Online and Social Media Marketing: A primer for Certified Public Accountants


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I presented this in November 2009 to a group of CPAs in St. Louis, MO. I discussed the importance of SEO, local business directory listings, and how to begin using social media marketing with a focus on Twitter and blogging.

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Online and Social Media Marketing: A primer for Certified Public Accountants

  1. 1. Online and Social Media Marketing: A primer for Certified Public Accountants <ul><li>Presented by Erin Eschen </li></ul><ul><li>Online & Social Media Manager, Perficient, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>CPA Breakfast Series, November 12, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>provided by St. Louis Community College </li></ul>
  2. 2. Growing your business online <ul><li>Search Engines > Index your Web Site </li></ul><ul><li>Local Directories > Index Business Information </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media > Index Conversations </li></ul>
  3. 3. SEO <ul><li>Search Engine Optimization: Making changes to your site so that the search engines will deem your site more relevant for targeted keyword phrases, and thus rank your site in the Top 10 for a search on that term. </li></ul>
  4. 4. How does Google make money?
  5. 5. Which Search Engines Matter?, October 22, 2009
  6. 6. How do search engines find Web sites? <ul><li>Get other sites to link to your site: </li></ul><ul><li>Getting Found: Links are the search engine spiders interactive superhighway. They use links to travel page to page, site to site, to find everything on the Web. </li></ul><ul><li>Quality : Search engines determine what your site is about by looking at what sites are linking to yours </li></ul><ul><li>Quantity : A link to your site is like a vote of confidence. The more votes you have, the better you will do. </li></ul>
  7. 7. How do people search online? <ul><li>National Searches : CPA firm, accounting firm, accountant, bookkeeper, QuickBooks accounting firm, income tax preparation, payroll services. </li></ul><ul><li>Local Searches : St. Louis CPA firm, St. Louis accounting firm, St. Louis QuickBooks accounting firm, St. Louis income tax preparation, St. Louis business valuation services. </li></ul><ul><li>Industry-Specific Searches : CPA firm for dentists, accounting firm for architects, construction CPA firm, accounting for restaurants, cost accounting for manufacturing business. </li></ul><ul><li>Service-Specific Searches : IRS problem resolution, business valuation, international tax and accounting, expert tax witness, outsourced CFO services, nonprofit accounting, audit services. </li></ul><ul><li>Community-Specific Searches : Latino CPA firm in Dallas, Italian speaking accounting firm in Chicago, Chinese speaking CPA in Los Angeles. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Broad Search
  9. 9. More specific search
  10. 10. Even more specific search
  11. 11. User becomes closer to the sale as they refine their search Accountant St. Louis accountant St. Louis accountant IRS problem
  12. 12. Choose keywords for your site <ul><li>Based on these criteria: </li></ul><ul><li>Popularity : Select keywords that are searched for in search engines frequently. </li></ul><ul><li>Relevancy : Select keywords that are relevant to the Web site and to the page’s content on which the keywords are placed </li></ul><ul><li>Competitiveness : Select keywords that are not so competitive that you never have a chance to rank for them. </li></ul><ul><li>How? </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword tools estimate # searches in major search engines. </li></ul><ul><li>You are the judge. Look for “related” keywords using keyword tools. </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword tools show # competing sites, or type a keyword phrase into quotes in Google and look at number of competing sites. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Google Keyword Suggestion Tool select/KeywordToolExternal
  14. 14. Your domain name and page content should have keywords in it: Keywords are bolded, enhancing click thru rate:
  15. 15. Organize Your Site www. Site .com /film/ www. Site .com/sports/ www. Site .com /film/movies www. Site .com /film/actors www. Site .com /sports/football www. Site .com/film/movies/the_godfather www. Site .com/film/actors/tom_cruise www. Site .com/sports/football/dallas_cowboys Create a simple directory structure - Use a directory structure that organizes your content well and is easy for visitors to know where they're at on your site.
