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Anyone can slap up a Facebook page or a website and proclaim themselves an expert these days, even when it comes to tax marketing ideas.
And we’re getting to the point at which we’re all getting expert fatigue.
So instead of bringing you some flashy new guru in the space, I’m launching a new ongoing series in which we peek behind the curtains together at real experts.
George Bernard Shaw once said: those who can’t do, teach.
And our TaxProMarketer client, Andy Frye … he walks the walk. He leads his family’s multi-location tax practice, and has been a member of our agency client family now for a few tax seasons.
We’ve seen his traffic, revenue, and profits SURGE over that time as we have implemented our tax marketing ideas on his behalf … and we interviewed him recently to talk about exactly what he and his family do that makes their tax practice so special.
He’s a real expert because he’s doing the thing, and not trying to pump up his platform and build a following.
But he’s building one, because he has a heart to serve, and he’s actually a great teacher.
This won’t just be “story time”.
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- What Andy and his team are working on RIGHT NOW to prepare for the upcoming tax season (yes, even now)
- How he and his family built a decades-long practice with a reputation for serving, and phenomenal growth
- What specific tax marketing ideas and leadership strategies Andy has used to build his practice to a multi-location, thriving enterprise, with healthy revenue and profits … while still being able to take all the time off he needs
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
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 00:00
Nate Hagerty here, CEO of TaxProMarketer, and I’ve got Andy Frye EA here with me for our first in our spotlight series. Now, there’s a lot of people on this, who are listening to this, who may not have heard of me before or really Andy and so just real quickly, in case you haven’t been exposed to us here at TaxProMarketer, I am the CEO of TaxProMarketer. I was the marketing director of a tax firm that grew from $50,000 a year in annual billings to just over $4.3 million in fee based revenue alone in less than 10 years, started TaxProMarketer back in 2007. And we have become the premier marketing agency for online for online marketing, particularly for independent tax and accounting firms. And we’ve been serving them since 2007. So, look, I lots of things I can brag about, but the main thing I love bragging about is my team. There’s actually 13 of us here at TaxProMarketer, we’ve got to update our photos. We are certified partners with DigitalMarketer and Infusionsoft. And we are Google premier partners, which means we’re the top 1% of all agencies and partners that Google works with to do SEO and ads. So, enough about us. I do want to get Andy to start telling his story because there’s a reason why we started our spotlight series with Andy. He has worked for Pronto since he was about five years old, stuffing envelopes for his dad Kent Frye who’s now the majority owner. So it’s a family business that was in fact started by Andy’s grandpa back in 1965. Is that correct? Andy? Yes, sir. That’s it. So you all have been going for let me do quick math. 55 years. No. Is that right? That’s right. Yes, I was told there’ll be no math.
Andy Frye 01:55
I’m gonna go with it unless they catch it on the recording and correct us. I think we need to go with that for now.
Nate Hagerty 02:00
Now Andy has personally prepared more than 10,000 tax returns. And he’s becoming known in the industry organically because of his participation in a lot of what like we did some webinars with Andy in the spring with all the COVID business and the huge scramble that everyone was was doing to set up remote offices. And Andy’s been a client of ours, and I’ve known him for a couple years now. And I known that he had some resources for remote office training. He emailed in to me and my team and said, “Hey, I’ve got these resources. I’d love to offer these to your people.” And I said, “You know what, forget about the resources. Why don’t we put you on a webinar?” And let’s talk about how you and your team have done this because they’ve got four locations, and he personally started two of them. Is that correct?
Andy Frye 02:50
Yes, actually, and I’m sure we’ll probably talk about this during the interview, one of the offices that I started actually didn’t end up making it.
Nate Hagerty 02:58
So okay, well, that’s a good thing. People love stories too.
Andy Frye 03:02
Yeah, it’s one thing about running a multi-location business, which I’m sure we’ll get into is you learn a lot along the way. And some of those some of those lessons, you know, you, you’ve got to eat some humble pie and and learn your lessons the real way. So, I’ve kind of been down that the school of hard knocks, so to speak, and had some good success and also, you know, learned some things along the way.
Nate Hagerty 03:26
When I was running the marketing for our tax firm, we had 24 offices, but then when I departed, one of them was getting shut down. And that’s a part of the deal and the numbers don’t hit, they don’t hit and you got to make sure that you are you know, not just doing a charity, as much as we want to be doing charities this day and age especially. So you created Pronto Tax School, I think four years ago, initially as a way to train your own people. How many employees does your firm have during tax season?
Andy Frye 04:02
This tax season, I believe we have 20 to 22 team members across the four locations. And, you know, again, as I’m sure we’ll talk about during the, during the training, I mean, and you mentioned for your team, it really comes down to a lot of the great work that those people are doing with our clients. Oh my gosh, number one thing and you know, you get so grateful for that when you see the feedback from clients that they really feel and know that you you care about them and your team members care about them and especially this year has been such a such a mess for so many people, right? It just means so much more, for clients to have somebody they trust and rely on. So, really proud of our team members for being that for our clients.
Nate Hagerty 04:46
You guys pivoted hard, and we saw your data because we’ve been working with you since I think 2018 is that right? Maybe 17 I’m not exactly sure should have checked.
Andy Frye 04:58
All the years are kind of running together. But I mean, I know that yeah, I know that when we didn’t make it with a with that one office that I mentioned, we weren’t working with you. Looking back, I kind of see, especially with some of the Google optimization that Christian does to give him some credit on the part that he leads, I mean, driving traffic and leads to the locations. Gosh, I mean, that’s, that’s so important. Because the more that, you know, when we have the quality team members that we have, the more clients and potential clients that we talk to, the more clients that we end up having, because, you know, they they realize that we want to take care of them and we’re friendly and professional.
