Tax and Accountant Website Essential Strategy

School is back -- and the ramp-up to tax season is about to begin in earnest.

Are you ready?

Earlier this week, I was invited to present to the National Large Tax Practice Group (website here, and an impressive organization, worthy of your checking out -- if your practice fits). They invited me to speak about social media, but as I worked with the planners, it became clear that what was MOST important to them was an overall online marketing philosophy/strategy.

You see, even some of these "big boys" in the room have a cheap, commoditized website. And it's going to suck the wind out of their growth in 2012.

You see, when you don't have an effective "lead capture" mechanism in place, a relational (and prompt) follow-up + a systematized way to build a relationship over time -- so that when the prospect is ready, they come to you -- most tax professionals simply throw up their hands in the online marketing environment and fall back to "business card marketing", except this time it's in the most important space for their entire marketing plan.

After all -- right now, when people want to "check you out" they go to big daddy Google.

And unless you have a GOOD way (read: not a "Subscribe to Our Emailed Newsletter" field) to incentivize your visitors to start that relationship with you ... well, they just sort of slide on by.

Oh, and this is equally true (if not even more so) with Social Media. Tweet, post, status all you like --unless you're moving these tentative Social Media contacts into a more robust, regular (and controllable) form of communication, you're not really harvesting what you could be, even on those platforms.

So, when I ask you if you're ready for tax season -- don't think it's only about prepping for the upcoming licensing requirements, or making sure your clients get a nice tax planner.

Now is the time to take a cold hard look at your online marketing strategy.

Because, it takes more than simply slapping up a lead capture form on your site to make it effective.

As I told the tax professionals in the room this week: Marketing, at its core, is about moving prospects from "cold" to "hot" (i.e. being a client) through a relational process of selling, positioning and solving problems. Unless that's set up in a systematized way for your practice in the ONLINE arena, you'll continue to struggle there.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

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