Of all of the topics covered on this blog, there are two particular themes that come up often:

  • How can I stand out from the (ever increasing) sea of competitors in my niche?
  • How can I generate more leads without having to kick, scratch, and claw for every opportunity?

With over 1,642+ business owners currently in this community, we see these two questions A LOT.

And yet, we have some members in our community who are clearly winning.

For example: we've seen one client use their website to sell out a consulting program and increase revenue 67.9%...all while generating inbound leads. (No fussing, haggling, or fighting for new business)

After working with clients like this and reviewing a LOT of websites – there are a couple of things we've figured out to separate websites that “work” from those that “don't work”.

The aim of this article is to give you complete control over how you position your accounting business and drive leads through your accounting website.

Let's start here. Your website is supposed to do TWO things for you.

A) Position you as an expert in your field
B) Drive new leads to your business

That's it.

Sure, you can tweet, post, link, like, share, friend, and connect all you want...but I've found that most accountants are confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated by their efforts here.

The most efficient process works like this: 1) people find your website, 2) enjoy what you do 3) take the appropriate next step in doing business with you.

If that is happening you website “works” for you. If that isn't happening, your website “doesn't work” for you.

If you don’t have time to read this article and want a head start in developing your own lead generating website, you can schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with us by clicking here.

As a specialist in accounting, you have a valuable skillset. You are a “numbers” person and the world respects your expertise. I mean, November 10th is International Accounting Day for crying out loud!

That means your sharp insight allows you to understand the words on this page better than anyone.

That also means there is a world full of people who compete with you for new clients and other opportunities. Yes, you can buy a standard accounting website template, but you already know that boilerplate content with 10-year-old stock images won't make you a winner in the competitive space of accounting services.

So, let's have an in-depth look at what success looks like, shall we?

Case Study: Cornerstone Bookkeeping and Accounting

Right off the bat, let me tell you that Cornerstone Bookkeeping and Accounting is not your average accounting firm. Founded by Amin Aleem, there is a very specific place in the market he intends to own.

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1st Cornerstone "Difference": Although Cornerstone offers bookeeping services, he does not want the company known just for "bookkeeping".

If you walk up to someone and say, “Hey, I’m a book keeper,” you are going to charge $15/hour and you are going to do $15/hour level work. “Bookkeeping” is just not seen as a high level service.

His picture for bookkeeping and accounting is bigger than that.

2nd Cornerstone "Difference": Cornerstone is not interested in specializing in taxes.

Amin has a very strong point of view on this. In his experience, tax clients are rushed, anxious, and often trying to get multiple years of taxes pushed through at one time. Furthermore, their record keeping is typically poor with no system for labeling or categorizing.

In short, they are trying to get a lot of work done, very quickly, at a very low price point. That isn't the game he wants to play.

3rd Cornerstone "Difference": He believes that if bookkeeping and accounting are going to be done right the work should be in partnership with the leader of the organization. Meaning, he and the client need to be thinking through issues together as client and consultant.

If the client isn't interested in that kind of relationship, the person isn't a good fit for Cornerstone.

There is more to this story, but I think you can understand Amin's intention as a business owner. This is the “position” he wants his company own in the marketplace.

So then, how do you turn your "difference" into a lead generating website?

Ok, so now it gets fun...there are 9 crucial elements. Keep reading.

Element 1: A Hard-Hitting Homepage

The homepage wins the award for the most stressed over page in all of websites, but for all of the wrong reasons. Two important myths to bust here:

Statement: Fancy images and clever design make my homepage better.

Wrong. Just because your homepage is “pretty” with fancy colors and sliding images does NOT mean it will convert visitors into leads.

Statement: Most people will land on my homepage and immediately fill out a form to become a lead.

Wrong. A 3% conversion rate on your homepage is considered great. That means the other 97% of people visit your homepage and do something else besides becoming a lead.

So what does your homepage do? It's sets a context for the work you do.

When people land on your homepage, they should immediately come face to face with your core value proposition.

Yes, it's “obvious” that you are an accountant offering accounting services, but how do you offer services? Why do you offer services? What specific benefit should your perspective client expect from working with you?

