Many tax accounting firms are seasonal and put all of their marketing efforts into tax season. The emergence of the virtual marketplace has changed the marketing rules. Many of the best ways to be found are free (or almost free), but require year-round effort. I have compiled a list of some of our best tips to get you started.
1) Online marketing is a marathon, not a sprint – Unless you have a very large pay-per-click advertising budget, you are most likely going to grow your business from organic search traffic. In order to move up the rankings, you need to feed Google and the search engines a constant stream of fresh content. You also have to make sure your website is built correctly from the ground up, using the correct meta titles, copy, schema.org settings and much more. The off-season should be spent developing custom content, sharing on social media and growing the number of places your brand is mentioned on the Web. Over time, this will build your brand ranking and result in higher organic search results during tax season. Starting this process in December will yield few results.
2) Reviews matter – This is one of the best strategies to super-charge your efforts. Proactively including reviews in your day-to-day process will help build more word of mouth for your practice. Think of it this way. Studies have shown us that 70% of consumers trust third-party online reviews. Your business is built by word of mouth. So, whether someone is referred to you by a current client or finds you online, what others say about you matters. Instead of waiting for a negative review, attracting a bunch of five-star recommendations help generate more momentum for additional reviews. So, whether you are adding reviews to TaxBuzz.com, Yelp or Google +, the quantity and quality will make a huge difference in your conversions, referral rates and even in your search results.
3) Year-round contact – The frequency at which you reach out to your audience factors into your billing rates, client satisfaction, off-season revenue, retention and referral rates. CountingWorks PRO (previously ClientWhys) customers average a 30% open rate from their email client newsletters (Constant Contact email benchmark for accountants is 18.44%). This is an easy way to keep your clients updated on tax law changes and planning strategies, but it also points out life event issues to clients upon which they need to act before the tax interview.
4) Build up social media networks – Auto posting to a token number of followers will probably yield very few results. We use a ton of strategies that help build up social media followings. Take the time during the off-season to identify your best client ambassadors and local area influencers and make sure you are following them on social media. They should reciprocate if you are posting valuable content. Do not repeatedly post sales-y copy. Using social media correctly will yield greater visibility of your brand, harness the power of social sharing and improve your overall search results.
5) Reach out to local bloggers and newspaper editors – The off-season is a great time to build rapport and your relationships with authority voices in your market. Make yourself available as a resource for tax-related stories or political issues. We were successful in getting local profile articles for several of our marketing clients using this same approach. You are showcasing your expertise and getting a very valuable inbound link to your website.