A common comment I hear from CPAs, EAs and tax accounting professionals is that they are not taking on any “new” clients. I always pause before I respond, since I know that taking on no new clients means the firm is actually dying a slow death.
No matter how well you serve clients, a percentage will organically stop being clients. There are a number of life events that affect the health of a practice. Clients get married, they move, they pass away, they divorce, they close their businesses, etc.
These events are out of your control. If an average practice of 350 clients loses 7% per year, that means you will need to replace 25 clients annually to stay at break even. Do nothing and your practice will be below 300 clients in just a few years.
The good news is it is not that hard to continually attract new clients without a huge marketing expense. Better yet, if you act correctly, you will add new clients that fit your niche and are willing to pay more.
It all starts with you and consistently following these best marketing practices.
1) Be Responsive: Do you respond to clients in a professional and timely manner? Even when you don’t have time to address their issue, send a quick note that you are working on it and tell them when they can expect a response. The most common complaint we see on TaxBuzz.com reviews is that the professional ignores clients or does not respond.
2) Invest in yourself: Whether you work primarily in tax or specialize in accounting, technology and complexity in the tax code make it imperative that you are ready to meet your clients' ever-changing needs, point blank. You need to know what you are talking about. Cutting corners on your tax update CPE or not keeping up with the latest cloud accounting apps can have a negative effect on your practice’s health. More importantly, the more you invest in yourself with high-quality training, the less time you will spend serving your clients. Solving problems will become second nature, as you will know the answers to complex problems without the extra 4 hours of research.
3) Communicate year-round: There are so many ways to build rapport with your client base and potential prospects. Email newsletters, blogs and social media make it very cost-effective to communicate year-round. You will be amazed at the feedback, new consultations and referrals that will come in if you are consistent with your marketing communications. You are not selling. You are showcasing your expertise in a repeatable manner. So when the timing is right, your name will be front and center. There is a direct correlation between the frequency of your communication and the amount you charge. The stronger your client relationships, the more likely they will refer their family, colleagues and friends. Your influencers already know you will make them look good because you are proactive.
4) Showcase your expertise with testimonial reviews: No one tells your story better than current, satisfied clients. Making reviews part of your marketing tasks is the most cost-effective strategy you can take on this year. First, you never want to wait until you get a 1-star review and then just react. By being proactive, you can build up a number of five-star reviews on sites like TaxBuzz.com, Google My Business and Yelp. These reviews are signals to the search engines that your brand should be ranked higher, plus they are great at converting referrals or even web leads to clients. Reviews naturally start building up trust for you before someone has ever contacted you.
5) Be visible online: Social media and online marketing have changed the rules on small practices being able to compete for new business. While most firms are priced out of Google Adwords, working on building a great website, maintaining a strong social media presence and utilizing off-page SEO techniques can bring long-lasting results. With online marketing, there are no shortcuts. You need to be active and produce content that builds up your reputation. Blogging and sharing this information on your social media sites is one of the smartest investments you can make for your firm. In today’s highly competitive and transparent world, CPAs, EAs and tax professionals must show up in online searches and maintain an online network to maximize the odds of their brand being found. By regularly sharing your expertise and know-how on your blog, you increase the probability that searchers will find your brand online. More importantly, you will become a reference for people who can vouch for your expertise on social media.
We have worked with thousands of tax and accounting professionals to help them build five-star practices. These strategies are proven to deliver, with thousands experiencing positive results. These are long-term strategies that build upon themselves and are built to last. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely your brand is to get ranked higher in the search engines and recommended more on social media. Building a strong review profile makes it even easier to convince people you are the best professional for them. We no longer live in a world where you control the narrative; now two-way conversations are the norm. And you want your brand to be part of that dialogue.