In our work for professional services firms, we are staunch advocates of case studies and testimonials. Using these tools liberally on your website and marketing materials is a great way to help potential clients relate to actual clients, picture themselves gaining the same benefits and better understand how you can help them in concrete terms.
We spend a good deal of effort explaining this to our clients and encouraging them to invest in gathering testimonials and creating highly readable case studies that illustrate their service to their clients. It makes sense to them and doesn’t come as a real surprise, even if they hadn’t thought of it before. But what does often come as a surprise is the fact that their clients’ words can make a major contribution to SEO.
SEO isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you consider how this kind of marketing tool can help your accounting firm, but it should be high on the list of benefits. Why? Because your clients are describing their pain points, the difficulties they faced and the way your firm helped them resolve the issue – in their own words.
The way your clients describe the situations they faced and the solutions you provided are going to be a little bit different than the way you would describe them as a financial services professional. In the case of SEO, their way is better. Your descriptions may be more technically correct in an academic sense, but their way will more closely match the way others who need your services will be entering search queries.
Think about it: potential clients who own businesses and face bookkeeping messes, succession planning concerns, IRS audits and all sorts of other challenges are not CPAS. The are unlikely to hold a master’s degree in taxation or be certified as a business valuation specialist. They almost certainly won’t be asking Google, Bing or Duck Duck Go how to enhance profitability by aligning processes or learn about strategic tax credit utilization; they’ll be asking how to save money on taxes, help their business make more money and deal with the fact that they didn’t file 941s for the last three years because they weren’t sure how.
The clients you serve have stories to tell – stories that resonate with readers who see themselves in the same shoes. The words they use in telling these stores are the same words that potential clients will use, to a large degree. Resist the urge to ‘clean up’ testimonials and case study content to make it match your idea of what you did for the client. Let the stories they tell stay in the client’s words, tweaked only for punctuation and clarity (and be sure to have the entire thing reviewed and approved by the source before use, of course).
Not only will your case studies and testimonials create a powerful impact on readers, who find them easy to relate to, but they will deliver the most effective SEO results by mirroring the language used in searches by others who could benefit from the same services. Trust your clients. Give them a platform and let them speak, because what they have to say will bring great results for your firm.