The benefits of adding webinars to your tax firm marketing mix in 2020

I get it: Like many residents of Taxlandia, you might be sick and tired of webinars by now.

Perhaps you’re yearning for the return of the live CPE seminar — or maybe you’re not. After many, many years of travel, I’m finally content with just staying home.

But even if you’re sick and tired of webinars, one thing is for sure: Not everybody has reached the same level of webinar fatigue.

The reality is that your average consumer rarely attends webinars. Many people have never attended one at all. And if they have, it’s likely for many consumers that 2020 was the first time they ever attended any sort of online event.

But here’s the thing: People still crave interaction with other people.

If they can’t meet with you face-to-face, how else can you go about creating that KLT (know-like-trust) factor that is so important in converting leads into paying clients?

The answer is webinars.

When you hope onto a Zoom, Google Meet, or whatever online meeting with somebody, it’s the closest thing to face-to-face as can be.

We all know (or, if you didn’t, you will now…) that live seminars sell billions upon billions of dollars of professional services every year. In all sorts of industries, from insurance and financial planning to real estate brokerage and, yes, tax and accounting services, the live educational seminar has been a very successful lead generation and prospect conversion tool for decades — going back to at least the 1950’s that I’m aware of.

But today, in many places, you just can’t do that. Virus, and whatnot.

So, enter webinars. The professional service providers — in a multitude of industries — that are moving from live seminars to webinars are finding them to be nearly as good as the live thing. They’re definitely not as good as face-to-face, but the conversion numbers are still good enough to make it worthwhile.

That’s why you should add webinars to your marketing mix in 2020.

To summarize:

  • Webinars are the next best thing to face-to-face to help you connect with prospects and convert them to clients.
  • The general public is not yet experiencing webinar fatigue to the level that you might be.
  • Webinars are the perfect tool for doing one-to-many marketing.
  • When you get up and speak in front of the crowd, you are the expert, and you will generate questions (which means “interest in your services”).
  • If you
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The simplest way to find your tax firm’s niche

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article explaining a specific marketing paradigm through which you should examine your firm’s business development efforts.

Then a couple days ago, I made the case for why you should niche your tax firm.

If you haven’t already done so, I’d encourage you to read both of those articles. Those concepts will put more money in your pocket, period.

Assuming that you accept the arguments I’ve laid out in those posts (which you should, obviously), the next obvious question is: How do you define the target market you’re going to focus your marketing on?

There are a variety of ways to do this, and over the next few articles, I’ll share some ideas on this.

First up: Look and see if you’re already naturally serving a niche market.

Based entirely on where your office is located, or the networking circles in which you swim, you may already be serving a niche. You may never have given it any thought, but you may already be there.

Look at your existing clientele. Are there any specific commonalities? Are many of them in the same industry, same profession, work at the same employer? Connected to the same organization that you’re involved in, such as a non-profit you volunteer for?

If you notice a significant number of clients with some commonality like this, then congratulations, you’re already serving a niche. Now you just need to embrace that fact, and pivot your marketing to dominating that niche.

Still not so sure about this whole “niching” thing? Let me give you two awesome examples.

First, check out the podcast interview I did with Katye Maxson-Landis, CPA in Portland, OR. Katye’s practice is focused heavily on serving Oregon’s growing cannabis industry. Regardless of your feelings about marijuana, listen to the podcast episode to learn about how she recognized the niche opportunity and pivoted into it.

Second, it just so happens that I received a press release yesterday from a reader in Fort Lauderdale, FL, announcing the sale of his CPA firm to his staff. This firm focuses their services entirely on helping aircraft owners. Because of the sale and the niche, the new owners are simply changing the name of the firm to “Aviation CPAs”. Excellent, very excellent!

In The Profitable Accountant newsletter, we provide you with in-depth marketing strategies, niche industry breakdowns, and practice management best practices to help you build … Continue reading

Rise of the 1120S Practice

As we hurtle towards the 9/15 business return deadline, it seems like a good time to remind you of how much gooder this market segment is than the 1040 side of things.

In case you’re new to these missives, verily, I say unto thee:

1). The 1040 prep middle market is rapidly dying due to consumer software and RPA.
2). If >50% of your annual revenues are from the 1040 middle market, your business is totally screwed in the long term unless you pivot.
3). 2020 marks the second year in a row in which 1040 returns prepared by paid preparers has declined — and this decline will accelerate, whether you like it or not.

I could drone on and on about the impact of the two existing AI tax prep companies… How Block’s adoption of the Watson AI is just the beginning of the end… How applications like PwC’s internal K-1/W-2/1099 OCR engine will trickle down to our level in 3-5 years… How nearly 2/3 of IPA 400 public accounting firms already use either RPA or offshoring to complete their 1040 prep… Blah blah blah.

Yes, I’m telling you bluntly and unapologetically that if your tax firm’s revenue are primarily rooted in seasonal 1040 return preparation, your business will be DEAD within a decade. Yes, dead.

OOB, if you want me to use official IRM parlance.

I’ve been singing this song for about 3 years now, and the signs are all around us.

It’s time for you to either:

a). Adapt.
b). Retire.
c). Suffer the consequences.

I hope that you choose (a).

But how do you adapt?

Some quick, dirty, and broad suggestions:

  1. Pivot to the SMB (small-medium business) space.
  2. Target a specific high-income market (the subject of our December 2020 issue of The Profitable Accountant).
  3. Eliminate tax prep from your firm altogether (a solution I embraced for 5 years).
  4. Go do something entirely different.

In all seriousness, the SMB market is where it’s at. I spent eight years in tax resolution in that space, and if all my other business exploded into oblivion tonight at 8:42pm, it’s exactly where I would go back to.

Businesses will always need YOU.

Heck, do you remember the Great Depression???

Eh? Eh? No? Yeah, me neither. I wasn’t born until about 50 years later.

But when history and economics collide, awesomeness ensues. Back in 1929, when even the CPA credential was routinely scoffed … Continue reading