Getting Your Website Ready for Tax Season
Seven SEO pointers and six marketing tips
Guest post by Becky Livingston
Tax season may seem far into the future; when in reality, it’s just around the corner. Now is the time to be thinking about your marketing push—starting now in fact—and your website and digital marketing content to prepare for the upcoming tax season and to draw in new clients.
Here are a few key tasks to consider for your firm’s website and email campaigns as you lead up to tax season.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips – Website
Ensuring current clients continue to leverage your firm’s services is important. Finding new clients is critical. Do people know how to find your firm? If so, when they get to the website, can they clearly find what they are looking for, quickly?
SEO pointers to help new and returning clients find and use your website to your advantage:
- Visit the site as if you were a new client. Are the firm’s services easily located? Are descriptions written with clients or regulators in mind? If regulators, and your focus is clients, consider revising the content.
- Update photos and tweak content slightly—this does not require a site redesign, just a facelift to keep the look fresh for those who may have visited the site before. It also helps with Search Engine Result Page (SERP) ranking.
- If you specialize in tax services, you may want to promote it as a navigational item on the site, making it even easier for prospects to view content. This is also a great strategy for mobile viewing. The less time spent searching for content, the more time to make a call.
- Key phrases or “longtail” SEO also help with search. For example, rather than just using a generic term like “tax” use something specific like, “estate tax services,” “high-net-worth tax services,” or you may want to include your location, for example “tax services North Carolina.”
- Use last year’s website analytics to determine the keywords and phrases that drew people to your site. Include those keywords in viewer-facing content or at least in the page and site SEO.
- Revisit last year’s website analytics for the most visited web pages and visitor behavior. Reviewing this information will help you know where to focus your efforts, and to see if people entered the site in one location then quickly moved to another site page to find the sought out content. Update the content, change the photo, and/or the page headers on the most visited pages.
- If you offer onsite services, be sure to have your firm’s address, website, and phone number listed in Google Places and Bing/Yahoo! Local.
2. Marketing Tips – Email and Newsletters
If your firm distributes tax season emails or offers a “seasonal” quarterly newsletter, below are key steps you can do now in preparation for that distribution.
- Lead Generation: Do you have landing pages that help convert visitors to leads? If not, create landing pages with forms that can be submitted to the sales team or SalesForce for follow-through.
- Call-To-Action: Review last year’s website traffic. If you find that a you’ve got a lot of visitors, but few calls to the sales line, consider revising the call-to-action on the site pages. Is the call-to-action compelling and actionable? For example, “Call us today, before Uncle Sam calls you.”
- Personalization: Email and newsletter personalization makes a huge difference to recipients. Personalization goes beyond a first/last name. It can reach well into the message content and even to the promotion.
- Promote tax specials on social sites too. For example, if you’re offering a “Free Review of 2010 Taxes” in order to get business for 2011, add that to your firm’s social media content calendar—LinkedIn status, Twitter profile, and/or Facebook page.
- Keywords: Email and newsletters are also considered digital content and may influence search engine rankings. Include website key phrases or long-tail descriptors in digital marketing efforts.
- Landing pages: Create unique landing pages for each special offer. Avoid sending visitors to a “Contact Us” page. Also, create a landing page split test (making two copies and changing just one element) to determine which worked best with clients and for future promotions.
3. The Short List
Each of these recommendations could be done in isolation or in combination. My recommendations are:
- Be educated. View the year-ago website analytics. Analyze page visits and onsite behavior. Create an action plan.
- On the most visited pages, tweak the photo and update the content slightly—making it appear fresh to returning visitors.
- Ensure the navigation is easy to follow and takes a visitor where he/she needs to go for information, quickly.
- Check the site on a mobile device. Tweak for maximum mobile usage.
- Create split-test landing pages for offers.
- Personalize email/newsletter content.
- Write compelling calls-to-action.
Becky Livingston is the President of Royal Apple Marketing, a social and digital marketing firm specialized in working with small business owners, non-profit leaders, and CPAs.
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