Occasionally, my team and I speak to various tax professional groups — whether with the NATP, through CPA Academy, Encoursa and other CPE providers, or at different conferences, etc. We talk about best marketing strategies, including SEO, local listings, email marketing, and websites for tax professionals.

But a little while ago, we were invited to address a select group of lawyers who were working on taking their estate planning practices to the next level.

Intrigued, we agreed.

You see, I’ve discovered that there are marketing truths that cut across different service professional categories — and failing to understand them properly … well, it can leave your business in the dust, especially as everyone else seemingly gets more and more sophisticated.

And that’s a frightening reality.

In preparation for my session with these high-level lawyers, I decided to do some spying.

I knew that these lawyers had been personally trained by one of the smartest marketers I know, and I figured that they would have made sure that their website was up to par.

So, yes, many of them looked nice and pretty — impressive, even. But even so, the MAJORITY (69% of 70+ lawyers who pay $1k+ per month for the coaching they were receiving) had NO mechanism in place to capture contact information from visitors.

And that even includes the quite lame (and very tired) “Sign up for our Newsletter” box.

Honestly, it made me want to smack my head against the wall in frustration on their behalf.

“Creating the lead” should be the most fundamental function of the website for ANY service professional.

And this is especially the case for websites for tax professionals and accounting firms.

Why is this?

Well, you’re not running a charity, and you’re not an info-tainment provider.

Therefore, websites for tax professionals have two primary purposes:

  1. To get people to buy something or make an appointment to come see you.
  2. To get someone to opt into your email list.

That’s it.

And, can we agree that you’re probably not going to be preparing many tax returns online? That’s not your competitive edge — especially with TurboTax and the other big-brand behemoths out there.

Your competitive advantage over those large brands is found in your relationship with your clients and prospects.

So … riddle me this:

Just how many *cold* (non-referral) visitors can make any kind of decision regarding who they’ll trust with their most intimate financial details based on a website?

The answer, of course, is not very many.

Sure, you MIGHT get a phone call (is your phone number prominent?), but even then — you’ll need to be well-prepared with a very good pitch to “close” a discerning prospect.

But if you build a relationship over time with your website visitors, new client acquisition becomes much, much simpler.

So, the mechanism to build that relationship — and a good reason WHY your visitor might be willing to allow you that opportunity — should be mandatory on nearly every page of your website.

Because, once you collect the name and email addresses of your website visitors, you can build REAL relationships with them (remember “leverage”?) and make your firm the only and obvious choice for their tax or accounting needs.

And that, of course, translates well for YOUR competitive edge … and to well-paying clients, month after month.