Tax Firm Marketing Challenge: Day 12

Online Marketing
Create your YouTube channel.
Estimated time: 10 minutes

YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet, and happens to be owned by the first largest. The power of YouTube an an SEO tool is undervalued in our profession.

Using one of the keywords you discovered a couple days ago, create a YouTube channel. You’ll need a Google Account for this if you don’t already have one. Name your channel after the keyword you want to rank for, such as “Miami Tax Preparation” or “Denver CPA”.

There are a ton of fancy options for setting up your channel, but keep it simple. Use your professional photo as your channel image.

Don’t worry about a video today. You’ll make your first video tomorrow. 🙂

Offline Marketing
Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Estimated time: 30-60 minutes

We’ve danced around this in relation to some of the previous challenges, such as crafting your elevator speech and defining your target market.

Today, I want you to really hone in on it. What is YOUR unique selling proposition?

Put another way: Why should somebody do business with your instead of your competitors?

Every business needs to have an answer to this question. It’s what separates you from your competition. The harsh reality of business is that if you don’t have a specific reason for people to do business with you, then they won’t.

And let me be extremely clear about something: The fact that you’re a CPA, EA, or attorney, or have 30 years of experience, is *NOT* a valid USP. In fact, it’s absolutely irrelevant. How do we now? Because there are 400,000 non-CPAs doing tax returns, and tens of thousands of first year tax professionals that make money each and very year.

A USP is your “secret sauce”. The thing that makes you different, and better for the right target market.

Probably the most famous and excessively cited USP in history comes from the Dominos pizza chain: “Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less… or it’s free.”

That’s a very strong USP, and built a massive company that started from one little pizza shop. It’s simple, concise, and easy to understand. Also note that there is no reference to it being *good* pizza.

Some tax and accounting USP examples:

“Appointments always available within 48 hours, or we’ll waive the consultation fee.”
“Guaranteed one week turn around time on all tax returns, no matter how complex.”
“Free payroll service, no matter how many employees.” (you make it up on accounting)
“Flat-rate, all-inclusive IRS representation, no matter how complicated your tax situation and no matter how long it takes.”
“Tax debts resolved in 30 days… Or our service is free.” (subject to client participation and compliance, obviously)
“Tax return accuracy guaranteed, or we’ll pay the penalties.” (something a lot of firms do anyway, but just don’t articulate)
“Load factoring arrangements restored within 10 business days… Guaranteed.” (for representing trucker tax debtors)

So spend time thinking about what makes YOU different. Why do people come to you? Why do they stay with you? What do you do for all clients that you might take for granted, but that people appreciate? What special customer service things do you already do but maybe don’t talk about? What guarantees do you make? What internal processes do you have in place behind the scenes that are unique?

Make a list. Check it twice. Pick the best. Write your USP.

Practice Management
Crush your accounts receivable.
Estimated time: Heavily variable, might take a few hours.

Do you have clients that owe you money? Do you take scheduled, routine actions to collect on your receivables?

Step 1: Stop. Doing. More. Work.

Seriously. This frustrates the bejeebers outta me when I talk to some accountants. A client is behind on your invoices by months and months, but you’re still doing new work for them. Don’t do this!

Set a policy. If a client falls behind on a single invoice, you need to start your collections process. Start with gentle reminders, like an email or a couple phone calls. If they fall behind by two invoices, then you need to stop doing any further work for them until they pay up. Period.

What about your aged receivables? Hopefully you’ve already stopped doing work for them. If not, then stop. And take them off your marketing follow up list. Don’t send them appointment reminders for next filing season. Cut them off from payroll processing and QuickBooks, and revoke your 2848/8821.

Gather up your entire receivables list. Send everybody a polite but firm letter reminding them of what they owe, and that you’ve taken the above actions. You obviously can’t hold their original records hostage, but you don’t have provide them the fruits of your labor that they haven’t paid for, so make them aware of this. Set a deadline for payment, and indicate to them that all of the records that belong to them will be returned after that date if payment is not received.

This very simple process will result in two things. First, some money will surely come in. It’s amazing how people will suddenly find the money to pay you when they’re faced with being cut off. Second, you’ll completely clear out the clients that just won’t pay you. Their files are out of your hair, your responsibility to them is gone, they’re off your client roster, and the mental burden is gone.

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