“Nate Hagerty: From the Ministry to Marketing; A Hero Always Helping Others”
by Michael Rothman 

What’s the first thing an everyday person does when a marketing email pops up in the inbox?  Naturally, that person doesn’t take a second look before promptly hitting the delete button.

One of the biggest hurdles faced by marketers in the constantly-changing digital world is figuring out how to build client relationships, while also avoiding the bombastic approach that alienates.  Inboxes are constantly flooded and virtual trust erodes by the minute.  So, how does anyone reach consumers in an era increasingly marked by overload and cynicism?

With a tenacious drive to take marketing for tax, accounting, and a range of other professionals to a level never seen before, Nate Hagerty founded TaxProMarketer in 2007 in the Central Virginia area and has since relocated to Kansas City.

“For tax professionals, the key in this marketplace is to utilize every marketing tool you can.  Not in a scamming manner though, but in a way which builds real relationships,” Hagerty says.  “In the online age, with so much mistrust, we help our clients get past the skeptical.”

Nate Hagerty is the Tax Pro Marketer and has a proven, straightforward approach that combines the tried and true staples of successful marketing with cutting edge digital tactics.  Hagerty has the “it factor” and almost 10 years of experience to help any company flourish.  His first foray into the professional marketing field was as Marketing Director for PRO-TAX, a Virginia-based tax firm.  He helped transform a company averaging $50,000 in annual revenue into a juggernaut with $4.3 million in tax preparation fees alone.

It all started for Nate in 2003.  After a chance meeting with a top marketer to the tax industry, Hagerty was immediately thrown in the deep end, where he quickly learned to swim.  From 2003 to 2006, Hagerty managed the marketing for this multimillion-dollar firm, which grew to 23 locations in and around Virginia during his tenure, with more than 400 employees.  While handling the marketing and sales for this blossoming firm, he was so in demand that he doubled as a coach and consultant all over North America for thousands of clients.  With an insatiable passion to help others, Hagerty soon realized how sorely his approach was needed in the tax profession — not just as a coach, but as an expert who could execute on behalf of tax, accounting and other service professionals all over North America.

It’s the simple, yet powerful differences that drive Hagerty’s widespread success.  The key distinction between the traditional approach and Hagerty’s groundbreaking method is tone and objectives.  Most website visitors are not in a purchase mode at first contact with a tax professional.  Hagerty’s goal early on, therefore, is to merely lay the foundation for a future relationship, which could last a lifetime. The key word for his approach is “relationship” and for those who know Hagerty, this word is synonymous with his servant-oriented personality.

Drawing on his experience as a youth minister and coach, Hagerty believes in toning down the initial flash while building trust.  This is not to say his email and other media campaigns lack in sophistication or necessary appeal.  Rather, it is as if the business owner himself composed the correspondence to the client or prospect.  A little personal touch can go a long way.

In a time defined by a collective dissatisfaction with customer service and loss of personal attention, it is a breath of fresh air for people to receive an email, which feels like it came from the desk of a business owner, not his or her secretary.

“We take a different approach, and it’s one that goes against the grain of most media marketing,” he says.  “We are more interested in building relationships of trust through various campaigns, as opposed to the traditional approach of just pitching products and services.”

Knowing the audience is the key to any marketing effort, and Hagerty seems to have his finger on the pulse of the professional service shopper.  Early on, the potential client, especially in the tax industry, is typically in information-gathering mode.  During this time, a conversational tone goes a long way and stands out from the normal herd of block text and stoicism found in other professional service marketing.

Trust has been the central component of Hagerty’s professional career.  With a lifelong passion for helping others, his initial career was in ministry, focused on assisting high school students.  When circumstances dictated either a transfer from Virginia or a new path, Hagerty and his wife decided they wanted to stay in Virginia. From there — the tax industry, perhaps incongruously (but happily) beckoned.

“We started TaxProMarketer in May 2007 with just the printed newsletter.  We started with a bang too,” he says.  “We had 100 clients in the first year alone and have since worked with 500 firms from all around North America.”

