30 Day Tax Firm Challenge: Day 24

Under a week to go in the challenge! You can do it, just chug on through…

 

Online Marketing

Add links to all your social media accounts to your website.
Estimated Time: 10 minutes or less

I’ve previously discussed my attitude towards social media as a marketing platform (good for paid advertising, not much else).

But there’s a social media angle that you can play that even big brands and Fortune 500 companies are catching on to more and more: As a customer service channel.

Your existing clients like being able to engage with you. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media sites/apps provide an opportunity for this type of engagement. I encourage you to keep work and personal mostly seperate online, but social media allows an opportunity for people to get to know, like, and trust the “human” side of you, if you choose to participate in social media. These are additional opportunities for client touches, which help strenghen your client relationships.

To get this started, add the relevant social media icons to your web site so that people can connect with you. If you have a WordPress driven site, this is super simple to do through any number of social media plugins. If your site is put together by one of the big tax/accounting website companies, ask them about adding this feature. It takes all of 10 minutes or less, and is one simple step toward anchoring your existing client relationships.

 

Offline Marketing

Contact local sports/talk radio stations to inquire about unsold airtime.
Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes

Yesterday, we talked about remainder space in print publications.

Well, the same thing happens on the broadcast airwaves. Unsold airtime becomes worthless once the clock ticks through.

Knowing this, most radio stations (and TV stations) will keep a small stable of “random commercials” that weren’t sold into designated time slots. Most businesses prefer to be in specific time periods, and sponsoring certain segments of shows. With remainder space, you get what you get, but you can get it cheap.

So call up a few radio stations and ask how they handle unsold airtime. Mention you’d like to produce a 30-second spot that could be inserted randomly into unsold airtime. Continue asking, “Is that the lowest you could go?” Remind them that unsold time is worthless.

Focus on talk and sports radio stations. Those tend to convert best for tax/accounting service providers.

 

Practice Management

Implement a client satisfaction program.
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours

Every firm has some level of client churn, no matter how small it may be. Clients leave for a number of reasons, obviously, and some are beyond your control (job changes, death, etc). Some are fee related, and I think it’s OK for them to leave because overly price sensitive clients tend to bring other issues with them.

But what about good customers that leave? I’ve seen way too many tax and accounting industry surveys that indicate good clients leave for no other reason than the fact that they didn’t feel appreciated.

You may have noticed that the social media angle mentioned up above was really a client rentention strategy, nothing else. But it’s still marketing.

Too many practitioners take their existing clients for granted, and fail to realize that it’s far easier and cheaper to keep existing clients than to find new ones. You should be doing year-round marketing to your existing clients in order to retain them.

Basically, you need to be constantly giving people a reason to stay. In this day and age, an accurate tax return just isn’t a compelling enough reason for people to continue using your services.

Here’s my personal rule of thumb: If you’re not willing to spend at least $1 per month to retain a client, then you’re straight up being a cheapskate.

Yep, I went there!

So here is your challenge for today: Start implementing a client satisfaction program.

Start with simple things. Go to Staples, Office Depot, or Amazon, and order some basic “Thank You” cards and envelopes. Add an item to your client intake, prospect consultation, and other checklists to send out a simple, hand written thank you card whenever somebody comes in for an initial consultation or first hires you for work. This is literally the most basic thing you can do, and hardly anybody does it anymore. You’d be amazed how far this one little gesture will go.

Then, start looking for additional touch points. How can you better engage on social media with your clients? What affordable family outings can you invite clients to, such as local minor league baseball games or a client night at the ice rink? What about a client appreciation barbecue after tax season at a local park?

The holidays are coming. Send cards and a unique, thoughtful gift. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. I’m not a coffee drinker, but out here on the west coast it’s unbelievable how much people appreciate a $10 Starbucks gift card. Or what about making a group donation to a local charity for the holidays? Get creative.

Spend some time looking at your client processes, and where you could insert thoughtful touch points. After paying you money, or after paying the IRS money, are obvious places, but think about other times not connected to revenue, as well.

We’ll talk more about this tomorrow, with a simple yet effective way to improve client relationships by hearing straight from clients themselves.

 

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