Nate Hagerty 05:39
Well, I love that you want to talk us up. You don’t need to do that though. I kind of want to move away from that right now. I want to hear your story. And I know that a lot of people who are on this want to hear a little bit of your story as well as what you’re working on. How you, you and your family have built this practice. That gives you the ability to work from across the country, because Andy’s practice is actually based in Los Angeles. But Andy and his family live in North Carolina on the beaches of North Carolina right now, I hope that’s okay for me to share. But I feel like that’s a great benefit. And you did a lot of commuting, you know, when you could during tax season and whatnot, but you’ve been doing a lot of things remotely. And it’s a pretty amazing thing that you can run a, you know, multilocation tax business remotely, and take the time off that you need. But before we get into the origin story, what I want to do, what I like to do when I talk to tax professionals, especially when it’s in the offseason … because during busy season, we all know what we’re working on. But I find that during the offseason, this is where the money is actually made for tax and accounting professionals when it’s not as busy when we’re in the extension world, when we’re in tax planning time. This is the prime opportunity to be working on our practices and our businesses. And a lot of people don’t take it, whether they’re sipping margaritas by the pool or just wasting time with dragging out extension work and not really doing anything to prepare for the busy season that’s to come. I want to know, what are you and your team working on like right now?
Andy Frye 07:13
Yeah, that’s a great question. So the way that our office locations run is we have a team leader in each office location and depending on what that person’s goals for their office, they have a lot of sway and say over what goes on for that particular office location. I think for us a big thing right now is to keep in contact with our clients outside of tax season, and a big focus for us has been to go from being a what business (So this is where I do my taxes. They take care of my taxes.) to a why business. (Yes, I go to these people because I trust them, and they take care of me.) And so I think with with being active about correspondence, you know, with the stuff that we’ve learned, trying to keep in touch and educate people about the different stimulus bills. You know, putting out education and staying in contact with people, that’s really what we’re trying to do is go the rest of the way from, you know, from being a web based business to a web business and part of that as well right now they’re working on is, which I think probably has relevance to a lot of other people that are on the call is doing a better job of segmenting our client list, you know, and be able to, to correspond with the right people in the right way. Yes, you know, there’s some list segmentation stuff. Like for instance, we have a lot of Spanish-speaking clients. So, you know, which clients would would prefer to speak Spanish or receive Spanish correspondence, like we haven’t done the best job of segmenting our database on that type of thing. So just working on some kind of nuts and bolts, but also just trying to let people know, “You know, we actually care about what’s going on with you. And, you know, and we’re experts who care about you.” That’s kind of our tagline.
Nate Hagerty 09:08
I feel I don’t want to put you on the spot and embarrass you, Andy. And this maybe would embarrass us more than anything else. But you are aware that we provide all of our marketing in Spanish right?
Andy Frye 09:18
Well, that’s the thing is, it’s kind of like, I am a little bit embarrassed, you know, that’s what I was gonna ask you at the beginning of the webinar. Is it okay, if I just keep it real with everybody? And, you know, just lead like we all do. Like, I’m not here to show you how to do everything perfectly, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of things, honestly, that we could be doing that we’re not doing. And that we want to do. So it’s like, you know, it’s kind of that balance, right, between being grateful for where you are, but also not being satisfied. And so a lot of the resources that you guys offer, as far as the Spanish language, also the the tax problem resolution email sequences, we actually haven’t been successfully deploying those, and so on. Mixed between embarrassed but also hopeful for the future.
Nate Hagerty 10:03
Because what you have been doing has been working, what we’ve been doing for you. Now, again, we can talk about that later on. But how are you doing that? What are you doing to move from the what to the why. You’re talking about no longer being a commodity to your clients, and becoming that niche in our industry as a trusted adviser, right. What are you doing to actually accomplish that?
Andy Frye 10:32
Yeah, I mean, the first thing is really to just define yourself differently, right? Because the the interactions that we have with clients — you mentioned the word organic, right? And it’s like, organically, it’s already happening that clients have been expressing to us that “you are the only person I trust with my finances.” Right? So especially in the Latino community, in Southern California — one of the things I was very passionate about selling with our businesses, you know, that’s been an underserved community, that’s also been, you know, not provided, in a lot of cases, trustworthy financial services. And actually, you know, if you look at the subprime thing and all that, you know, it’s a lack of trust in a lot of cases. So, you know, the vast majority of Americans, you know, correct me if I’m wrong — anybody in our country — they don’t have a financial advisor, right? They don’t, they don’t have somebody that they’re sitting down with and talking about their money that actually cares about their money, and wants them to keep more of it and make more of it. So it’s just starting to think like, you know, what am I actually doing for this person? I’m doing far beyond just filling out their forms, right? I’m the only person that has their financial best interest at heart. Communicating that to the team and saying, like, you know, other people may define us in a way that says we’re just like tax preparers or whatever. But let’s take a second and actually think about what you’re doing for clients. And it’s a sacred trust, it’s actually something that you’re making a big psychological impact for that person, that they actually have somebody in their community that they can rely on. And so, you know, it starts really with just rethinking our role, and then communicating that to clients, right, and being able to say, you know, we’re here for you in those ways, and keep in touch with them year round. Nate has been a big part of, you know, being able to do that.
Nate Hagerty 12:26
Yeah, we, you are one of our most diligent clients to utilize the email marketing service that we provide. And we’ve got some data that I’ll share about that we see on our back end that I’ll share with you as well. But let’s kind of back up very quickly, you know, because you were not present at the birth, so to speak, because you weren’t even alive in 1965 if I am not mistaken. So when I talk about the origin story, and the most recent iteration with you having some leadership and the multilocation component of it … real briefly tell the story of your business.