When Hagerty started TaxProMarketer, he said it became clear that out of his thousands of coaching clients, most of them really just needed someone to simply execute for them the initiatives he had been telling them to do.  These clients just didn’t have the time, yet Hagerty’s recommendations were so crucial to growing their businesses.

The next core service from TaxProMarketer became the weekly email initiative, which is unlike anything in the industry today.  Hagerty and his team (on the client’s behalf) write pertinent and conversational prose, relevant beyond the formulaic tax advice often churned out by accountants.  From personal finances to profits, these are the issues that potential buyers actually care about.

“We get a lot of comments about the emails, and we hear hundreds of stories regarding how much the tax clients appreciate the personal touch and approach,” he says proudly.  “Traditional wisdom suggests that the best email marketing has massive graphics and big headers, but the better ones are the personal note, and we avoid graphics more than people realize.”

Hagerty is as passionate about the digital future of marketing as he is about relationships.  Another core service of TaxProMarketer is Social Media, including Facebook and Twitter.  With a strong, professional page on Facebook, his staff actually seeks out locals on the client’s behalf.  This is all done instantly and in the same “relationship-building” tone.

“We check and update these pages multiple times daily for them and monitor comments that need responding,” he says.  “Every day, we get Twitter direct messages or Facebook comments that need responding to, because these are inquiries from new clients.  They [Hagerty’s tax professional clients] don’t even have to worry about these platforms anymore, they can just let us handle it all.”

It is, however, most certainly not a strictly digital approach.  The monthly newsletter that started it all is another tool more reliant on conversational substance than flash, and Hagerty’s team takes care of the entire process from printing to mailing.  It is never received as promotional, but more of a friendly note without the splashy graphics which scream “advertising.”  Even though Hagerty and his team put it together on behalf of the client, the goal is to make it look like the tax professionals sat down and wrote it themselves.  The newsletter garners a tremendous response, because Hagerty writes all the content for it in a way, which again builds trust.  Though the trend is toward the web-based communication, he knows that offline marketing methods should never be abandoned.

For the complete experience, his team will put it all together and do a full suite.  The tax professional’s website is hand-built and custom-made on the WordPress platform.  It offers all of the slickness and features which today’s web surfers are used to, but again — carrying a refreshing tone and approach.  Complete with video and a custom-tailored look, the site provides a venue for tax and accounting professionals to build authority, while still maintaining accessibility.  Auto-responders immediately follow up with site visitors.

And the buzzword of the last few years is SEO or search engine optimization — replacing the traditional yellow pages for service professional firms. When clients stick with TaxProMarketer for a few months, they find themselves consistently on page one of Google or Bing for their market area.  Hagerty and his staff even blog for the client on the new website — it’s the epitome of full service.

The year of 2012 is full of new ventures for Hagerty and his TaxProMarketer team.  With their unmatched success on behalf of full-suite clients, Hagerty and his team are offering SEO as a separate service.  The firm is also working on a mobile marketing platform, as well as direct mail options, local listings, User Experience Optimization (UXO), social media advertising services, and more.

“People sometimes really do want to take the bull by horns themselves and need guidance from someone with a proven record of building multi-million dollar businesses,” he adds.

Through all of this, Hagerty somehow found time to be in the middle of a book project, “How To Easily Attract, Retain & Profit From More Tax & Accounting Clients … Using The New Channels of Marketing” which outlines all of the aforementioned strategies, but in much greater detail.

From his work with the youth ministry to his work helping others build relationships in marketing to even his home life, Nate Hagerty is a servant in every sense of the word.  He and his wife have five beautiful children, four of whom were adopted from Ethiopia and Uganda.

The only question left to ask would be, “Why wouldn’t anyone want this visionary to guide their business’s marketing into the digital age?”

To learn more about Nate Hagerty and TaxProMarketer, call us at 1-913-674-5965.