I’ve been spending a bit of time recently delving into the world of wealth attraction and why some people are more successful than others. There is a tremendous body of literature within the success and motivation world, but it really all boils down to one thing: Successful people take action.
Unlike the “positive thinking” and Law of Attraction crowd, I like to think of myself as a fairly practical person. So when it comes to creating success, I think it’s important to make sure you’re taking action on the right things. Wasting time, effort, and money on the wrong things doesn’t move you towards your goal any more than just sitting around thinking positively about that goal does.
Since I’ve developed a fascination with the history and teachings of the success and motivation movement, you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the future, I’m sure. But today, I wanted to equate this basic principle of taking action on necessary things to your tax practice marketing. In other words, how can you tell whether the marketing task you’re working on is something worth doing?
Here’s the basic list of rules I came up with:
1. Can I track this? If you can’t track the results of a particular marketing task, you shouldn’t be doing it. Period. You need to have a way to measure whether or not you’re getting response, and you need to definitively be able to tie it to a particular marketing piece. This is where tracking phone numbers, online analytics, coupon codes, etc. all come into play.
2. Does this connect me with the kinds of clients I want in my practice? I’m becoming a bigger and bigger proponent of only doing marketing to find ideal clients, rather than shotgun lead generation. You don’t want everybody with a pulse as a client, you really don’t. You want to bring in new clients that you’re going to enjoy working with, that pay you in full and on time, and that are a good fit for your future vision of your practice. Any client that comes in to your practice for any service should also be a good candidate for your other services.
3. Am I making a compelling offer? Grab your yellow pages (if you still have one) and flip to the accounting or tax sections, and look at the ads. They all look alike, don’t they? And none of them really have anything differentiating them, do they? In order to stand out from the herd, you need to offer people something that they can relate to. Something that will help them solve the problem they are currently experiencing. There are countless things you can offer, and ways to offer it. But you need to make an offer — compelling offers. And no, “free consultation” is not a compelling offer. These days, that’s the norm. It’s an expectation on the part of the consumer. You need to do better than that.
4. Is there a sense of urgency for responding now? The default human behavior for just about anything is to simply put things off. We don’t take action unless we have an important reason to. We don’t pay too much attention to the wooly mammoth meandering around until we’re either really, really hungry or it’s stampeding through our camp. Then that critter has our full attention. The same hold true in marketing. There is a reason that every infomercial on TV only offers the free shipping while the show is still on the air. It’s the same reason that QVC uses the countdown clock on their deals. You need to be doing the same thing in your tax practice in order to get people to take action today, rather than after the IRS has levied them into oblivion.
5. Have I made it clear what I want people to do? You need to make it perfectly clear in all your marketing the specific action you want people to take. If you want people to visit a web site and enter their email address to download a free tax planning kit, you have to explicitly tell them to do that — not just list the web site URL. Most marketing fails to do this, and thus people take no action when they read or hear the message.
6. Am I following up with leads and prospects? If a magic genie gave me a three wishes, one of them would be for all tax professionals to understand the necessity and value of long-term prospect follow up. Study after study after study, going back for over eight decades, clearly demonstrates that the majority of prospects make their buying decision after the fifth contact from a company. This has held true whether the item being sold is life insurance, pots and pans, financial planning, cars…anything and everything. You put so much time and money into generating a lead that you need to be putting the time and money into maintaining contact with that prospect through a regular touch program.
So there you have it. Follow these six simple rules in ALL of your marketing, in anything communicating about your practice, and you’ll literally be ahead of 95% of your competitors.