Are bidding sites like Thumbtack worth your time?
Recently, we have seen a multitude of new directory sites that work somewhat like eBay for service providers. With Angie's List going public, awareness is even larger because of added media coverage.
Sites like Yelp, Angie's List, and Thumbtack offer consumers a marketplace to find service professionals. Some even allow customers to post job requests that CPAs and tax accountants can come in and bid on. Basically, these sites are taking the Craigslist.com model to new heights. But do they work? Can they ever attract enough quality service providers and consumers to form a viable marketplace?
The first question I ask is, what type of client are you looking for?
One who looks at your tax preparation or accounting services as a commodity and who is extremely price sensitive? Or one who understands the value you provide and will compensate you for those services. If you are targeting the H&R Block type of market, these directory sites may make sense for you. A second thought is who cares what type of client you are looking for if enhanced search results are your goal.
Having a presence on these directory sites with inbound links (if they allow them) to your website might in fact actually help your own website become more popular with Google and Bing. You don't have to bid on services--you can just set up/modify your listings to show accurate timely information. If a prospect calls you, that is only a plus.
While these sites are being backed by venture capital, I think the jury is still out. I am not convinced that the old-fashioned referral and word of mouth will ever be overridden by directory searches for tax accounting firms. Social media, Taxbuzz.com, Google Places, and Craigslist seem to be the places to start if you want more awareness. Regardless, these options may be worth investigating if they fit into your online marketing plans.
Lee Reams II
I am a marketing junkie who has spent the last 20 years developing and executing "best in class" word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. With over 10,000 happy clients I think we are on to something. The explosion in web marketing and social media have redefined the way independent professionals market their practices. Follow my blog to see if you can take some of our actionable ideas to market your own practice.