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Growing a business

3 ways to optimize your accounting practice’s online business listings and why it matters

recent survey of accountants revealed that bringing in new clients remains a top concern for 2017. While it’s natural to want to drive more sales to increase the value of your practice, for many accountants the marketing and sales process isn’t so natural. Accountants are just not hardwired to sell.

What if there were ways to find potential clients when and where they are looking for accounting solutions? And, what if your existing clients could drive awareness of your practice for you?

How? It all starts on search engines and your business listing.

What is an online business listing?

A local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, written description of your practice and other important details. When you claim your listing on search engines, social networks and review sites, more people who are looking for accounting services in your local area will find you, making it easier for them to call you, get directions to your location, click through to your website or share details about your business with others.

The key, however, is to own your listing and take control of how your location is presented. To get there, you should consider the following three ways to optimize your accounting practice’s online business listing.

Optimization #1: Set up to be found in local searches

Claim your listing and manage it moving forward. If you don’t, search engines and review sites will be happy to create your profile on your behalf, relying on information found via their own crawlers or by crowdsourcing. As a result, your listing may contain errors or inaccuracies that can be harmful for your practice’s growth. Imagine how many prospects you can lose if your phone number is listed incorrectly, or if you’ve moved but your address hasn’t been updated.

Visit Google My Business and claim your location, but don’t forget other search engines and review sites. After all, Google only has a 62 percent search engine market share in Canada.

Optimization #2: Monitor online reviews + request them from your clients

When considering a purchase, 82 percent of respondents to a recent survey say that they seek recommendations from friends and family, while 67 percent say they’re at least a little more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member shared it via social media or email.

What does this mean to your firm? First, it’s important to monitor online reviews to ensure that the conversation stays positive. When it veers negative, jump in to offer a solution that will fix the issue and turn the conversation around. Second, don’t be afraid to ask for online reviews. These powerful online testimonials from positive clients will help bring credibility to your practice – and also valuable SEO benefits that can impact the number of times your listing is seen.

Optimization #3: Automate the process to place your listing in more directories

While servicing your clients is your first priority and growing your business is a close second, spending time marketing your practice drops down the list. It’s natural. Marketing your own business takes time. However, getting up and running with your listing doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, like other marketing solutions may be. There are tools designed to help you claim your listing on multiple directories and agencies that can help you manage your listings and provide valuable metrics.

Why is it important to be listed on multiple directories? Because they all look to each other to validate the information in your profile. The more consistent your listing across the web, the better your search engine optimization will be for each listing. Automating the process also helps when you have to change your listing, a process that becomes laborious and time consuming if you have to handle it manually.

Tell us your story!

Is your practice listed across the web? Where have you claimed your location? Do you have a story about how an online review has positively impacted the growth of your practice? Share your stories with me; I would love to hear from you!

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