Cornerstone does a great job articulating the transformation they expect their clients to experience. Take a look at the image below:

cornerstone-lead-gen-case-study-1

Positioning:
-Relevant “hero” image with core value proposition prominently displayed
-Supporting content clearly explaining what the company believes
-Relevant icons support the overall feel of the site

Lead Generation:
-Phone number is easy to find in top right hand corner
-Link in the hero image directs to a page for services
-Call-to-action at the bottom links to a page for services

The homepage's job is to set a context for the work you do. Each clickable option on the homepage takes the prospective client into a deeper understanding of exactly what you do while leading them closer to becoming a new lead for your business.

Note: We believe that positioning work and web development work must happen at the same time. Clarity in one leads to excellence in the other. If you would like to discuss improvements to your positioning and lead generation efforts click here for a free 1-on-1 consultation.

Element 2: List of Pillar Content Articles

It's easy to overlook the importance of this page. Most people have it because they think they should, but have no idea what purpose it serves.

First off, simply having well-written, professional, benefit driven articles is a cut above most average accounting firms. Many firms are using pre-written content and dry uninspired, articles that provide no value to the reader.

Truthfully, all you need is 4-6 pillar content articles to make your positioning and specialization clear. But you can't outsource your positioning. You have to OWN it. (More on that later.)

Cornerstone committed to creating high quality content and offers it up for display on this page.

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Positioning:
-List of pillar content articles puts expertise on display
-Strong, benefit-driven titles make the value of each article clear
-Related images make a visual connection between article title and topic

Lead Generation:
-Phone number is easy to find in top right hand corner Positioning is the major goal of this page.

The prospective client can see the content you have available and choose their own adventure. Any adventure they choose helps them learn more about you and takes them one step closer to becoming a lead.

Element 3: About Page

Sometimes the prospective client is looking for a little more insight into the people that make the business work. That's a good thing.

However, many accountants fall victim to one of two extremes. Either being too corporate (bragging about client experience and years in the field) or too chummy (over-sharing personal stories about their pet cat and growing up as a vegan).

The prospective client cares about your personality, but they care MOST about the parts of your personality they can trust to get them results. They want to know there are real people behind the business with a personal investment in doing high level work with clients. Your role on this page is to take a stance on what you care about, why you care so much, and how it helps potential clients.

Cornerstone has a series of beliefs about who they are, the problem they solve, and the kind of clients they believe they help best. The about page puts these ideas on display.

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Positioning:

-About page makes it clear this company has beliefs and is comfortable being held accountable to them

-Each statement is crafted to draw a direct connection between what the belief is and how it provides value to a potential client

Lead Generation:

-Phone number is easy to find in top right hand corner

-Right hand side bar provides easy registration for free training describing their services in more detail

The about page is another positioning page. Sure you can go without creating one, but it sacrifices an important human element in how people buy. Remember people buy from people, not from websites.

Note: Clients do business with people they know, like, and trust. How many opportunities are you missing because your about page doesn't raise your trust factor? We'd like to change that. Stronger positioning and improved lead generation begins with  scheduling a 1-on-1 consultation.

Element 4: Services Page

A very important page, but not because someone can make a purchase decision. It's important because someone can understand their purchase decision. There is an important myth to call out here:

Statement: My prospective clients know, understand, and value my services the way I do.
Wrong. This is an incredibly damaging assumption and couldn't be further from the truth.

Remember, YOU are the accounting expert. Your prospective client is NOT. You live the language, culture, and skills of accounting. Your prospective client does not.

To that end, simply offering a short blurb of accounting speak with a link that says “buy my services” will not get you the end result you are after.

Your prospective client needs context to understand the purpose and value of the services you offer.Your job, as the expert, is to provide that context. This page is your opportunity to do that.

Cornerstone takes full advantage of this page by explaining the process behind the work they do. This page is easy to digest because the work is explained in phases with straightforward language the reader can understand.

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Positioning:
-Presenting the work in simple phases reveals true authority and command over the services offered
-Revealing and explaining each phase of work shows a willingness to be transparent
-Having a short form application shows a desire to assess fit and therefore valuing the time of both parties

Lead Generation:
-Phone number is easy to find in top right hand corner
-Services page provides an unintimidating way for a prospective client to understand services before requesting a consultation
-Application allows the client to provide relevant information in advance so that both prospect and consultant can prepare before the call

Lead generation is the primary goal of this page. Organizing the page in the above format gives the prospective client the opportunity to understand their own need before reaching out. Not only is this page good to have in your navigation bar, but it is also a good link to send out via email or other digital channels when someone asks “what you do”.

