Online Marketing for Accountants & Lawyers - How should it be done?


If you were the owner/partner in a traditional professional services business, ie an accountant or a lawyer, how would you use internet marketing to build your practice?

One path would be to run ppc advertising in your region to a landing page offering some sort of loss leader promotion, like a free consultation.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

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asked Nov 4 '09 at 12:57
446 points
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4 Answers


I think having a Blog along with other social media tools works well.

Blog lets you connect with your community plus potential clients. On your blog you can show off your skills and depths of knowledge. Within 2-3 years you can earn that "authority" that every professional strives for.

However, the problem I face is that I am not passionate about "writing", I love my work that's it. May be I should hire someone to do that for me.

answered Nov 4 '09 at 18:17
Arpit Tambi
1,050 points
  • I'm a strong advocate of professional services firms starting blogs. Create content that is useful to the target audience. It builds credibility, draws in visitors, helps with conversion rates and is overall goodness. – Dharmesh Shah 14 years ago


A true loss leader isn't really necessary, since an accountant's or lawyer's clients -- almost by definition -- have problems judging the quality of the work. It's every consultants core problem: Clients can only judge the "product" after they bought it, sometimes not even then.

This is why reputation and (perceived) authority is so important for consultants.

The usual ingredients to get authority and reputation is time (years spend in business), size (being in the top 100), or word-of-mouth: being recommended by previous clients or independent magazines, journals, TV reports, etc. A less known ingredient is spending money for apparently unrelated stuff: exclusive office furniture, exclusive business cards, an exclusive car, watch, suit, etc. -- even looking "attractive" (fit, groomed, etc.).

Accountants building their practise obviously have (nearly) none of the above. Thus, they need to do other "expensive" stuff. Some tips:


  • Use a high-quality monotone design with white space (and maybe gradients).
  • Use good (!) images of the accountants or lawyers themselves, directly on the front page. Monotone images look more "artsy" and expensive.
  • Use a blog/news section for creating the impression you can afford to have the site actively maintained. It's also good for SEO.
  • Display a telephone number as a means of contact. Have a secretary (or someone else pretending to be one) answer it.
  • Make guest posts in other blogs or online journals. The more exclusive and prominent they are, the better.
  • Find communities where your potential clients discuss your area of expertise. Join the conversation and help. As a professional, you'll often quickly gain a good standing, since nearly everybody else has less natural authority.
  • If you want to do Adwords, use a high budget. It doesn't help if you appear for one keyword, only, but not for a closely related one.
  • Don't forget the usual means: Speaking at conferences, business cards, telephone book, etc.
Depending on the preferred target audience, you need to "fine-tune". For example, if your clients will be farmers, you shouldn't appear too exclusive -- not even online.

Hope that helps.

answered Nov 4 '09 at 21:17
Claus Schwarm
1,599 points
  • I think your off-site ideas are right on target. One questions though, If I am an accountant in San Jose and I get a series of guest posts in 'Business Owners Blog X' called "ask an accountant" I can certainly cite it on my site to demonstrate some expertise. However, due the local/regional nature of my business the potential clients my guests posts actually reach may be quite small. I would still need a method of driving local traffic, wouldn't I? – Adam 14 years ago
  • @Adam: Yes, absolutely. Therefore, you should do a guest post like "7 mistakes that got dog owners into legal trouble" in 'San Jose's Pet Owners Blog'. I other words: Use local/regional blogs, magazines, journals, etc. Don't forget that you also get Google "juice" if you're using the right anchor text. – Claus Schwarm 14 years ago


One option is to create a resource (ebook, series of email follow ups) that your prospects would find valuable. As an example, if you're going after accounting prospects, you could write up something like "Top 10 Mistakes people make when hiring an accountant" or "Top 10 mistakes small business owners make in their accounting - and how you can avoid them."

Then, use local ppc ads to drive traffic to that page where they can enter name/email to get it. Use an autoresponder like to automate the delivery of the book. Then, follow up with these prospects with a weekly newsletter or something that will establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Science says it takes about 7 messages for someone to get comfortable with you, so you can pretty quickly build your rep in their eyes.

That email list will be one of your greatest assets, because you can continue to deliver value (and sales messages!) to that list... and you will 1) compel them to buy or 2) be at "top of mind" when they decide they need an accounting service.

There are a few more strategies as well, but my tea is running a little low to go deeper.

answered Nov 6 '09 at 13:28
Mike Williams
106 points


Ask your happy customers (Hopefully, this should be most of them), to rate you on Yelp.

answered Nov 6 '09 at 17:42
1,833 points

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