Achieving strategic balance in your digital marketing is a challenge for any accountant. How do you effectively blend different channels such as SEO (search engine optimisation), social media advertising and PPC (pay per click) channels, for instance?
That’s what this article is all about – helping you find that balance without breaking the bank.
The importance of PPC
Over 30% of advertising spend in the UK now goes on PPC channels such as Google Ads, and Bing (pay per click). A big reason for that is because it works, in a wide range of industries.
Big companies are sometimes willing to spend £15 a click or more, because they know that the business this investment brings is worthwhile.
For most accounting firms, the typical business is quite small and the marketing budget isn’t overwhelming. Most cannot afford to spend £10 a click on various keywords in Google search. So you need to be smart about choosing relevant, less expensive keywords at the right level of competition in your local area.
If you can achieve this, PPC can bring accountants the following benefits:
-Increased brand exposure and visibility to their target market
-More website traffic
-Enhanced brand recognition, familiarity and trust
-More online conversions such as contact form submissions, phone calls and downloads
In addition, PPC can bring the above benefits fairly quickly as well. Since you’re paying to appear to online audiences in Google and Bing, you’re not having to wait for your ads, links and content to work their way up to the top of search results so your audience will see them.
The Importance of SEO
As great as PPC is, there are some drawbacks to consider which SEO does not suffer from.
First of all, it is much easier for a competitor to displace you with PPC. All a competitor needs to do is write a slightly higher quality ad, spend a bit on their click bidding, and your ads will likely be pushed down the page.
With SEO, this is much harder for a competitor to do. Search engine optimisation requires webmasters to build up their website rankings organically. This means publishing great content over time, which your audience find relevant and valuable. It also means that accountants need to ensure their websites are optimised for search, and that high quality links are being built to their content.
All of this SEO work takes time, ongoing resources and effort. So once it all pays off, and you secure the top spots in Google search, it’s far harder for someone to brush you aside by throwing money at the problem. You’ve secured a valuable piece of search engine “real estate” by building up your organic rankings.
For someone to displace you, they are therefore going to have to come up with something even more valuable, amazing and compelling than your content. Quite a big undertaking.
The second challenge faced by PPC is quality. The fact is, whilst PPC is a valuable means to generate conversions, their frequency and quality do tend to be lower than those from organic traffic. Indeed, quite often your target audience will enter a search query, skip right over the ads and click on the organic link.
Why? Because these people tend to be more trusting of organic links in search engines, and these people also tend to be more serious with their search intent when it comes to accountant marketing. Think about it, if you were someone seriously looking for an accountant’s services, would you rather click on an ad or an organic listing in your search engine results?
This isn’t to bad-mouth PPC and glorify SEO. The fact is, both have their uses. The challenge is blending them effectively, so they work together constructively towards your goals, delivering value for money and ROI.
Blending PPC and SEO in Accountant Marketing
The fact is, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy in accountant marketing. Every business is different in its composition, branding, background, goals, budget, location and target market.
At the same time, as we’ve helped financial firms across the country with their digital marketing, we’ve found that a blend of PPC and SEO is generally the best way forward for accountants.
Here’s one idea of what that could look like, for an accountant in Reading looking to attract new local clients. For their PPC campaign, the accountant puts a small monthly budget aside to run the following three campaigns:
–A brand campaign, where the accountant bids on keywords specifically belonging to their brand (e.g. the business’s name). This helps ensure that, for anyone searching on Google for their specific business, the accountant’s website appears at/near the top of the results.
–A remarketing campaign, which shows ads to previous visitors of the accountant’s website. The intention here is to draw qualified traffic back to their content, and encourage a conversion.
–A display campaign, which involves showing targeted ads to people visiting other websites. These might be specific types of industry publications, or websites frequented by the accountant’s target audience – helping ensure they become aware of the business.
For the SEO aspect of the accountant’s marketing, they focus on three tactics to increase their search engine rankings:
–Technical SEO work on the site. Here, the accountant ensures that existing content on their website is optimised for search. For instance, this involves optimising meta data, alt tags and schema markup.
–Publishing regular articles. These blog posts sit on the accountant’s news section, for instance. They target common, important questions asked by their target market, as well as the keywords they use to find more information about these kinds of topics
–Publishing landing pages. These dedicated web pages address a specific need of the accountant’s target market. For instance, if someone nearby in Reading searches for “business accountant reading” on Google, then the accountant will want a landing page which will appear to this user – meeting their needs and addressing their pain points.
The landing pages are especially important, as these can also act as URL destinations for the Google Ads and Bing ads the accountant is also running. Rather than just pushing PPC traffic towards their homepage, the accountant can help ensure their users find the most relevant information they are looking for.