Marketing Expectations & Metrics

When a tax professional first enters the world of lists, dials, prospecting, return rates, disconnected numbers, and the like, they are often confused and dismayed by the results. Setting realistic expectations for your results as a marketer is very important to do, but also one of the most difficult concepts for new marketers to grasp.

Let’s begin with direct mail. If you send out a mailing, any mailing, and receive a response rate of 2%, you are kicking butt! If you hit 1%, you’re still doing really well. In the tax resolution sector, breaking 1/2 of 1% is a good target to shoot for. Once you have a mailing piece that can hit that rate, then you have something to tweak.

Before becoming shocked or dismayed at such “low” numbers, bear in mind that these exact number levels have generated billions and billions of dollars in sales for all kinds of products and services from direct mail over the past several decades.

Now let’s look at telemarketing. The reality is that phone numbers are constantly changing, people move every day, and companies go out of business every single day. In telemarketing, regardless of list source or target industry, you should expect a 75% or less penetration rate when dialing business-to-business. This means that 25% of your phone numbers will be wrong, disconnected, or simply never answered.

Despite the fact that tax debtors are a higher risk population for going out of business, your disconnect rate will probably still average about 20%. Yes, you may order a batch of 1,000 tax liens and be dismayed that 200 of them are bad numbers, but this is normal and should be your expectation, regardless of where you order leads and numbers from.

What about response rates to telemarketing? If you have somebody dialing full time, you should expect 6 to 8 solid contacts per hour on the phone. For you, that most likely equates somehow to consultations for tax services — that’s a lot of consultations. You’re likely going to need to make 40 to 60 dials per hour in order to reach that level, and you’re going to leave a lot of voicemails.

One final note on telemarketing: If you’re not trying to call each lead at least 7 times before giving up on it, you’re wasting money on leads.

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into understanding marketing numbers, and will help you manage your expectations. Again, these numbers apply to ALL industries, ALL lead sources — this is marketing 101 in it’s most generic sense, not specific to tax. When it comes to marketing, all industries are equal, and the numbers are the same throughout.