Andy Frye 13:11
Yeah, so my grandfather had started our business back in the 60s. And we were one of the first companies that I know of actually nationwide to really focus on offering bilingual service. So we had Spanish, Spanish and English in our locations, and we’re able to serve the Latino community, we serve all communities as well. But we really had like a, you know, a welcoming approach to that community throughout the years and built up to several office locations. And my dad has been running it as the majority owner for many, many years. And he’s just done an amazing job of setting an example of, you know, what kind of service that we’re expected to deliver to clients. And so yeah, we’ve been able to grow into, you know, thousands of clients, we mainly work by referral. And I came into the business in 2001 as kind of a, you know, I always saw the business, the potential of our business to expand. And so that I was kind of like a little bit of a disruptive kind of person in the business a little bit. I also was like, you know, there’s always a balance of the third generation of the business, I’m third generation. We’re usually the ones that tank the business. The third generation, we always were like, you know, he got out in front of himself. And so I mean, like I said, I’ve learned a lot along the way in terms of like, being able to learn from my dad and he’s, he’s very measured, and you know, probably is a bit more on the conservative side than I am. So we’ve always had kind of a good Yin and Yang, you know, in that way I saw, you know, my main contribution to the business was really to see the value of the education and training component, where I was always interested in building up our team members to be able to deliver similar level of service as my dad did, you know, so I would look at dad and I would say, you know, hey, if we could clone him, you know — what does that look like to take somebody that, you know, we’ve hired a lot of people out of like a retail environment. Let’s say so we might hire somebody out and train them from A to Z of how to actually become a white collar professional, and you know, even moving into like ownership and just like moving up the ladder. So I think our our training and advancement in that has been kind of my main contribution to our success.
Nate Hagerty 15:52
I want you to talk about that more in just a minute. But what I’m really interested in, because we did talk about this in leading up to this, is that the choice to move to a multi-location model, was that something that you brought to your dad and said, this is a methodology for expansion where we can penetrate different markets? That’s question number one. And then question number two is demographic targeting for your business? I read, I understand you work with a wide variety. So you’ve got some kind of quick tax return easy form clients, maybe that’s a lot of your clients, but you also work with high-end clientele and business owners. So managing those three different demographics, I’m interested in how you all do that? So first, the multilocation component, I love one or two potholes that you crossed over with that and then the mix of demographic targeting. I’m very interested in that because that’s something that a lot of our clients don’t do a good job of if they — if once they, maybe they have got a high-end boutique firm and they want to work with the short-form, folks, and they become half pregnant with it. And it’s not a good — it’s not a good setup. But then a lot of our clients maybe have they’re coming from the short form world and they’re wanting to move into the higher level, you know, value pricing and working with higher level clientele, but you guys have seemed to find a way to do both well, so I’m interested in that component too. So first, talk to me about multilocation and how that happened.
Andy Frye 17:35
Yeah, so we were actually in multi-location for many, many years. You know…
Nate Hagerty 17:39
You were? Okay.
Andy Frye 17:40
Yeah, and decades. So before I was ever involved, we had multiple locations that my dad and my uncle Mark, we’re running and doing a great job on and so when I came into the business, I stepped into our Monrovia office location and we were able to kind of quadruple the sales there and really get that office going as our, kind of our, one of our main hubs. And then at that point, I was living — see in LA the traffic is so much that like, I was driving, you know, super far and I lived on the west side. So I was like, okay, I want to start a new office in, on the west side of LA which is quite a bit different than the east side. And so in our West LA office, which I started from scratch and we built that out to over 1000 clients within three years. And that was kind of my, you know, proof that I could lead and expand a new office. We actually found more of a niche among the entrepreneurs and kind of the silicon beach, you know, the tech startups and just a very different, you know, client group and I think it’s, you know, we have like neighborhood focus shops, so like, and especially with different team leaders, right is like, you know, Miguel has been our team leader in East LA for a long, long time and he does a fantastic job, have taken care of the clients that are in that office location. And so he does things, you know, differently than I would do things in West LA, but still with the same focus on like, you know, how do I create an experience for this client that is great for them. You know, and so that was kind of our standard link and we really handled it you guys the different, you know, the different client groups from like a business client, let’s say to more of a kind of, you know, a tax return that will take less than 30 minutes to prepare among our team members. So like, team members that are more focused on, you know, TAT traditional tax prep, versus somebody that is more like an advisor role for a business client, and we started kind of segmenting out like, okay, you’re going to mainly work with this kind of clients. And while the newer people are going to work with this and removing you guys from like, the biggest thing for me, especially with moving and with multilocation is clients have to feel that they’re going to a place and not to a person. That, to me is the biggest thing. Like, they have to feel like if I go to this person, it’s not gonna be the same as this person, right? Everybody’s different. Every preparer is different, but I’m going to get the same cultural experience and the same quality, basically, of experience. And so that is the biggest thing for multilocation. That was a huge challenge, especially with having those different client groups. You know, and then that was definitely a big, big challenge. And it’s still something that we work on, you know, all the time.
Nate Hagerty 20:40
So from what I know from diving in your list a little bit you’ve got about like 200 or so small business clients that are little under 200 I think something like that. Is that about right?
Andy Frye 20:52
Yeah, it’s not right because again, okay, you know, on the list segmentation side, right, like the clients that we even have in your guys’ database is like, nothing even close to like, what we actually have, is like, we haven’t done a good enough job of collecting people’s emails. And so that’s what I said about kind of being able to keep it real. But we probably have, like, you know, several thousand business clients, and then, you know, probably, you know, two thirds of our clients are more on the 10-40 individual side.
Nate Hagerty 21:22
Okay! Wow! All right. Well, we got –we got to work with you my friend.
Andy Frye 21:27
Yeah, we’ve got…
Nate Hagerty 21:27
Andy Frye 21:28
…to get some better list segmentation and, you know, like I said, what we’re doing now is working well, and we’re very grateful that we are, you know, doing good things right now, but also there’s a lot of room to grow and improve on our side, you know, as of now.
Nate Hagerty 21:43
So, what is the secret sauce? I mean, what do you think is the reason behind your growth? Why do — why have you lasted so long? And what … makes your clients so loyal?
