It certainly appears to be true for a large contingent of accountants who are harnessing the power of the internet to virally market themselves and their accounting practices by starring in their own ‘reality television show’ which features them along with the corporate clients they’re obtaining from GoodAccountants.com, the nation’s largest accountancy referral service.
GoodAccountants.com is the nation’s largest accounting referral service having more than 10 million business owners in pursuit of a local accountant or accounting firm use its website. The company has just launched an internet based ‘reality television show’ that features both the companies and the accountants who use the popular website to connect with each other.
The way it works is video taped segments also called webisodes that feature participating accounting firms across the country along with the services they offer and the clients they serve are uploaded to dozens of internet properties such as YouTube, FaceBook and MySpace as well as other social networking websites. The videos are also emailed in vast quantities to targeted audiences including thousands of corporations, business owners, chief executive officers and chief financial officers. The objective is to achieve widespread viewership among groups that are most likely to need accounting services. The accountants featured in the webisodes also serve as ‘in the field’ service providers also called Designated Service Providers (DSPs) or marketing affiliates of GoodAccountants.com and are the ones that fulfill the actual accounting services that are needed. Filmed episodes highlight the various accounting services that are offered by each provider such as tax planning, estate planning, strategic business planning, succession planning and internal controls consulting which will help business owners hold onto more of the cash they earn while avoiding higher tax payments. The net affect of the marketing strategy is to attract corporate clients looking to cut their accounting costs from the generally higher accounting fees they pay to large, regional accounting firms by getting them to switch to a smaller accounting firm belonging to GoodAccountants.com’s national network of accountants. “Given the current economic climate many companies paying substantial accounting fees are looking to cut back and this offers them the alternative they’re looking for,” says Johanna Laurent, Chief Executive Officer of GoodAccountants.com.
Laurent’s strategy is to attract the attention of companies that are paying between $25,000 and $100,000 in accounting fees by offering to feature them on her company’s “reality TV show” along with the accountants she recruits to take over their accounting work but at a discounted cost. “It’s the ultimate ‘reality show’ challenge of ‘our accountants versus your accountants’…guess who’s better and more cost effective,” says Laurent. Corporations that take Laurent up on her challenge will not only save on their accounting fees but will also be given the opportunity to promote their services and products free of charge through Laurent’s reality show. For the accountants who participate on the show, Laurent is offering a 3 to 1 return on investment. “We’re so confident about the results we’re obtaining for the accountants who participate on our show and are looking for this category of clients, that we’re offering accounting firms that sign up now, a 3 to 1 guaranteed return on their investment, but we will only make this offer to the accountants participating with us at the Designated Service Provider (DSP) level,” Laurent clearly explains.
The first episode which aired on September 17th featured a small, boutique accounting firm whose first referral from GoodAccountants.com resulted in a $26,000 client. Although Laurent will not reveal the exact amount the company was paying before she referred them to Nowicki and Company based in Buffalo, New York she does state they were paying far more than $26,000. A second referral given to Nowicki and Company is now a pending $100,000 engagement, all of which occurred shortly after the firm became a member of Laurent’s network. Laurent has taken measures to capitalize on the current trend of corporate clients that are migrating from the larger, regional accounting firms to smaller, more attentive accountants whose fees are less costly by recruiting new talent to her consulting firm to help coordinate the influx of search assignments. The recent acquisition of Debbie Ford, Laurent’s new Manager of Affiliate Marketing represents one such hire. Ford has been tapped to coordinate selection of the accounting firms being featured in the company’s ‘reality TV show.’
Debbie Ford has been recently recruited by GoodAccountants.com to the position of Manager of Affiliate Marketing and coordinator of the company’s internet based, reality television show. Debbie formerly served as Director of Sales for a Long Island based manufacturing company in her previous position where she was responsible for managing the Sales and Customer Service departments. During her eleven year tenure in her previous position Debbie found working side by side with her clients and helping them grow their business and secure major accounts most rewarding. “I am excited to be joining the ranks at GoodAccountants.com as the new Manager of Affiliate Marketing and look forward to helping the accountants in our Designated Service Provider Program grow their client base and to assist our clients in taking their businesses to the next level,” says Ford about her new position. For further information about becoming a participating member of GoodAccountants.com contact Debbie Ford at 1 (800) 505-7861 ext. 1016
Laurent acknowledges that a bad economy has substantially helped her company grow because in tough economic times companies are forced to cut their costs, from everything from payroll to their accounting fees. Laurent confides that her company is benefiting from search assignments that are now coming to it from business owners who are paying annual accounting fees ranging from $25,000 up to $100,000 but are now looking to scale back. According to Laurent many of the companies that are now using her website, fit in this category and accountants who wish to become the beneficiary of these kinds of referrals should act now and become a member of her network. “In the past, many corporations were not willing to move their business to a smaller accounting firm until the economy started tanking,” explains Laurent. “Ordinarily they would be looking for the larger accounting firms despite the higher fees however now due to the economy the exact opposite is true,” she adds.
