Do keywords matter when you are copywriting for accountants?

An accountant who needs copywriting

This is a question that pops up from time to time as I’m regularly asked if I will put some keywords into the copywriting for accountants that I do.

The problem is of course that the answer is that ‘it depends’.

So in this post, I thought I’d explore this in more detail and look at the whole issue of keywords.

Getting accountancy clients isn’t physical sales.

To my mind, the debate has been taken over by physical sales marketing, in other words, the use of keywords and phrases is all about a transactional relationship with the client.

The problem is that this is rarely the way to sell accountancy services as they rely on the build-up of trust between the client and the firm.

So simply packing blog posts with keywords is probably going to do more harm than good, especially in the eyes of Google.

So keywords are no good then?

Nah, that ‘s not what I said.

Keywords are fine for pointing people at the valuable content you have on offer.

They are a way of telling Google what is on your site but I’d argue that once the visitor is on the site it is much more about building a level of trust.

And the truth is that for trust based services like accountancy, people generally don’t buy because they saw you at the top of the search engine results pages.

I’d also say that marketing for clients works much better when it is away from the Google search pages and done on an individual basis.

In short, I think that when you are commissioning copy for an accountancy practice you are better off looking at the meat of the copywriting rather than the fluff of keywords. Treat them as a ‘nice to have’.

Copywriting for accountants – what’s the use?

Well it’s all about credibility.

Look at it this way, imagine you were wanting to find a good practice near you that was up to date and had their finger on the pulse.

You go to a website and find that the last blog post was written in 2014 and was about tax rates.

You’re pretty certain that the tax regime has changed since then (it has) so you are suddenly mistrustful of the site and it puts you off.

So you go and look at another site and you find that they have a wealth of posts about different areas of their practice.

You even find out something that you didn’t know.

So you feel much more confident about the firm, the people and about contacting them for more information.

And this is the crucial difference between selling services and DVDs.

A great set of keywords will sell DVDs directly from the site.

A great set of keywords won’t sell your accounting services, but when people hit your site, poor quality content will certainly lose you the sale.

Want more information about digital marketing?

I’ve produced an in-depth guide that you can download for free by clicking here

How do you choose your tone of voice?

How do you choose your tone of voice

If you have spent any time at all thinking about marketing you’ll probably have heard people talking about ‘tone of voice’ and maybe you have wondered what this is.

Well wonder no more dear friends for in this post I am going to tell you what tone of voice is and how to choose yours.

What is meant by ‘Tone of Voice’?

Tone of voice is a concept that lives within the world of marketing.

It simply means how you speak to people through whatever medium you are using.

Tone of voice will be different depending upon what type of company you are, who runs it, the type of customer you are speaking to and what you are trying to convey.

A good analogy is thinking about speaking with your peers or your grandmother.

You use a totally different way of speaking.

Your phraseology is different, how polite you are changes and the words you use also differ.

You’ll use a different tone of voice if you are imparting technical knowledge as opposed to say writing in a lifestyle magazine and in fact, if you ever consider writing for people they will often tell you what tone of voice to use.

Tone of voice – some examples.

I thought I’d take 3 examples of different types of tone.

The first one is for a well established bank.

Barclays has a wealth management arm and this snippet is from one of their web pages.

“Whether you want to grow your wealth for a retirement income or a legacy to pass on to future generations, we can help you set goals and try to achieve them”

https://www.barclays.co.uk/wealth-management/wealth-planning/

Notice that the tone is neutral, professional, not overly ebullient. There isn’t a lot of technical jargon and there are certain phrases that shy away from being overt.

So instead of saying “we aim to make you more money than other people” They say “we can help you set goals and try to achieve them

Now compare this to a website aimed at IT professionals

“Archive Shuttle leverages the latest ingestion technologies within its Advanced Ingestion Protocol (AIP) to achieve speeds that are dramatically faster with a lower failure rate over traditional EWS methods of migration to Microsoft endpoints.”

https://www.quadrotech-it.com/archive-shuttle/

This language is very different.