Andy Frye 21:58
Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, I think the majority of people when they look at a tax service, or they look at really any financial service, but to me, I think especially taxes, because it’s a financial service that, you know, everyone’s going to need to address every year in one way or another, right? If they do their own, or their cousin does it or whatever, they have to address this, right? So when it comes time to make a choice, right, you, the majority of people have a choice to either go with somebody who’s an expert, that’s like a, you know, high end CPA, somebody that they really respect their expertise, or they can go like, you know, kind of somebody that they know, personally, they like, you know, maybe in their neighborhood, but maybe they don’t think they’re, you know, top level expertise. And so what we do is, and what makes us unique is to combine both of those where we have so many team members that have been doing it for more than 20 years. We have a full training program that we put people through and you know, we have good reviews and things like that. But then also we have, you know, accessible prices, right? We’re not expensive. You know, we offer service in English and Spanish. And, you know, we’re just accessible and friendly. You know, so we’re, we all taking clients and walk ins, it’s not like you have to know somebody to, you know, to get involved. And so, you know, we just have like a kind of an interesting blend of, you know, open to everybody, but also just trying to keep, like, I keep a high level of service, and frankly, keep and keep getting better every day, you know, not being satisfied with, you know, good enough is not good enough.
Nate Hagerty 23:35
When you’re dealing with multiple thousands of clients and I know this because we were dealing with, like, 23,000 clients when I was in our tech firm, — maintaining operation flow is a big deal. And you’re telling me that you did this with 22 employees, and you’ve got, I’m just kind of extrapolating from the numbers that you’ve already shared about four or 5000 clients about right? Then…
Andy Frye 23:57
Quite — a bit more than that. Thanks. God
Nate Hagerty 24:00
Okay, okay, well so — you must have some operational secret sauce, how do you do that?
Andy Frye 24:08
You know honestly my dad is really the operations. You know, I guess he would say, I don’t know, yeah, I don’t know if he’s a full guru he’s just like you know with — I kind of think of it a certain way like tortoise and the hare, you know, where if you keep moving forward and getting a little bit better every day and that’s the way my dad is you know as far as like you mentioned off season right? So we have a saying that you know, the off season is where champions are made. And so whatever that you do in the off season is going to determine what your performance is in the in the tax season. So everybody that we’ve ever had been involved around, they’ve always become the top person in that office. They’ve always had the strongest bond with clients. And so whether you know, my dad is like, you know, replace an ink cartridges or building shelving, or it’s just those all those little things. And, you know, everybody else starts to do that too. You know, you start to do that as well, because you see him setting that example. And so I think that’s a big part of it. But also you guys, what we’ve done recently, which is really worked out well for us is we built our own internal software, where we keep track, not just a tax returns, because that was always something that we had track of, but what are people doing with their time in between tax returns, or if they’re not specifically working on a tax return. So that’s actually been a big part of our recent growth of the past couple years is doing a better job of seeing, how are we utilizing our time and how can we use our time in ways that get us more clients.
Nate Hagerty 25:46
Indeed, that’s good… So how do the TaxProMarketer services that we’ve been providing, how have they fit into your growth mix, and your overall marketing strategy for your business?
Andy Frye 26:03
Yeah, I mean, it’s honestly, I think the best thing about the TaxProMarketer, you know, set up is the team that’s involved, you know, that you put together, you know, I don’t think the team came — the team came together by accident, you know, and I know from building out teams that involves, you know, leading that team, setting the culture and you know, everybody from Christian, you know, Katherine, everybody on the team is so responsive. And what I like about tax pro marketer as far as our situation, which I think a lot of tax Pros will like, as well as, you don’t have to think a lot about it for it to be working behind the scenes. You know, I can’t count the number of times that somebody on your team has reached out to me with, you know, some small little thing, right that normally, again, it’s those little things that add up. And so I would normally have that on my mind, you know, like, oh, I’ve got it like correct, you know, correct XYZ on the Google page, or I’ve got to, like, start adding more pictures. And you start to feel all this guilt and shame because you’re like, I know I’m supposed to be doing this stuff, but I’m actually not doing this stuff. I’m actually not doing it. You know, I know I should be sending emails, but I’m actually not sending emails because I’m too busy. And so what TaxProMarketer has been able to do is put a nice baseline of marketing activity of like, you’re actually doing the things that you’re supposed to be doing, but you’re not actually doing them… You know, and but then you actually see the results as far as I love the reporting that you guys have added the recently with your dashboarding and you know, in sending those notifications, you get to see the actual results and you’re like, wow, you know, I really am not doing that much, but I’m getting like a lot more results than I was before and so that makes it pretty easy to you know, to pay the bill each month.
