Online Success Story: Secrets of Marketing Accounting Services

Online Success Story:
Kirk Ward
Secrets of Marketing Accounting Services

When I started almost forty years ago, straight out of college with a degree in Accounting, I was what has come to be called an “Asset Based Loan Examiner.”

After a dozen years of traveling 50 weeks each year, in 1985 I opened my first bookkeeping and accounting practice in Kennesaw, Georgia. I was green as a gourd and struggled to get clients, just as you probably do right now.

Over the next fifteen years I built and sold a total of four offices, each one getting easier to start and build than the one before. I became an EA (Enrolled Agent) and even got a chance to write a review course for the Special Enrollment Examination for a company called Micro-Mash (now a division of Thompson-Reuters).

Finally, I tried to retire. But, I got bored and for almost three more years, I returned to my roots and did some freelance auditing. When Social Security kicked in I thought I’d rather sit here and look out over the mountaintops, so I retired again.  That lasted for about a year...

Somewhere between 2003 and 2005 I realized that all of the marketing material I was still dragging around (I’m a packrat) from when I was building my own accounting practices, still had some use, and I started building websites to make it available to startup bookkeepers and accountants. 

I took all the speeches, seminars and training materials I developed in building my four accounting offices and digitized them for you. Subscribers to my membership site also have access to direct mail leads, letters, brand imaging, and other marketing materials that I develop as I sit here in the mountains of North Georgia. 

That’s how my stuff came to be on Secrets of Marketing Accounting Services.

1. When did you set up your website?

Around 2005 - 2007. However, this version started less than a year ago and is the third version, as software problems plagued me for the first two iterations.

2. What gave you the idea for this particular niche & website?

I was desperate, since my two foray's into the IM world had floundered. Or maybe a better way of saying it is that I fell flat on my face trying to be something I wasn't.

3. Did you have any experience with online business prior to creating this website?

Two or three failures at trying to be an "Internet Marketer" (catering to the IM market) and two versions of this site that started making sales but ran into one software headache or another.

4. What did you do for work prior to setting up an online business?

I were a high powered auditor and spiffy self employed accounting practitioner. I got to wear suits to work. Wasn't I lucky.

5. How did you initially promote your website, and if different - how do you promote it now?

I did a bit of article marketing. I'm lousy at SEO and keyword stuff, so articles was all I could think of. I tried PPC with Google, but that meant I needed to understand keywords also.

6. Is your website profitable? Can you share some basic traffic&  profit stats with us?

Yes, it's profitable. I don't have much traffic, just over a thousand visitors per month in a good month. My list is small, under a couple of thousand. My customer lifetime value is decent, with the average member staying over two years. My backend sales are okay, with products ranging from $16 to $47 and $67 per month for upsell subscriptions, and single sale products ranging from $97 to $497.

7. What are your plans for the site going forward?

Enhance automation and outsourcing so I can concentrate on marketing.

8. What ONE piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting their own niche site or blog?

Stick with what you know and enjoy.

There is too much competition online to try and "re-invent the wheel," learning a new field and developing a new product. You need to know one or the other. If you know your product and market, then you can learn the channel. If you understand the channel, then you can develop a product for a market.

Kirk Ward

-Thank you, Kirk and congratulations on your success!

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Graham Lutz says

    "got to" wear a suit to work - maybe it's my age, but that just doesn't seem like the right phrasing to me!

    I think one of my main goals is to not have to dress like that while working. I am more than happy to get dressed up for weddings, hot dates with the wife, or other special occasions, but it just seems counter productive to wear a suit while working...

  2. I remember your saga of software woes in the brainstorming forum, and I know that was a huge hurdle to get over and move on with your newest version of things. A lot of people would have given up, scrapped the project, and went back to working in some stuffy office never to try again, but you continued on and it paid off. How's that saying go... the majority of bloggers and internet marketers give up just before the tipping point. Something like that, you know what I mean 😉 Great work!

  3. Getting new clients has been the single most stressful thing for me after starting my own business, I already had good contacts to tide me over but I did not truly understand advertising and how to make sure I stood out from everyone else.

  4. Peter Lawlor says

    Great niche and great website. I think you were smart to get out of the MMO market and publish about what you know. Our experience is similar.

    I also took my offline business marketing experience and write about it for small offline businesses. It's been an excellent project. I too have one other site that is about marketing for a specific industry. The list is great, but traffic is low given it's focused. I love the project and the feedback is excellent. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Great site kirk ward, Although your domain name is quite creative, keyword rich and not easily remembered, it's going to be doing well in the search engine. Be encouraged that no empire begins today and grows today, it's a gradual process and with God's help, you will make it.

  6. Congratulation, that's the way life is you have to go trough failure before you can enjoy success.

  7. Kevin Royster says

    Well it would appear that the first couple roadblocks prepared you for success in the latest incarnation of your blog. Today we are spoiled; because we have ready made out of the box blogging platforms and plugins galore. we have it as an easy game compared to what many had to deal with in years past.

  8. Some great tips here Kirk. I certainly think that for a lot of accountants, marketing is not their strong point!

  9. In regards to your point number 7, outsourcing and automation is really the way of the future for small businesses. I have too found that once I was able to outsource some of my accounting work I could really focus on bringing in sales and work on marketing.

  10. I am impressed at your pack rattishness. I still have my university textbooks but that is all!

    Nice thing about being in a small country is that you can really get some first mover advantages if you look to the USA for guidance.

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