30-Day Tax Firm Marketing Challenge: Day 13

Enjoy these tasty marketing challenges to help you move your tax practice forward today!

Online Marketing
Create and post one YouTube video.
Estimated time: 10 minutes

Yesterday, your challenge was to create your YouTube channel. If you didn’t get that done, do it now.

Then, take a look through your recent emails from IRS, a recent CPE course, a professional journal, etc. Look for an interesting topic that you could spend 2 to 5 minutes talking about.

Using the camera on your smartphone, the built-in camera on your laptop or tablet, or even just a microphone and PowerPoint, record a short video about the selected tax topic.
Upload to YouTube. Put your website URL as the first thing in the video description field. Use keywords as your title. Save. Tada!

Offline Marketing
Define your criteria for client acceptance.
Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes

We all know that we can’t be all things to all people, and shouldn’t try.

What you may not be familiar with is a corollary: If you have problem clients, it’s YOUR fault for accepting them into your life.

When you take anybody and everybody as a client, with zero selectivity, it creates a lot of problems. Payment issues, phone calls at 11pm, etc.

Your marketing funnel is primarily designed to move people along from lead generation to paying client. However, another function of your marketing funnel is to filter out bad apples. Throughout your marketing funnel, I encourage you to incorporate “safety valves” that help you eliminate bad clients from ever becoming customers in the first place.

Spend 10-15 minutes thinking about the worst clients you’ve ever had. Think about the worst clients you have now. What makes them bad? What characteristics do they have in common?

For example, I conducted a similar analysis fairly early on in the the firm I was employed at back in 2008. For a variety of reasons, I determined that daycare centers were our worst clients. So, we proceeded to gradually shed the ones we had, and refused to any more of them on as clients in the future. Thus, part of our criteria for client acceptance was “not a daycare”.

Later on, while in private practice, I made a decision to no longer accept clients that came to me while under levy. This is frequently a trigger that compels people to finally seek professional help, but it also introduces a tremendous number of problems, such as the ability to pay your fee and excessive demands on your time in the short-term. I chose not to deal with these conditions anymore, and during the initial consultation with the prospect, I would inquire about levy status. If they were currently under a bank account or accounts receivable levy, I would simply not take the case unless they understood I wasn’t going to take action to attempt release of the levy.

So write out your own guidelines for client acceptance. If you have staff, make sure these are communicated to them, and enforce them.

Practice Management
Evaluate the use of an answering service.
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Missed phone calls are missed opportunities. In the tax resolution world, if your incoming calls go to voicemail, you’ve lost the prospect, as they simply move on to the next company. They rarely leave voicemails.

I’m a big believer in the use of virtual office systems and live answering services. For anywhere from $40 to $300 per month, utilizing a local or national service, you can capture these inbound calls and even do basic lead qualification 24/7. If you’re not utilizing this type of system, and you have paid advertising that you’re putting out into the world, you are most likely losing money.

To find these companies, just look on Google for “answering service [your city]”. Talk to several companies, and inquire about their capabilities. Find out what software services that you use that they can connect to. For example, can they feed apppointments into your Google Calendar our Outlook Calendar? Also, find out what they charge per minute, in addition to monthly.

Lastly, ask if they are willing to collect a bit of information from callers, beyond just name and number. For example, ask if they have a current bookkeeper, or use one of the popular cloud accounting services. Or, for tax resolution, ask if they have a levy in place, have been assigned to a local IRS agent, or have worked with another representative.

These are filtering questions (see previous section) that can help you know how to direct your consultations.

After finding a service you like, ask them to give you a one or two week trial run. Then start running your inbound calls to it and see how they do.

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