“This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live.”
– Omar Bradley
Well, it’s just about “go time” for tax season, eh? But there’s a recurring problem I see (even with some of my longtime clients), that I want to address for you so that you can get it straight and taken care of, for your outbound, new-client marketing.
You see, if you’ve been in the tax business for awhile, it has already happened to you – probably more than once. In fact, probably often. And if you are new to the tax industry world, you can bet the mortgage that it will eventually happen to you.
What is it? It’s when you get that big black checkbook out of the center desk drawer, and you sit down across from some media salesperson, and you write out some kind of a check for some amount, for some kind of promotion advertising expense, and you have no earthly idea whether you made a good decision, bad decision, when you’ll know, how you’ll know, if you’ll know.
I detest that kind of uncertainty. I don’t like to play guesswork games with my money and I bet you don’t either.
I’m going to tell you how to eliminate it, how to make every dollar you spend on advertising and marketing measurable and accountable.
The Best Kind of New Client Advertising For a Tax Firm
All advertising can be one of only two types – either “Brand Advertising” or “Direct Response Advertising.” It is monumentally important to understand the difference.
Most advertising in magazines, newspapers, on radio, TV, and billboards is institutional advertising. It is Brand advertising because in most cases, there is no way of accurately tracking response. Most advertising agencies love brand advertising since, without tracking, they canNOT be held responsible for zero results. If an ad campaign does not produce the results they want, they blame it on:
1. The economy
2. The weather
3. You didn’t run the ad often enough
4. YOU (your employees, your service, your image, etc.)
You Can’t Deposit “Creativity” In The Bank
Unfortunately, most advertising agencies are interested in being creative and cutesy — and many tax business owners think that’s the way to create advertising that works. After all, that’s what wins advertising awards … and it is absolutely ridiculous. The advertising field gives awards based on creativity, not results. Many ads that have won top awards didn’t produce any substantial increases in sales.
Direct Response advertising, on the other hand:
1. Contains a headline that flags your prospect and creates curiosity
2. Creates interest in your service or merchandise
3. Creates desire in the prospect
4. Has a specific offer
5. Has a deadline
6. Has measurable results
Why is this so important? Two reasons:
1. Most businesses have limited capital to spend on their marketing and advertising (unless you are Coca-Cola or Microsoft). Since you have a limited budget, why waste it on advertising that you are not sure is working?
2. The only reason a business would advertise is to get more clients and sell more services. A direct response ad concentrates only on this purpose.
First, it contains a headline that attracts the attention of the specific client you want to bring in your office(s).
Then, it makes a complete and compelling case for the reason for your offer.
Next, it proves to the client that the reason for the offer will solve some problem in the client’s life or provide some valuable benefit to him. It states specific reasons, facts, and statistics, as well as testimonials from other clients to validate the claims.
Then it tells the reason why you are able to make such an attractive offer. It tells the client what to do in order to gain the benefits of the offer.
It creates “urgency” by telling the client that he must act now in order to gain these important benefits, and why this offer is so limited, either by time, or by the quantity available.
Finally, it must contain a way for you to track exactly what sales or clients were generated by that particular ad.
Now that I have defined for you the difference between BRAND and Direct Response advertising, here’s the big question that you have to ask yourself before you make every future marketing and advertising decision. Does the advertising that you are considering meet all six of the criteria that I outlined above? If is doesn’t, then pass on it quickly, and with a clear conscience.