They need to establish their credentials and they do this by talking the language of their target market.

I have no idea what Advanced Ingestion Protocol (AIP) is but it sounds impressive.

Of course the website isn’t aimed at me, it’s aimed squarely at people who are looking to migrate large amounts of data between locations.

Here’s my third example

We’re thrilled to be able to serve you once again and are ready and raring to help you with your online orders. Our Customer Care team are on hand, and very happy to chat you through our product range

https://uk.lush.com/article/your-questions-answered

This is from cosmetics firm Lush.

Make no mistake, they are just as keen to sell you stuff as Barclays and Quadrotech but the way they speak is as if they are your best friend.

They may be a multi-national but they are adopting a friendly, happy, positive tone that you could hear down the pub or in the gym.


The big digital marketing secret
There’s a big secret that people won’t tell you about digital marketing – want to know what it is? Click the image to find out.

So how do you choose your tone of voice?

The million dollar question!

The first thing to consider is your company.

Is it just you? one or two of you? 500 people?

The way you speak may change dependent upon the image you want to convey.

Think about your target market

Then think about your target market, what do they expect?

If you are talking to buyers of cosmetics would you use the same approach as Quadrotech? In other words, would you go into technical detail about what ingredients are in the soaps or would you talk about how it feels/smells/looks?

Then think about how your target market talks amongst themselves.

Do they use a lot of TLAs (three-letter acronyms, see what I did there?).

Are they highly professional, mums, teenagers, middle aged men?

Check out forums, message boards, Facebook groups etc, and just watch how they interact.

Adopting the language and mannerisms is important for people to like, or feel invested in your brand.

Then have a look round at websites you like.

Are there any that stand out?

Do any particular brands shout at you “This is how you should speak”?

Finding good examples of tone of voice that you think would work well is probably the best way to choose your own.

Finally think about how you are going to communicate.

Some TOVs work better in some channels than others.

In short if you have a young audience, a cool product and you are using instagram as your primary channel then this will heavily influence your tone of voice.

Using the same tone on LinkedIn may not have the desired effect!

The best tone of voice is the right tone of voice

When I start working with people to define their marketing plan they often ask what is the best tone of voice to use.

There is no simple answer.

If we think of the three examples, none of these is ‘better’ than the others, they are all examples of successful companies speaking to their customer in the right tone of voice for them.

And this is the important point.

The right tone of voice can be as individual as a fingerprint.

You need to be comfortable with it, your staff need to be comfortable with it and more importantly, your customers need to be comfortable with it.

So there you go.

All you need to do now is to choose how you want to communicate and make sure the same tone of voice is used across all of your marketing channels!

If you would like some help with tone of voice then give me a shout. I’m a nice guy honest and having a second pair of eyes usually saves you a lot of money in wasted copy!

The secret they won’t tell you about digital marketing

The big digital marketing secret

There’s a secret about digital marketing out there that people aren’t sharing and I think I know why.

I know why it’s not being shared and I also know why it is counter-productive.

It’s a secret that digital marketers and content producers know full well or, if they don’t then they ought to.

And it’s a secret that anyone embarking on digital marketing, whether it’s just for their own site or for someone else’s should know.

Marketers are great…

…at selling the sizzle.

It’s what we do.

We tell you how great things are going to be when you use our services and we let you believe that you’ll get instant results.

How often have you watched a video or read an article that leaves you with the impression that this is all dead easy and you can have amazing results really quickly?

The problem is that marketing has something called the ‘golden triangle’ which is something that project managers have known about for years.

If you want hits then you can have them cheap, quick or good but you can’t have all three.

So for instance you can get a huge number of hits by paying to always be top of the google rankings. They’ll probably be good hits and you’ll get them quickly but it won’t be cheap.

Or you can pay a link farm to get you tons of links. It will be cheap and fast but the sort of links you get won’t be particularly good.


