[IMGCAP(1)]As you’ve probably noticed, the move from Yellow Pages and local print advertising to online marketing is well underway. But there’s more to online marketing than simply getting a website for your accounting firm, or getting your business listed on Google Places. The biggest trend I’ve seen for 2012 is the use of integrated marketing solutions.
An integrated or all-inclusive marketing solution can help your firm develop and maintain an ongoing engagement with customers online via mobile, social media and better SEO, including leveraging online listings and developing a geographically targeted website. When integrated together, these components can significantly increase your chances of being found when potential clients are looking for your services.
The following tips can help your firm be found easily online by ready-to-buy customers:
• Geo-targeted website – One of the most important first steps in your integrated marketing strategy is having a keyword-optimized, geographically targeted website. This will help your firm target and attract customers in your specific area or a broader region. This means having the name of your city as part of the geo-URL, which will aid in quickly connecting that searching customer to your firm. The site can include client testimonials, bios, firm news, and other information that may be important to potential clients.
• Social media – Though social media networks are popular, don’t take shortcuts to rapidly building a following. It’s much better to build your online presence and grow organically than to use a traffic-building service, which may increase your Twitter followers, but not necessarily your customer base. Instead, you should focus on developing quality content that’s updated frequently, as well as your relevancy of followers, not quantity. “Retweeting” relevant Tweets from other sources is also a good practice to build followers and share news. If your firm has a blog, post regularly and organize topics well. Encourage comments, even negative ones, to help manage the conversation, change perceptions, and win over new business.
• Mobile – Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to research products and services they are looking to purchase. In fact, in a recent research study we commissioned with the e-tailing group, we found that 60 percent of shoppers researched products and services several times a month using a mobile device. Therefore, to break through the clutter, you should develop a mobile version of your website that’s easy to use and includes one-touch functionality.
• Online listings – Did you know that two-thirds of online consumers prefer to click on trusted, organic listings? It’s important for your business to be listed in all of the right places, so that customers can find you in your local market. Tools that publish your business information in hundreds of places, including the web’s most popular sites, maps and apps, are important to online success. This will help your business stand out from the competition and extend your reach with enhanced content like specials, badges, links, directions, reviews and more. Search engines rank businesses more favorably that have a complete online presence, which includes business listings, mobile, social, etc.
Remember: Engagement can happen on many levels and in many different ways and places. That’s why it’s really important that you develop an integrated marketing strategy that incorporates and leverages all of the above tools—together.
Right now, potential clients are searching the web on their desktops and smartphones, developing Facebook posts and tweeting. Will they find your firm in the midst of the “clutter?” Use these tips to help bolster your marketing strategy and drive new clients to your firm.
Lori Chavez is vice president of marketing for Local Corporation, a local online media company that connects merchants and consumers. Using its powerful technology platforms, the company provides a host of innovative business solutions, including digital marketing products and tools.