Most tax or accounting firm owners know that they can genuinely help taxpayers and business owners keep more money in their pocket, and once they get in front of those folks, they’re able to explain exactly how they can do that.

But the problem many firm owners face is how to get in front of the people they can help.

How do you get the attention of new tax leads?

The “old way” of drumming up new accounting or tax leads has become all but obsolete in our internet age. 

Tax firm owner Steve Padgett “took a gamble” on internet marketing with TaxProMarketer in 2016, after he realized his faithful attendance at local Chamber meetings failed to produce reliable new business for his firm. The phone wasn’t ringing. 

 

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Highlights

  • New tax leads don’t appear like they used to with the “old way” of marketing and networking.
  • Padgett shares about his firm’s progression from a small firm with 1 new tax lead per month to a secure firm fielding 3-5 new tax leads per week.

Connect with Nate Hagerty

This episode is brought to you by TaxProMarketer, a leading marketing agency serving CPA & tax firms. It was established in May of 2007 in response to increased demand for real-world, relationship-building (and profit-producing) marketing tools for use in the tax and accounting industry.

Currently, TaxProMarketer serves clients all across the United States and Canada who use their services to build relationships with their prospects & existing clients, as well as to grow the value of their business (for immediate cashflow and future sale-ability) by utilizing the following tools: a relational email marketing program, social media feed program, local listings management & optimization, and creating full “online marketing machines” for clients (which include SEO-optimized, conversion-centric custom websites).

TaxProMarketer is an Infusionsoft Certified Partner and a Digital Marketer Certified Agency.

 

Full Transcript from the Podcast

Nate Hagerty  00:01

All right here I am Nate Hagerty, CEO of TaxProMarketer and I’m with Steve Padgett, who is a TaxProMarketer client. He’s been with us, for how long have you been with us, Steve?

 

Steve Padgett  00:12

I think two and a half years…

 

Nate Hagerty  00:14

That’s about right. Yeah, about two and a half. So why don’t we start there, please just introduce yourself and your firm and the services that you provide.

 

Steve Padgett  00:20

So Steve Padgett from Padgett & Padgett, CPA, you know, we’re kind of a full-service boutique CPA firm. We do some audits mostly of nonprofits, of course, a lot of work with businesses. So income tax, bookkeeping, payroll, all that kind of stuff. Started, almost 30 years ago, on my own, and eventually, my dad was a CPA, in ’99 we’ve merged together. It was really when I learned the business from him. But of course, a lot has changed since then. I’ve learned a lot of it. We don’t even do things the same way anymore. 

 

Nate Hagerty  01:03

Right. So, how did you get involved with TaxProMarketer? You know, a few years back.

 

Steve Padgett  01:12

…I think it was 2016. I went to a similar one in the Rosberg. 

 

Nate Hagerty  01:25

Oh, Rosberg. Yeah

 

Steve Padgett  01:26

In San Antonio, Texas. Yeah. And he had, you know, this marketing guru, which is you. So, he got up, I remember, he showed, like, all your kids and everything, your family that was pretty cool. Watch your presentation, you had a deal. I was like, You know what? Yeah. Because at the time, I’m like, you know, we just think we need to figure something out on the internet, with marketing or websites that do anything. So that’s why I signed up there. That’s my first menu.

 

Nate Hagerty  02:00

That’s great. So what was going on in your business that, you know, cause you to start looking for marketing help, or to change marketing providers at the time? What kind of what was the burning issue that you’re experiencing?

 

Steve Padgett  02:13

We needed, like new clients, we needed leads, and you know, my dad, he started to retire these 2014 so by then he was, you know, pretty much out. But his way it was always, you know, like, you gotta go to chamber meeting, you gotta go this mean, I mean, we have, my right-hand man Terell is more of the marketing guy in the firm were supposed to be and it was even telling them, you need to go out pound on doors, just, you know, that kind of thing. And, you know, it just wasn’t happening with the website. You know, wasn’t really doing a lot. So I was just scratching my head. Like, if we had people to talk to, we could probably close them, but we just don’t have enough people to talk to. And I’m just not up, like, I’ve been to chamber meetings and stuff and doesn’t usually resolve anything major. Yeah, I mean…

 

Nate Hagerty  03:12

Yeah. That is the old way of doing things that the internet has completely demolished. And somebody is, especially in this season in 2020, as we’re recording this, and just the need for remote options, and how everybody is looking online now even more. 

 

Steve Padgett  03:33

Right, even more, this year. I mean, this year, when everything started happening, that was if though they’ve been with you for a while, we already had the emails coming in. So a lot of the communications, they didn’t have to worry about it, just approve the emails that go out. So we’re on top of everything, you know, I think, Steven, and then just the leads coming in, you know, so really business kind of rolls along, even– 

 

Nate Hagerty  04:06

Back up for a minute because I want to go back because I think there’ll be some people who are watching this, who are probably a lot like you who are scratching their head, knowing that if they could just get in front of the right kind of prospects to speak to they know they would do an excellent job. And they recognize that there is a bunch of poorly prepared non-service oriented CPAs and tax professionals out there who happen to, you know, have good marketing, and maybe these folks are pulling in business and they know they’re going to do a better job, just like you back in the day. But they just don’t have the opportunity to have those conversations with prospects. So how was business going kind of at that time before? That, I guess fateful night, I don’t want to oversell it, but–

 

Steve Padgett  04:24

Right.  It was fateful because I’ve worked with other web people, my buddy, who worked at Microsoft and thought he had it figured out and in the thing I got out of that senior first time, was he really knew how all this worked with, you know, the internet with Google, you know, SEO, which I didn’t know about a lot, I heard the terms. I didn’t want to know in detail. I felt like you had that down. And then, you know, so I took the gamble. It’s always somewhat of a gamble. Like, is this gonna work, you know, goes more money than we’re spending. But I’m like, you know, we’ll see if it pays off. And my dad, you know, just so old school, he would have never spent the money. Yeah, I mean, 

 

Nate Hagerty  05:47

Right. Well, I got it. 

 

Steve Padgett  05:49

But my thing is like, hey, you know, God spends the money. If it doesn’t work, I can always stop. But if it does, I won’t miss out on that. But, yeah, so what the old way, you know, like I said, we, I brought in Terell, to help with marketing but I started to figure out that, you know, he wasn’t really going to be good, or nobody would be getting the people to talk to you know, he can close, he could sell, I can sell. You know, so we’re really just seeing they’re like, man, like, you know, the phones are ringing. We’re not getting a lot of inquiries like this, like, we’re not getting enough new people to talk to. 

 

Nate Hagerty  05:49

What was your kind of approximate, again, as I told you, before we started recording, they feel free to not share, you know, you don’t need to be specific, but just approximately speaking, like, what was your approximate annual revenue or number of leads that you would speak to on a monthly basis? It’s two different questions, I guess.

 

Steve Padgett  06:48

Yes. Two different questions. We’re around like, 500,000 year revenue, a small firm in a pretty small town in North Seattle. But, you know, when my dad retired, we lost a lot of clients that really were tied to him, and he didn’t really do a good transition. And he kind of was like, he went, you know, went taxis like, I’m done with this. I can’t do this anymore. And it’s just about him. So we’re having trouble with some of that. What was the second party question?

 

Nate Hagerty  07:26

Just kind of the approximate number of leads that you would get from online sources? And, you know, were there other previous–

 

Steve Padgett  07:33

Terrible. Terrible. I mean, I’ll put it this way, like, I talked to 20s. And he’s like, you know what, these guys are just awesome, like TaxProMarketer, like every week, we’ve got, you know, even now is typical, say the old days in December, we might have one week, to whole months, right? Not much going on. We’ve got at least say like three to five every week. I mean, from your marketing right now. It’s so time, and, you know, so it is just that before a feeling of worry, like, we need to get new clients, but we’re not getting them. We don’t have anybody to talk to you. What does it mean to you to now just sit back like, I mean literally yesterday, we had another one come in through the websites, I was just laughing like, I’m talking to me, tomorrow, we get another one. And so that’s a feeling of more security. Like, we don’t need to worry about having people to talk to, to sell–

 

Nate Hagerty  08:41

I think I saw that one come in. That was the one who had some back taxes.

 

Steve Padgett  08:45

Right, yeah, I was laughing. 

 

Nate Hagerty  08:47

A trainer. That’s right. Yeah, I remember that. 

 

Steve Padgett  08:49

Yeah. So I think that’s a good thing. It’s like literally not, if I was to ask him or myself every week is it worth it? What we’re paying? I don’t even have to think about it. It’s like I probably have, you know, another call to the route as a phone. So he’s getting all the calls he’s got people on, he’s doing all the emails. So literally, every week, there are new people.

 

Nate Hagerty  09:14

So what did we and I know the answer to this, but just so that people who are watching this, might see it because exactly what did our team implement, and put in place for you that was different than what you’d had before?

 

Steve Padgett  09:30

Let’s see. So when I first started, like, I’ll go back like one is just I think the communications is great in that you guys really do care about what’s happening with us. So I didn’t know at the time, but I had another website for another company. And you guys had me set up a new domain. So as you know, the traditional PadgettCPA.com. You had me set up SkagitCountyTaxServices.com. So I thought a little bit because I was too lazy to cancel them and kept two websites. 

 

Nate Hagerty  10:03

Which is a no, no.

 

Steve Padgett  10:05

I didn’t know that. So I think it was like eight months into it or something. I can’t remember who over there. But somebody contacted me and said, You can’t do this like you can like you’re messing up your Google. Google doesn’t like this. And I mean, we’re doing okay, like nothing like now like I was happy then. I was like, Well, okay, I’ll cancel the other way. Again, I didn’t realize that I was messing things up. And after I did that, I mean, things just really took off.

 

Nate Hagerty  10:38

So we did the website, and you already mentioned that email marketing, obviously, the website.

 

Steve Padgett  10:43

Yeah, the email need is huge, the weekly emails. Because I think, you know, part of the struggle, when you’re trying to get a lot of work done is to stay in communication with your clients who stay in, to have them feel that personal connection with you. 

 

Nate Hagerty  11:01

Yeah. 

 

Steve Padgett  11:03

And so I would say before, like, that probably was lacking. And, you know, I was more behind the scenes, like, you know, that kind of took a cue from you that even though you have a team, you’re TaxProMarketer, I always was, I met you, I knew you. I get emails from you, that I needed to be the same way with my clients that those emails helped so much, and I get so many comments on those, and especially this year, you know, so appreciate your weekly emails, you know, people send them out to their friends, and it’s just really a huge thing.

 

Nate Hagerty  11:43

Well, it’s amazing what happens when you give your clients, your existing clients, but even especially your prospects, have that personal touch in your email marketing and don’t just send generic kind of brand building tax tips newsletters, unless people have experienced what that does, with your relationships with your clients until that happens, you don’t really see the power of it. But then, I mean, I know whenever I get to speak to our clients, they’re just like you did. They’re asking me about my children. They’re asking me about different things that I’ve written about in the emails. And, you know, even sometimes when I’ve shared my struggles, people reaching out, and that’s a kind of power relationship with clients and prospects. And again, it’s sincere. So it’s not–

 

Steve Padgett  12:32

Yes, it’s really sincere. Yeah.

 

Nate Hagerty  12:35

And this is what we do for our people to is kind of give you that opportunity to have that kind of relationship with your clients. So–

 

Steve Padgett  12:44

I like that focus because there are other websites, and they had monthly newsletters, but it’s all more the generic, you know, we’re Padgett and Padgett, the firm and, you know, we do all the same stuff everybody else does. And, like, no real personalization. And I noticed that you know, from our first website, that there’s a message from me on the website, you know, not like the firm and yeah, that was huge in me think he knew it. I think he’s onto something that even though it is a firm, it’s a small firm, it’s me, like, people need to connect with me.

 

Nate Hagerty  13:20

Yeah. And that’s great. And you’ve got a team, you’ve got people who are doing the work with you, and on your behalf, you personally aren’t having to do everything, but your clients feel cared for by you. 

 

Steve Padgett  13:33

Right. 

 

Nate Hagerty  13:34

And because you do care. And that’s what’s wonderful about working with you, Steve is that, as I told you, before, we recorded, you have a lot of fans here at TaxProMarketer, because of the way that you treat our people. And I’m sure that that trickles into your relationships with your clients. But now you have an opportunity to communicate that in a regular broad manner.

