Grow your bottom line with effective marketing for tax professionals, and attract new clients and customer retention. During tax season, everywhere you turn tax preparation businesses are marketing their services. You’ll encounter advertisements online, on television, radio and even on billboards. It’s hard to stay ahead of the giants like TurboTax and H&R Block if you don’t effectively market your tax preparation or tax resolution services. Ideally, you should focus on marketing year-round and not just during tax season.
A tax preparation or resolution business is no different than any other company; it thrives on repeat customers. You not only need to bring in more customers, but you also need to continue your appeal with existing clients. The only way to achieve these two-fold goals are through successful online/offline marketing campaigns.
Marketing for tax professionals is like building a snowball. You start out small, presenting your business to would-be prospects, and stay fresh in the minds of existing clients. Then, as the year progresses and tax time rolls around, it’s time to really start packing that snowball so it grows bigger, rounder, and stronger. You’ll want to extend your marketing reach further and push harder with online/offline marketing tips and tricks that help you stand out from the competition.
Prioritize Tax Preparation & Tax Resolution Business Marketing
Your first step to marketing your business is to draft an online/offline marketing plan that focuses on what your customers are seeking, such as professionalism, experience, capability, and assurance.
With a tax preparation business, providing optimum customer service should be the foundation of your business marketing plan. You want to promote your knowledge, skills, and services in a similar manner, just as retail businesses do when marketing their products.
Be Strategic when Marketing for Tax Professionals
Here are just a few key tax marketing tips to help you get off on the right foot, as you forge ahead in developing a concrete marketing plan.
Promote Your Skills – Showcase What You know
Think about what sets you apart from your competition. Do you have any skills that make your tax preparation business stand out? Do you process and file your customers tax returns faster than other tax professionals? If speed and accuracy is your thing, then tailor a marketing campaign that embraces the theme. Let customers know you can get their taxes done right quickly. Maybe you can complete a straightforward tax return on a customer’s lunch break – you’ll want to highlight such beneficial information.
Most people are time-crunched, and they don’t have hours to waste waiting for you to complete their taxes. Speed is not only essential, but a great perk to hinge your marketing on.
Sit down and make a simple list of your outstanding skills and then start to build on them. You’ll be amazed at how easily it is to highlight your specialties.
The Power of Word of Mouth
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Satisfied customers are more than willing to promote your tax preparation services to friends and family. You can offer an incentive to encourage referrals, such as a discount if your clients bring in family members, or a credit for next year’s tax return season.
You hear a lot about the importance of branding, but it truly cannot be overstated enough how important creating brand identity is for any business. A brand makes your tax business memorable. It provides identity and personality.
To hone branding, everything must have a truly unified front across all online platforms, advertisements, websites, television and more. Work closely with a graphic designer to develop a memorable logo that provides business identity. It should differentiate your tax preparation business from other tax preparers in the area.
Work on an eye-catching design with its own color scheme and remember to remain consistent throughout your marketing materials. It should become a part of your office signs and website.
Consider adding a motto, too. Something short and catchy that is also professional. Maybe focus on something that promotes the maximum refund amount?
Take the time to become involved in your community. Launching a tax business is difficult, but joining your local chamber of commerce, reaching out to other business leaders, and joining business groups can all give you an edge to quickly start operating as a successful small business in the area.
You should also consider participating in community efforts, such as fundraisers or other charities, to effectively capture the attention of locals and become memorable.
Analyzing Client Demographics
Nobody in business wants to waste money on unsuccessful marketing campaigns. Analyzing client demographics is imperative so you can determine your target audience.
When it gets close to tax season time, sit down and analyze your customer information to determine who is the most likely to be a return client. Make a note of any commonalities between your most profitable clients. Pay particular attention to the following details:
- Are your clients mostly business filers or personal?
- Married, joint, or single?
- Income bracket?
- Deductions that they have in common?
- Where do they live?
- Do they own rental properties or are they business owners?
Are your most profitable clients married homeowners with children? Business owners? Young or old? Do they make more than 100k per year? Answer these questions and you have successfully married down your target market and you can tailor ads to fit their particular needs and interests.
Never underestimate the power of knowing your client demographics! You can now target your current clients with things they will find interesting and also reach out to others who fall within the framework so you can bring in new clients.
Target Existing Customers
Your current tax clients are gold. You want to continue meeting their tax preparation needs every year. You probably have a complete list of dedicated tax clients who continue to come back year after year. However, some people might need a little nudge to remind them to use your services again.
Marketing Metrics carried out a study that found that existing customers are twelve times more likely to use your tax preparation services repeatedly than a new prospect. Clearly, the importance of continuing to reach out to your past clients every year cannot be overlooked.
Maintain a database of all of your tax and accounting clients complete with all of their contact information. Regularly send out newsletters and emails. In addition, you can also send out traditional postcards to their home addresses. Older clients often don’t like modern digital marketing so appealing to them with a postcard is a great refresher to let them know that you are still providing tax services and ready to meet all of their new year needs.
Never assume that past tax clients will automatically contact you again the following year. Instead, confront a problem head-on and reach out to them with a refresher.
Make sure to personalize all offers because the personalization does matter. Honestly, personalizing small items like postcards ends up costing only pennies per piece and the returns are impressive. You can even add a magnet to the post cards to encourage your customers to place the magnet on their refrigerator, so your business advertising material commands an important spot in the home where your business name remains a standout commodity. This helps ensure that your past clients will again reach out to you for your services.
Studies have shown that 79% of people say that they are more likely to engage with a business if the offer presented to them is personalized or reflects their last interaction with the company in a personalized way. Also, 78% find personally relevant content more appealing and makes them more likely to again seek out the business’s services.
Customize all postcard designs to include a client’s name, gender, industry, and any other personal information to reach out and grab attention.
Keeping Your Customers Happy
Yes, it’s true, a happy customer is a repeat customer. You want to always provide superior customer service and then market and build on the reputation.
Email Marketing Considerations
Always make sure that the emails you send out are coming from your business name – a name your clients will recognize so that they are more willing to open the email. The ‘from’ field of the email should show your business name clearly.
Campaign Monitor has shown that 68% of recipients base their decision on whether or not they open the email on who the email came from. OutboundEngine found that 70% of recipients will always open emails if they come from a favorite company.
You don’t want to flood your client’s email inbox with a ton of emails, or they will stop opening them. Ideally, you should send out three emails over several weeks to truly grab their interest and spur them to action. During tax season, they are probably already receiving an abundance of tax related emails, so you really need yours to stand out from the crowd.
An email campaign offers a 70:1 return on investment for your tax preparation business, according to studies carried out by the DMA National Email Report. Using email marketing software, you can pull client email addresses from your database and effortlessly fill in all names. If you do not have a database of your past clients and instead keep an old-school rolodex or file combo then you can manually enter all of their email addresses and names onto a spreadsheet to start preparing the email campaign.
Compose a catchy and appealing tax preparation marketing message. Keep the message short and concise. Most people don’t want to read long drawn-out emails. Instead, they want to click on the email, open it and immediately see what it’s all about via a quick scan. Keeping all of the information to the point will help hold the reader’s attention better than if they open the email and there are large paragraph blocks.
Once your marketing message is created, you can use a placeholder that contains the recipient’s name or other valuable information, and the software will effortlessly populate it using the proper data for every customer. The entire process of creating an email campaign is straightforward and easy. You can rapidly send out hundreds of emails without taking very much time.
An email drip campaign is amazingly effective and used by most businesses. Research has shown that it can generate 50% more sales. Best of all, an email drip campaign is easy to set up. It is simply a series of messages sent out at a predetermined time. Sometimes they are created as a funnel to push a prospect to do something.
- The first email welcomes the client to the business (perhaps they downloaded a free online brochure or signed up for an online newsletter)
- The second email is sent out a few days later and provides more information
- A week later, another email is sent
- And onward
The email drip campaign can culminate in a request to have the client call to schedule an appointment to have their taxes completed.
Buying a Mailing List
You don’t want to waste money on advertisements that will only be seen by people who will never use your services. You need to ensure that you get the best possible return on investment (ROI) when it comes to advertising your tax business.
Often purchasing a mailing list that is filled with ideal prospects is a terrific way to bring in new clients. You can narrow the list you purchase down to the following:
- Home Value
- Marital status
- Investable private assets
- Zip code
- Recent purchases
On many sites, you can run a list for free so you can see who in the area fits your particular demographic before you take the leap and purchase the list to market too. The entire process takes less than 60-seconds in most cases to complete.
When purchasing a mailing list, be sure to ask the following questions:
- How often do you update your data? Ideally, they should update their data once a month or you risk wasting your money buying the list because people move often.
- Do you guarantee any deliverability? Reputable companies will guarantee a 90 percent deliverables percentage.
- Do you offer a refund on postage and production costs if anything goes beyond the deliverable guarantee?
With any mailing list that you purchase, you will always have undeliverable, but a reputable list company typically will have no more than a 10% undeliverable rate.
Importance of Direct Mail Advertising
Yes, most people are focused on everything digital, but everyday people still check their mail. A simple postcard is a traditional marketing tool that remains highly effective. The United States Post Service (USPS) carried out a study that found that 81% of people notice postcards in their mail. Sending out several postcards around tax time is sure to grab attention. Postcards are effective also because the recipient does not need to waste valuable time opening the envelope to see what’s inside. They can quickly scan the card.
Reports show that 39% of consumers try a business for the first time as a result of successful direct mail marketing. A concise tax prep postcard is a wonderful way for a tax preparer business to reach more potential clients.
Tips for Direct Mail:
When creating a postcard to market your tax preparation business and achieve proven results consider the following proven tips used by effective marketing experts:
- Clear Bold Headline – You want things to be clear at a glance, so make sure the postcard boasts a clear, bold headline that tells the recipe about the service being offered. You don’t want them to waste time trying to figure out what the postcard is about, or they will toss it. People have a noticeably short attention span so it’s imperative that you grab their attention immediately. A bold headline is the key. Ideally, the headline should take up at least 15% of the postcard’s front to stand out.
- Graphic to Support the Message – The main image should have a graphic that supports the headline. It should convey the message quickly. Perhaps use a money symbol, or a piggy bank or something related to tax savings or gaining a larger tax return. Undoubtedly, images are a fun way to grab attention and couple the image with your company’s logo to become truly memorable.
- Standout Colors – Pick colors that pop. Color the headline and the text in a shade that contrasts well with all elements of the postcard. Examine the postcard. Is it easy to read? Does the coloration of the font stand out nicely? What do you notice first about the postcard? Ideally, you should notice the headline first!
- Sub Headlines to Support the Text – The postcard’s recipient is going to want a point of entry on the card. It should be located on the back of the postcard and push the recipient to start reading. You do not place a ton of text on the postcard. Instead, keep it light and easy to read. Just a line or two.
- List Benefits – Do not make bold claims on the postcard that sound like bragging. Instead, guide the reader with the benefit of your tax service. Just a simple outline of why they should be used. How do your services benefit them? Cost savings? Bigger refunds? Fast services? All of these are brief benefits that anyone who is looking for a tax preparer will appreciate.
- Offer Something Valuable – Your prospects have hundreds of choices about where and how to file their taxes so why should they pick your tax preparation business? Give them something valuable – a reason to pick YOU. Maybe provide a coupon offer with an expiration date to encourage them to act quickly or miss out on savings! Everyone wants to save money and putting an expiration date on the offer spurs them to action, or they might miss out.
- Business Name and Logo – Yes, you need to include your business names and logo on the postcards. However, it does not need to be huge and overwhelming. Instead, keep the message small and tasteful.
- A Direct Call to Action – Sometimes people don’t really know what to do after they receive your postcard. Instead, you’ll need to direct them with a call to action. Let them know they have to act now and not wait. Make the call to action (CTA) noticeably clear. Encourage them to call today for an appointment and not wait!
- Contact Information – You want your potential clients to easily reach you so be sure to have your contact information on the front and back of the postcard. It should be easy to find and very plain.
- Return Address – Yes, you’ll need to have a return address on the postcard, so you know how many were undeliverable. Also, the return address makes the postcard look legitimate. People want to know that you are a genuine tax preparation firm with a bona fide business location and not some fly-by-night person offering under-the-table tax services. Remember, clients are trusting you with their money and confidential information, so they want to know you are legit and respectable.
Social Media Builds Client Relationships When Marketing for Tax Professionals
Social media giants are a suitable place to build your business brand’s reputation while grabbing the attention of a large following. You can truly reach your clients in a very real and personalized manner using Facebook. Research shows that 79% of people in the U.S. use Facebook. Most users spend at least 50 minutes per day on the social media platform and 70% log in each day even if they don’t spend an excessive amount of time online.
Create a Facebook Business Page
You’ll want to create a Facebook business page. Once there, you can upload your customers email addresses and Facebook will match the emails to the different profiles. This lets you specifically target ads to your customers.
The entire process is fairly simple:
- Save your list in a CSV format
- Create a custom audience on Facebook
- Click on the customer list
- Follow the direction to upload the CSV
One thing to note is that during this process, Facebook will find errors in your email list because some people simply do not have their emails tied to their social media pages. If this is the case, then Facebook will let you know during the upload process. Just continue if you receive a message saying they cannot find a particular client’s profile using the email address that you have.
After you have uploaded your list, then it’s time to work on your tax preparation ad for Facebook. Once you have the ad ready, then it will be shown to the custom list that you have created. This entire process is a fantastic way to stay fresh in your current client’s mind. Always remember, the cost to obtain a new customer takes six to seven times the amount of retaining a current client according to a study carried out by the consultant firm Bain & Company. Clearly, it is far cheaper to focus on keeping your current customer base happy.
