For those of you who don’t know or have forgotten (probably 99% of the people who know me), I did a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Then I started working in accounting and didn’t think it was that bad… so I went back to college to complete the courses I needed to get an accounting certification.

And even though the concepts I learned were part of my toolbox, I didn’t have to use them very often.

I had to get back to it with Cofinia. Having a website is good, but it’s like before, when you had the name of the company in the yellow pages, it doesn’t do much if you don’t get people to know you and look for your contact information. I thought my marketing skills would emerge and I wouldn’t do so badly. I have to admit that I’m a bit naive sometimes… or that I like to think about the view from the top of the mountain, rather than the climb to get there.

When I started asking myself what I should do to bring traffic to my website, I quickly lost control. Between “is your site well indexed”, “who is your persona”, “do you need Google Adwords”, “do you have a landing page”, “do you need a capture form to calculate the conversion rate” I quickly started to get lost.

 

My first observation

It’s like anything else, if you don’t pay for competent professionals, only if you are lucky, resourceful, have superior intelligence or all three things will it work. Talking with entrepreneur friends, I was advised to do some tests, learn by trying, to see what works for Cofinia. From the specialists I consulted, no luck, there is no recipe, it’s not clear like in accounting (debit = credit, it has to balance = it’s simple…). With a bit of hindsight and a lot of time spent going in circles, here is my first observation:

Either you entrust the marketing management to a competent firm, which has ALL the necessary resource profiles to help you. And when I say ALL, I mean that some can help you with your website, indexing, others with Google Adwords and your keywords and others with the strategy of publications on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. And most importantly, provide you with reports to measure the results and ROI (return on investment).

Either you take charge and learn by yourself the notions to keep part of the expertise in your company and entrust the rest to experts.

That’s what we did at Cofinia. Why did we do it? Partly because I’m a control freak, but mostly because I like to understand and analyze. I’ve heard too many “trust me” stories in my career to entrust someone with such an important aspect without understanding.

Besides, you don’t sell online accounting services like you sell clothes or cooking classes. The strategy is different.

And with the addition of Lea last year, we had time, well we had a little time. We created a lot of content, which was very good, because we can’t ask just anyone to create content in accounting and on the Zoho apps that we implement.

We also found a “personality”. William from Kaseme suggested we change the tone of the traditional accountant, which was more in line with us anyway. I came across Promo, which allowed us to make videos inexpensively. With Lea and Molly, we had a lot of fun creating funny videos to promote our services.

You can check them out on our Facebook page in the video section if you are curious.

We started to do a little Google Adwords and get more traffic on our site, but all this in an “experimental” way to learn and tame the “beast”.

 

My second observation

You have to learn the terminology. Because it doesn’t come naturally to me and I feel like I know it, but as soon as I talk about it with the specialists that help me, I feel like I’m looking at a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces. A little frustrating. Here are a few essentials to master:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It is a way to optimize your website so that search engines (like Google) put it in the first elements of the list of sites found according to the keywords entered in the search bar. The natural referencing allows you to position yourself without having to pay.

You have to work on two aspects: the technical aspect and the content aspect.

Technical: what to do your site with (WordPress is the best known), the structure, the speed, the ergonomics.

Content: both for the pages of the site and for the blog posts, the keyword, the length of the texts, the links, the videos and the images.

Google Adwords or Adwords Campaign

Sometimes SEO is not enough. You might be willing to pay for search engines to get your business to the top of the list. Since Google is the most used search engine, you hear a lot more about Google Adwords than other types of web advertising.

The operating principle of Google Adwords is based on a keyword bidding system. It encourages advertisers to pay to appear among the first search results thanks to the keywords chosen for their campaigns. So if I choose the word “accounting”, there is a strong chance that other accounting firms have also chosen this keyword in their campaign.

A successful Adwords campaign is the combination of a good control of its budget, a relevant choice of keywords, a simple and effective ad and a good targeting of customers (region, language, interests, etc.). A follow-up and a regular update are also essential to optimize your ROI. A successful campaign will bring a good conversion rate.

Google Analytics

You have a website, you have an Adwords campaign, now what does it give you?

Google Analytics allows you to measure the number of visitors on your website, the number of pages viewed, the average time per visit, etc.

It also allows you to know where the visitors of your website come from; search engine (natural referencing or Adwords campaign), newsletter, social networks, links from another site).

Conversion Rate or Measuring ROI

The conversion rate is the score on the report card. When you have an online store and you want your customers to buy, your conversion rate is quite easy to calculate. It is the number of customers who made a purchase on the store divided by the number of visitors. It allows you to measure the profitability of your campaign.

But Cofinia doesn’t have an online store, so how do we calculate this? With a web form or a call-to-action?

We measure how many people did what we expected of them, such as filling in a contact form, in relation to the number of people reached by the campaign.

 

My Third Observation

Now that I’ve spent a year testing, I’ve acquired data that will be very useful. The investment has been minimal, for a minimal result. But since it seems to be a lot of experimentation, this last year will allow me to identify some promising actions for the coming year.

I’m ready to take the leap into digital marketing, invest and choose a good partner, the firm that will help me define my marketing strategy:

  • Set my goals
  • Analyze my performance over the past year
  • Identify my target audience for this type of marketing
  • Identify the actions to take (blog content, landing pages, campaigns)
  • Establish the budget and responsibilities of the team (internal and external)
  • Measure the results

See you in a year for the next marketing action review.

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