How to Make Your Website Come Alive During ‘Dead Season’
Now that tax-filing season is officially over, the “dead season” for CPAs and tax professionals in small to medium-sized firms has arrived. But you don’t have to allow your practice to descend into the summer doldrums. This is the time of the year when marketing can lead to new opportunities or an expansion of existing services – or both.
Shake things up this summer by making a conscious effort to aggressively market your practice. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
To help you out, we’re providing a series of articles designed to stimulate business growth. This first article looks at how your website is today’s business card.
Marketing is no longer as simple as handing your business card to someone who might be interested in your services. Not in this electronically connected society. As a result, it’s important to establish a visible online presence – and maintain it and update it – by creating a website for your practice.
First, let’s talk logistics. If you’re not inclined to handle the technical details yourself – which is perfectly understandable – you should enlist a skilled and knowledgeable staffer or hire outside help. This covers everything from functionality to website design. Of course, you’ll have final say over the finished product, so make sure the website reflects your practice and who you really are.
But it’s not enough to just get your website up and running. After awhile, it becomes just another piece of the furniture that won’t do much to attract or retain clients.
Following are several practical suggestions for keeping your website “alive” during the dead season.
1. Tie your website to your brand. If possible, your website name should be catchy or memorable, not just simply the name of the firm. For example, if your marketing plan is built around tax planning, instead of JonesandSmithCPAs.com, consider HowToSaveTaxes.com or some variation on the theme. Then plaster the URL all over your marketing materials to keep the theme going.
2. Make the site easy to navigate. This is a critical element of the site design and functionality. Frequently, people will visit the site with a specific intention, such as seeing what sort of audit services you offer or finding directions to your office. Your navigation bar should be plainly visible and well-organized. Set up priorities based on the pages that have proved to be the most popular.
3. Improve your search engine optimization (SEO). This is what pushes your firm to the forefront when an online search is performed on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. If possible, you will want to land on one of the first few pages instead of being stuck back on the pages where hardly anyone ever gets to. Usually, the coding for optimizing SEO is best left to the experts, so make sure your site is in good hands. If you find your firm remains low on the list for your area, seek a quick fix.
4. Keep your website visitors engaged. Is there a reason why visitors will want to return to the site? Don’t limit the website to boilerplate, such as your contact information and company mission. Refresh the site with up-to-date content that is robust and dynamic. For example, you might post timely tax tips based on the calendar or feature the latest IRS news. Add a “personal touch” with updates about your firm and staffers.
5. Join in the social media revolution. Enable visitors to share your web pages with others on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. Using networking buttons on your website enables you to accumulate more followers. It’s easy to hide behind the excuse of being “old school,” but practitioners who don’t keep up with this trend are more likely to be left in the dust.
6. Initiate a “call to action.” A “call to action” could be a button registering for an opinion poll or submitting a request for a meeting. This is how your website can directly generate more business and, ultimately, more revenue for your firm.
As you can see, your website is like a business card, but it can be so much more if you give it a chance. Take advantage of the slowdown following tax season to make the necessary improvements to your site.
Keep an eye out for the next article in this series which will focus on how practices can boost referrals during dead season.
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Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally known writer and editor specializing in tax, financial, and legal matters. During his long career, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a...