A new marketing paradigm for your tax firm

Over the course of the next few months, I’m going to be writing and speaking extensively about a topic that may be new to you.

It’s a simplified, holistic way to approach the entire subject of client attraction — from lead generation to prospect follow up to conversion to client to upselling and cross-selling of additional services.

The marketing philosophy, business growth paradigm, or practice growth dogma — whatever the heck you want to call it — is pretty simple. Here’s the basic 3-step formula behind database marketing (yet another term for it):

  1. Choose a specific industry or profession + a geography.
  2. Build a list of people that know, like, and trust you.
  3. Send educational information to that list, along with occasional solicitations for your services.

To put it in shorter marketing parlance for any business school folks in the audience:

  1. Define your target market.
  2. Build a prospect list.
  3. Make offers.

Easy peasy, extra cheesy.

Now, just to be clear, this is no different than how you’ve seen me talk about marketing in the past. All the same concepts apply. I’m just giving you different packaging.


Because defining a simple paradigm to work from makes all other conversations about growing your tax firm easier. It gives a starting point of reference. A place from which to start conversations, anchor initiatives, narrow our focus, and align our strategic objectives. (Can you tell I’m working on MBA coursework? Hmm.)

In reality, all we’re really talking about is direct response marketing. There’s nothing new about that.

But, I want to give you a new structure from which to view it. A structure that will hopefully make it easier for you to implement and profit from.

Let me give you an example. When I was running my tax resolution firm, about 70-80 percent of my marketing was to small trucking companies, with 5-10 trucks, in five states (e.g., my target market). Through a variety of marketing media, including direct mail, telemarketing, Google ads, Facebook ads, and the like, I generated leads (e.g., a list of people that knew me). Some of those businesses moved from the lead list to the prospect list by having a consultation with me. Some (not all) of those prospects became paying clients. So, I was creating three separate lists within my database: Leads, prospects, clients.

All of my follow up marketing to those leads and prospects was … Continue reading

Narrow your target market, but expand your service offerings

I received several emails in response to yesterday’s missive, and there was a brief conversation ignited in the Academy, as I predicted.

Let me first address the obvious: Yes, tax liens are the most obvious indicator of a tax debt. Absolutely. Thus, with federal tax lien filings dead in the water, the clear “rip and replace” for those marketing campaigns is to switch over to state tax liens. Easy peasy.

But this doesn’t address the bigger issue: Even when NFTL’s are being filed, you’re still missing 95% of the market, on the federal side. Sure, you might sweep up quite a few of them in state tax lien mailings, but not all of them. How do you reach everybody else?

My suggestion yesterday was to substitute other lists. Specific industries, specific professions.

But doesn’t that create waste? Absolutely, very much so — if you are focused solely on tax debt resolution.

Now, there will be far less “waste” if you are focused on one of the four big industries that make up a disproportionate percentage of tax debtors. Those mailings can clearly be all about tax debt.

But, the missing piece of my message yesterday was this: Think beyond tax resolution.

If you are going to niche down your marketing to a specific target market, which is something that I’ve been advocating for years, then you also need to thinking about offering additional services.

Obviously, I’m the “tax resolution guy”, but I also frequently discuss the other services you need to offer that are in support of, ancillary to, or fed from tax resolution. Personal finance coaching, tax planning, expense reduction consulting, and advisory are just a few examples of additional services you can, and should, be offering to your tax resolution clients.

So let’s pick a random profession: K-12 public school teachers. That’s a mailing list you can obtain quite easily.

Do some of them have a tax debt? Yes, of course. Do all of them? No, of course not.

But what else can you offer them?

And please, don’t just say “tax return preparation”. That is the least important answer.

Do teachers struggle with personal budgeting? Do teachers struggle with understanding the options available in their state pension plan? Do they need to think about balancing retirement savings with not getting Social Security? Are they engaged in proactive tax planning?  How many teachers work a second job or run a side … Continue reading

The ultimate strategy for creating new referrals

You’ve heard this for eons: People do business with people they know, like, and trust.

It’s one of the truest sentences in business, and everything else in your marketing derives from that statement, in one way or another.

But have you ever thought about how it applies to getting referrals?

It works the same way. Existing clients will refer new clients to you only if they like and trust you.

Specifically in relation to getting more referrals, there is another universal law of marketing that also comes into play: The Law of Reciprocity.

If you’ve read any of Chialdini’s work, such as Influence, then you’ll recognize this principle with no further explanation. In short, the law of reciprocity states that when you do something nice for somebody, they normally feel compelled to do something nice in return.

In a business context, what we often want in return is to get referrals.

But most service professionals, accountants included, tend to make the assumption that the fact that you did good work for somebody, or saved them a bunch of money, is reason enough for a client to send you referrals. Saving them money on taxes or expenses is the nice thing you did for them.

No, that’s the service they paid you for.

To proactively generate referrals, you have to be nice to clients in other ways. When you are, they will reciprocate with referrals.

There is one single thing that works better than anything else for putting the law of reciprocity into action. One thing that can drive referrals more than anything else.

I’m dedicating my entire section of the July 2020 issue of The Profitable Accountant to explaining what this one thing is.

If you’re ready to start triggering the law of reciprocity in your practice and generate more referrals, then you need to subscribe to the newsletter before it goes to the printer on the 1st, which is this Wednesday. Here’s the link:

https://profitableaccountant.com/newsletter/Continue reading