Category: Tax Marketing QuickTips

Tax Marketing QuickTip #6: Posting Flyers

Like a zombie punching through six feet of dirt to rise from the grave, Tax Marketing QuickTips are back!

These were a popular feature on this blog from, umm, like, three years ago. Then I got all distracted and whatnot by starting a software company. Some people, right? 🙂

These QuickTips are intended to be exactly that: Short, actionable steps you can implement in just 10-15 minutes that will improve your tax practice in a small way. These are not meant to Earth-shattering, but more than anything are here to serve as a simple reminder for you to do something occasionally to work on your practice, rather than just in your practice.

Today we’re going to talk about one of the oldest, simplest, and cheapest lead generation tactics that exists: Posting flyers wherever you can.

You know the kind I’m talking about. The simple 8.5×11 sheet of paper with some simple ad copy and a compelling call to action, with the bottom of the flyer configured in a vertically cut “fringe” that people can tear a piece off of that contains your call to action response info: A phone number, website, etc.

I can already hear thousands of CPAs, lawyers, and EAs screaming out an exasperated, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?!

No, I’m not kidding. This is tots for realsies.

Select one service that you offer, and one offer. Apply the KISS principle here — that’s “Keep It Simple, Stupid”, if you’re not familiar.

For example, put your mugshot in the upper left corner, and in giant print put “Is the IRS making your life a living nightmare? Call Joe to schedule your complimentary Tax Debt Settlement Analysis…”. Or try something like, “What does the IRS have planned for YOUR retirement? Call Jane today for your complimentary Retirement Tax Assessment…”.

Post these up in locations around town. Apartment complex and HOA clubhouses often have bulletin boards. Community and senior centers. Grocery stores. Beauty salons. Laundromats. UPS Stores. Churches. Saloons. Civic and fraternal organization halls (VFW, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, etc). Neighborhood kiosks. Real estate brokerage office agent boxes. Community colleges. Put them everywhere you can.

Caveats:

  1. Ask permission before posting (obviously).
  2. Don’t expect miracles. The lead volume will be very, very low.
  3. Understand that your only targeting here comes from the placement, so understand the type/quality of leads that certain placements will generate.

With your expectations properly set, this tactic can generate a tiny but steady trickle of leads, some of whom will become worthwhile clients. If your marketing budget is literally in the ballpark of $10 or $20 (for printing), this is a really solid addition to outbound cold calling (which should be your cornerstone no-budget marketing tactic). To convert this from a poor marketing tactic to a lazy marketing tactic, simply hire a local kid to post the flyers for you, or use a local flyer delivery service (most large cities have one).

Happy flyering!

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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. Namecheap.com 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. LeadPages.net 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. Aweber.com 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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Tax Marketing QuickTip #4: Direct Mail

“I’m not dead!” -sick man in Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail

I know that I shouldn’t take things people say on the Internet too personally, but I often do. There is a 1-star review on Amazon for one of my books that chaps my hide in particular, because the reviewer states, “The marketing information is outdated…

What he’s referring to in that particular book is that the marketing plan presented centers 100% around direct mail and telemarketing.

Here’s why this comment torques me so much: I have current Platinum members pulling in six figures annually from direct mail. There are old consulting clients from a few years ago that are doing seven figures annually from old direct mail campaigns that they’ve never changed since I designed them.

Direct mail isn’t dead.

In fact, telemarketing and direct mail, in that order, are the two dominant marketing media used to sell tax resolution in this country. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars per year of just tax resolution sold through telemarketing and direct mail.

Here’s something else you may not know: One of the most successful tech companies ever created, Google, still uses direct mail sent to newly registered businesses in order to drive sales of their online advertising platform (Adwords).

Here are my top 3 direct mail tips for you:

  1. Mail in sequences. Mailing once is just a waste of money. If you’re going to do direct mail for lead generation, do it right. Multi-hit sequences are the only way to go.
  2. Send the right message to the right people. Sending your seasonal $29 off coupon postcard to a tax lien list is a recipe for failure. So is sending a tax planning consultation offer to low income 1040 filers. It’s called “market to message match”, and you’ve got to have it. I rarely mention the first book I wrote for tax pros, but read Effective Copywriting for Accounting Professionals for in depth coverage of this topic.
  3. Use direct mail for long-term client/prospect follow up. Email autoresponders are awesome, I love them and use them frequently. However, there is nothing more effective for converting your best prospects into clients, and keeping your existing clients coming back, than using a monthly direct mail contact. Be it a newsletter or otherwise, this is probably the single best monthly investment you can make in your business.

The Tax Marketing HQ blog is chock full of additional direct mail articles. Direct mail can be challenging at times, and I’ll be the first to admit that it can be expensive and frustrating to “dial in” direct mail campaigns. But once you tweak it to work in your market, to your target audience, then you can run direct mail campaigns for years without much change, and profit handsomely from doing so.

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Tax Marketing QuickTip #3: Riches in Niches

You can’t be all things to all people.

Here’s the cliche example: Physicians are regarded as being one of the highest paid occupational groups in America. But who usually earns more: A family practice doctor, or a heart surgeon?

The specialist makes more money.