Your quick digital marketing guide
Check out my 5 minute guide to digital marketing here

Here’s the secret to digital marketing

It takes time.

Yep that’s it.

It’s not earth shattering but it is important to know because if you think you will get overnight results and a billion hits from your single blog post then I’m sorry to say that you are going to be disappointed.

It takes time to understand your marketplace.

It takes time to find a strategy that works for you

It takes time to build up a site that has valuable content that really works for your potential clients.

You’d think this was a bad thing for someone in the industry to say right?

Well personally I prefer my clients to be properly informed from the start.

There’s no point in me promising you something that you can’t have only for you to be really disappointed this time next week when a billion hits haven’t magically appeared.

I prefer honesty.

Why don’t marketers tell clients this?

Because it’s nice to have some one tell you with absolute certainty that life is going to be wonderful and easy and that you don’t even need to think about it.

But the truth is always a bit more complicated than that.


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Want a totally free guide to digital marketing for accountants? (it works for other industries too!) Click the image for you free resource

The truth about digital marketing

The truth is that anything worthwhile is worth doing well.

Like a good wine, a marketing strategy is worth taking a little time over.

Taking time to understand your clients, your market and your offer is rarely wasted.

Producing useful, good quality content, little and often is always better than paying someone to set up a big bunch of dubious links.

And making sure that your content is optimised for SEO and then shared with a relevant audience is priceless.

Take time over your digital marketing and you’ll find that it pays dividends with a sustainable community of people who like your stuff and consistently high rankings on the search engines that doesn’t drop off the moment you stop paying for advertising.

How I can help

I admit that for most people producing quality content regularly just isn’t possible and this is where Yellow Tomato comes in.

I can do a site audit and let you know where you marketing is letting you down.

I can produce a marketing plan that will show you how to start moving up the rankings

and I can write the content that will get your target market engaged.

Give me a call or email me and let’s talk.

Why content marketing is like a hot air balloon (and what to do about it)

Content marketing is like a hot air balloon

Content marketing really is like a hot air balloon.

You may think that there aren’t many things that link the two but read on and find out how this knowledge can help you with your digital marketing strategy.

In the beginning…

When you first start up a company blog you are all enthusiastic and ready to get going.

You probably write 5,6 or even seven blogs and amazingly there’s no impact whatsoever on your Google ranking and no-one visits your site.

So you stop blogging.

And this is where content marketing suddenly becomes exactly like a hot air baloon.

Keep the fire alight

Hot air balloons work on the principle of hot air rising.

The hotter the air and the more that is in the balloon then the faster and higher the balloon will rise.

But, if you stop burning gas then the air cools and the balloon starts to fall.

And so you turn on the gas again.

and the balloon rises

Content marketing is like a hot air balloon
Turning on the gas

This is exactly what happens with people’s marketing.

(Incidentally, the British Balloon and Airship club has a fascinating site that’s well worth a read here )

Content marketing needs to be consistent.

In the same way as the hot air balloon rises and falls I often see people do exactly the same thing.

They do loads of work on their content marketing at the start and the balloon rises quickly. In other words they bring in work.

But then they stop and unsurprisingly the work starts to dry up

so then they panic and do loads of marketing

And the balloon rises again.

It’s a natural reaction but unfortunately for the business it produces a ‘lumpy’ sales pipeline and makes it difficult to forecast sales and resources accurately.

Google also like sites that produce content consistently.

In short it’s better to do 8 posts over 4 weeks than do 8 on day one and then never do anything ever again!

A content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be hard

Content marketing can be fun and shouldn’t be a drag.

Consistency is the key. One or two articles every week is ample because it gives your balloon a nice flat trajectory which enables you to maintain a decent future sales pipeline.

The sort of content you produce doesn’t have to be all dry technical subjects. You can mix it up, not only to give yourself some variety but also to keep your readers interested too.

