So much marketing advice today is about general best practices, aimed at businesses that cover a whole country or even the world, but what do you do if your accounting firm serves a single state, one county, or just a particular city? How do you get the attention of local people who need your services?
Well, that’s where hyperlocal marketing comes in. Now, before you groan and think, “Oh great. Yet another bit of jargon I’ve got to get my head around,” you’ll thank us for this. We promise!
Read on for our hyperlocal marketing tips for accountants to get your business found right in your local area, where your potential customers are:
Part 1 – Hyperlocal marketing explained
What is hyperlocal marketing? In a nutshell, it’s marketing that’s designed to increase your online visibility and reach, specifically within your geographic area or local market. It’s highly targeted just at the people in the area you serve, rather than wasting time on advertising in areas that you don’t cover.
Benefits of hyperlocal marketing
It’s obvious that if you can reach more local buyers for your accountancy service, you have more chance of turning them into customers, and hyperlocal marketing is a great way to do this.
You may have already tried the scattergun approach with marketing simply aimed at anyone you can reach who needs an accountant. That’s hard. It’s too broad and your chances of success aren’t high.
But once you start narrowing down who you’re aiming for, it’s easier to have a bigger impact in a smaller area, including building your brand, so people recognise you in your local area. You have a smaller pool of people to target, which makes it much easier to find out how they prefer to be marketed to. And it’s also less costly to be able to focus your marketing efforts on your local potential clients, meaning there’ll be more room in the budget to try out different strategies.
With a hyperlocal focus, it’s easier to keep track of how you’re doing, where you’re having success, and what’s just not working. Then it’s easier and cheaper to scale once you know what is bringing in your local clients.
Is hyperlocal marketing worth doing?
Given the benefits above, we’d say so, but when you add in the fact that there has been a 510% growth in mobile searches for “near me now” and a 125% growth in mobile searches containing “best” and “right now,” both in the past two years, we’d say it’s a safe bet.
So, let’s get into the 411 on how you can make it work.
Part 2 – Hyperlocal marketing strategy
As with any marketing strategy, the first thing you need is to know where you are now.
Go ahead and search for your accounting firm on Google and see where you come up in the listings. Search for your website, your social media, paid ads, and images. Also, try searches like, ‘accountant’, ‘CPA’, and ‘bookkeeping’ in the local area(s) you want to target.
How high in the rankings are you? Do you show up in the areas you thought you would? Where don’t you show up that you definitely should?
Now you’ve got a starting point and something to compare with when you’ve been trying this strategy for several months. You’ll know whether it’s working and what areas still need more work.
Get your business information ducks in a row
While you’re searching for your business, take a look at the information available. Is it fully up to date, complete and accurate? Make notes where things need updating and then make that your first job.
It really does matter that your Name, Address and Phone number are both correct and consistent right across the web. That set of information is referred to as your NAP, and you will rank far better in local results if, wherever customers look, your information is written in the same way. If you include that you’re in Cook County, for example, don’t skip that on some listings. Make sure it’s right there on every single one. You don’t want customers or the search engines to wonder if all those different listings are the same business. Don’t make them work to find you.
Look at your URL
Next, look at your website address (your URL). It’s likely https://youraccountingbusiness.com, right? Well, that’s great, but it doesn’t tell people that you’re local to them. Why not add in something that looks like this: https://youraccountancybusiness.com/areas-we-serve/philadelphia-pa/ and create a detailed services area page covering every location you want to target? Then you have localized pages for every area that you can use as landing pages for targeted ads, and you’ve got your local keywords both on the page and in the URL.
It’s also worth doing this for every service you offer, so there’s an individually focused page for each one, like this: https://youraccountancybusiness.com/bookkeeping, https://youraccountancybusiness.com/year-end-accounts, etc.
From SEMRush, “Schema markup is a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the info on your website in order to serve rich results. These markups allow search engines to see the meaning and relationships behind entities mentioned on your site.”
Basically, adding a schema helps the search engines understand what your site is about. Take a look at https://schema.org/ for more information.
