Similar to other industries, the accounting profession is changing due to the influx of technology and the evolution of consumer demands. In addition to the “moving to the cloud” discussion, the topic of marketing has been a hot item for accountants. Between repositioning yourself as a trusted advisor, offering outsourced CFO and strategy services, and implementing value-based billing, marketing is an essential component to becoming a firm of the future.
Traditionally, we as accountants have relied upon our networks for referrals. But, in today’s digital age, consumers are now expecting their service providers to have an online presence in order to validate working with you. According to Nicole Leinbech-Rehyler, a Forbes contributor, your website is the New Age window shopping and the first impression for potential clients scoping your practice out during their Google search. If you do not already have a website, you can hire a designer or there are a lot of user-friendly tools. Squarespace is one of my favorites.
Once you have your website set-up, or if you have had one for a while, how do you make sure that you are using it effectively? This is where the magic of digital marketing comes into play. While marketing is the process of attracting customers to your company, such as blog posts and social media content; digital marketing is the process of tracking the success of your online marketing efforts. By using tools, you can derive data and analytical reports about consumer behavior which will help you determine how to better engage with potential clients.
Ultimately success for every business is to increase sales, but there are a number of steps that may need to take place before a client decides to sign an engagement letter. In this post, we will focus on how to use Google Analytics to analyze the overall performance of your website.
Tracking your website analytics allows you to better define your ideal client’s needs and how to best reach your target client. This is helpful when conducting marketing research and when creating a marketing budget to determine how to best maximize your dollars. While your website provider, like Squarespace or WordPress, may include some reporting, Google Analytics is by far the best tool to use for your website. And it’s free. Here are three steps you need to take to make sure you are using your website effectively.
- After you have created your website, sign up for your free Google Analytics account.
- The next step is to calendar a weekly date to review analytics. Similar to accounting, the key in getting the most out of your reporting is to review the statements regularly. Choose one day each week to review your website numbers for fifteen or thirty minutes. I choose to do mine on Friday mornings.
- The final step is to use the information to help drive your marketing decisions. At first, you will not have a lot of data to use. But, overtime, you will begin to see useful trends. Especially if you are consistent with your marketing efforts. There is A LOT of information you can glean from Google Analytics, here are couple of areas to focus on:
This is a picture of a dashboard in Google Analytics.
Users: This is the number of people that have interacted with your site within a certain time period. In this example, we have 845 users during a week’s period. To understand how this is calculated, visit here. Your goal should be to increase this every week. This can be done by posting useful content on social media that drives traffic back to your site.
Average Session Duration: This is the amount of time a user spends on your site. In this example, it is two minutes and thirty-three seconds. The longer a user is on the site, the better. This means that they are engaged and interested in a paid offer or free newsletter. Adding original and useful content on a regular basis will help increase this number.
Bounce Rate: This is the number of times a person visits your home page and leaves without looking further. In this example, the bounce rate is 65.55%. Your goal is to decrease this every week. One simple way to do this is to include a useful content on your homepage. Such as “The top 10 ways to make your bookkeeping easier.” At the end of the written post, encourage the reader to sign up for your free weekly newsletter so that you can continue the conversation with them.
As you can see, Google Analytics gathers a lot of data. Begin with tracking these three metrics and you are well on your way to getting the most out of your website.
Danetha Doe is a celebrity business strategist and was selected as one of the Top 40 under 40
accounting professionals by CPA Practice Advisor in 2015. She is the creator of “Create a marketing plan for your accounting firm in 7 days.” Follow her on Twitter at @danethadoe and learn more about her at www.danethadoe.com.