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Is Your Website Content Engaging?

     -     Jun 21st, 2013   -     Accounting Marketing, Accounting Websites, Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Association of Accounting Marketing’s Summit conference held in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel. It is always helpful to be with others in the industry and learn about what’s going on – new ideas, strategies and best of all, the successes. It’s also a great time to take the pulse of the accounting marketing industry, see where things are headed, and what is captivating the attention of industry professionals.  There is little doubt that the topics of SEO, social media and inbound marketing are top of mind for many. At last count I found there were 4 different sessions on these topics and all were well attended. It appears that the accounting profession or at least the accounting marketers are convinced that digital marketing is a viable lead generation method. It is encouraging that so many are interested in exploring how to transition into this arena.

As more and more professionals become interested in digital marketing the realization that engaging, audience appropriate content is equally, if not more important, than having a proper SEO strategy. While both components are essential, the reality is that if the content on a website is not engaging and doesn’t speak to the audience or lacks a clear call to action, effectiveness will be limited. Content is like the product on the store shelves that everyone wants to buy. SEO is like the marketing programs the store uses: flyers, coupons and ads to get customers to visit. Both are needed, but having an empty store renders the marketing useless, while a store with no customers renders the product useless. Therefore it is essential for marketers to evaluate their “product” in order to assess its appeal.

Website Content Assessment

Below are four tips to help you determine if your website content is engaging:

  • Content Freshness – How often do you add content to your website? Is it a weekly activity, monthly or bi-annual event? Hopefully not biannually. Website visitors (and Google) are attracted to websites that offer the latest information on current events, an accounting issue or topic. If your website is not updated frequently then it means the content is not fresh or timely. The more often you can update your site with meaningful content on a specific issue the more likely you are to attract qualified prospects to your site.
  • Content Focus – All too often accounting firm websites focus on the firm rather than the prospect. In other words, the site focuses on the firm’s qualifications, training, history, qualifications and various details about the firm itself. Little attention is given to the challenges and opportunities their prospects face. This is an important insight because people want to know you understand their business. So it’s essential to have content that broadly speaks to your prospect’s situation. Accountants in your firm are excellent resources for finding out what the hot topics, common issues and upcoming items of concern are for a given prospect. Assess whether your website focuses more on the firm or the prospect.
  • Content Level – In College, I learned that most books are written at an 8th grade reading level. Why?  Because it’s the level at which a majority of readers are most comfortable. This means that a large percentage of the books in print today don’t use “advanced words” and tell a story using common everyday language. This is an important lesson that should be applied to your firm’s website. Check the site and determine if the content is overly technical. Are the pages filled with lines of IRS code or technical jargon that only an “insider” would know? If so, you may have some adjustments to make. While in some cases technical content is appropriate, for the most part should be avoided. The most likely scenario is that your prospect is not an expert in any given service area, and so they will be disengaged by content that is not directly related or understood by them. Assess whether the content on your website is esoteric or overly technical. If it is, consider rewriting to make it more relatable.
  • Call to Action – Does your website have calls to action appropriately integrated into the website? A call to action is content that asks the reader to take action or engage with the firm. Examples include a newsletter subscription box, whitepaper download, interactive quizzes or surveys, contact forms, indications to follow on social media, etc. If you don’t have compelling calls to action, you could still be doing all the right things with SEO and not see a return. For this reason, it’s CRITICAL to look at every page of your website and determine what you can do to add compelling calls to action. Consider a way to add compelling calls to action to your website, the more you have, the more you will get from your site visitors.

The Marketing Shift

It’s important to that if you are going to be successful with inbound marketing, many of the “old rules” simply don’t apply anymore. Digital marketing effectiveness requires accounting marketers to shift their mindset. We are no longer just focusing on traditional marketing methods; we need to see our expanded role as comprehensive marketers, embracing the inbound and outbound marketing methods. We have to be content publishers, providing information on topics relevant to the firm’s services and issues prospects are experiencing. The days of a brochure website or a firm centric website are gone. To be a real winner in this game you need to understand how the rules have changed.

In Perspective

Little steps in the right still represent progress so it’s essential to be realistic what you can accomplish at your firm. Understand that it all can’t be done in a day. However, this doesn’t mean you can started and point your website in the right direction.


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