We’ll admit that, if you’re not technical, it does look complicated, but there are schema generators to help you out, such as the JSON-LD Schema Generator For SEO from Hall Analysis, or, if you need help, we include schema creation on our small business marketing platform.
Why do this? Well, only 44% of local businesses use a schema, which means if you do, you’re likely to come out on top of your competitors. Apart from that, you’ll increase your chances of being in the number one spot on voice search, you can show social proof in your search listing, your social icons will show there too for easy clicking and more followers, and you might even get a call to action, like “buy now” right there in your listing.
Google My Business and other listings
If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business page, then you’re missing a trick. First of all, it’s free, and second, it’s from Google themselves. They want you to use it as, in their own words:
“With Google My Business, you can:
- Add your business information to Google Maps, Search, and other Google services
- Create or get access to a Business Profile on Google
- Manage how your business information shows up across Google”
Look at that last one. You get to tell Google how your company information appears in their listings.
You can also add products and services, ask for reviews, and interact with your customers directly through Google My Business.
Even better, 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business Listing, so you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Does it help with your search engine rankings? Um, is an accountant good with numbers?
It’s also important to be found in as many places as people are searching for an accountant in your area, including Bing and Yahoo, as well as Google, all the social media sites your potential customers will be on and don’t forget business directories like Yelp, Thumbtack, Angi, Nextdoor, and more.
It’s also worth trying directories specifically for accountants:
- Xero has a directory if you have Bronze Partner Status and at least one Xero certified staff member.
- You should already be listed on the CPA directory, but it’s worth keeping this up to date.
Take a good hard look at your website. Does it still look fresh and up to date? Is the design dated? Are your services still correct, or do you offer something new now?
If it needs a good revamp, do it now, before you start driving potential customers to your site. You only get one chance to make an amazing first impression.
Again, check if your NAP info is consistent on your site as much as it is elsewhere, and make sure that you have your contact details and local area prominently displayed on your site – at the top, the bottom, in your FAQs, on your contact page, of course, and include both written information on the areas you cover, and a map so it’s easy to find you.
While you’re working on your website, make sure you’re including local keywords in your content. You probably know that your main keywords should go in your meta descriptions, main headings, page titles, URLs, first paragraph, on images, and at least once more in your copy. If you didn’t, check out OptinMonster’s great guide to help you get started.
Responsiveness and site speed
Check that your website is completely responsive and looks great on mobiles as well as laptops and other devices. Can you see everything clearly? Does everything work properly, and is it just as easy to book, buy, or sign up for your mailing list on each device?
If the answer’s not abso-numbercrunchin’-lutely, best get your web designer on the phone.
Before you do that, though, check how fast your website loads.
This is so important that we can’t emphasize this enough. Nowadays, 47% of people expect a site to load in 2 seconds, and 40% of customers will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
You’ve got just two seconds to get that site loaded and ready to go before almost half your intended audience is gone. Not only that, but even one second’s delay can result in a 7% conversion reduction. That might not sound like a lot, but we’re sure you don’t need us to do the math on how many people you’re losing per 100 potential customers.
While it’s great if you have a website, and that’s important, 73% of customer engagement happens away from your website, so let’s look at what else is involved in how to do hyperlocal marketing.
Reviews provide excellent social proof and increase trust in you and your business, so it’s vitally important that you go out there and ask for them. Follow up with your satisfied customers quickly while they’re still feeling that happy flush of having worked successfully with you and got what they needed.
Even if you have hundreds of reviews, keep going and try to get at least three new reviews every month. Did you know that 48% of customers will only respond to reviews written in the last two weeks?
Where to put these reviews? Post your best reviews on your website as that may be the only place your customer has found you. But make sure you get as many reviews on third party sites as possible. Focus on the larger sites with high domain authority, such as Yelp, Facebook and Google.
Customers love it when you respond to their reviews too, so don’t be shy and start interacting on review sites. This can boost your average rating by a quarter of a star, and if you can get your rating up by just one more star, you could get between a 5% and 9% increase in revenue.
