I love a blog post written by Paul Simister on his ‘Differentiate your business‘ blog.

He explains that Yellow Pages Bingo is a game for checking that your marketing hasn’t fallen into the trap of being too similar to your competitors. And he then reveals the results of playing the game with accountants in central Birmingham.

Paul’s game shows the high level of similarity when comparing accountants’ adverts in Yellow Pages. He looks at descriptions of firms, services and offers. I suspect the results would be the same across the country and that the content of accountants’ websites are also pretty similar.

Paul’s concludes by answering his own question:

What happens when every supplier looks the same?

The choice comes to either the cheapest or the most convenient.

I agree, but I’m not sure it’s a bad thing as it’s what most people want and those are pretty much the two most important factors determining how they will choose their first accountant. Cost and convenience.

Paul notes that the latest edition of his Yellow Pages has fewer adverts for accountants than previously. I suspect this is due to an awareness that most people now use the  web to find a new accountant. Back in 2009 I wrote a related piece:  Accountants’ adverts are not working any more

And here’s the rub. To be found on the web when someone searches for a new accountant you need to use the same words as everyone else – in so far as visitors may be searching for those terms.  Of course you have the facility to make your website stand out in other ways, beyond the words you use. But that’s a subject for another day although I have previously provided objective advice here on ‘websites for accountants‘.

What do you think about yellow pages bingo for accountants?

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One Response to Yellow pages bingo for accountants

  1. Mark, thanks for picking up on my blog. Perhaps it’s unfair for me to keep focusing on accountants but it’s a service I know my audience (small businesses) has to go out and buy and therefore can relate to easily.

    Personally I think cost is a poor way to pick an accountant as it is likely to reduce the service to a bare minimum – bad for the client and bad for the accountancy practice.

    Location/convenience can be a strong factor in choice but it’s more an issue in rural communities than cities. In any reasonable sized town, there are several firms of accountants and they are often huddled together near the banks and solicitors. The city centre/suburb choice is more powerful but saving a little bit of travel time as the key buying criteria is a sad reflection of how commoditised small accountancy practices are.

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