Nate Hagerty 27:58
Man! Well, let me… I’m gonna, I want to come back to some more of your secret sauce, I do want to go into some data with you, Andy, because we’ve been seeing on our back end, some great numbers for you. I want to frame everything that we do with Andy. And so you guys understand that this is part of a methodology and it’s not just, we kind of slapdash a bunch of different things together from a marketing standpoint. Everything we do at TaxProMarketer, if you’re a client or not, I think you might have seen us talk about this falls under what we’ve built over the years, which we call the digital dominance method. And what this really means is ensuring that your practice claims optimizes and dominates every relevant online property and we do it on your behalf. Again, I don’t want to take a long time as a commercial or TaxProMarketer, but I do know that there’s a lot of people who have wondered what it looks like from the perspective of a client, which is one of the reasons why we had to end here. So what we’ve always tried to do which is distinctive from any kind software company, we’re not like a get that SAT or CPA site solutions where we just sort of slap up a website and call it good. But we’re also, we’re not one of these kind of coaches out there who gives you like the PowerPoints and the tools and expects you to go sell, sell, pitch, pitch pitch. That’s not how we roll either. We are a marketing agency, who comes alongside a tax and accounting firm. And as Andy already said, does the heavy lifting for them, but does it in a way that feels personal to their clients and prospects. And so we believe in the relationship journey, because you know, Google has done a lot of research on their own about how consumers and business owners are finding and engaging with professional services these days, and it’s no longer the linear journey that it was just three or four years ago. There is a herky jerky in and out kind of journey that prospects go through where they’re touching a variety of different online marketing properties from Google, Google reviews to Facebook pages, to the websites themselves to maps, to you know, all over the place, other forms of social media but generally falls through this relationship journey of awareness, engagement, conversion and ascension. And it’s just like the regular relationship journey, where, you know, awareness stage is like when people find out that you exist, you know, go to the bar, so to speak. And then the engaged subscribe stage is when they’re actually engaged they’ve raised their hand, but they have not yet gone over the altar and said yes to becoming a client being married. This is where the money is made. This is actually the most important part of marketing any kind of tax and accounting firm is this engagement stage where a lot of people drop the ball and they drop the ball in one of two ways. They either don’t actually address it, and they just go right to the proposal of marriage, or there’s so hyper aggressive during the engagement stage that it takes turns off the sophisticated prospect, it becomes all about pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch pitch, rather than the relationship building the value exchange that should occur in a relational journey. So that’s everything that we do is oriented towards falling within this journey. And then the ascension is when a client actually engages and then referrals come, and you know, cross selling to other services, etc. So bringing your prospects through this kind of clear journey, getting the right ones, it requires this broader methodology and a fuller system than like a squeeze funnel, or just having a website. And that’s one of our major main distinctives is that we don’t just put people through a squeeze funnel, we don’t just send, you know, have you pay for advertising, and you know, get the lowest hanging fruit of the 10 or 15% of people that might respond to that squeeze funnel pitch, pitch pitch, but we also cover all the other bases of search engine optimization, we’re going to show some numbers here with you, Andy, which I’m excited for you to look at. Anyway, that’s the digital dominance method. Anyone who is listening to this right now, you can go to this website that we have talked to TPM.com and you can just open up another URL in your — browser, go to talktoTPM: t-a-l-k-t-o-T-P-M.com and you’ll get an online footprint analysis and also for free marketing tools. Now this is just for the first 20 people that are listening to this. Where you can see on the page what those tools are. We’ve recently added these and built these out for our people. They include reputation management tools, they include some, you know, analysis tools of what’s happening on your kind of broader online ecosystem and where are the gaps and we’re gonna go over this with you when you schedule and fill out the form on that page. We’re going to go over this with you whether you engage us or not. We really believe in leading with service and so it’s going to be a really valuable session for free for you. Just fill out that short form at talktoTPM.com. Now, leaving that aside, let’s talk about your stuff, Andy because there’s a lot that you do that I want and that we do on your behalf of course some of that also, but I just want to kind of show you off a little bit. Now this is a, an email marketing, average open rates. It’s a screenshot of a picture. The source of this is from a broader research firm that does a little like look at a industry by industry specific open rates as of May 2020. The overall average is like at 16% As you can see, and accountants get a little bit higher because generally speaking when things are relate to your money as a lot of accountants correspond to, you know, you get that 19% you people a little bit more interested in maybe just average. But with Andy In his business, what we’re seeing is over 40% open rates from the emails that he is doing and that we’re doing on his behalf. And so this is one that I think went out in April of this year 41% open rates. This one was later in that stage 42 and a half percent open rate, and talk about the email marketing Andy and talk about how what that has meant for your business, whether it’s the stuff that we we produce on your behalf, or the things that you are doing, because you’re augmenting it, as well, which I appreciate.
Andy Frye 34:39
Yeah, I think that’s one of the interesting things about your guy’s model is, you know, that when you can layer on your own efforts on top of that solid base, right? It’s, that’s when you start really getting that accelerated, you know, response. And so I think that email marketing, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s probably people on this call right now that are thinking, Oh, yeah, you know, email marketing, like, I should be doing that I know that that’s important, or I know that it’s effective for other people, but let’s just, you know, sometimes you just got to be honest with yourself, right? Like, is it actually happening consistently? Right? like, and if so, how much time are you actually spending on doing it? Right, because I’ve done a lot of email marketing myself, and it’s very time intensive, like you had to do a good job. And so respect people’s inbox, you actually have to, you know, put a lot of time into it. It’s one of those things that’s a lot harder than it looks. And so, when you have, you know, I think it’s like five emails, like per week to different segments of the list that are ready to go, you know, where you can just go in, you can edit them, you can review them, you can, you know, add in different things or customize them. I mean, it just makes it tremendously easier for it to actually happen. You know, like, if you’re more interested in like, hey, I want to make sure I do every single thing in my business myself. But once you get some multiple locations, you got thousands of clients or you want to get to that point. You’re gonna have to get help along the way. And so if you have something that can make it way easier to do, you know, an effective activity. Well, that’s kind of what the email marketing has been to us. And also the, I think what a lot of people underestimate is, you know, yes, we all get a lot of emails, right? So there is an overload of email. So why is that? Because it’s incredibly effective. That’s why is it so, when you have stuff that you’re actually sending that’s valuable as a tax professional people actually care what we say and a lot of you know, in a lot of cases, they’re you know, they’re actually pretty positive about it. Occasionally, you’ll get somebody unsubscribing or you’ll get, you know, somebody lifestyle, don’t ever send me an email anymore, but they can unsubscribe very easily. And 70 you know, probably 80% of the responses are, Wow, thanks so much! You know, really appreciate you guys putting the time into this. I’ve forwarded this email to several other people, and or those type of complimentary things. And so I like forwarding those type of emails to our team, because, you know, sometimes you underestimate how effective email marketing can be. But it’s like, it’s goldstar it’s the best.
