“I would be interested in an opinion on resources – are they essential for an accountant’s website? Something as a call to action of course, but beyond that?”
The problem with most “resources” for accountancy firm websites is that they’ve been created with the accountant in mind. The type of thing accountants think their clients want, or what accountants find interesting.
Or, worse, they’ve been created by a company who decided these would be great to sell to an accountant – the general concept of helping clients is right, but the resources themselves are generic. (Every other firm has the same ones.) Dull to read. (Written for everyone, so it applies to no one.)
Small business guides and articles.
Generic accounting firm apps.
Summaries of the Budget.
These get bought by accountants (or embedded into their template website) because the accountant knows they need to provide something, but they don’t have the time to write great content themselves. Or they figure, most small business questions are the same, so why reinvent the wheel? Or somehow they imagine it’s good for SEO, since it includes words like accounting, tax, payroll, budget, business growth. (Top tip: it doesn’t.)
These kinds of resources are useless.
They’re worse than useless, because they show a lack of care on the part of the accounting firm.
Your prospective client is very savvy. They won’t be fooled by a second thinking your small business guide on “What type of business structure do I need?” has been carefully written for them, based on your personal experience.
There are no quotes from clients, no stories, no phrases that you personally would say in a meeting. They could find this information in a thousand other articles online somewhere…and unfortunately with generic content, they probably already have.
The message you’re giving with that kind of content is that you’re cutting corners. You care a little, but not too much, and you definitely don’t want to spend good money on creating content unique to your own client base.
So, what resources ARE useful, then?
I think one of the problems is the word “resources”. It’s a menu item on a templated accounting firm website, and it generates an image of an old dusty library with a Resources section. With big heavy tomes you can’t check out, but heave onto a table and flick through until you find the obscure regulation or statute relating to your topic.
Instead of pages filled with guides no one reads and calculators they could find anywhere else (and faster), think about what you can create that will give your prospective buyer an amazing experience before they even become a client.
That’s the reason to create resources: so your buyer becomes so impressed with your expertise that they absolutely have to get in touch. It’s like it’s been created uniquely for them.
Resources are useful if they are:
1. Based on your audience’s issues and questions
2. Genuinely helpful (someone can actually use them or learn from them)
3. Custom to you (with your style, tone of voice, and brand)
It’s not about the format. I’ve often been asked by accountants whether a PDF guide is a good idea, or they admit they “need more video”.
You don’t need more video for the sake of video: you need to build a connection with your future clients and video is one of the best possible ways to do it.
You don’t need a PDF guide so you can get more email addresses (and actually asking for an email is becoming rather passé anyway): you need to give a clear summary of how they can solve a particular problem.
Here are some examples of really good ‘resources’ created by accounting firms, unique to them, well designed and fitting with their brand.
Everything their new clients need to know about what happens next, once they sign the proposal.
A specialised guide crafted especially for breweries, based on terminology they use in the industry.
Their “this is how we do things here” document, printed in a beautiful brochure.
What we do and how we do it.
I trust you can see the massive difference – and appeal – of a resource that has been developed uniquely for each firm’s target audience, based on the questions and challenges their clients have. Each one is well branded, easy to read and follow, and gives the potential buyer an impressive feeling. It builds confidence in the accounting firm they’re considering working with – and when that firm delivers on everything they promised, it locks in loyalty, and the client stays a client for a long time.
What resource will you create next?