  16. 16. Title Tag <ul><li>6 - 12 words </li></ul><ul><li>Every page must have its own unique title tag </li></ul><ul><li><title>St. Louis CPA - St. Louis Accountant - Saint Louis Accounting Firm</title> </li></ul>
  17. 17. Description Tag <ul><li>12 - 24 words, maximum 200 characters </li></ul><ul><li>Should not repeat any particular phrase more than three times </li></ul><ul><li>Each spider facing page must have a keyword-centric, unique description tag </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=&quot;description&quot; content=&quot;Farmer & Farley CPAs, LLC is a St. Louis CPA firm that provides a wide variety of accounting, tax and financial management services. Our clients are located throughout the St. Louis area in towns like Florissant, Hazelwood, St. Charles, Chesterfield, and more. We also service clients in St. Louis County, St. Charles County.&quot; /> </li></ul>Sometimes shows up as snippet in search engine results:
  18. 18. META Keywords Tag <ul><li>0 - 48 keywords, maximum of 2,000 characters </li></ul><ul><li>Should not repeat any particular word more than 3 times </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=&quot;keywords&quot; content=&quot;St. Louis cpa firm, St. Louis cpa, cpa in St. Louis, St. Louis accountant, cpa for small businesses in St. Louis, accounting for small business in Missouri, accounting for small business in St. Louis&quot; /> </li></ul>META keywords do not have as much weight in SEO as they used to, but it is still critical to have them and format them correctly in this tag.
  19. 19. Proper order and formatting as follows: <ul><li>< HTML > </li></ul><ul><li><HEAD> </li></ul><ul><li><title>This is your title</title> </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=&quot;description&quot; content=“Write your keyword-rich description here.&quot;> </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=&quot;keywords&quot; content=“keyword phrase, keyword phrase, keyword phrase&quot;> </li></ul><ul><li></HEAD> </li></ul><ul><li><BODY> </li></ul><ul><li><img src=&quot;images/example&quot; ALT=”Text explaining the image goes here”> </li></ul><ul><li>.... Place any other code here.... </li></ul><ul><li></BODY> </li></ul><ul><li></HTML> </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Headings are set off by the <H1> and </H1> tag. They must always be styled like the title of a story or section (larger and/or bolder than body copy). </li></ul><ul><li>Should be in order (H1, H2, H3, etc) in the source code </li></ul>H Tags Because they are like headlines for a newspaper article, they help tell the search engines what that paragraph and page are all about. <ul><li><h1>Mini RC Cars - Submarines - Boats - Micro Stunt Cars</h1> </li></ul>
  21. 21. Image ALT attribute <ul><li>Page Image ALT attribute should be between 0 and 55 words for all image ALT attribute </li></ul><ul><li>Image ALT attribute should be descriptive of the image </li></ul><img src=&quot;mini-rc/high_speedc.jpg&quot; width=&quot;90&quot; height=&quot;58&quot; border=&quot;0&quot; alt=&quot; mini rc cars &quot;> Because the alt attribute shows up when an image is broken/missing and on hover in IE, they were originally a usability feature for Web browsing. This speaks to the search engines’ desire to serve up pages that are designed wel for users .
  22. 22. Page Links <ul><ul><li>Total links per page should not exceed 100 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use keywords in anchor text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use text links consistently throughout the site, linking to the target page using the primary keyword phrase as anchor text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords in anchor text for on-site links work similarly to links you want to obtain from other sites – the text helps tell the search engine what that linked page is about </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Why does Google love Wikipedia?
