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Customers are at the heart of any business. And in order to generate customers, you must make them aware that you exist. Awareness leads to interest. Interest gives way to desire and consideration. Ultimately, the hope is that this enthusiasm can then be parlayed into a purchase decision.
The process we just described is, for all intents and purposes, what business professionals refer to as the marketing funnel. It’s about moving people from awareness to action (in the form of a purchase or financial investment). Unfortunately, very few tax preparation businesses and accounting firms excel with marketing. In fact, they often rank it as one of the biggest challenges in growing their businesses.
As you look for ways to scale up your own tax preparation business, it would behoove you to pay careful attention to the role of marketing and how it can help you promote your brand, add new clients, and increase revenue. With a little strategic thinking on the front end, you can produce tangible results that yield ongoing value for years to come.
The word marketing gets used a lot, but it has very little meaning to most tax prep businesses. It’s almost a buzzword – a generic term for promotion. However, marketing is about much more than promotion.
As Denise Lee Yohn writes for Forbes, “Marketing is about connecting the right customers to the right product. Marketing helps sales teams, and people throughout the company, think from the outside-in about what is being offered, convey its value in customer-centric ways, and persist through barriers that can only be addressed through deep customer knowledge and insight.”
In terms of running a tax preparation business where you’re working with individuals and business owners to handle their taxes, marketing plays a catalytic role in establishing awareness, creating trust, and motivating customers to choose your business over the dozens of others they can choose from.
Without a marketing plan, your message will be hollow, shapeless, and unremarkable. You’ll struggle to connect with prospects at any meaningful level and will be required to sweep up the crumbs that your competitors leave behind. With a marketing plan, you have all of the leverage and persuasion. You control how others see your brand and which sort of clients are attracted to the business.
Research suggests that more than 60 percent of a purchase decision is made prior to a prospect calling your office. In other words, the majority of the sales process happens indirectly through strategic marketing. In particular, it happens online via digital marketing.
With that being said, here are some powerful tips to help you market your tax preparation business this year and beyond:
1. Understand Who You Are
You can’t market your tax preparation business if you don’t understand who you are at a brand level. In other words, everything starts with ensuring you have an accurate and precise understanding of your brand messaging.
“Product positioning, key benefits, brand pillars, value proposition, audience, and tone are just a few items that need to be taken into consideration,” branding strategist Jenna Hanington writes. “Together, these elements combine to create a full messaging framework that can guide your marketing across every piece of content and every channel. Everything you create, both internally and externally, should be able to map back to this messaging.”
Spend some time really digging into your messaging so that you can clearly articulate who you are, what objectives you have, and how you create value for your audience.
2. Identify Your Target Market
Speaking of your audience, you need to identify your target market. Not only will this help you reach the right people, but it’ll significantly enhance your ability to bring in the right clients and retain them year after year.
As a tax preparation business, the good news is that you have a pretty wide pool of prospects to choose from. The challenge is drilling down and focusing on the right segment. Are you going after small businesses? Individuals? High earners? Blue-collar professionals? Executives? Local clients? National clients?
You don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into a micro niche that doesn’t have enough volume to keep you profitable, but you do need to zoom in enough to focus your marketing message and avoid the risk of ballooning costs.
3. Refresh Your Website
When was the last time you updated your website? For some reason, tax preparation businesses tend to have extremely outdated and archaic looking web pages, which doesn’t exactly give prospective clients warm and fuzzy feelings.
In just a few hours, you can refresh your website and make it a bit more modern. Strip away superfluous elements and stick with a sleek, minimalist appearance that clearly communicates the value you bring to the table. (By the way, responsive web design is a must these days. Mobile devices account for nearly two out of every three minutes spent online. Make sure you’re optimizing with mobile traffic in mind.)
4. Produce Original Content
There’s no replacement for quality content. It’s still the king of the marketing world and represents your best opportunity to engage and influence people.
Make it a habit to produce original content on a weekly – if not daily – basis. This can happen via a variety of mediums and channels. From written blog posts on your website to videos on a YouTube channel, you have ample room to get creative. The key is to maintain a consistent message and to target the right audience. Always, always, always stay on brand.
5. Humanize Via Social Media
Taxes may seem technical, but they’re actually quite intimate. When someone hands over their tax preparation responsibilities to you, they’re being vulnerable. They’re trusting you with private information and assuming that you’ll do everything within your power and expertise to make decisions that are in their best interests.
If you aren’t careful, your branding can get too technical. The best way to pull back on this is to humanize your tax preparation business via social media. Pick a platform or two and make it a point to engage your followers in a personal manner. Pull back the curtain a bit (while still remaining consistent with your brand messaging) and focus on building rapport via two-way communication.
6. Stay Relevant Through Email
The tax preparation business is a very seasonal one. Over a three- or four-month period, you do 80 to 90 percent of your business. And while there are some positives to this, one of the negatives is that you go eight or nine months without having much direct interaction with clients. You can remedy some of this by staying relevant through consistent email marketing.
With a drip email marketing campaign, you send out regular emails – typically weekly or bi-weekly – that attempt to add value to your clients. In doing so, you’re able to stay on top of your clients’ minds, so they think of you when they need your services again.
If you’re going to invest considerable resources into generating more awareness for your business, you must be prepared to handle an uptick in clients and work. And unless you’re planning on hiring a bunch of tax preparation professionals on short notice, you’ll need a scalable solution in place to help you grow with efficiency and grace.
At Taxfyle, we understand the challenges that come with the seasonality of tax preparation. In response, we’ve developed a tax preparation outsourcing service that provides businesses like yours with the right amount of assistance at a cost-effective price point. We provide you with licensed tax professionals that eat up the busy work while freeing up your staff to focus on other important tasks. This means you never have to turn away clients or compromise on quality. To learn more, request your demo today!
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