Marketing magic bullets

When it comes to business growth, everybody wants to find the one “magic bullet” that will bring in every client they will ever need, and that they can use forever and ever without interference or change. And in this day and age, there are plenty of people standing by ready to sell you said magic bullet.

Here’s the reality: It doesn’t exist.

There is no one marketing method, no one type of media, no single method of entry into your sales funnel that will keep you busy forever. The only sure way to keep a steady stream of business flowing through your practice is to use a set of marketing, sales, and operational systems, and to always be testing those systems to maximize efficiency and throughput.

Today I’ll be sending out the first real update on my “build a new tax prep practice” project. In that update, I’ve basically outlined my marketing plan: What I’m going to send to whom and how often. My goal is to go from zero to 200 personal returns. For some people, 200 returns in a single tax season is a drop in the bucket, but for me it will be quite a time management challenge, as my other business endeavors don’t suddenly stop during tax season.

So what marketing method am I going to use to get 200 complete strangers into my door to hand me sensitive personal financial information, plus a check or credit card? That’s the thing — it’s not one marketing method. On my tax season marketing plan so far, I actually have 8 different methods outlined for myself, and I expect to spend between $8,000 and $12,000 implementing that plan over the next six months. If each method brings in an average of 25 new clients, then I will hit my goal.

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The same principle applies to other tax services, also. If your company relies 100% on outbound telemarketing by unlicensed salespeople for selling tax resolution services, then don’t be surprised when the day comes where some government bureaucrat shows up and shuts down your show. For the tax resolution industry in particular, this isn’t a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.

Diversifying your marketing strategies is simply smart business. Having all your eggs in one basket for anything is never a good idea, especially when it comes to your livelihood.

When I have an open client spot to fill in my tax resolution practice, I’m not activating just one marketing method. I’m sending direct mail postcards. I’m sending direct mail letters. I’m on the phone, cold calling. I’m ramping up my Internet marketing with press releases, YouTube videos, article distribution, tax Q&A sessions on Twitter, paid Facebook ads, Craigslist posts — you name it. Even if I’m only looking to bring on one new client, I have no idea where that one client is going to come from, so I flip all the switches on in order to get my phone ringing and my inbox filling up.

As a solo practitioner, being able to turn this on or off at will is powerful. Most marketing methods have very little ramp up time, usually less than a week. Some, such as cold calling, are instantaneous. By throwing 20 hours of my time and $2,000 at the problem, I can be swimming in new tax resolution prospects and pick and choose the case(s) that I want to work on, and refer the rest out (for a small referral fee, of course).

You can do the exact same thing in your practice. Whether you are focusing on tax resolution clients, tax planning services, or getting ready for tax season, the exact same systems can work for you. There is no magic behind what all successful tax professionals do to bring in new clients — the key is simply doing it.

As John C. Maxwell put it, “”Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.”

Which are you?