Nate Hagerty 35:14
Right! And that stuff that you have not had to put any effort into making yourself. I mean…
Andy Frye 37:21
Well that’s what I’m saying that’s the best part of it. I don’t actually do it. I just like get that’s a key part of the formula. Right? Is…
Nate Hagerty 37:29
Andy Frye 37:29
…you know, yeah, I mean, if I cut my time you guys down from, and again to like for a multi patient or a lot of people that are on this call, right? Is they’re already overly busy, right? We’re already overly busy. So if I cut my time for sending an effective good email that actually respects somebody’s inbox, if I cut that from three hours a week to 15 minutes, and they’ve been able to get a very positive response and your emails a lot of times are better than then the emails that I would have wrote, so would have written. So, I mean, how much is that worth? Right? It’s — if you’re actually doing it instead of just carrying around guilt and shame like, Oh, you know what, I should be doing email marketing. I know I should be doing that. But you ain’t doing it. Yeah, so what’s the pathway to actually get it done? You know, make more time, more legwork for yourself? Or you guys, you know, present another option that makes it quite a bit, you know, easier and faster.
Nate Hagerty 37:38
That’s great! Thank you. So let’s dive into the data and what we’ve seen. I’ve got some spots here, but I’m actually not as smart about this stuff as Christian Jones, our Director of search marketing, who is also on this with us and Hello, Christian.
Christian Jones 38:44
Nate Hagerty 38:45
So Christian is the architect behind our search engine optimization and even a lot of the components of our advertising. So Christian, why don’t you, I’ve got a slide here on the screen that you can just talk through or if you want, I can just like pull up his live report. What would you rather
Christian Jones 39:05
No? Let’s start here, Nate. So what we’re looking at here guys is a report that is one of the few that Andy gets that represents his four locations he has around Los Angeles. And the data we’re pulling in is from Google My Business. So if you don’t know, a Google my businesses, the easiest way to understand the significance of that platform is that’s where you get Google reviews. If you’ve ever called a business that shows up on the map within a Google search, right, like a restaurant or a plumber or an accountant. All of that data is tracked, and that’s the data we’re pulling into this report. So this is for four locations from January 10th of this year to April 9th of this year. So four month view, and a little more on this report, just you know context that you’re, what you’re looking at. In that four months is, you know, going to be the hard data and the larger number under all of these little categories, right? So if you want to start at the top left, from January to April, he had 73,958 total search impressions. However, the number beneath it is a same timeframe going backwards, you know, percentage growth. So from January moving back for months, you know, what’s the change, we want to look for change, we want to find the delta and then try and piece together, hey, this is working, right? And so there’s a lot we do with Google My Business in particular, it is a part of our overall, you know, scheme for SEO. But if you haven’t gathered already, Andy’s numbers are pretty crazy good. And disclaimer, not all of our clients are, you know, cranking out these numbers. But these numbers, Randy also weren’t really the case when we first started working with him. There’s been a ton of growth from the stuff that we’re doing on Google. So I can get into the specifics of tactics but Nate, redirect me if you want. But Andy, one thing I’ve been thinking about because you and I have talked about this data before, we have clients that we actually get really good phone call numbers for. Maybe the scale is different. Maybe the market is different. But I’m curious for you as we’re talking process and operations and multilocation How do you guys handle 3100 organic phone calls in four months? How are you set up in your kind of front door to your sales process? Is that easy? What have you guys put in place to handle that? Has that stretched you guys? Can you?…
Nate Hagerty 41:37
That average is about, that average is I think about — 780 some odd phone calls? I don’t know exactly per location and certain anyway, go on, Andy.
Andy Frye 41:52
Yeah, it was this year was a, you know, it was definitely a stretching experience. Since I don’t personally work like in offices to hear those phones like just ringing off the hook constantly. You know, I have a little bit of a different perspective, but I do know that, adding so a lot of tax pros, is we look at adding admin staff, right? or non tax preparer staff. And it’s always a concern about costs, right? Because you don’t want to pay out more in cost, then you know, you don’t want to like lose money right? So to speak, right? So what what causes you to have a utilization of your admin staff, is inbound calls, right? Because you’re normally not going to, you’re not going to have like not tasks people naturally are not we’re not like salespeople, like where you’re going to put somebody on a phone, right? They’re going to be like smiling and dialing and calling right? So it’s all about inbound traffic. And this year, I mean, we had more and more urgent dedicated admin staff, where you know, your job is just to handle these calls handle these emails for especially for the team leader or the office. But being able to actually pay those people and pay them well, right and keep them busy and keep them occupied and productive. That only comes from having all these calls coming in, right? Because we’d always rather be more busy than less busy, right? You’d rather have more calls than than less calls and so, you know, credit to our admin team, like for instance, Yanet, our main admin in our our West LA office, which is my office that I mostly worked directly with is, I mean, she stepped up so huge this year. I mean, it’s just was like so huge for us dealing with all these stimulus calls and PPP and everything else. So yeah, you just, then these tax pros that are on this call, they know you know, you can handle as busy as you can get on, but you don’t want to pay people to sit there and do nothing. So when you add admin staff, having the marketing side of it generating inbound, you know, especially with google search, you know, I think Christian, like I mentioned, I was trying to give you a little advertisement and they said, you know, but maybe there’s some more appropriate time, but the…
Christian Jones 44:16
You can layer it on now. I’ve got the mic now. Nate’s gone just, I mean,
Nate Hagerty 44:20
I’m still here, Christian.
