If you are reading this, you are probably considering whether your accounting firm’s brand needs a refresh. If you want to know exactly what branding for accountants entails, what the benefits are, and what the hell it’s got to do with SEO, you’re in the right place!
Branding is vital to differentiate your accountancy firm from the competition. Your brand can enhance your firm’s credibility, inspire loyalty and drive business growth. Regarding SEO, a strong brand helps to establish website authority, improve visibility in search results and drive organic traffic.
In this blog, I’ll look at the branding process for accountants and delve into the benefits, including from an SEO perspective.
Targeted SEO specialises in SEO, branding and website design for accountants. We have had lots of success working with accountancy clients to develop their identity, grow their brand visibility and help their business thrive. Please get in touch to apply for a consultation to discuss your branding and SEO needs.
What is branding for accountants?
Let’s establish one thing first – branding is not just a logo. Sure, the visual elements of a brand play a large part, but it goes way deeper than that. Branding includes your messaging, the language you use to talk about your company and the customer experience you provide.
A strong brand identity is not ‘created’ out of thin air (or by AI!). It’s carefully and thoughtfully developed to portray a company’s values, services and USPs.
Why is branding so important for accountants?
Go beyond page one of Google and look at some small accounting firm websites. There are a few common threads that unite them.
- Boring stock imagery of calculators, pens and paper(!!), handshakes and what are clearly models.
- Overly formal language and too much jargon.
- Generic-looking logos and colour palettes.
- Dated design.
- Poor user experience and confusing layout.
- A sense of anonymity – who are these people? And why should I trust them with my money?!
They project an image of stereotypical, traditional accounting firms stuck in the past.
After several years of working with various accounting firms and meeting many accountants at shows like DAS, I know the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
That’s why Targeted SEO has come to specialise in working with clients in the accounting industry. We’re dedicated to developing modern online brands that truly represent the people behind them and help them stand out in a dynamic and competitive sector.
What is a branding strategy?
A branding strategy forms part of a company’s marketing plan and outlines how a the business intends to create, develop, and manage its brand to achieve its goals. It involves defining the brand’s identity, strategic position it in the market, and establishing a set of principles and guidelines for consistent representation.
Here are a few key features of a strong brand strategy.
This is your company’s value proposition, which defines its position in the market. In other words, the unique selling points and competitive advantages which set your firm apart from others offering the same services. It also involves identifying and understanding your target market.
This encompasses the visual elements, such as logos, brand colours, and design, as well as the non-visual elements, like brand values and brand personality. These elements should be well documented to ensure consistency throughout external communications, including your website and social media platforms.
Brand messaging and tone of voice
Crafting a clear and consistent message is essential in gaining stand-out and customer loyalty. Your messaging should reflect your accounting firm’s values, benefits, and unique selling propositions. Your company’s tone of voice is essential in getting across your values – are you serious? Lighthearted? Professional? Modern? Traditional? Whatever your brand personality, you should choose the language you use carefully and keep it consistent.
Strong branding isn’t all talk and pretty graphics. The most powerful brands in the world are like a stick of rock; cut them, and they are the same all the way through. It’s important that the service you provide and the customer experience are consistent with your brand identity at every touchpoint. This includes both online and offline interactions.
Why is brand identity important to SEO?
You may find it strange for a company whose main specialism is SEO to be extolling the benefits of branding. But the fact is that branding and content marketing are essential components of SEO. In fact, there’s little point embarking on SEO if you haven’t got a solid brand to build upon.
Presenting a cohesive brand is all about creating high-quality, valuable and consistent content – which Google loves. Also, a well-developed brand website that provides value to users is more likely to be shared and linked to, further improving search rankings.
That’s why at Targeted SEO, we have built a team that can deliver the whole package. Not only are we SEO experts, but our team has extensive brand development and graphic design experience. We can get under the skin of your brand, help you attract the right customers, and give you a competitive edge.
How to establish your accounting firm’s brand identity
Before you get anywhere near logos and colours, you need to do a bit of corporate soul-searching. If you haven’t done so already, look to define your company’s values in line with your goals and strategic direction. Consider the following.
What services do we offer? What services do we want to offer in the future?
Who is our target audience? Are they the right clients for us? What does the ideal client look like? Where are they? What do they want? Why should they pick us? How do we want potential clients to feel about our brand? What emotional response are we looking to generate?
What are our USPs? What are the functional benefits of the accounting services we offer? What are the emotional benefits?
Who are our competitors? What makes our services different to theirs? What can we do differently in future to set us apart?
If you are struggling to articulate an answer to any of these questions, then so will your potential clients. It’s crucial that you spend time with all of the key stakeholders in your business to articulate your vision clearly. Once you have a cohesive vision, then you can create a strong brand identity to portray it.
Whether you have deliberately cultivated it or not, you do already have a brand image. It’s there for all to see on your website, through your social media presence and your interaction with customers. If you’re not clear on what it says about you, it’s time to fully own it and develop your brand image into a valuable business asset.
Should I consider completely rebranding my accounting firm?
If your motivation for rebranding your accounting firm is “I just don’t like the colour palettes”, then dig a little deeper. Rebranding is a big investment, so it should be based on more than just personal preferences.
Here are some good reasons to consider rebranding:
1) There is a distinct disconnect between what your company stands for and how it looks and sounds.
2) Your company has grown and has consequently outgrown its current brand image.
