30-Day Tax Firm Challenge: Day 5

I sincerely hope that by now you’ve completed at least a couple of the daily challenges so far. Most importantly, I hope that you put a finite deadline out to your extension clients, and thus won’t be spending this weekend rushing to get things done for people that don’t respect your time.

On to today’s challenges. Three quick and easy ones…


Online Marketing

Sign up for your email service provider.
Estimated Time: 5 minutes

Everybody knows that you should already have a website. But just as important, you need an email service provider (ESP).

An ESP is the company that sends emails to your leads, prospects, and clients on your behalf. This is the system where you store their email addresses, compose the emails, implement automation and segmentation rules, send email newsletters, etc.

Why is an ESP so important? Because even in the era of social media, email is still the center of our digital lives. Have you ever noticed that in order to sign up for a social media account, you need an email address? In fact, email is still the #1 way to generate revenue online. Period. So building your email list should be a cornerstone of your marketing endeavors.

I personally use Aweber, and have for well over a decade. It’s definitely the one that I recommend. MailChimp and MadMimi are two other modern, popular options. Constant Contact, iContact, InfusionSoft, ActiveCampaign, and Drip are also options, albeit at much higher cost and greater complication.

A lot of people like to start with MailChimp’s free base plan, but be forewarned: It lacks autoresponder capability, so it’s useless for automated lead followup.

Check out a few providers, and sign up for one. That’s it for today: Just pick one and sign up for a trial. Easy peasy!


Offline Marketing

Contact three local print publications and request media kits.
Estimated time: 10-15 minutes

As you grow your business, you’ll eventually start doing display advertising. In order to help you make intelligent decisions later on without the pressure of a sales rep breathing down your neck, start collecting pricing and demographic data now.

Contact your local newspapers, alternative publications, business journal, niche publications (fashion, seniors, ranchers, etc) in your local area and request a media kit. This should contain their circulation information, reader demographics, and their published ad rates (never pay full price!).

Tell the publication that you are planning ahead now for ad campaigns 6 months down the road. This will help prevent ad reps from bombarding you now.

Get these kits and read through them. Start to understand the audience of each publication, and start learning how they set their ad pricing.


Practice Management

Raise your fees by 5% or more across the board.
Estimated time: 5-30 minutes

Has it been a while since you raised your fees? Have you not been keeping pace with the real rate of inflation the past few years?

If so, it’s time to correct that.

Many practitioners are scared to death about raising their fees, but they shouldn’t be. The cost of everything else around us is going up, so you need to at least keep up. If this isn’t an issue for your firm, then this challenge won’t apply to you, of course.

Today, decide to increase your fees across the board, by at least 5%. If it’s been many years since you raised fees, then you need to increase them even more. Increase your hourly rate, your flat fee service rates, even your per form charges coded into your tax prep software.

If you’re afraid of losing clients, you shouldn’t be. Firms that raise fees lose very few clients, and the ones that do leave would have left anyway whenever you did eventually raise fees, so it’s best to cut them loose now. Don’t forget that the higher your fees, then the more you can invest into marketing to replace those lost clients with better ones.