Is your website design stuck in the dark ages?
Most people don’t like change. It is scary, and the unknown sometimes paralyzes people from making wise decisions to help better themselves. I see this often when talking to CPAs and tax accountants. They are afraid of social media so they don’t participate, even though there are millions of their clients on it everyday. They cling on to old office workflows, even though technology could save them hours each day with automation. Nowhere do I see the threat of change holding back professionals more, than in the dinosaur websites I review every day.
Use technology to reach the broadest audience possible.
According to online usage studies, over 50% of web surfing is now done on a mobile device. Whether that is a phone or an iPad, the sizes of the screens that are displaying your website vary greatly. If your website is not responsive (changes dimensions based on screen size), visitors will have a tough time finding what they are looking for. Whether it be your phone number, map, an online appointment form, or just information about your services, your website must display well in the mobile world. Using old html standards prevents your website from looking better than the websites of your competitors. Unless people have been directly referred to you, they probably get their first impression from your website. Don't waste this opportunity.
Take advantage of technology to manage information and save time.
From online appointment scheduling to tracking information, technology has come a long way in helping tax accountants organize their practices. Even with these huge advances, some firms still do things the old-fashioned way. I know of one CPA who tracks 40 clients using Post-It notes on the walls of his office. Who follows up with the client? How does he know the client's status? What will happen April 15th with Post-It notes still on the wall? Solutions to these issues are very inexpensive when compared to losing a client or incurring administrative labor costs.
Embrace technology to manage your biggest asset - your client database.
If you threw out the book on client acquisition through advertising and just concentrated on word of mouth, I would bet most firms would have more clients than they could handle. I have seen this time and time again with successful practices.
So what is their secret?
They take time to engage clients year-round. They listen, they communicate, they respond. They use email newsletters and social media to engage clients where they are, whether in their inbox or on sites like Facebook. And guess what? It isn’t that hard or even scary. Clients actually appreciate the contact and the tips. The result is that these firms have more ambassadors talking about them to their friends and colleagues.
Stop procrastinating, the improvement will be a welcomed relief.
So now that Fall is right around the corner, it is time to take a look at what you are doing and start making some changes. It takes months and even years for a good website to move up the search rankings. Use your "down" time to identify the type of clients you want to bring in and start communicating with your audience to make that happen. Marketing automation and low-cost technology offerings are available. Take advantage of them before your competitors pass you by.
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.