Great content never goes out of style when it comes to being found in the search engines. Be consistent, post regularly on your site and on social media, and your efforts should pay off in increased views and rankings.
Mix it up with a great combination of images, video, podcasts, and infographics too. It’s not all about blog posts! In fact, the more types you share, the more chance you have of being found.
We’re talking about local marketing here too, though, so include location tags on Instagram, including events, meta description, file name, check-ins on social media, titles and headers. Check out this post from Social Insider for more on what location tags are and how to add them.
We’re also back to keywords again, and just as before, include your main keyword or phrase in your content and your meta description, the URL, the file name for images, your heading and first paragraph.
Before you start with content, work out what you’re going to post and how often. Then create a content plan for at least a few months ahead so you’re not struggling with what to write. Don’t go too far ahead though, as you may find you need to adjust, depending on what results you’re getting.
Paid ads or Pay Per Click (PPC) can be an excellent way to make your business known in the local area. Paid ads are those listings that appear at the top of the search engines and sometimes at the side and they do stand out.
Go for Google Ads, Yelp, Bing and Facebook Ads. You can choose an objective for each ad, narrow it down by a whole range of parameters, including age, sex, hobbies, and, of course, location, including zip code, state, town, and city.
These ads also work. We’d expect that for every dollar we use for buying ads, we’d make two dollars back for our clients. If you’ve got several thousand pounds to spare on ads, or even if you haven’t, you can see why that’d be a good idea!
Top tip: Before you make your ads live, create a matching landing page for each one that has information to confirm your visitor is in the right place. Add your location to your ad, and to the landing page – you’ll rank higher.
Email marketing is an excellent way to market your business. Once people are on your list, you can send them important reminders, like year-end dates, promote new (or old) services, offer discounts, tell them about any local events you’re involved in, and so much more.
Once you have an email list, you have a valuable asset. It doesn’t matter if Google goes out of business tomorrow or Facebook shuts down overnight. You still have your mailing list to market to. You really can’t underestimate how powerful that is.
It’s also cost-effective and for every dollar spent, email marketing can generate around $32 in revenue.
You can build your list on your blog posts with a call to action, put a sign-up form on your website, post about it on social media, ask your previous clients if they want to sign up, do popups, add your newsletter link to your email signature, and more.
Think about who you’re emailing, what they want to hear, and where they are based.
Email automation allows you to set up a sequence of emails to automatically go out to new leads, you can offer promotions only to people who haven’t bought a service yet, target interests, and do a whole host of things to keep your readers engaged, interested, and on the path to buying.
If you’re not sure about the power of branding, whose tagline, with a tick next to it, is this? “Just do it” Nike, of course. It’s simple but extremely powerful. You know who we’re talking about from just three words.
Branding is about more than just colors and logos, though they’re important too. It’s about your reputation and what people think of when they hear your name. In fact, it’s about everything you do, from the way you answer the phone to the last thing you do for a customer. It’s how you make people feel.
It all matters, and it pays to be consistent, not just with the same look – colors, fonts, styles – everywhere, but with your tone on your website, in person, and on social media.
One more thing about branding, as well as getting involved online, take some of your marketing offline. Get involved in your local community. Join in with fundraisers and get to know local organizations. Do some networking, sponsor a charity, and get yourself known in the general area. This can create a great first impression and boost your branding.
In short, make it easy for people to find you! Make it clear why they need you, and assure them that you are the droids they’re looking for.
Part 3 – Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
While we’ve laid out a strategy you can follow above, it can seem like a whole lot when you’ve already got your existing clients to take care of and all the many tasks that go with running your own business. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own.
Surefire Local has years of experience in making hyperlocal marketing work for their customers. Partner with the leading all-in-one marketing intelligence platform and make hyperlocal marketing easy – control everything from one place and gain deep insights into your marketing to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Why not request a demo of our local marketing software and see what a difference partnering with us can make?