Reliable tax season marketing, in 3 categories

2013 is about to dawn with some major tax changes, but for you and your business, you better not sit on your keister and "hope" that it translates into automatic new business.

And there have been a TON of changes, even just over the last  couple years. Mobile marketing is taking off, social media has matured, online marketing itself keeps getting more complicated.

The entire national stage has been through about 14 political and social gyrations this year -- with more to come.

But marketing and relationships still come down to some basic truths: more than ever, your clients and prospects crave recognition, validation and respect. And YOU can provide that to them.

If you're feeling a little bit stressed about getting new clients in the door this tax season there are some simple, easy & often-overlooked steps you can take to stimulate referrals, win back former clients and increase revenue from your existing client base.

And it's not too late to put them into place.

You see, every year, while directing the marketing for a multi-million dollar tax firm, I broke down our marketing plan in 3 key areas:

1) Existing Client Retention
As you no doubt have realized, you CANNOT "assume" that your existing clients will come back to you this tax season. That's especially true if you don't have any system in place to build, seal and develop relationships.

Yes, you can send a "tax planner". That's a basic step, but not nearly enough.

Every year, we'd send about five direct mail pieces to our former year's clients, incentivizing them to come in EARLY (which dearly helped our operational systems), and encouraging them to refer their family and friends. These ranged from full letters (conversational, friendly), to postcards.

The point is -- you've still gotta make every effort to "remind" your clients that they made a great decision last year to trust you ... and to keep them from being seduced by your competitors and the exploding amount of "free" online options.

Don't miss that step.

2) "Lost" Client Win-Back
Did you know that the most common reason you had clients NOT come back to you last year wasn't because of anything you did wrong?

But there's this place inside of each one of us that just assumes that clients who "move on" and off of our current client list did so because we screwed up somehow.

That's just false.

How do I know?

Simple. Each year, we'd pull the list of non-returning clients (stretching back the last three tax seasons), and we'd send them a couple direct mail pieces. Our "lost" client campaigns were consistently the MOST responsive direct mail campaigns of each season.

But you've gotta do it right. I'll have more to say about this soon.

3) New Client Acquisition Campaigns
Obviously, this was a large focus. Each year, we served 20,000+ clients in our 23 offices, and even with the power of our existing and "lost" client campaigns, there was always a certain "churn" of clients who moved, passed away, etc.

So we had to spend a fair amount (multiple six-figures) each year to go out and strike while the iron was hot during tax season for new clients.

Display advertising, direct mail, online marketing, signage, "guerilla" methods, local joint venture partnerships, etc. etc., ad infinitum.

The main point I want to communicate to you here (I simply don't have time to cover strategy for each media) is that we did it ALL. Or, rather ... as many as we could reasonably implement. Contra-"gurus": There is NO "magic bullet" when it comes to marketing your tax business.

I don't know "one" way to get 40 clients. But I DO know about 40 ways to get 1 client.

And that's how you should focus yourself in this area.

And, of course, track your ROI--don't be seduced by "building a brand". That'll come as you employ smart, direct-response marketing -- but it'll come as a by-product, and should NOT be your first goal.

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