A visit to the GoodAccountants.com website supports the assertion that many large corporations with recognizable names are turning to the Long Island based referral service to find accountants to fulfill their accounting requirements. Universities, manufacturing companies, distribution companies, fast-food restaurant chains, and technology companies among others are using the services of GoodAccountants.com to identify their accounting relationships and to cut their accounting costs. “When we can cut a company’s accounting costs by 20% or 30% and sometimes as much as 50% while maintaining the level of service they’re accustomed to, it becomes very difficult for these companies to stay with the large accounting firms that often put them on a back burner,” says Laurent.
“When we first launched our website in the fall of 2005 we were happy just receiving requests for assistance (with finding a good, local accountant) from companies that were for the most part start-ups or that had modest revenues of a few million dollars,” says Laurent. Today, we are receiving telephone calls as well as online requests for assistance from companies whose revenues are anywhere from $20 million to $50 million right up to publicly traded companies that are listed on the major stock exchanges, she explains.
Another objective of the show is to also increase awareness among companies paying fees in excess of $100,000 to demonstrate how scaling back their accounting costs can be as easy as switching to a smaller firm belonging to Laurent’s network. “The focus of the first episode was simply to introduce the idea of a reality show of this nature and to prove that not only would business owners and individual tax payers have an interest in watching such subject matter but if presented in an engaging way could be popular among millions of people who generally gravitate toward televised reality shows,” says Laurent. The verdict from viewers who have seen the first episode has given Laurent the answer she had hoped for and as a result fifty (50) new episodes will feature a new accounting firm each week along with the corporate clients they’re obtaining from GoodAccountants.com.
Laurent’s palpable excitement which comes through as she explains the thrust of her show is understandable when considering the current economy and how it’s impacting businesses of all sizes. “The companies that are being featured on our reality show are quite happy paying our accountants annual fees in amounts of forty to fifty thousand dollars or more,” says Laurent. “Some of them were paying more than twice what they’re paying now before they came to us for help,” she adds.
There can be little doubt that the companies being featured by Laurent’s show are clients almost any accounting firm would want and the show does appear to be a win-win for both the business owners and the accountants as well as for Laurent. “Showing a small to mid sized company we can offer them a viable alternative that allows them to cut their accounting costs and still maintain the quality of their accounting process is very enticing especially in an economy like this one and it’s resulting in companies switching to our accountants,” Laurent further explains.
Participating accounting firms are guaranteed a 3 to 1 return on their Designated Service Provider (DSP) Membership fee, which is $25,000 and a requirement to get the 3 to 1 guarantee, as well as be featured on the show. But more than just the $75,000 billing guarantee or 300% return on investment which can come in the form of a single client, each firm that participates will benefit from an intense marketing effort that includes “pay-per-click” ad-words campaigns coupled with targeted email blasts that are being sent to thousands of businesses within their proximity. “The viral marketing affect resulting from sending thousand of emails embedded with video taped episodes from our show will go a long way in generating tens of thousands of dollars in new billing for our members” says Michael Montoya, Social Media and Viral Marketing expert with GoodAccountants.com.
As additional insurance for participating accounting firms, GoodAccountants.com has recently tapped Atrinsic, Inc., a publicly traded company to manage its Google Ad-Words campaign. “We are committed to the proposition of expanding our dominance across all the major search engine networks including Bing, Yahoo, Hulu and others,” says Laurent. “The accounting firms participating in this marketing frenzy will not only triple their initial investment but will undoubtedly land clients from market sectors they have been trying to reach for many years but just didn’t know how to go about doing so,” she further explains. “This is a concerted effort to prove to the accounting community that our marketing approach is far superior to any others out there today in terms of our ability to attract ‘substantial clients’ that pay fees in excess of $20,000 and up,” confides Laurent.
The next episode features a $19 million dollar company based in Falls Church, Virginia along with the accountants that landed the engagement from GoodAccountants.com.
Accountants seeking more information or wishing to participate in GoodAccountants.com’s Reality TV Show please contact Debbie Ford, Manager of Affiliate Marketing at 1 (800) 505-7861 Ext. 1016.