  24. 24. Answer <ul><li>Search engines LOVE content . </li></ul><ul><li>Host keyword rich copy related to the topic you specialize in. This tells search engines that you are an authority on that topic. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Body Content <ul><ul><li>Aim for between 75 and 2,000 words of text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each page should be unique and relevant to its associated primary keyword phrase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not copy from other sites or other pages of copy from your own site. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include targeted keyword phrases 3 times per 400 words </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. SEO works for Independent Professionals and Professional Services Firms <ul><li>Steven J. Graber, Graber & Associates in Baltimore: Steve founded the practice in 1993. He was extremely skeptical about the possibility of acquiring business from the Internet and now receives 12 to 15 leads per year from his website. According to Steven, “ The typical website engagement is $1,200 to $3,000 per year .” </li></ul><ul><li>Guy Sperduto, AccountingLinkUSA, Cooper City, Fla.: receives eight to 10 leads per month from his website . According to Guy, “The prospects that contact me from my website are absolutely worth meeting because they are ready to do business . As a rule, the vast majority of website leads are real businesses, and my closing ratio for website leads is 90 percent . For someone like me who was not at all convinced of Internet marketing and had no real idea what to expect, I am very pleased with the results. </li></ul>Hugh Duffy, Why is Search Engine Optimization Important? The CPA Technology Advisor, Nov 09$2607
  27. 27. Local Directories <ul><li>Local customers already search Google for the products and services you offer. Create a business listing to be sure they find you. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your address, phone number, hours of operation, and more up-to-date. Even create coupons and display photos and videos, all for free. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Local Business Results
  29. 29. Social Media Sites
  30. 30. Blogging <ul><li>Develop a community and &quot;center of knowledge&quot; around what we do, proving our abilities and expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Generate an interest in your firm by prospective clients who seek you out as a result of your merits . </li></ul>WordPress
  31. 31. Blog Content <ul><li>Lists: Top 5 or Top 10, tips, tricks, web sites, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies </li></ul><ul><li>A 2-3 part series of posts about a larger topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Interview of an authority in the field (could be a Q&A done by email with a partner or authority in the area) </li></ul><ul><li>Describe something technical or complex in a step-by-step way </li></ul><ul><li>Write about an event, accomplishment or occurrence </li></ul>
  32. 32. Promote Your Blog <ul><li>Know where the conversations are taking place that discuss something that you can help solve. </li></ul><ul><li>Post a variety of content, and post often. </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships with those who comment on your blog by replying to comments. </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships with other bloggers and industry experts. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish yourself as subject matter expert through valuable posts. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Twitter <ul><li>You are limited to 140 characters per tweet </li></ul>
  34. 34. Why use Twitter? <ul><li>Seek out conversations occurring in your field of expertise, find the thought leaders, and engage with them. Doing this will lead to several benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased number of followers : Those you seek out and engage with will follow you, creating a network of like-minded professionals who will see your messages. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhanced brand equity : You will build a professional reputation for yourself with each message you post, and thus your credibility as an expert in your field. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase reach : As you post messages relative to your core competency, your messages and offerings will reach a much larger network of engaged, socially active, and local professionals, enhancing business development efforts. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. What to Post? <ul><li>Professional: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to relevant articles in your industry with a short comment of your thoughts about the article </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work experiences and lessons learned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Events occurring at work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional networking events </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personal: Not as simple as what you ate for breakfast but instead: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What you have planned for the day </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What day-to-day types of things bother, surprise or interest you </li></ul></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Post and Monitor Frequently <ul><ul><li>A good rule of thumb is 3 times per day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check Twitter every day for any mentions of your brand, your Twitter name or any topics of interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Twitter search to look up topics of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Use tools like or to get email alerts </li></ul>
  37. 37. Use @ mentions <ul><li>How: To “mention” someone, use @ in any “tweet” directly before the Twitter account name for the person you want to mention. </li></ul><ul><li>Why: Referencing friends/colleagues using the @ technique will allow you to do the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cite the person who originally posted an article link that you have posted. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage in conversation, similarly to an instant message conversation where you are actually directing your comment (“Tweet”) to your friend or colleague. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware that your @ mentions are public to all people who are following you as well as all people who are following the person to whom you referenced in the mention. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Use RTs <ul><li>A Re-Tweet is simply your way of repeating a message word for word the way it was posted by someone else. </li></ul><ul><li>Simply copy and paste the entire tweet with the @ symbol and the user’s name </li></ul>
  39. 39. Additional Techniques on Twitter <ul><li>Direct Messages : A DM is a “Direct Message.” This is a private message between you and the person to whom you send the DM. Nobody’s followers will see these messages, as long as you type DM with a space and then the friend’s Twitter account name. </li></ul><ul><li>Hash Tags: A hash tag is a categorization of your Tweet. To categorize a Tweet, you must leave room for a tag, and you must also know what tag you can use that will allow others to understand the categorization. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Can Social Media help my business? <ul><li>Businesses of all sizes are sharing impressive results. Dell announced it has made $3 million worth of sales through its Twitter efforts. Even small businesses in big cities have started benefiting. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The greatest lesson that I learned in all of this is that you have to start.&quot; &quot;Start now, start here, and start small. Keep it Simple.&quot; </li></ul>- Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter