With the new year beginning, and tax season barreling its merry way in our direction, there are MANY things to think about.
Existing client care.
New client onboarding SOPs.
Tax code changes (i.e. combatting misinformation).
Staff training and hiring.
Oh yeah … and making sure your new client pipeline is full.
Tack onto that all of the cultural chaos, and the unsettling feeling coming out of dealing with all of the pandemic disruption, and it’s enough to make us in the tax and accounting world feel a little anxious.
So my goal today is to help you to BREATHE a little, and approach this season with the settled confidence of a powerful practitioner who knows their worth — and the source from which their growth will come.
Because if you look around online for a good source of information—re: your marketing—you’ll quickly discover that there is always a new shiny object demanding your instant adoption.
I’ve been in our world long enough (and built successfully within it long enough) to offer you a super simple methodology that will radically simplify your focus.
Here you go…
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.
You see, every year, while directing the marketing for my various entities, I break things down into three 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. In our former multi-office tax practice, every year we’d barrage our former year’s clients with relational communication — keeping them abreast of code changes, 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 to social media to email.
The point is — you have to 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 the TikTok bandits and ERC mills.
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? I believe resident within each of us that there’s this place that assumes clients who “move on” and off of our current client list did so because we screwed up somehow.
That’s actually a false belief.
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 pieces of direct communication (read: not simply “keeping them on our email list”).
And our “lost” client campaigns were consistently the MOST responsive marketing campaigns of each season. By far, the most profitable and best ROI. By FAR.
But you have to do it properly.
You have to acknowledge that they didn’t come back and give them a reason to try things again. Trust me, this campaign is crucial, and it works.
3) New Client Acquisition Campaigns
Obviously, this is a large focus. In the tax practice, 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.
PPC advertising, local listing optimization, display advertising, direct mail, email, “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 practice.
As one old master put it: I don’t know “one” way to get 40 clients. But I DO know about 40 ways to get 1 client.
But the very good news is this: It doesn’t have to be hard. There are simple things within each marketing strategy that don’t take a lot of effort and can position your practice to ATTRACT your ideal client type.
Grab a time on our calendar if you want to get some direct feedback on what that can look like for you.
But don’t be anxious. We’re in your corner.