And of course consistent, interesting content is much more attractive for the search engines, which is half the battle.


Want some help with choosing blog subjects? Check out my post here

How great content can boost your SMEs sales
How to choose blog subjects

Publishing regular content isn’t always easy

Of course it isn’t. Otherwise everyone would do it!

You’re busy running your business and often you can’t find the time to sit and write a blog post or some interesting content.

That’s where I come in.

I’m a freelance writer and I specialise in content marketing.

I can help you with your marketing plan, can look at SEO on your site and can write the content for you.

If you are serious about kicking your content marketing into high gear then why not mail me and we can talk?

How digital marketing can help accountants

Freelance financial services copywriter

Digital marketing is the perfect marketing method for accountants.

When you are marketing services, especially one as important as accountancy, it is important to establish trust in the client’s mind. They need to have confidence that you have the competency they are looking for.

Digital marketing works best when you are offering something of value and offering something of value, in turn, builds the trust that you need.

What are the aims of digital marketing for accountants?

In truth there are really two big issues for accountancy practices that want to consolidate and then grow their business.

The first is retaining the clients they already have and the second is acquiring new clients.

Smart use of digital marketing can form the cornerstone of both acquisition and retention strategies and won’t cost a fortune.

How digital marketing can help acquire clients for accountants

We know having a great accountant can make a massive difference to clients and the benefit, in my opinion is even more pronounced in the early days of a business.

The problem is that convincing people of the value can be hard, especially when money is tight.

This is where marketing comes in, because whatever stage a company is at in its life cycle, producing valuable and convincing content puts you in the box seats when it comes to signing up a new client.

The starting point is in developing a good website. Note that I said a ‘good’ website.

Frankly, from my point of view, most accountancy websites are pretty awful and to be ahead of the game all you need to do is to have a website that does just what it needs to.

It doesn’t need to have loads of animations and funky designs but it does need to have clear navigation, to look as good on a mobile as on a PC and it needs to have GREAT content because that’s what people are looking for.

This is the centre point of digital marketing, producing useful content that answers the questions that people ask.

Good blog articles, video explainers, podcasts and case studies are really good way to convert lurkers into new clients because they engender that confidence that people need to entrust their business to you.

If you have money to spend on marketing then why not produce a white paper or eBook and promote it to your target market? At the very least it will increase your mailing list but it will also bring in clients that will pay back the investment many times over.

Retaining clients with content

There’s a saying that there’s nothing new in the world and it’s certainly true in terms of marketing.

What has changed though is the method of delivery.

I’ve got to say that any accountancy practice that doesn’t distribute a budget update for its clients or doesn’t have a resources area on its website where they can get information doesn’t deserve to have clients at all.

Newsletters take a bit of time to put together but are an excellent way of producing a feeling of community which leads to increased retention.

A simple client directory listing area where you showcase what people do so that other clients can buy from them is a very cheap method of adding value to your offer that people really like.

A quarterly podcast doesn’t cost a lot but again shows people that you care about them and that they are getting value for their fees.


Want a free guide to content marketing written especially for accountants? Click the image for more information

get your free accountants guide to digital marketing here

How much will it cost?

This really depends on what you do and who does it.

If you don’t want to get involved but you want a decent marketing campaign then you are probably looking in the region of £1,000 upwards per month.

If however you are able to produce content yourself or if you just want to add fresh content to your site every week then you are probably looking at £50 per week.

The point is that you can scale your marketing effort to your budget and by putting in a little effort you can produce big results.

How I can help

I’m an expert professional services writer.

I can help you with SEO, blogs, eBooks, White papers and digital marketing designed to gain, retain and delight your clients.

Mail me and we’ll have a chat about how I can help.

Your digital marketing 5-minute guide

Your quick digital marketing guide

If you’re new to the whole concept of digital marketing then it can be a pretty daunting place so I thought I’d write up a quick guide that you can sit and read over a cup of coffee.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is anything that encourages people to buy from you. That’s the marketing bit.

