How many leads will your tax firm web site generate?

As we get further and further into this Internet marketing concept for your tax firm, I realized that it would be a good idea to take a step back and set some expectations regarding lead flow quantity.

But first, I have a brief announcement: Next Friday at 12pm Pacific (3pm Eastern) we will be holding a FREE practice management webinar with a special guest speaker. More information will be sent within a few days, but I’ve already previewed the PowerPoint presentation for the webinar, and you are not going to want to miss this!

Now, realistic expectations for online lead generation. Obviously, there is a GIGANTIC “it depends” here. The quality of content on your web site, the effort you put into link generation, your level of participation in social media, forums, and blogs, the amount of money and time you spend improving Pay Per Click ads, the quantity and quality of your article and video content distributed online, level of tie in with offline marketing methods… All of these factors (and many more!) will have direct effects on the number of inbound leads you generate.

The astute reader will have picked up quite a bit from that last paragraph. Those items and more are things we will be covering as we move through this series on Internet marketing.

Internet marketing is a BIG world. And like many things in marketing, there is no one thing that will generate you a gazillion visitors per month to your site. In fact, even if you had that kind of web traffic, there’s no guarantee that people will request your widget or pick up the phone and call. To put it bluntly, if your web site sucks, has lousy content, is difficult to navigate, or has a weak offer, nobody is going to stick around and turn into a lead for you.

I have three separate web sites that I personally run in order to generate inbound leads. One is my actual tax firm web site, the other two are strictly lead generation sites. I do direct mail and occasional cold calling to drive traffic to one of the lead generation sites, and the other two are online only. My firm site relies on social media, content marketing, and blogging in order to get traffic. The last site relies 100% on blog posts to obtain high search engine rankings.

Between the two sites driven strictly by Internet marketing, I average one inbound tax resolution lead per day. As a one person shop, that’s more than enough for me. Doing one consultation per business day doesn’t take up a lot of my time, and allows me to pick and choose the cases that I want to take. The vast majority of people that contact me I actually end up referring out to other practitioners. Additional leads that I generate through direct mail typically adds several consultations all on the same day when my mail hits mailboxes.

One lead per day may not sound like a lot, but if I were to take every case that I could sell, I would be absolutely swamped with collections representation work. For a solo practitioner, it only takes one per day to make a very comfortable living. The best part is that I spend, at most, two hours per week working on marketing to generate these inbound leads.

Like many firms, I have an opt-in box on my home page. However, unlike most firms, it only asks for their email address, and makes a very specific offer of benefit to the visitor. I will admit, though, that it is extremely rare for somebody to actually fill out the form on my home page. Rather, my visitors typically land on a blog page for a very specific topic (such as OIC or penalty abatements), and then they request a consultation from that page or after clicking over to my services page. For this reason, it is important to have contact forms on EVERY page of your web site. This one piece of advice alone, when combined with blogging, will drastically increase the number of leads you generate online.

There are tax resolution firms out there that are completely online lead driven. Some of them spend over $100,000 per month on Google Adwords to buy clicks, and have a massive lead flow. Other firms invest large amounts of time in obtaining free traffic and profit handsomely from those efforts, also.

Just like with direct mail and telemarketing, your online lead generation results are a factor of time and money. Thankfully, time and money are interchangeable quantities when it comes to marketing, so if you are short on one, you can generally trade it for the other. But also like direct mail and telemarketing, Internet marketing can be fickle, and you must always remember the marketing mantra: Test, test, test.