Elements 5-8: Pillar Content Articles

These are, without a doubt, the hardest working pages in any lead generating website.

These are, without a doubt, the least respected pages in any lead generating website.

Your pillar content articles should be long-form, well-written, professional, and benefit driven. They should be shining examples of your company's unique point of view in the marketplace. They should call-out your potential clients' deepest concerns while identifying the possible solutions.

If you do it right...

Your pillar content articles will position you as an empathetic thought leader fully capable of addressing the issues that perpetually frustrate your potential clients.

Your pillar content articles will also perform as your 24/7, never-sleep team of lead generation workhorses for you and your business development efforts.

I know, you are an accountant. You like data. So let me show you proof via numbers.

Here is why long-form pillar content articles deserve to be elements 5, 6, 7, and 8 of your lead generating website.

Reason #1: Long form content gets better search engine rankings...SERPIQ analyzed the top 10 search results for 20,000 keywords. They found a direct relationship between the length of content and search engine ranking. (recommend 1500 word target)

Reason #2: Long form content gets more social shares...Newswhip studied the 10 most shared stories on Facebook for CNN, Huffington Post, Guardian, and New York Times. They found these articles to have over 1000 words on average.

Reason #3: Long form content converts better...Quicksprout's founder and conversion guru, Neil Patel, did a series of A/B testing and found that longer form content converted better … “even when the form fields were way below the fold.”

All you need is 4-6 pillar content articles to make your positioning and specialization clear. But you can't outsource your positioning. You have to OWN it.

Cornerstone did just that, and as a result, they have created 4 long-form pillar content articles (working on more) that point to specific problems in the market they know they can solve.

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Positioning:
-Benefit driven headline sets a clear expectation and value proposition for the reader
-Header image adds professionalism and encourages the reader to continue down the page
-Tutorial style content helps the reader understand the problem and possible solution with a “beginning, middle, end, next step” framing

Lead Generation:
-Phone number is easy to find in top right hand corner
-Call to action is customized and directly related to the pillar content article
-Special coding allows the call to action to be found and accepted easily without leaving the page

Remember, search engines don't rank whole websites. They rank individual pages.

Remember, people don't read whole websites. They read individual articles.

To that end, your focus should be on ranking, sharing, and promoting the most powerful individual pages on your website.

Note: I'll bet dollars to donuts you are NOT doing this. Our tests regularly see conversion rates of 20% - 60% (web visitor to lead) on pillar content articles. There isn't a more powerful set of pages on your website than your pillar content articles. Let us help you create the content and weave it beautifully into your website. It all begins with scheduling a 1-on-1 consultation.

Element 9: Thank You Page

Your prospective client has seen your pillar content article and taken the next step by filling out the form. What is the next page they see?

This is called the “Thank You Page”.

First and foremost, your thank you page should recognize the action they've just taken and thank them for taking it. (That's just a kind thing to do.)

And while on this page, it's also appropriate to ask if they would be interested in taking one more step closer in working with you. (There is always a sub-set of people that want the MOST help as FAST as they can get it.)

Cornerstone embraces this by immediately offering an opportunity to setup a consultation. It's simple, straightforward and allows the prospective client to decide for themselves which action they would like to take.

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Positioning:
-Confirmation removes any uncertainty about technology failing or information being misused
-Thank you expresses gratitude for the prospective client's decision to learn more about your business
-Displaying next steps allows you to future pace and continue your leadership role in the relationship

Lead Generation:
-Proposing a consultation allows a potential client with an urgent need to get attention quickly

There it is.

This is “how a website works”.

No wasted space.
No wasted words.

No wasted time.
No wasted energy.

Most importantly, this website will do  TWO things for you.

A) Position you as an expert in your field
B) Drive new leads to your business

Everything on your website works together to display your expertise so the right clients are excited about taking the next step with you.

What does it take to put this all together? Along with the 9 pages outlined here, It takes:

  • 7,000 edited words (approximately)
  • 8-9 laser focused images
  • graphic design software
  • a landing page designer
  • customized WordPress theme
  • customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • comprehensive compelling message that ties everything together
  • and a few other things only “technical, web people” care about.

Can you do this by yourself? You can...and some do.

But if you'd like to use our team to help you implement this for your accounting firm click here to schedule a 1-on-1 consultation.

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