Leads are the lifeblood of any service business.
Without leads, you have nobody to sell your services to.
Without leads, you starve.
Make no mistake about it: You are first and foremost in the marketing business.
Not the 1040 preparation business. Not the payroll business. Not the tax resolution business.
Your law degree…MBA…Stanford accounting degree…are all absolutely worthless if you’re in private practice and can’t generate leads.
This is the harsh reality of being a tax, accounting, or legal professional in private practice.
Now, many practitioners are able to get their marketing up and running, at least to some degree, without too much hassle. It may be stutter-stepped, and maybe a bit hit-or-miss (both things that can be fixed, by the way), or even completely outsourced.
But if you have direct mail going out…Google Adwords campaigns running…display ads in the local business journal…Val-Pak coupons during 1040 season, etc., etc., you may still be missing one critical piece: The ability to effectively capture leads.
Without lead capture systems, you’re wasting money and time on doing marketing in the first place. The two are intimately linked, and you should never have on without the other.
Fortunately, we live in an era with more lead capture options than at any time in history. Back in the stone age of marketing, the only lead capture option was a face to face interaction. At some point in history came paper and writing, which increased options substantially. Alexander Graham Bell blessed us with long distance talking technology, and lead capture technologies have grown exponentially ever since.
What exactly is a lead capture system?
A lead capture system is ANY process for collecting contact information from a lead.
What, you were expecting something more complicated?
Let’s think of it this way: How many different channels exist for people to communicate with you on a 1-on-1 basis? My top-of-the-head, not-all-inclusive list…
- Face to face
- Telephone (voice)
- Video chat (Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, etc.)
- Text message (SMS)
- Online text chat (Facebook Messenger, AIM, etc.)
- Twitter tweets
- Twitter direct messages
- Facebook timeline posts
- Facebook direct messages
- LinkedIn InMail
- US Postal Service
- Common carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.)
Again, this is by no means an all-inclusive list.
What do all of these things have in common? Seriously, noodle on it for a moment before reading ahead.
Here’s the answer: Each of these services has a unique identifier for a specific individual.
Telephone numbers, postal addresses, Twitter handles, email addresses — all of them are unique. There cannot be any two that are the same. Therefore, communications intended for the dedicated recipient can generally be targeted to reach that specific person.
Too obvious? Doesn’t sound important?
Here’s why it’s important: The goal of all your marketing is to find specific individuals with a specific interest in a specific service, collect one or more specific pieces of contact information, and provide specific follow up over time.
Specificity is important.
Don’t forget that one of the core tenets of marketing is making sure you send the right marketing message to a specific target audience at all times. Marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls this “market to message match”.
Here’s how this applies to your lead capture systems…