The digital bit simply means that it can be delivered using a computer, phone, tablet or any other electronic means. It really is that simple.

The problem is that the internet is big, really big so you just get lost.

Imagine you have got a van

And your van is full of stuff that you want to sell.

Your van is your website but if you never drive anywhere then it’s unlikely that people will buy anything from you.

So you need to put fuel in the van, that’s content marketing.

But if you just drive your plain old van around the streets you still aren’t going to sell much.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, TikTok and all the other social media sites are your signwriting on the van that tell people what you sell

And Google is a massive bell that you ring to get people to look.

As you can see, none of these things on their own is going to sell your stuff.

Having a website without any content is going to be pointless and having great content is lovely but if you don’t bother to promote it then it is pretty much useless.

You can’t. You have to have the whole package.

What is content marketing?

Content is the stuff that tells people about you.

Typical types of content marketing include;

  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • Checklists
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • and loads more.

What’s different about content marketing?

Looking at that list you might think it’s pretty simple and largely the same as ordinary marketing but actually you’d be surprised.

You see Digital Marketing works best when you give stuff away for free.

I know, crazy right?

What you are aiming to do with this type of marketing is to get people (and Google) to believe in your brand as an authoritative source of information.

This is particularly important if you are a professional services company because your reputation is everything.


Yellow tomato - I write content for small businesses

Want to know more about how fresh content gets you business? Click the image above


So what’s all this SEO stuff then?

SEO (or search engine optimisation) is like telling Google that you want it to ring that big old bell on top of your van and get people to look at what you’ve got.

SEO is largely the practice of producing content that is valuable and structuring it in such a way as it tells Google to put it at the top of the search rankings.

Part of it is about the writing and part about the quality of your site.

That’s like keywords and stuff right?

Kinda.

You see when people search for stuff they type things into their search bar and they are the keywords.

Then the search engines go out to the web and have a look for the words that most closely match what the user types into their search bar.

But it doesn’t bother looking every time.

Instead, Google (and all the others) map the web and look for sites that are authoritative sources of information.

Then when someone looks for expenses software or will writers then it knows exactly where to go.

So you need to prove to Google that you are the authoritative site by producing content that has those keywords in it.

Incidentally Google also looks at your site and rates it based on how easy it is to use.

Do your pages load quickly?

Does it work on mobiles?

Do people read one thing or do they stick around?

Then it gets all of the information it’s found and compares your site to the opposition. Then it ranks you.

The higher up the ranking you are then the more customers you will get. These are often called SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in the trade.

The key to digital marketing is engagement

And the key to engagement is having fresh, useful content that regularly pops up in front of your clients

Oddly most people make exactly the same mistake when they are producing content – they give up!

It’s called the cycle of despair and it’s a real thing


Yellow tomato copywriting for small bsuinesses

Want to know more about the biggest mistake people make? Click the image above


The trick is not to go off like a train for two weeks then get upset.

Just publish a small amount of stuff regularly and make sure it is all related to your keywords

Don’t forget to tell people about your content

There’s no point in hiding your light under a bushel.

Tell people what you have produced.

Post it to your insta, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn sites, do Google ads, tell your friends.

There’s a type of virtuous circle where Google ranks sites higher if more people read them and return later.

More people read the site if it is ranked higher on Google and on it goes.

Digital marketing is easy if you are organised

And if you have the time

there’s nothing hard about digital marketing, in fact I’d say most people can do it.

But you do need to be organised and you have to be in a position to want to do it.

Let’s be honest, there are 101 things you could be doing rather than stressing over your keyword map or your off page SEO right?

In fact it’s probably much more cost effective to pay someone else to do it than learn it yourself, make the mistakes and then actually do the work.

That’s where I come in.

If you want someone to help, who won’t fill you email inbox with jargon and BS, then I’m your man.

Contact me here and let’s see if I can help