A common challenge that many accounting firms face when adopting a niche strategy to increase revenue is trying to determine which niche they should focus on. Obviously, being able to serve a niche for profit is the primary goal of a niche strategy, but selecting an industry vertical simply because you think there’s money to be made in it fails to take into account some other key criteria which can impact the level of profit your firm can achieve serving it.

You may have already crunched the numbers on your preferred niche based on market size and penetration along with your firm’s pricing strategy, but these hard numbers are only part of the profitability equation. The following questions can help your firm  evaluate other factors which may impact the profitability of a specific niche:

  1. Does your firm already have deep expertise serving your chosen niche? If your firm isn’t experienced serving the specific industry vertical that you want to target, you’ll need to develop it over time. This means you are unlikely to create significant short-term revenue. While this shouldn’t prevent you from targeting a specific niche, per se, you’ll need to be cognizant of the fact that profitability based on this approach will be a longer term endeavor.


  1. Does your firm have a passion for serving the niche in question? Like any other business endeavor, the sweet spot for profitability lies where you excel in serving a market from an experience and technical expertise perspective and where you find energy and enthusiasm in doing so. The more passionate your firm is about a particular niche, the more effective and engaged you will be in scaling your profitability within it.


  1. How high is the propensity to buy your specific services in the niche you want to pursue? It’s one thing to make projections about the revenue potential of a niche but it’s quite another to actually realize revenue by closing sales. In order to do this, you’ll need to have a strong sense of the propensity of the members of your niche to actually buy your services. For example, if your firm wants to target medical practices within a certain geographic area with monthly accounting services, but the majority of these businesses have in-house accounting departments already, it will be a more difficult close sales than finding a different niche that is willing to pay to outsource their accounting function.


  1. Are you prepared to go deep in the niche? The results you get when pursuing a niche strategy depends not only on the market size and purchasing capabilities of your niche, but also on how deep you go within it. If you are just “testing the waters” and dabbling in a chosen vertical as opposed to taking a deep dive to truly understand and meet the unique needs of it, you will get very different levels of profitability. The deeper you go the more value you can provide which increases your chances of tapping into higher levels of profitability.


  1. Have you done your online audience research? Unless your firm already has a significant base of clients in a particular niche and a steady stream of referrals to fill your sales pipeline for this vertical, you’ll need to have a digital lead generation strategy to attract new clients online to tap into the profitability potential of the niche you want to serve.


This requires understanding how your niche prospects are looking online for your specific services, since market research indicates that the majority of prospects will conduct their search for professional services this way. The more visible your firm is online, the more effective you will be at winning the new clients and creating profits in your chosen niche. However, you’ll have to balance the cost vs. benefit of your marketing compared to the revenue potential of these efforts.

When your firm first considers serving a new niche, it’s easy to evaluate the potential profitability only on a surface level based on the market size, the penetration you project you can achieve in it and your pricing strategy. Asking yourself the five questions above can help you understand and appreciate the

Having this information, along with a clear niche and purpose for your business, will make the process of launching and growing your audience quicker, smoother, and more profitable.

There’s a common fallacy about websites that continues to live on in the collective consciousness of small business owners. It is the perception that if you build “it” (the website) “they” (meaning customers) will come and this will drive more inquiries and sales. Unfortunately, this is simply not true, unless several other conditions are met such as having great content, implementing a solid SEO plan and investing in targeted promotions to get visitors to your site.

From my experience working with clients, an even greater myth about websites is that if you can just get more traffic to your site (using the methods described above) the people who visit it will take the actions that you need them to in order for your business to make more money. It just doesn’t work that way—unless you design your website to make it so.

How a UX website design saves you money and increases ROI

Instead of designing a website from your company’s perspective it is vital to design it based on how a real, live user of your website (also known as a human being) will use it. Why? According to user experience (UX) designer, Rebecca Sweeton, who owns Out of Sight Designs, a website and user experience development company located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the reason is two-fold:

“Having a website design that focuses on the user’s experience saves money in the long run because you won’t have to keep tweaking your design because things aren’t working for visitors. It will also increase the return on investment in building your site by guiding website visitors through the series of steps necessary to indicate interest in and/or purchase your products and services.”

The missing link for more online leads and sales

In short, the art and science of user-experience design (also called UX design) is often the missing link between a website that works as a lead and sales generating hub and one that does not. There’s more emphasis than ever on UX website design these days by big companies constructing large web sites, but it is something every business needs to consider to truly maximize the value of their website.

“An excellent and cost-effective first step toward understanding how effective your website is from a user experience perspective is to conduct a UX audit,” said Rebecca. “A UX audit is especially valuable if it is done before you start building a new website—or before you decide to rework an existing site.”

Essentially, user experience audit, or UX audit, is a way to identify problem areas of an existing digital product or service, revealing which parts of a website or application are causing issues for users and blocking conversions.

Rebecca likens a UX audit to a financial audit: “A UX audit uses empirical methods to expand an existing situation, and offer heuristics-based recommendations for improvements, in this case, user-centric enhancements. Ultimately, a UX audit should let you know how to boost conversions by making it easier for users to achieve their goals on your website or application.”

You may be thinking that you did user testing when you built your website—but a UX audit is different. “The direction of the flow of information is the distinguishing and key difference,” explained Rebecca. “An audit assumes problems from a set of pre-established standards or goals. In contrast, user testing figures out problems from observing user actions. A UX audit may include user testing in addition to other methods of data collection over and measure them up against heuristics, industry standards, and business goals.”

Is a UX audit something your company should consider?

Rebecca identified the following questions that can help you determine if a UX audit is something your business should think about doing:

These questions are really just the beginning—in general, if your website is not helping to grow your business, you should determine why that is. Otherwise, you are missing out on maximizing a critical element of your company’s marketing and sales infrastructure. This is a situation no business can afford to be in—especially given the imperative to strengthen your website to capture more online customers driven by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Discover the benefits of a UX audit for your business

“The greatest benefit of conducting a UX audit is that in the end, you end up with a list of actionable recommendations that are based on data for your specific product or service,” said Rebecca. “You can then use those recommendations to better understand your users, implement a redesign (not necessarily of the entire product or service), and reach your business goals. The report generated from a UX audit usually includes a summary of research findings, wireframes for you’re an improved website design, and UX-driven recommendations for everything from general usability to accessibility and content for your site.”

Although a UX audit  may sound like something only meant for bigger businesses, nothing could be further from the truth. A UX audit is in fact a critical element in connecting and engaging with your current and prospective customers. It’s really a roadmap that you can use to increase leads, educate website visitors about your products and services as well as drive more sales—which are extremely valuable to any business.

Do you have questions about UX website design or a UX audit for your business? Contact Rebecca at Out of Site Designs for a consultation.

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