3) You wish to diversify into different services.
4) You wish to attract a different target audience or new clients in specific sectors and industries. For example, many firms start off as generalist accountants and then hone in on services like CIS accounting. If you have a niche, your website must shout about it to ensure you are visible in relevant Google searches.
For further reading, see our blog on the top 10 reasons to rebrand your business.
Our brand process for accounting firms
Where we fit into the branding process depends on how developed your brand strategy is. You may need a refresh of your visual identity to portray your growing business better. You might need us to start with the basics and help you define your brand’s meaning and messaging.
Perhaps you have a clear vision but need a set of brand guidelines to ensure your communications are consistent. Or maybe you need a complete visual rebrand, including a full suite of visual assets like social media banners, email signatures, above-the-fold website design, and more.
Whatever your requirements – or even if you’re unsure what you need – drop us a line to apply for a discovery call. Tell us as much as you can about your accounting firm and goals, and we’ll be in touch. If we’re a good fit, this is our process:
1. Discovery call
This is a chance for us to get to know your accounting business and ask (a lot!) of questions. It’s common for accounting firms to come to us with no clear definition of their brand identity. So we ask (a lot!) of questions to help us translate what you do and how you do it into a coherent brand strategy.
2. Quotation, project timeline and contract
Subject to you accepting our quote, we’ll agree to a project timeline and ask you to sign a contract to make sure we’re all on the same page.
3. Brand deep dive session
This may not be necessary, but if you are struggling to nail your brand values and messaging, we could run a session for you and other stakeholders in your business. We can facilitate the conversation to help draw out your company’s unique service style to form the basis of your brand voice and visual identity.
4. Brand guidelines and visual identity development
Here is when we bring your brand to life through a strong visual identity and tone of voice guidelines (if you opt for that service). We’ll experiment and exhaust many options before deciding on the best three visual concepts to send you.
We’ll present it back to you and talk you through the concept if necessary.
6. Feedback and approval
We will continue to collaborate with you and incorporate your feedback. You know your business best, after all! We aim for no more than two rounds of feedback to keep your costs to a minimum.
7. Final assets supplied and website developed
We’ll deliver your brand guidelines and all of the visual assets as agreed at the outset. If you engage us for website design, we’ll incorporate the new look and feel.
8. Ongoing support and development
We will hopefully have the chance to continue working with you to develop your SEO strategy and provide website hosting and technical support.
Targeted SEO is the number one choice for accounting firms
Along with our experience in branding, Targeted SEO is a leading organic search engine optimisation agency specialising in SEO for accounting firms.
We have the expertise to grow organic traffic to your website to generate more leads and win new clients. Just ask Jeri Williams or Reza Hooda about how we have helped support their accounting firm’s growth.
How much does branding for accountants cost?
A fully-fledged brand identity project for your accounting firm will cost upwards of £2,500 plus VAT, but this can be itemised for different services, e.g. logo design. Please note that this is a ballpark figure, and the amount depends on your company’s needs.
Why does a rebrand cost so much?
It’s true that you can go to Fiverr and get a logo and a website template for less than £100. If you can find someone on there with proven branding experience who won’t just bash out the same design for the next customer, then good luck to you! The reality is that you will end up with a generic, hollow brand that doesn’t really portray your company and that customers will see straight through.
A branding project should be considered and by no means rushed. It involves a lot of collaboration, creative thinking, incorporating feedback and a lengthy approval process. Then there are the hours of technical design work and copywriting (if you opt for this service).
If we charged by the hour, it would be prohibiting for a lot of businesses! That is why we set a fixed cost and project timeline at the outset.
Do you only work on branding for accountants?
At Targeted SEO, we love growing online brands, and not only for accountants! We have experience across a wide variety of sectors and industries. This includes but is not limited to software, fintech, finance, home and trade services, automotive and healthcare.
Can I change my accounting firm domain/website name?
Changing the name of your website is a big decision and should only be done if it’s absolutely necessary. There are many factors to consider, such as the current performance of your website in organic search. For instance, does your site rank well for many search terms and keywords? Does it have a lot of quality backlinks from other websites? These are important questions to answer before making any decisions.
If you choose to switch your website’s domain name, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to ensure that the old website redirects to the new one. This will help you maintain your website’s organic search performance and prevent any loss of visibility. You wouldn’t want your website visitors to land on a 404 error page and leave your website.
As an SEO agency, we possess extensive experience in rebranding accounting websites. Using Google Search Console (webmaster tools), we can alter your website address and establish necessary redirects. To illustrate this, we successfully executed this for Smooth Accounting’s website without any loss in rankings.
It’s important not to limit yourself when choosing a domain name for your business. Avoid using location-based domain names such as ‘accountantsnottingham.co.uk’ as it may deter potential clients from other areas. Instead, put some thought into selecting a name that reflects your business. Including a keyword such as ‘accountants’ in your domain can help with SEO link-building, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.
Can I rebrand my Google Business Profile?
Rebranding your Google Business Profile is possible, but you will likely be prompted to re-verify it. Any existing images and logos should be updated with the refreshed brand, along with the optimisation of content such as business name, description and URL.
What domain name should I choose for my accounting firm?
Your domain should be easy to remember, ideally the name of your company or something very similar to it. If you’re based in the UK, then a co.uk top-level domain is perfect; however, there’s nothing wrong with using a .com either. If you can get both, then go for it.