 

Steve Padgett  13:53

So it makes it possible because I couldn’t write those emails every week, it would have been like something on the list that never got around to you. Yeah, that makes it you know, so easy to keep up with that. 

 

Nate Hagerty  14:07

Yeah. 

 

Steve Padgett  14:08

In everything. It sounds like, you know, stuff I would say I think, you know, so it fits. It’s not like my thanks. Like, who? Who’s waiting this for you? This is didn’t sound like you.

 

Nate Hagerty  14:17

Yeah, that’s right. And so we didn’t even mention, like your Google My Business profile and, you know, all social media components to what we do and all the secondary listings and advertising. But you went from maybe one lead per month? To sounds like 20 or more. 

 

Steve Padgett  14:41

Yeah. 

 

Nate Hagerty  14:42

Even during the slow time.

 

Steve Padgett  14:43

Yeah. And when it’s tax season, it’s even crazier. Yeah.

 

Nate Hagerty  14:47

Yeah. So how has that impacted your business and you personally,

 

Steve Padgett  14:53

Huge, I mean, as I said, when my dad retires, so a bit of a struggle, and maybe even a little bit of burnout. I’m 51 years old. So I’m like, I’m not done about it a while. And I was frustrated, I was burnt out. And, you know, the last thing I want to worry about is sales marketing. Yeah. So I think the first thing is like, excitement about the business excitement about what we’re doing, and knowing that you guys had our back and didn’t have to worry about that part. You know, because, again, you know my friend at Microsoft, you know, thought he knew about SEO talking about this, that and, you know, my dad was always like, we can do things ourselves. I designed some of our first websites myself. But, you know, just be like, you know, I need people that are experts. And, you know, that’s a big thing about you is you did this for a lot of firms. So, yeah, that would benefit from that. So total shift in mindset, and just overall positivity about the business what we’re doing in the future.

 

Nate Hagerty  16:08

That encourages me so much, Steve. I mean, you’re not alone. But I never get tired of hearing these kinds of stories. So 

 

Steve Padgett  16:17

Yeah, I spent here. I mean, I was so worried this year, about what’s going to happen in as, as the month went by us does, like, man, thank God we have Hagerty, we call you Hagerty, thank God, like, you know, we’re still getting new business. We had started the zoom meeting and stuff like that, but we’re still rocking and rolling. Because I mean, this year is really about trying to survive and not knowing what’s happened. I don’t think we could have done it without you guys.

 

Nate Hagerty  16:53

It’s not just me. I mean, I think you know this, 

 

Steve Padgett  16:56

yeah. 

 

Nate Hagerty  16:57

My team. I’m only able to do what I do. Because, you know, the important people here at TaxProMarketer, but you know, similar to you, I mean, you and your team, like they might feel like, oh, they’re connected so much to Steve. But, you know that that’s not possible without your other folks. So last question, Steve. And I really, again, appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. But what would you say to somebody who’s considering connecting more deeply with TaxProMarketer?

 

Steve Padgett  17:31

Do it, I think, you know if I don’t think there should be a question, but if there is like, try, it’s like, you’ll never return, you know, but at least give you guys a chance. That’s what I did. In the beginning. I’ll pay for three months, six months, if I don’t see anything, then I can reconsider. But so I think like, absolutely. Give it a shot, because it will work. You guys know what you’re doing. It’s essential to our business.

 

Nate Hagerty  18:02

Well, thank you so much, Steve. It’s great to get your story. And, man, I’m so glad that you are serving your clients just the way that you are. I’m so thankful that we get to work with people like you who really do care, and know that they can do an excellent job, I’ll be half of their clients, especially this year, people like you serve in small business because there’s so much Carnage out there. And someone like you has the opportunity to be a port in the storm for the small business owner and even the small business owner who’s somehow really thriving through all of this. It’s so important for them to have people like you in their corner. So thankful that we get to serve you, Steve, and thank you again for your time.

 

Steve Padgett  18:49

Thank you so much, Nate. I really appreciate everything you guys do.

 

Nate Hagerty  18:53

Great. All right.