Creating Effective Lead Response Widgets For Your Tax Firm

When you boil lead generation marketing down into it’s most fundamental components, the thing that you offer to potential leads in order to compel them to take action will always make the top five list of such fundamental components. Perhaps even the top three.

This thing I’m referring to goes by a number of different names:

  • Carrot
  • Widget
  • Lead magnet
  • Response mechanism
  • Funnel entry point

No matter what you call it, your lead response widget plays a critical role in your marketing funnel. Offering the right lead magnet to the right person is the key to generating the lead.

What’s the difference between a lead magnet and my offer?

It’s quite common to use these two different terms interchangeably. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with that, as most people will understand which one you mean via context. But I do want to point out that the two actually are different critters.

The lead magnet itself, which is the focus of this month’s Action Plan, is the thing. The offer, on the other hand, is the mechanism which entices somebody to obtain the thing.

For example, let’s say that I’m offering one of my best performing special reports: 5 Things To Ask Any Tax Resolution Firm Before Paying Them A Dime.

The lead magnet, the thing, is the actual report. The physical, printed pages that are mailed to the lead, or the PDF that is digitally delivered to them.

In order for them to obtain the report, I might have them call a special voicemail number, or enter their information into a web page. An example:

Don’t get ripped off by fly-by-night tax resolution firms! Before giving one single penny to anybody that wants to represent you (even me!), be sure to read this special report outlining 5 Things To Ask ANY Tax Resolution Firm Before Paying Them A Dime. To obtain your FREE copy of this report, simply enter your email address in the box below.

This, my friends, is an offer.

In some marketing circles, you may hear of the offer referred to as the Call To Action, or CTA for short. Same thing, different name.

This brings us to an important marketing lesson:

Thou shalt always include an offer/Call To Action in all thine marketing.

I don’t care what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to. This is a fundamental rule of direct response marketing that, if violated, will result in nothing but wasted money and endless frustration.

Since the purpose of your lead generation marketing is, of course, to generate leads, then you must ask them to take an action in order to create the lead. This may seem obvious to most readers, but when I conduct critiques of marketing pieces or web sites, it’s amazing how often this critical component is simply missing entirely.

Now that you understand the important of a lead response widget, and the connection between your offer and your widget, the obvious next question is: What should my widget be?

Lead Magnet Considerations

Your lead magnet is such an important actor in your overall marketing funnel, you should give it serious thought in order to make the right casting call. Too many firms try to create an unholy alliance between a great lead magnet and the wrong market, or with the wrong end result in mind.

Remember Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? One of them is to begin with the end in mind. Here’s what this means for your lead response mechanism:

  • What are the demographic, psychographic, and geographic criteria that this particular lead magnet is direct at? (aka, your target market).
  • How does this lead widget tie in with the rest of my marketing funnel that the lead will be entering?
  • Similarly, what is the desired end result for leads that acquire this particular lead magnet?
  • What solution does my lead magnet provide to the end user?

The answers to these questions in particular will help determine several things, such as what to include in your lead magnet, and what form it should take (media format). Let’s take a look at each of these factors in greater depth.

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Setting Up Lead Capture Systems

Leads are the lifeblood of any service business.

Without leads, you have nobody to sell your services to.

Without leads, you starve.

Make no mistake about it: You are first and foremost in the marketing business.

Not the 1040 preparation business. Not the payroll business. Not the tax resolution business.

Your law degree…MBA…Stanford accounting degree…are all absolutely worthless if you’re in private practice and can’t generate leads.

This is the harsh reality of being a tax, accounting, or legal professional in private practice.

Now, many practitioners are able to get their marketing up and running, at least to some degree, without too much hassle. It may be stutter-stepped, and maybe a bit hit-or-miss (both things that can be fixed, by the way), or even completely outsourced.

But if you have direct mail going out…Google Adwords campaigns running…display ads in the local business journal…Val-Pak coupons during 1040 season, etc., etc., you may still be missing one critical piece: The ability to effectively capture leads.

Without lead capture systems, you’re wasting money and time on doing marketing in the first place. The two are intimately linked, and you should never have on without the other.

