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Drive More Website Leads with Prospect Centered Content

     -     Dec 7th, 2015   -     Content Development, Websites   -     0 Comments

cdRecently I was a speaker at the December meeting for the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Accounting Marketing. It was a great opportunity to connect with AAM members in another city and engage them in discussions about their websites and digital marketing efforts. A good portion of the presentation focused on quality content — what it is, how it is developed, and how firms of any size can build a process and structure to generate such content. Obviously, the majority of marketing professionals understand the need to publish quality content, but often they are challenged because very few have the resources and tools in place to do so. In fact, due to circumstances beyond their control, they are often required to settle for less than optimal content because it’s the best they can do. Having worked in several firm’s myself, I can certainly understand how subpar content exists and is published, however, what’s more, important is to have a clear understanding of quality content so that marketing professionals can move the firm’s towards it.

Below I have summarized two content models that were discussed.

Current Content Model

Most CPA and accounting firms have standard content on their site. Generally, this includes information on firm news, events, activities, recruiting information such as job opportunities, and perhaps even information on firm culture and internships. Some will also have detailed information on new regulatory updates (FASB, GASB, IFRS, and IRS) and how the updates will impact clients. If the firm goes to market using the industry model, there may also be information on industry reports and assessments. Assuming the firm’s targeting is well defined, this content has. However, what this content approach lacks is that it’s not prospect-centric. In other words, it does not speak specifically to an issue a prospect is facing. Instead, it focuses on tertiary items of interest that may impact the prospect, but not in a direct way. In other words, it is not of high quality because it offers only limited value to the prospect. Therefore, the question surfaces — what kind of content should a firm be producing in order to stand apart from other firms in the marketplace? The answer is simple – prospect centered content.

Prospect Centered Content Model

Utilizing this content model, the focus is turned to address the challenges and issues the prospect is faced with. For example, say your firm has a niche specialty in construction and would like to use the website to attract prospects. Using the current content model as mentioned above will essentially make you the same as every other firm in your marketplace. To stand apart, the firm needs to offer something else that’s more engaging and compelling. What is that information? It’s simple. Talk about and discuss issues prospects deal with in the construction industry. Certainly members of your firm’s accounting construction team know what the common issues are because they have experience working with clients to address and resolve them. So it stands to reason that if the firm’s clients are dealing with “x” issues, so are other construction companies in your region. Therefore, why not spend time talking about these issues, what prospects can do to resolve them, and how your firm can facilitate the solution? This is the highest and best use of website content. Talking about solutions your firm delivers to clients is far more proactive and effective at winning new business from prospects vs. only discussing your firm’s services and new accounting regulations. Remember… connect to a prospect’s needs.

Most firm websites approach to content marketing from the perspective of talking about what they do, who they serve, and reasons to work with the firm. However, very few websites demonstrate their value proposition by developing content that substantiates these claims. Unfortunately, only discussing services offered creates a disconnection between what the prospect needs from the firm and how the firm can help establish a solution. The prospect centered content model addresses this gap and provides prospects with the essential information to help them understand not only what the issue is, but also how the firm can guide them to a solution.

So what’s the final takeaway? Focus on more than compliance. Adopting the prospect centered content approach to your firm’s website is not only more valuable to prospects, but will also attract more qualified opportunities.

Your Thoughts

Are there any firm’s out there currently using a prospect centered content model? If so, what have been your experiences and results using this method? Feedback and discussions are encouraged.

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