The end of tax season signals the ideal time for tax professionals to work on a plan to attract new customers. Time limitations often put the marketing aspect of a business on the back burner when the tax industry is at its busiest, so take advantage of the time while you have it. Here are a few tips to help you gain the competitive edge.
- Have a Web presence. It is projected that 3/4 of the total population will be online in 2012. That’s 239 million people searching the Internet every day. Having a presence on the web, in this day in age, is almost a necessity. If you’re open to hiring someone to develop and maintain a website for your business – do it. And be sure your web address is registered with the most popular search engines so that when someone searches for a tax practice in your area, your name will be one of the first to come up.
- Be social. Consider social media marketing. Two-thirds of all web users will use social networks in 2012. Facebook reports 263 million users check their account daily, closely followed by Twitter who currently welcomes approximately 200 million active daily users. Both sites offer business owners the opportunity to make announcements pertinent to their customers and their prospects. For example, you could offer a countdown reminder for the late-to-file tax payers, you could promote a referral program for new customers, or you could announce important industry-related news you think might affect some of your clients.
- Know your audience. No one knows the area you live in better than you. Think about where you find out about what’s happening in your area - the local paper, radio, billboards, etc. – and build on that. You can purchase ad space in a newspaper as small as a business card or as large as a two-page spread. And a 30-second radio spot that mentions your name, location, and phone number can be very effective. Consider using repetition or a catchy jingle so people will remember you.
- Attend local events. Networking among other business professionals is a great way to get your name out. Attend a local Chamber of Commerce meeting or host a meet-and-greet for professionals in your area. Or, participate in a local job fair, volunteer for a local charity, or be a guest speaker at a local college. Essentially, every person you meet could become a new customer.
- Encourage referrals. Consider offering a discount on tax prep fees for each new referral a current customer brings to you. You may even want to consider offering some type of incentive to the taxpayer looking for a new tax preparer – maybe a 10% discount or a gift card to a local restaurant for all new clients.
No matter how you choose to market your tax practice, have something unique to say. What makes your practice different from the others? If it’s superior customer service, reasonable fees, or years of experience - use that. There’s nothing wrong with bragging on yourself. And always remember one of the most effective forms of advertising is word-of-mouth. Always conduct yourself professionally and put your customers first – that’s a marketing tool you can use year-round.