Andy Frye 44:21
I mean, Google My Business, that’s like, the secret weapon, man. People don’t realize like, the Google My Business is like the, because if you know, everybody likes to Google themselves, you know what I mean, so like, if you like, Google your business, you know, like, go on your Google business. And you know, you see the little I think Christian calls it the snack pack, right? Where it’s like, if you’re on that first maps view, right? Like I’m pretty sure we’re like number one or number two for like, every one of our locations. And again, like I know enough from marketing myself, like, if that was my job, like I can probably figure out some how to do something comparable to like what you’re doing, but, I rather just pay you guys to do it and just get all the calls. And then when I google our business in that area, I know everybody that’s googling tax preparation 91016 or whatever it is, right? Is right there and your Google your business, my business profile is actually optimized and actually has correct information. I mean, and I should point out what were with these numbers, right? I didn’t do anything for this. Didn’t Absolutely. This has really nothing to do with us, other than taking care of clients that do call us. That’s what we want to do anyways. And so I didn’t do any of this. You guys did all this. And as long as we take care of the clients, that’s all we need to do. And that’s actually what most tax pros want to have happen.
Nate Hagerty 45:43
Yeah, and let me jump in to say that the great thing about search related traffic, vis a vis, Advertising Traffic, is that there’s a trust factor when somebody finds you in an organic search results versus knowing that you paid to play and be in there. And there’s value in having one of the ads, you know, the data shows that it’s about, like 20% of the clicks, go to the actual ads, that there’s value there. But when you’re found organically, there’s also the people are savvy enough now to know that those are the real businesses. Those are the ones that can handle the sophisticated searcher, the sophisticated client, you’re not just getting the tire kickers you’re getting the kind of client that isn’t just desperate and the lowest hanging fruit and you’re not putting them through this squeeze process. They’re actually kicking your tires a little bit getting on your email list getting nurtured a little bit and then you can seal the deal with and harvest when they’re ready. And that’s what we see when our clients actually, you know, get have some a few months under their belt and let this search engine optimization do its magic.
Andy Frye 46:50
Plus, I mean, in our business, right? Is that people want to work with, they want to find their own solution, right? They want to feel like they found, then they chose the person that they work with. So…
Nate Hagerty 47:03
Andy Frye 47:04
…they want to hire a busy person. So like when our phones are ringing off the hooks, it’s not that we don’t care if you become a client, but we’re just trying to address whatever you’re calling for and build good rapport with you, and do what we need to do on a human level. We don’t need to try to sell you to do anything, because there’s three more calls are going to come in right after that. So like, Whatever you decide, right, if you go here, you go there or what, as long as you’re getting taken care of, you know, that’s what matters. And so whatever is a good fit for you, if you want to stop by, if you want to not stop by, like everything is okay. When you have enough flow of people that are saying, ‘hey, I found you on this or I found you on that or I was referred’ and so that’s essentially what you guys have, you know, I’ve done for the business.
Christian Jones 47:47
I love it. I love it. And hey, Nate, this will maybe highlight part of what you just said, or do you want to move on?
Nate Hagerty 47:56
No, that’s fine. Go on.
Christian Jones 47:57
Can you jump back to the last slide for a sec.
Nate Hagerty 47:59
Christian Jones 48:00
Thanks. There we go. So just for those of you that may not know, all of this data, if you haven’t already, just let me point this out before I tell you what I was going to tell you. Column number four is probably gonna be the one you want to look at the most, if you haven’t already been staring at long enough to find phone calls, Andy had 468% increase in phone calls, from four months moving backwards from January to January to April. And so that’s what happens in busy season for people that do show up in position one, and we just exited a year tax season that was very peculiar and had a lot of irregularities. And obviously, the deadline getting extended, and who’s to say we’re not going to run right back into that in a few months. I think that’s probable. They may not, we might be back on regular you know, scheduled programming, but when you are in that position, and you give us time to get you on to page one, when chaos comes and people are looking for the port in the storm, you get 500% increase in phone calls, because everyone wants help. Everyone is now interested in not using a software as much as even like Superbowl commercials and the trend that was moving towards software, you have one year like this and now I actually need a human. Now I actually need to look someone up. And so anyways, I just wanted to point out column four, because that’s the most fun but something that you might not know what this means is column number one. Column number one are the search impression. So search impression is not a phone call. It’s not an action being taken. But there are two different search impressions that are really funneling into this overall number, discovery and direct. And so for Andy Scott, I’d point this out. Most of his impressions are coming from discovery. Direct searches are people who know Pronto Tax right? You type in Pronto Tax you come acrosses Google my business page, that’s a direct search impression. If you search tax prep, nothing to do with Andy’s business name, nothing to do with anything related to his company, and he shows up, that’s discovery. If you’re going to do this on your own, or you’re going to have anyone help you with your online marketing, what Nate’s been talking about with email is massively important. The follow up is huge. How your website’s designed is huge. What are the actions that you ask people to take once they find you and they’re on your website. However, getting visible to begin with is just kind of like square one. And so you want to see the vast majority of your discovery or rather your overall impressions coming from discovery searches, which simply means you show up for keywords that have nothing to do with your business accountant, tax prep, Tax Service, and that’s where we’ve really been pushing Andy forward. Obviously, you can see there’s a lot of overall impressions coming in this four month segment from discovery. That’s success for us. That’s what leads to all the things downstream, and Andy, let’s toot your horn a little bit. Again, I mentioned this we get people who get discovered, they have a website like Nate says they take this nonlinear journey eventually they call and you know, we’re giving them that that’s more or less and there’s no one there at the plate with a bat to swing. You guys actually have people who are ready to take those calls and you’re doing a great job. You might not be doing perfect but you’re getting an A high B or an A in our book for what you’re doing simply because you are prepared for that influx when it comes. You know, you’re really well positioned for what we come across from prospects and even sometimes from existing clients. And again, the scale is different. It just depends but I wanted to point out the phone calls discovery and anything else Andy you want to say, you don’t have to, great, but Nate, if not we can skip around.
