In a typical week, I get at least one, and sometimes as many as three or four, people contacting me completely out of the blue that are telling me that they think I’m the best person to help them with their tax problem and wanting to hire me.
These are folks that I’ve never talked to before, never marketed to before, never had any one on one contact with at all. But they’re reaching out to me, with their checkbook open.
How is this possible?
It’s actually quite simple: I took the time to establish myself as an expert.
Never forget that people do business with other people that they know, like, and trust. This is the single most important thing you can ever learn about running a service business. Period.
Establishing yourself as an expert, as the go-to person in your area or specialization, you automatically build credibility. Providing ways for people to get to know you, even if you never actually speak to them, builds on this. Over time, people that know you will get to like you and trust you (assuming you’re likable and trustworthy, of course).
People get to know you via the content that you produce. On my tax firm web sites, I provide a ton of free or extremely low-cost information for people, including how to negotiate their own Installment Agreements and how to draft their penalty abatement applications. I also provide pointers to appropriate IRS resources and other information that can help them.
This material costs me nothing but time in order to create. After the initial creation of a few backlinks to those sites via press releases, articles, or videos I post elsewhere ,I do no further active promotion of those sites, I just let Google and Bing find them on their own and determine whether they are worth including in search results or not. I don’t try to “game” the search engines, and I update the sites far less frequently than the so-called SEO “experts” say that I should.
It also helps that a little over a year ago, I took the time to write a short book and self-publish it on Amazon. That book is now one of the best selling books on Amazon on the subject of settling tax debts. The end of every chapter includes a call to action referring back to my primary practice web site, which offers additional resources. Many people that visit the web site for those additional resources end up joining my email newsletter on that site, which means they receive a series of automated messages from me, even though I’ve still never spoken to them.
Think you can’t write a book? Neither did I. I’d been wanting to write that book for over two years, but just never “got around to it”. So how did I do it? I literally locked myself in a room with three days worth of junk food and Red Bull and just did it.
Yes, I wrote that book over a 3-day holiday weekend. Christmas 2011, as a matter of fact. To some people, that might sound like a horrible way to spend Christmas, but the truth was that I was snowed in at the office anyway due to a major blizzard, and my flight to Portland was cancelled because of the snow. I didn’t have any family in the area where I was at, and I was recovering from injuries sustained when I got hit by a car while riding my motorcycle a few weeks earlier. So, I literally had nothing better to do. In retrospect, it was my best Christmas ever, because I’m still profiting from it to this day.
Between the book published a year ago, and three small web sites that were all created in 2010 and 2011, I generate a tiny trickle of highly qualified tax resolution leads that already like me and trust me enough to want to hire me. When I want to bring on ONE new client, I can just wait and sift through those inbound leads to find the one I want to work with, and refer out the rest. The only time I need to turn on my 72-Hour Blitzkrieg Marketing Plan is when I want a very specific type of client, or when I want to quickly fill more than one empty client spot on my case roster.
The bottom line is that, because of work that I literally did a year ago, even three years ago, I get enough inbound leads to support myself as a solo practitioner. That lead volume obviously won’t support a larger practice, by itself, but it can definitely be part of an overall strategy.
If you run a small tax practice, you can do small things that result in big differences because of your size. Some things to consider:
- Host regular local monthly financial seminars, and invite everybody you meet to them.
- Have an email newsletter, and prominently display the signup box on your web site.
- Write and self-publish a book on a subject of interest to your ideal clients.
- Record yourself giving tax or accounting tips and post them on YouTube.
- Write epic, informative “how to” blog posts and make sure Google knows about them.
- Broadcast your content out to social media networks.
None of these things are difficult. In fact, other than writing a book, all of the above items take one hour or less per month to complete. These six tips alone can create a very nice six-figure income for a solo practitioner. The best part: None of these things are hard, and none of them cost a dime.
Marketing your professional tax services really doesn’t get any easier than this.