The IRS began accepting tax returns this year on Jan. 23, with a deadline for filing on April 18, which means we’re currently at the peak of tax season. Tax season is typically the busiest time of year for CPAs and accountants, with many firms needing accountants to work 9-10 hours a day, 5-7 days a week.
Naturally, you’re probably more concerned with handling your current clientele than you are acquiring new tax clients. However, this is one of the rare times throughout the year where businesses and people are actively looking for your services. This is the perfect time to generate new tax clients. Who knows, these tax clients may start trying other services, as well.
Here is a crash course on how you can find and convert new tax clients during tax season:
#1: Know your target audience and plan accordingly
Before diving into the different strategies for finding and converting new tax clients, it’s important to understand that your marketing language and tactics will need to be adjusted, based on the type of tax client you are targeting. There are major differences in personal and business tax clients, so it’s important to understand those differences and tailor the strategies below, based on your unique target audience.
Take your time fine-tuning the desired audience. If you’re targeting companies, think about any specializations or niches with which your team has experience. Don’t move forward with any customer acquisition strategy, until you’ve narrowed down your target audience.
#2: Start with arm’s length marketing
Most accounting firms or CPAs don’t know where to begin when it comes to recruiting new tax clients. Well, the best place to start is with your sphere of influence. These individuals are you and your company’s direct network, including friends, family, business contacts, and current and previous clients.
Taking an arms length approach to marketing is an excellent way to generate new tax clients, especially during busy season. Because everyone needs to file taxes, you can easily work probing questions into a conversation. Consider emailing previous clients or business contacts to check in and see if they are interested in learning more about your tax services. Be willing to ask for new business; it’s an important step for generating new clients.
#3: Create a referral program
Similar to arm’s length marketing, another great way to generate new tax business is to develop a client referral program. Word-of-mouth advertising, or referrals, are two of the most effective strategies for drumming up new business. The reason referrals work so well is because the person or company giving the referral has already developed trust with the lead. When they refer your firm, they are transferring that trust to your company. Referrals provide peace of mind to the lead and break down a lot of the reservations that come with new relationships.
A referral program is a great way to perpetuate word-of-mouth advertising and referrals. Because you’re currently in the midst of tax season, now is the perfect time to push referrals from your current client base. Be creative and find unique and desirable incentives to elicit referrals.
#4: Use digital marketing
If you want to create a scalable approach to tax client recruiting and conversion, you need to be using digital marketing. Digital marketing is an excellent tool for generating traffic to your website and communicating your value proposition. Not only can you reach a larger audience, but it’s also available 24-hours a day and provides evergreen marketing communication that will live long after the tax filing deadline of April 18.
Some of the best strategies for generating tax clients online include the following:
Optimize your website for tax conversions. If you’re an accounting company or CPA that wants to generate more tax clients online, you should optimize your website to increase your conversion rate. A “conversion” is when someone visits your website and takes some additional action, such as calling you, completing a lead form, asking a question, or some other step that expresses intent or interest. There are several ways to increase web conversions, but some basics are:
- Add opt-in form with minimal entry fields.
- Create a popup highlighting your tax services.
- Add actionable language and guarantees.
Try local PPC. PPC is pay-per-click marketing. This type of digital marketing lets you target specific search terms and pay to have your website pages show up at the top of organic results. If you’ve ever searched Google for a term such as “local CPA,” you’ll see the PPC results marked with a green “Ad” tag. Using Google AdWords, you can find opportunities and search terms for local phrases that will help increase your qualified traffic. Use the AdWords keyword planner tool to find highly-used phrases that have relatively low competition.
Use social media to find and retain clients. Social media presence plays a major role in your lead generation. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are powerful platforms that can be used to generate tax clients, handle customer service and increase brand awareness. For instance, LinkedIn is an excellent way to facilitate B2B lead generation. Because most employees have a LinkedIn, you can easily find and connect with contacts from companies or industries for which you specialize.
Focus your content on tax. Tax-themed content is extremely important during tax season. You want a heavy dose of tax articles on your website, in your newsletters and on your social channels. Customers are searching for tax help, and if your blog and social channels aren’t covering tax topics, they’ll go elsewhere for that information and, ultimately, that business. During tax season, you should be publishing tax-themed content on your blog, social channels and email newsletters.
Don’t forget email marketing. Effective email marketing is becoming a lost art. With so many new flashy toys in the digital marketing arsenal, email marketing can be neglected. However, email is still one of the most effective ways to convert leads. Always segment your email lists. Try segmenting based on current customers, past customers and leads; this will help you customize and frame your conversations.
Tax season is in full swing, and most accounting firms and CPAs are up to their necks in work. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to attract and convert new clients. In fact, during busy season is the perfect time to find new tax clients. These potential clients are attentive to tax information and have their eyes and ears open. Try the online and offline strategies above to grow your tax clientele this year.