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Many factors play into a potential client’s decision to hire an accountant, but one thing is clear — online reviews are at the top of the list. A recent study by BrightLocal reveals that 91 percent of people read online reviews before making a purchasing decision, and over 80 percent of people trust the reviews as much as a personal referral! Here are some easy tips for your tax firm get started with online reviews:

  1. Create an impactful online presence. Unless you just opened your firm, there’s a good chance it already exists in at least one of the main online directories: Google My Business, Yelp and Bing. If it does, you can claim the listing and start managing your client reviews. If it doesn’t, go through the process to create a new business profile. Then, set up a Facebook business page (with reviews enabled) and add a review section to your website to encourage your clients to engage with your firm online. As you grow your online footprint, your search engine optimization (SEO) will make it easier for prospective clients to find you.
  2. Solicit client reviews. While clients actively search out reviews when searching online, they don’t always think to leave a review after a positive experience with your firm. A personal request from you might be all that’s needed to spring a happy client into action. Maybe it’s a sincere thank you note after a productive meeting or a client appreciation email campaign that provides a link to your directory listings. The goal is to have your clients leave a review to boost your online profile and increase your SEO. Remember to make this process as easy as possible for your clients.
  3. Use negative reviews to your benefit. Negative reviews are an opportunity to build trust and show potential clients how you effectively handle negative situations in a timely manner. Take the time to understand their complaint, empathize with their situation, apologize for the problem, and offer a reasonable solution. Remember to use these reviews to not only communicate with the unsatisfied reviewer but also potential clients reading the review.
  4. Keep listings fresh. A long history of reviews is good to show that you are an established firm, but current reviews are imperative to building a prospective client’s confidence. Seek out online reviews and keep your directory listings up to date to continue to show relevance and ongoing business activity.

Managing your online review profiles may seem scary, but by understanding the mechanics of how they work you can successfully display your quality business reputation to the online community.

The Mostad Marketing Cloud can help by automating the review process. Our automated email drip campaign asks clients to write reviews within your active directories. Schedule a short, personalized demonstration today to learn more.

Read more about marketing tax and accounting firms and to get quick tips for building your firm, retaining clients and other helpful topics.