The extension deadline is past, the government shutdown is over — and the ramp-up to tax season is about to begin in earnest. Goodness knows what devilry the only-just-delayed Congressional brinksmanship will bring to us before the NEXT deadline comes in January, but regardless, clients are getting ready to stream through your doors, both in January, and now for the smarter ones who pay attention to year-end moves.
Are you ready?
Earlier this month, I was invited to present to a large group of your fellow practitioners, specifically those who focus on tax debt resolution, in addition to their tax preparation duties. 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.
Even some of the “big boys” I spoke with have a cheap, commoditized website. And it’s going to suck the wind out of their growth in 2014.
You see, when you don’t have an effective “lead capture” mechanism in place, a relational (and prompt) follow-up + a systemized way to build a relationship over time — so that when the prospect is ready, they come to you, well … you WILL be left behind. But 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 taking place 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 (you seen their share price recently??).
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 gathering more CPE, 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 other tax professional group: 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. And unless that’s set up in a systemized way for your practice in the ONLINE arena, you’ll continue to struggle there.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In a few weeks, I’ll be hosting a phone call/webinar about the quiet projects we’ve been conducting over the past many months in the SEO, email and social media arena — with VERY good results. Watch your inbox, sign up for the call, and I’ll give you the tools to THRIVE during the cataclysm of this online-oriented economy.
Until then, God bless you and your firm!