Launch Two Marketing Campaigns
As you plan the most effective way to launch your tax business, you’ll want to think about the campaigns that you’ll be using. Ideally, you should split your tax preparation marketing into two campaigns to achieve better ROI results. You want to receive early and late filers – one campaign for each.
- Early filers are usually lower income and cannot wait to receive their tax refund.
- Late filers are higher income and often owe money, so they hold off filing until later in the tax season.
The first campaign you launch should focus on the early filers and the second one goes to the late filers. When devising the campaigns, focus on the pain points of each group and use them to your advantage. Offer solutions that they can relate too, and which will make them want to use your tax preparation business for all of their filing needs.
Provide each one with their own valuable exclusive offer such as a discount on tax prep for early filers and flat fee service for late filers. Let them know that you provide free e-file or tax advice throughout the year.
Google Follow Up Ads
Successful tax preparation marketing requires repetition and follow up work. Repetition grabs attention and keeps you on top of their minds so that when they are ready to file then they will call your tax preparation service. In addition, repetition creates credibility and familiarity. Sending multiple postcards shows that your business has longevity and isn’t going anywhere. It lets the recipient know that you are ready to meet their current and future needs.
Retargeting online is also crucial and provides great ROI. A study carried out by CMO.com found that Google follow-up ads increased ad response by up to 400%. In fact, website visitors who saw Google follow-up ads saw a 70% increase in conversion.
Facebook and Instagram ads are also crucial to your Google ad success. You want your business seen everywhere by prospects.
As tax time nears, you want to spend on multi-channel marketing programs that focus on online-offline targeting.
PPC Advertising Campaign
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is when you invest in what is called a ‘sponsored ad’ with Google. You only pay for the ad when someone clicks on it. Tax preparation is a highly competitive industry and creating a cost-effective PPC campaign is one of the best ways to gain traffic and drive conversion on your website, but it can be expensive, so you want to make sure you do it correctly and use the proper keywords to gain results.
You want your ad to grab the attention of qualified prospects, so you avoid wasted, costly clicks. A trick to do this is to include negative keywords in your bid. If someone is searching for ‘free tax preparation’ then they are NOT a prospect for your tax business because they want a do-it-yourself tax preparation service or site. Including the negative word ‘free’ in your bid means that your ad won’t appear in searches that include the word.
Another set of keywords to avoid are ‘tax preparation software’ . People looking for this are going to prepare their own taxes using the software and will not require your services.
Avoid ‘tax refund tracking’ because people running these keywords have already filed their taxes and will not be using your services.
You’ll want to sit and think about many negative keywords to avoid. Coming up with as many as possible will save you a great deal of money with your PPC campaign. Adding negative keywords costs you nothing and saves you a great deal.
Expand Your Digital Footprint
Website Optimization for Local Searches
You want to make sure your website is optimized for local searches so your prospects can find you for all of their tax preparation needs. Google research has shown that 50% of consumers who perform a local search seeking a local business using their smartphone will visit that business within one day. Also, 34% of people who used a computer or tablet also visited the local business they were seeking. It is imperative that your website be tailored for local searches, so your business site comes up first when someone is hunting for local tax preparers.
Develop a Blog
Create a blog or your website that is keyword optimized to drive traffic to your tax preparation website. When tax time rolls around, many people are trying to educate themselves on tax laws and trying to determine if they can file their own tax return or need the help of professionals. Having a bevy of search engine optimized (SEO) blog posts on your website will help drive traffic to your business site as people seek the answers to their questions using Google.
With quality blogs on your website, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable source with useful content which will push your website to the top of the Google search results any time someone is looking for tax preparation services or answers to their most pressing tax related questions. Marketers have shown that blogging is 13 times more likely to provide positive ROI.
Ask for Online Reviews
Businesses with 5-star ratings online capture attention. Most people who are searching online for a reputable local business will take the time to look at the company’s star ratings and reviews before making a decision. Researchers have found that 88% of consumers look at and trust online reviews. Also, 72% will pick a business with positive reviews over another business because they trust them more.
Online reviews clearly matter so don’t be shy – ask your happy clients to leave your tax preparation business positive online reviews!
Marketing your tax preparation or tax resolution business is an all-year task. Yes, the greatest push will be around tax season, but you’ll have the greatest success of gaining new prospects and returning clients by staying on top of marketing 12-months out of the year.
As a growing tax preparation or resolution center, you’ll need to rely on leading software to streamline the operation of all aspects of your business. Contact IRS Solutions Software to learn more today!