Nate Hagerty 51:50
Andy Frye 51:52
Yeah, I just know from being a tax pro myself, that, just emphasizing the fact of how little ,you know, we actually did to get these numbers is, you know, is important because you always think, right of like, whatever you see these type of results and reports and you’re like, well, how much work am I really going to have to do to like, actually have it happen? And, you know, so I think that part of it is important to us. And I know the rest of the team, like my dad, and, you know, Jesse and some more other top managers, you know, they expect, they really appreciate, you know, being able to focus on serving our clients, as you know, as opposed to some of the marketing stuff, you know, that you guys are handling. So I think that’s an important kind of, you know, re emphasis point, so to speak.
Christian Jones 52:36
Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Man, I think that next slide had to do with web analytics, because…
Nate Hagerty 52:42
That’s something about…
Christian Jones 52:43
Andy Frye 52:44
Nate Hagerty 52:44
Christian Jones 52:44
So that’s totally different. Go ahead. You want to ask question?
Nate Hagerty 52:45
No, I have no idea what this is Christian.
Christian Jones 52:50
Yeah. This is website traffic…
Nate Hagerty 52:53
Christian Jones 52:54
…in a 30 day period. So this is from April as well, that data that we pulled from the last slide, this was sessions and pageviews in again, a 30 day period from March to April. And it’s another part of the equation. And so this is just the hard data. If you’re very even just loosely familiar with what’s normal in the tax and accounting space in terms of web traffic, these numbers are very, very good. And again, he was on page one, he was positioned to acquire that traffic. And Andy worked with us to put out what was a COVID-19 related pop up, that also helped get people engaged with his email services. That’s one of our call to action that leads into the stuff that we’ve already talked about. But all that to say like the numbers we were just looking at, that’s just from one profile. Now, this is from his actual website and the web traffic and the sessions and pay the pageviews he’s had so if you’re skeptical at all that you can, obviously, Los Angeles, 4 locations, scale could be different, but growth percentage, and actually, anecdotally, we have a lot of clients. We just had a client this morning, call us in Alabama, who for the last three years, year over year has grown 15% each year. Each year, his business bottom line growth has been 15% and 30 to 40% of all of his new clients are from online searches. And they audit that, you know, they have like an onboarding questionnaire that they ask. And so another guy from Chattanooga who doubled his business and his first year with us, we don’t promise that but the stuff we’re looking at here is not abnormal, if you start to get on page one of Google. So the stuff that Andy trusts us to do is to basically, yes, set him up for those sales calls. And when we do that, when you get on page one, you will get calls, you will get traffic and we kind of take it from there and he just has to review the emails and let us more or less be the marketing department. And…
Nate Hagerty 55:01
So I do want to just point this out, I do want to go back to having Andy speak a little bit more about the specifics of his business. This has been a great commercial for us. And I’m Yeah…
Andy Frye 55:10
Nate Hagerty 55:10
…I love that obviously. But I do want to just point out those tools, it says taxproleads.com and also talktotpm.com. I’m gonna like show you the little man behind the curtain, they both go to the same spot so it doesn’t really matter which one of those you go to. So just either one, talktoTPM or taxproleads.com. And you’ll get an application there you can apply for a free lead flow session, we’re going to do a customized analysis of your online marketplace and your practice, custom tailored. We’re gonna kind of take a look at things and make sure that you are doing things properly, that you’ve got all the bases covered for your different like Bing, Apple Maps, you know, Yelp, Google my business, your website, your kind of conversion data, the email marketing, we’re gonna look at all that stuff to make sure you’re doing it right. So again, a custom tailored plan. And we’ve got these four big tools that for the first 20 people to who are listening to this can apply, will get. So again that’s it taxproleads.com or talktoTPM.com either one of those works. Now, Andy before we kind of let you go, I’d love to know kind of like dream casting where do you guys going next? What is the Andy Frye world domination master plan?
Andy Frye 56:33
Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot this year, you know, between some of the education we do for other tax professionals as well as our brick and mortar office locations, you know, going well and growing is, you know, what is the next step? And, you know, I think the physical location expansion is kind of an interesting place, right? Because, you know, we have more and more people that are, especially with, you know, the whole situation this year, right? Where they’re not really coming into the office, you know, as much especially in some more office locations that are in a little more affluent areas. And so, you know, what does expansion look like as far as like, like to me Nate, it really goes to the professional development of team members. So, like, being, like to me, it’s like we need to add more people that we can build up into being like a mini camp or a mini Jessie or a mini Cynthia and so like, I think it’s at a person to person level and we’re finally at a point where we have the training in a good place. We have our actual like monitoring our business metrics in a much better place and also we just have better marketing as far as demand for the services like right now we have too much demand relative to the employees that we have. You know, so. So I think building like, you know, being able to hire more people, especially in this down economy is something that, you know, that we, like, I feel like that’s my responsibility. I always thought, you know, like, if you’re a given much, a much is expected of you, you know, and so for everything that, you know, my dad did, and my uncle did, and Bertha and Raina and all kind of the longtime employees that really built up the business. You know, it’s up to us provide more opportunities to newer people to provide better opportunities for the existing people. So a lot of what I look at is like, — what’s the next step for every one of our team members? And do we have a — pathway where like, you know, because a lot of times what happens is the tax business and you know, this is that you build your tax professionals, your team members up to a certain point, right? And then they hit a ceiling, you know, where it’s like they’re not the owner, you know, like so. And then so we’ve actually had more people kind of being able to have ownership interests, be able to have, you know, that next step, like what’s the next step for that talented tax professional that already has a really good relationships with a few hundred clients, right, they already have a solid, you know, way to earn a good living for them. But, you know, like, especially in the Latino community name is like, this is a whole new generation, like this is like, you know, like, it’s time for that community and for our team members like to be business owners, to be, you know, starting their own locations to be able to have a share of what they do of mentoring other people. So the other thing that I want to do is about you know, training and empowering those team members that just, you know, keep growing their earnings and keep serving the clients.
Nate Hagerty 59:59
That’s great! Well, this is awesome. We’re gonna move to the q&a section now. I’m gonna hit pause on the recording…