The joy of marketing

I just queued up a few hundred postcards to go out, and it felt great doing so. Why? Because I haven’t done any direct mail since the very beginning of the year, and I know how much it’s hurt me this tax season to have “fallen off the wagon”.

I know that most people consider marketing to be a chore, which is why they often just don’t do it. I’ve never understood this, because to me, marketing is the fun part. Marketing is the part of running a business that gets me excited. It’s the creative part, the part that makes me all giddy like a little kid again.

There are a lot of things about running a practice that aren’t so fun. Firing people, regulatory compliance, insurance, paying bills, etc. Most folks don’t enjoy those parts. Necessary, of course, but not really fun.

Then there’s the work that we actually do. Most practitioners (hopefully) enjoy some aspect of what they do. Quick tip: Don’t offer services to clients that you don’t like doing. There’s no point in building yourself a business where you have to do work you dislike. Pretty much defeats the entire purpose of being self-employed.

Then there’s marketing. Let me give you just a few of the reasons as to why I love marketing so much:

  1. Marketing drives revenue. We all like to see the money coming in!
  2. Marketing brings a sense of community to me in relation to my prospects and clients. Never forget that we are all in the “people business” more so than the “tax business”.
  3. Personally, I love writing, designing, creating. Marketing answers my desire to be creative. There isn’t much creativity involved in taxation if you’re not involved in litigation.
  4. Marketing tests show me what’s working, and what’s not. Testing marketing pieces when I don’t need the immediate business gives me something to add to my arsenal for when I do want to increase business.
  5. More of a corollary to the previous point, marketing allows me to turn lead flow on and off at will. Once you master a basic set of marketing skills, you have a valuable asset that can print you money on demand.
  6. Marketing is simply fun. I love getting into the statistics of response rates, tracking a new client through my sales funnel, putting together new campaigns, all of it.
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If you have’t really gotten into marketing all that much in your tax practice, I have to ask: Why not?

If it’s fear that is holding you back from marketing your practice, I’d encourage you to at least start doing some small things. But taking a big leap into the world of marketing has a lot of advantages. It allows you to have a comprehensive approach to growing your practice, giving you focus and direction. It’ll also help you identify additional revenue opportunities within your existing client base, reactivate old clients, and convert more prospects to paying clients.

There are so many benefits to marketing, that I think it’s something everybody should do. Even if you have all the business that you want, or have a good number of referrals coming in, you still need to market to those existing clients and market to referrals in order to get them coming back. Unless you’re the only tax professional in a small rural town, there will always be somebody out there trying to lure your clients away. Heck, even tax software is causing small practitioners in rural areas to lose customers.

If you’re looking to grow your practice, then marketing is absolutely essential — there simply is no way around it. Embrace it, love it, live it, learn it — go all in on your marketing efforts (intelligently, of course), get your staff and partners behind it, and discover the joy of marketing, and all the benefits it brings you.