Fortunately, we live in an era with more lead capture options than at any time in history. Back in the stone age of marketing, the only lead capture option was a face to face interaction. At some point in history came paper and writing, which increased options substantially. Alexander Graham Bell blessed us with long distance talking technology, and lead capture technologies have grown exponentially ever since.

What exactly is a lead capture system?

A lead capture system is ANY process for collecting contact information from a lead.

What, you were expecting something more complicated?

Let’s think of it this way: How many different channels exist for people to communicate with you on a 1-on-1 basis? My top-of-the-head, not-all-inclusive list…

  1. Face to face
  2. Telephone (voice)
  3. Video chat (Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, etc.)
  4. Text message (SMS)
  5. Online text chat (Facebook Messenger, AIM, etc.)
  6. Email
  7. Twitter tweets
  8. Twitter direct messages
  9. Facebook timeline posts
  10. Facebook direct messages
  11. LinkedIn InMail
  12. US Postal Service
  13. Common carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.)

Again, this is by no means an all-inclusive list.

What do all of these things have in common? Seriously, noodle on it for a moment before reading ahead.


Here’s the answer: Each of these services has a unique identifier for a specific individual.

Telephone numbers, postal addresses, Twitter handles, email addresses — all of them are unique. There cannot be any two that are the same. Therefore, communications intended for the dedicated recipient can generally be targeted to reach that specific person.

Too obvious? Doesn’t sound important?

Here’s why it’s important: The goal of all your marketing is to find specific individuals with a specific interest in a specific service, collect one or more specific pieces of contact information, and provide specific follow up over time.

Specificity is important.

Don’t forget that one of the core tenets of marketing is making sure you send the right marketing message to a specific target audience at all times. Marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls this “market to message match”.

Here’s how this applies to your lead capture systems…

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Tax Marketing QuickTip #5: Collecting Leads Online

Ultimately, the purpose of all your direct response lead generation marketing is to do exactly that: Generate leads.

There are many different ways to collect those leads. For example, you can direct people to call a phone number, go to a web site, physically show up somewhere, send something via postal mail, send a fax or email, etc.

Before you scoff at the idea of using 24 hour recorded information phone lines or having people fax something to you, you should know that for the right target market, offer, and marketing message, those response mechanisms still work perfectly fine.

During my international travels, I developed a distinct preference for email communication above all else, and thus that’s ultimately where I would drive leads, but it would often take some time before they got into my email pipeline.

Now days, I definitely prefer webinars for many reasons, and I now use them in all my business operations, including being the single point of entry into my world for tax resolution prospects. In other words, all of my direct mail, all of my telemarketing, and all of my online lead generation send people to the same place: A webinar registration page.

Regardless of whether you’re doing webinars, offering free reports, scheduling a “Tax Debt Settlement Analysis”, etc., collecting leads online all require the same technology set.

There are a bazillion different ways to do this, but since this is a Tax Marketing QuickTip, I’m just going to give you the short version, which represents the technology stack that I’m currently using to collect leads:

  1. for domain names. I currently own over 150 domain names, and the vast majority of them are simply landing pages for collecting leads. I simply use their URL redirect feature to tie the domain name to the landing page.
  2. for landing pages. There are numerous ways to create landing pages, and you do not need a service to do so. But LeadPages makes it quick, easy, and simple to create beautiful landing pages and tie them into an email list service.
  3. for managing email lists. Again, numerous ways to do this, but Aweber is highly reputable in the email marketing space, extremely affordable, and easy to use. I’ve been using them for over a decade.

Hooking these three things together is incredibly easy. I create the lead response widget for my offer, create a new Aweber list, make a LeadPage for it, and tie the LeadPage to the domain name. Aside from creating the lead response widget itself, the full process literally only takes about 15 minutes.

Are you enjoying these Tax Marketing QuickTips? If so, I’d like to invite you to venture further down the rabbit hole, and join me and Dan Henn, CPA for our upcoming Tax Season Success Webinar Series. Over the course of four webinars (all presented at no charge), you’ll see how to make next tax season your best ever.

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