unlike retail sites, you’re “selling” things like expertise and service rather than products.
To further complicate matters, firms are seeking wider selections of sophisticated service offerings, so how should you be marketing yourself online?
Selling the Sizzle
As a professional services provider, it is more effective to promote your expertise and the benefits and advantages provided by working with your firm than it is to sell your specific services. This is what old-school marketers referred to as “selling the sizzle, not the steak.”
To help you do that, here are five tips specifically for accounting firm website design:
1. Help your visitors experience your expertise
You need to make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to sample and explore your expertise (your “sizzle”) as they begin their online search for potential services provider. As they discover the value of your expertise, they will come to respect and admire it, which leads to trust and, if nurtured, to a relationship.
To put your firm’s expertise on display, you need appropriate content and an intuitive, easy-to-navigate website design and structure. A word of caution: many professional services websites – accounting firms included – lean too heavily on industry jargon, buzzwords, and impenetrable acronyms in a misguided attempt to sound impressive and authoritative. In reality, they come across as confusing and boring.
Instead, keep your language simple, clear and compelling. It is okay, even advantageous, to sound conversational; people prefer conversations, not lectures. A true expression of expertise is the ability to clearly explain complex topics in simple words and easy-to-understand concepts.
A clear, easy to understand explanation of a confusing subject is an unmistakable “sample” of your expertise. Your website should match this simplicity in its design, functionality and navigation.
2. Be bold and plan to take chances
About Lee Frederiksen
Lee W. Frederiksen, PhD, is managing partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge conducts groundbreaking research into high-growth firms and offers a complete suite of services for firms that want to become more visible and grow.