Marketing for Accountants | Local Search Marketing Part 3

In part 3, of this marketing for accountants article series, we’re going to talk mainly about Google, but virtually everything we’re going to cover also translates over to Bing and Yahoo as well.

How Will Your Accountancy Firm Benefit From Local Search Marketing?

You’ll get lots more prospects contacting you: By being highly visible in local search you’ll significantly get more prospects visiting your website and contacting you.

They’re ready to buy: People who are directed to your business from local search are much more likely to buy. This is mainly due to them having a lot more information about what you do and what others think about you (your citations, reviews and recommendations) before they contact you. When they do contact you, they’re ‘hot’ and ready to sign you up as their accountant.

Low costs with high returns: Local search marketing is inexpensive compared to all other forms of marketing both online or offline. You can easily track your results and you’ll soon see substantial profits from your small investment.

Your prospects will think you’re different: By having an attractive ‘shop-window’ online and in the local search engines, you’ll clearly stand out from your competitors as being the ‘go-to’ accountant.

Your competitors won’t be able to catch up: Once you rank highly in local search and have full listings in the entire relevant directory, citation and review websites you’re competitors are going to find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to catch you up.

Google Is Going Local & So Must You!

During the last four years, Google robots have been crawling the web checking out online directories, citation and review websites to build up data about UK local businesses.

This research was undertaken so Google could launch a new service called Google Places (previously Google Local). Google’s goal for this new service is to provide a searcher with fast information about local businesses in the geographical area the person is located at the time of the search. Rather than delivering a range of business websites with high organic search engine rankings, but may be located a hundred miles or more away.

In the UK Google Places is still relatively new and an rapidly evolving free service for local businesses. However, this may surprise you – only about 12% of UK accountants have claimed their Google Places page listing and I can’t currently find a UK accountancy firm who has properly completed one.

Just think of Google Places as your own free ‘shop window’ with not rent, rates or taxes in what will shortly become one of the busiest areas in your local high street. You’d have to be crazy not to take full advantage of it.

Also, by not claiming and fully completing your Google Places page, you’re unwittingly allowing your competitors to steal clients from right under your nose.

More importantly unclaimed Google Place pages frequently have inaccurate information. It may have incorrect contact details. It may not have a link or the correct link to your website, and these two frequent mistakes will be costing you sales.

Google Places lets you set up an online profile for your accountancy firm where you can showcase all of the good things you can do to solve your prospects and client problems. You can include special promotions, offers, photos and videos about your firm that will encourage more people to contact you.

Google Places also lets your clients post reviews about your accountancy firm and you can respond to those reviews, creating a dialogue and a relationship with those people. Also you’ll be demonstrating to others that you’re a proactive accountancy firm who cares about their clients.

Your Google Place Listing will show up when someone in your local area searches for the accountancy services and financial products you offer, along with other accountancy firms offering the same things.

Now imagine how this process is going to work for a moment. When a prospect goes online to search for the things you offer, they’re going to see up to seven results on Google’s first page. What is going to make them choose one accountant over another?

In the above screen shot I searched for ‘Accountants Westminster’. The first three accountancy firms listed will get the majority of online attention, with the first one getting more than the rest. So you want your listing to be at least in the top three for your main search terms.

I’ve drawn a red circle around the area which you can click on to get more results. Research shows that only a few people ever do this. So if you happen to be on page two or even three, it’s extremely unlikely anyone will click on your listing or website link to find out more information.

Recent research undertaken by an American University looking at how people search identified that the first three listings on Google Places will get 80% of the searchers attention. (No.1, around 58%, No.2, around 12% and No.3, around 10%).

At this moment it would be relatively easy to get an accountant located in Westminster in the top three. (We’ll look at some strategies for accomplishing this part 4).

Another aspect that persuades people to contact you rather than your competitors depends on how much information you’re sharing with them. If you have a full profile with pictures, videos, reviews, special offers, events and other information, it’s far more likely you’ll get the searchers’ attention than another listing that just shows the bare information.

And, people searching using a mobile device are much more likely to click on your Google Places page than your website link because it’s mobile friendly. So if your page creates the right first impression, it’s much more likely they will contact you rather than your competitors.

In parts 4 and 5 of this marketing for accountants – local search marketing article series, we’re going to look at how to claim your Google Places listing and how to get to the top of Google Places.

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