Today it’s called content marketing, but the reality is that it’s one of the most effective marketing strategies in the history of capitalism.
The core idea behind this strategy is to create engaging content that entertains and educates your target market, while simultaneously reminding your prospects that you possess the solution to their tax problem.
That problem can take numerous forms, from the frustration of completing their tax return to the nightmare of owing millions in back taxes.
In my tax resolution practice, ALL of my marketing leverages the concept of content marketing, in one way or another. Everything from my free reports offered in response to letters and postcards, to 24 hour recorded information lines, to my books written for consumers — all of this is content marketing.
What’s this about writing articles?
Despite the prevalence of video on the Internet today, the fact remains that the Internet is a platform built with and for the distribution of the written word. We still use words to search for things on Google, and Google must still use words on pages to determine the relevance of web sites.
On top of that, direct mail is still one of the most effective means available for reaching new prospects, reactivating lost clients, and keeping existing clients coming back. From reaching out to new movers in to the neighborhood for tax prep season, to tax lien marketing, to client newsletters, direct mail, and it’s inherent use of the written word, is something that should be part of every tax professional’s marketing arsenal.
The written word, despite the audiovisual world in which we live, is still a remarkably valuable form of communication. Aside from being a tool for appearing high in search engine results, the written word is a vehicle for attracting new prospects and converting prospects into clients.
Why is this? Never forget that, no matter what services we actually provide to our clients, we are in the people business. People do business with other people, something that some really big accounting, legal, and consulting firms seem to forget.
Before a new client ever gives you a dime, three things in particular must happen:
1. They must come to know who you are (which is why we do marketing).
2. They must come to trust you and your ability to address their needs.
3. They have to like you (this is the step that really big companies in particular often miss).
You may have heard of these three factors before, as they are quite fundamental to how professional service businesses in particular operate. The know, like, and trust factors are so important that you will often see them abbreviated simply as KLT.
Given the importance of the written word as a communication tool, even in 2014, you can leverage written content in order for people to discover (know) you, and come to trust your knowledge, skills, and experience. Through your writing style and the personal details you choose to share about yourself, your readers will also come to like you as they become familiar with you.
As a quick aside, don’t forget that not everybody is going to like you, and that’s perfectly OK. I’ve had plenty of tax resolution prospects tell me that they won’t hire me simply because they don’t like me because of my personality, and I’m fine with that. I know that I have a bit of a “quirky” or “colorful” personality, and there are certain personality types that I simply do not get along with — I don’t want them as clients any more than they want me as their representative.
I allow some of my quirkiness to come across in my writing — I’m not trying to hide it. It’s part of who I am, and I don’t want to work with people that are going to have a problem with that. You should do the same in your own marketing, and watch as you start to get along better with your new clients because of the personality matchup. Personality plays a huge part in whether or not we like other people, or simply tolerate them. You want to work with people that like you and you like them, rather than just tolerating each other.
Now that you know why the written word is so important, let’s get into…
The Simple Secret To Writing Tax Articles
Here’s the rub… Most accountants, attorneys, enrolled agents, and tax preparers will tell you that they either dislike writing, or they’re simply no good at it. To which I say, “Donkey snot.”
If you’ve ever written an email to a client explaining an item on their tax return, then you have all the skill you need to create compelling written content for marketing your services.
It’s been almost three years since I started consulting with other tax professionals about improving their practices. In that time, I have yet to speak with a single person that hasn’t had to send such emails on a regular basis. With that said…
If you can write a paragraph to the IRS on a 1040-X explaining the reason for changes on a return, then you can write tax articles.
If you can write an email or letter to client explaining a tax planning item, then you can write tax articles.
If somebody writes a tax question on your Facebook page and you can write a response, then you can write tax articles.
The secret to effective written marketing communication is to simply be conversational. When you write articles, it usually helps to pretend that you’re just writing an email to a client in response to a question. That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
If you can do that, then you can create articles that will be highly effective in helping to grow your practice.
In fact, one of the best sources of topics to write about is actual questions from clients and prospects. In the past, I’ve made extensive use of questions from clients, or inquiries I receive from book readers, social media contacts, or other articles, as the source for new written content. Oftentimes, I can simply take my email response to that person, remove personal details, and voila — article!
Note: Premium members have access to new articles that I write every month that they can use in their own content marketing. As a result of last month’s Premium member survey, I will be increasing the number of monthly articles from 2 to 4 starting in June.
So far, we’ve covered why written communication is still important today, and how to go about writing articles, so now the question you’re probably asking is…
What exactly do I do with these articles?
To me, this is the fun part. From a client attraction perspective, it’s also the most important part.
Once you write an article, the best thing you can do with it is to use it in as many different ways as possible in order to get the most results from having created it. This is the leverage component of this process. This is how you get more bang for your buck, more bounce to the ounce, more wind for your sails, more pounds to the bushel, better…well, you get the idea.
There’s harm in using an article for more than one purpose. It should be used wherever and whenever it makes to do so. Here’s an example.
Let’s say you write an article about how to qualify for a Guaranteed Installment Agreement. Once you’ve written such an article, there are several places it could go:[DAP isPaidUser=”Y” hasAccessTo=”16,61,85″ errMsgTemplate=”LONG”]
- Your tax practice blog.
- Internet article directories like EzineArticles.com and GoArticles.com.
- Revised into a press release and published to PRLog.com and PRWeb.com.
- Emailed to all prospects in your lead follow up email system.
- Published as an article in your monthly client newsletter.
- Published as a short chapter in an Amazon Kindle ebook to generate new leads.
- Turned into a letter and mailed out to all your 1040 preparation clients with 2013 balances due under $10,000 as a courtesy.
- Modified into a special report and used as a lead response widget.
- Converted into a jumbo postcard and mailed to small tax liens within 3 miles of your office as a lead generation campaign for tax planning clients.
You’ll notice that the first three items are completely online. I have a firm belief in applying the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) to all things. If you do the first three items, and do them in that order, you will have done enough work to get well over half of all the benefit you could ever hope to receive from a search engine optimization (SEO) program. (Extensive discussion on this topic is available in my new manual, Creating Online Tax Client Lead Funnels.
In this tutorial, we’ve covered why you should write articles, a simple process for creating them, and what you should do with them. Writing these articles does not need to be time consuming (especially if you just recycle emails), but the results you get from it are incredible.
Go forth, and create thy marketing content![/DAP]