Of all the marketing tactics and strategies out there, none is more important for accountants than establishing your brand. A strong brand will allow you to compete with some of the biggest names in the business and spend less time and money on marketing or advertising initiatives.
When people are searching for an accountant, they are much more discerning than with their usual consumer purchases. Your brand determines your clients’ first impressions and expectations of service. Potential clients need to immediately identify your accounting practice with competence, trustworthiness and reliability.
BrandCap SEO Rita Clifton said it best: “Successful branding is being clear about who you are and what you stand for.”
By thinking through your brand and what your firm stands for, you’ll be able to meet clients that are a better fit for you, which will make things run smoother.
Here are 6 Branding musts for your accountant brand:
Logos are much more important than you realize; they rank high on the short list of factors that heavily influence a client’s first impression of your accounting business.
Your logo needs to be web friendly, clear, crisp and something that looks good when scaled down to the size of a twitter profile picture.
A hard-to-discern logo will be off-putting to the average consumer, who is quite likely to discover you online. It must look professional, so invest the necessary time and money in this. Never use clipart or stock photography!
There is no right or wrong way to name your firm or practice, but you should be aware that the name will immediately leave clients with an impression. A cute, word play name will appeal to some clients, but not others. It’s important to consider who you’re hoping to work with, and then work back from there.
When in doubt, your name is always a great choice!
You need 1-2 sentences that sums up your firm’s unique offering, and a few key “power words” to help keep the rest of your marketing materials on track. What is most important to you– client service, personalization, friendly presence, personal relationship, speed or something else? There is no right or wrong answer, just your passion and business model.
Developing your unique perspective in the form of a mission statement and power words will help keep your firm on track, as you grow or undertake new business initiatives.
Much has been written about the importance of your firm’s website, and it should be a priority! Take a particularly hard look at your homepage. Does it obviously convey your business statement (literally and metaphorically)? Does it look professional and trustworthy?
Make sure it loads quickly (seems more professional) and has a clean overall design.
Make sure that your ideal client can clearly see themselves (list out your specialties!). Many clients now expect to see client-only portals, so keep that in mind too!
Whether you’re a larger company with multiple accountants or in business for yourself, your Facebook and Twitter profiles are KEY. Share relevant news items, interesting education content and business updates (tax deadlines and promotional sales). The average consumer checks out your social profiles to see how professional your firm is. Take note of what the big guys are up to for ideas, and definitely consider tuning into professional accountant Twitter Chats, such as #QBOChat on Thursday, to further demonstrate your accounting expertise. Do not live tweet any TV show, ever.
Location refers to both the physical location of your office, and your online presence (SEO). Consumer behavior has shifted, so that all major purchasing decisions begin with online research (even if it’s just to find the nearest geo-location). It’s important, at the very least, to fill in your website’s basic SEO fields, such as Page Title, Page Description and Meta Tags for each and every page. Think about what typical consumers in your area search Google for, and include those search terms (example: Boston CPA, Best Boston Accountants Boston Accountants). Make sure you also have a profile or presence on Google Places, Facebook, Yelp or any other geo-location site that will help your business appear in local search results.
Having a clear and obvious physical address is also a big immediate signifier of trustworthiness. Even if your “business address” is one and the same as your home address, still list it out on your website, business cards, email signatures and everything else! In today’s world of outsourcing and far-flung client service call centers, the average consumer is wary of companies with no address.
For a brand to be successful, it needs to be consistent across all your marketing materials. Keep that mission statement and those power words handy, and constantly evaluate to make sure your branding is cohesive. Don’t be afraid to let your personal voice shine; it is the most unique thing about your accounting business!