On October 24, 2010, I flipped my boss the bird and walked out the door (long story — it had been brewing for a while). That’s the day I entered private practice, without a single client.

For the first several months, I took any and every tax resolution case I could find. I was tempted to work the 2011 tax prep season, but I chose not to, because I knew I could make more money if I stuck to my guns and grew my tax resolution clientele. I was a specialist.

Shortly after tax season was over, I was no longer taking any and every case. By late spring 2011, well over half my new tax resolution clients were family owned trucking companies. My fees and revenues continued to increase, because I had become a specialist within a particular niche.

By the end of August 2011, my tax resolution firm had billed over $35,000 in new revenue for the month, and I was working from Sapporo, Japan. Amazing things happen when you specialize and do niche marketing.

What specialization are you known for, that allows you to charge premium fees?

What high-profit niche do you serve, that allows you to command higher prices, even if you do nothing but 1040 return preparation?

Don’t accept just any client that walks in the door. Pick and choose. Position yourself properly, communicate your value proposition through marketing, and dominate a niche.

That’s how you get rich as an EA, CPA, or tax attorney. That’s how you create a lifestyle practice. Regardless of whether you want to galavant around the planet a few times like I did, you want a private jet, or you just want a big house on 40 acres, this is how you do it.

There are riches in niches. Specialize, pick a niche, and dominate it.

If you have decided that tax debt resolution is the right specialization for you, then I’d like to invite you to Baltimore for 3 days, or Los Angeles for 1 day. Whichever is most convenient for you, pick one (or both) and come learn how to knock it out of the park in tax resolution.

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Tax Marketing QuickTip #2: Your Website Sucks

Nearly every tax professional has a web site by now.

Unfortunately, 99% of those websites are garbage.

Your website is there to help you communicate the benefit of your services to visitors. In other words, more than anything else, your website is a marketing piece. Any other function of your web site, such as being a client document portal, is completely secondary to it’s primary function as a central component of your marketing presence.

Since this is a Tax Marketing QuickTip, I’m not going to go on a long tirade about what’s wrong with most tax firm websites. Instead, I’m going to give you my top 5 suggestions for what to include on your web site:

  1. Include a lead capture mechanism. Offer some sort of lead response widget in exchange for their contact information.
  2. Have a blog, and update it frequently. You want your website to rank high in Google. The single most important component of this is to have high quality content on your web site that is updated frequently.
  3. Don’t hide. One of the first places most visitors go when they get to a tax firm website is the “About” page. On this page, visitors want to see a human being. That’s YOU. Have a photo, your full name, and a little bit about you. New tax clients are looking to make a human connection, don’t be anonymous and try to hide behind a corporate identity.
  4. Use client testimonials. Testimonials still matter. This is NOT an outdated marketing idea. Ask your clients for testimonials, and stick them online. Visitors WILL respond positively to this.
  5. Connect your social media accounts. You don’t have to be a social media machine, but your web site should be set up to allow visitors to connect with you on the social media platforms that you’re willing to use. For example, I despise Facebook, but I can stomach Twitter and LinkedIn, so I restrict people to connecting with me on just those two platforms.

If your web site is missing any of these five critical elements, then I would encourage you to correct the situation ASAP. Doing just these five things will put your web site into the top 1% of tax and accounting practice web sites.

Want a full critique of your tax firm web site? Want hands-on help in making a your online presence a profit center rather than just an expense? Let’s work together to fix this incredibly important aspect of your practice, and propel your tax firm to new heights. For more information, check out the new and improved 2016 Platinum Inner Circle.

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Tax Marketing QuickTip #1: Referrals

This is the first in a new series of short, actionable QuickTips to help you build a better tax firm. Most of these QuickTips won’t be Earth-shattering, by any means, but I hope that they serve as reminders for you to take at least 10 or 15 minutes every day to do something to improve your tax or accounting practice.

Today: Referrals.

When was the last time you asked your existing clients for referrals to new clients?

If this is something you only do one a year during tax season, you’re losing out on a golden opportunity to capture new clients while your competition isn’t doing marketing.

The process here is super simple:

1. Make a list of your 20 to 50 best clients. The type of client you want more of. Not the clients that make you cringe when you see them on your appointment calendar.

2. Send them all a letter NOW thanking them for their business this year, and asking for three referrals to their family, friends, and colleagues. Ask them to complete a web form, or include a referral form and ask them to fax, mail, or email it back to you. The number three is important, the psychological explanation of which is beyond the scope of a QuickTip.

3. If you feel the desire to incentivize referrals, offer your clients a dinner for two at a nice local restaurant, or use a service such as Giftbit to obtain gift cards that you only have to pay for if they’re actually redeemed.

4. Contact those referrals immediately.

5. Ten to 14 days later, send your 20 to 50 client list another letter, thanking everybody for all the referrals they sent, expressing how much you love working with them, and how you are grateful for their assistance in growing your business. Do this even for the people that didn’t send referrals. Include another copy of the referral submission form.

See what we just did there in step 5? That’s the key to the whole thing. 🙂

Want longer versions of these QuickTips, along with future copies of the actual letters, checklists, and more? Then check out the all new Tax Marketing HQ Digital Pass.

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