This post was originally published in one of the LinkedIN groups that I belong to and it was moved over to a “promotions” tab. I was disappointed about that because while many things I post do have side sells and up sells I do try and make sure that first of all everything I post has information that is of real value without anyone having to spend any money, but in this particular case I thought the information was very useful and there is absolutely nothing for sale here by me. I was and am excited about what I am learning and I truly enjoy sharing my knowledge. That said I felt that this would be wasted simply left tucked away in a corner that no one really looks at on LinkedIN so I am re-posting it here. I hope YOU do get much out of my experience here.

If you know me then you know I spend a fair amount of my time marketing my accounting and bookkeeping business on the internet. What you may not know is that I spend at least an hour every night reading something about internet marketing, blogging, writing copy and anything along these lines. At this time of night I am making no contributions, just absorbing knowledge and one area that has been fascinating to me is marketing on the internet. I have learned so much in the past 2 years and now it’s like an addiction. I just crave more.

If you haven’t already be sure and read Gary Vaynerchuck’s “Crush It” and “Problogger” by Darren Rowse and Chris Garett.

Here are a few tips based on what I have learned and I hope you can contribute some too.

Features vs. Benefits
Most people focus on the features. Read a bunch of people’s profiles on LinkedIN and you will see what I mean. I have ___ years of experience, I am a licensed bla diddy blah and I am just the most wonderful person in the accounting world to work with. I’m having a bit of fun of course here but you get the picture.

Read my profile on LinkedIn. I just re-wrote the summary based on what I have learned. I have learned that most people will read your features and be left with a feeling of “so?’ if they even read all of it. So I wrote mine according to a formula I recently learned. AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The first paragraph is the “Attention” part. It lets people know WHO should be reading on. This helps to get qualified traffic. The interest is about what I can do for you. The desire is that they can focus on what they do best – what they are going to walk away with that I am going to give them. I also mention peace of mind. Finally the Action – what do I want them to do? Normally it would be to call me on my 866 number but since this is LinkedIN I invite people to visit my YouTube channel and my blog to see for themselves what I am capable of. None of this is about me. It is about my reader and what I can do for them.

So what get’s people’s attention? The answer to the good old question. “What’s in it for me?” I look to answer that question. First I have to explain whom I do it for so qualified people will know if my message is for them or not. This is accomplished in the first paragraph on my LinkedIn profile summary. Then once I have their attention I need to explain what I can do for them. As Accounting Consultants our prospects are looking for information. They have a problem they need to solve. How to I do ___ in QuickBooks. So one good start is to say something like “I solve your QuickBooks problems” but you really need to be more specific than that. THEN you can tell me where you have experience so I know which QuickBooks problems you can solve and then I can determine if you can solve mine.

What is the REAL problem we are all trying to solve for people here? What do our prospects want? Peace of mind. That’s what we are really selling. I can probably pick 5 people at random in any number of the QuickBooks groups I belong to on LinkedIN and they will all know accounting and QuickBooks really well. No question. But how good are they going to be at putting my mind at ease that my accounting information will be reliable? That will differ from person to person. More importantly can you tell them why that’s important. Having reliable accounting information may not mean anything to me, but if you tell me that I can save $1,000’s/year or get the financing I need with solid accounting information?.. Now you’ve got my attention because you hit me where it counts.

Everyone has their own style – focus on your strengths.
I have a very outgoing personality. I am not shy, so I use that and I produce a ton of videos. I can share with you that YouTube has brought in more leads than anything else. Twitter is #2 for lead generation for me. LinkedIn is #3. If you have an outgoing personality and you aren’t afraid of the technology then get Camtasia and start recording screen casts. There are other choices if you don’t like the camera – you can produce audio files for the web / your blog. Not as effective as video, but at least it gives me the sense that I am getting in touch with you as an individual.

People want to feel like they know us – give them the gift of YOU
Be transparent. Highlight your imperfections and then turn them into a strength by talking about your solutions to improving on them. This makes you human and people crave that on the web. The more you let people get to know you, the more they will know, like, and trust you.

Read! I have learned so much from reading and it costs a heck of a lot less than hiring a consultant. Believe me I have done both, and I wish i could hire my guy, Marc Levin to do SO much for me, but I can only afford so much and I really enjoy doing this stuff, so I am reading a lot of books to learn as much as I can. I just finished reading a book called Writing riches by Ray Edwards. Get it and don’t juts read it. I am keeping it handy as a resource. I will never write another blog post without it. he also suggests a number of other resources in his book which I am going to check out.

So tell me.. What are you doing, what have you learned, and how have you learned about marketing your accounting practice (or any business you have) on the web? Please comment!