How to Get Rich by Postcard Marketing

14 Simple Marketing Steps to More Tax Preparation and Accounting Clients

Certified public accountants (CPAs) and tax preparers who own their own small businesses have A LOT on their plates.

On top of everything that comes with running a business — paying bills, hiring qualified employees, keeping up with new tax laws — you need to MARKET your tax services.

Well, I hope I can make that last one easier on you…

More specifically:

Marketing your accounting and tax preparation services during tax season.

You know, this stuff…

income tax postcard

You may be racking your brain for accountant marketing ideas, thinking you can’t out-market all of the big-budget advertising behind the tax powerhouses (ahem, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt).

But guess what?

You can certainly market SMARTER. (And guess what else? If you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track!)

I’m going to lay out an easy-to-follow tax preparer marketing plan to help guide you to your most booming tax season ever.

Let’s go!

1.) Send a Tax Postcard to the People Who are 12 Times More Likely to Use Your Services.

For accountant marketing, your current tax clients are your best target. They’ve already given you the ultimate vote of confidence — their money!

They just need to be REMINDED that you filed their income taxes before and that it’s time to file again.

An existing customer is 12 times more likely to ask you to prepare their taxes again than a prospect, according to Marketing Metrics. If you don’t market to them, you’re flat-out leaving money on the table!

Hopefully you have a database of your tax and accounting clients with contact information. If not, it’s time to sort through all of those previous years’ returns and create one.

customer list

Sending personalized postcards is a good way get their attention and tell them they’re a valued client. Plus, they’re more likely to keep your income tax postcard as a reminder to actually call your office to get started on their filing!

Using Variable Data Printing, personalized postcards customize the elements of the design based on the attributes of the recipient — their name, gender, etc.

Something else to consider:

You can add a magnet to the back of your tax mailer that encourages customers to pop it right on the fridge.

magnetic postcard

Pro tip:

Whatever you do, don’t treat customers like prospects — it’s an insult to them and bad form on your part! Sending out tax prep postcards that offer “10% off for new clients” tells them you don’t remember or appreciate them.

That is NOT the message you want to send!

2.) Send Email Reminders for Up to a 3,700% Return on Investment on Your Tax Marketing.

Email marketing software like MailChimp or ConstantContact can pull email addresses directly from your database and fill in your customers’ names automatically. Or, if you don’t have a database of customers, you can manually enter their emails or upload an excel spreadsheet.

When you compose your tax service marketing message, you can use a placeholder for your recipient’s name or other variable information, and the software dynamically populates it with the correct data for each customer.

So instead of sending out hundreds of emails, you just create one.

Like this:

email reminder

Make sure your email is coming from a name they recognize. The “from” field of your email should use your first and last name if that’s how your clients know you. If your clients know you by a different business name, use that.

Your clients are busy, so keep it short!

Tip: Send out THREE emails over the course of several weeks to be sure you get their attention (without blowing up their inbox)!

3.) Talk to Your Past Clients Where 58% of Them Go Everyday – Facebook!

Facebook is by far the most popular social media site — 58% of Americans have an account. Do your tax advertising there!

If you don’t have a Facebook business page yet, click here for an easy-to-follow tutorial.

If you do have a Facebook page, you can upload your database of your customers’ email addresses and Facebook will match them to their profiles and allow you to target ads specifically to them.

Here’s how:

First, save your list in CSV format. Then go to Facebook to create a custom audience.

Start by clicking on Customer List, then follow the directions to upload your CSV file.

create facebook audience 1

Facebook will ALWAYS find some errors in your file (these are usually people they can’t find). Just hit “Continue Uploading File.”

create facebook audience 2

Once you’ve uploaded your list, you can create your ad. (More on this in a bit!) Remember: It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, according to global management consulting firm Bain & Company. So hit those past clients on every possible channel you can!

4.) Analyze Your Top Client Demographics and Avoid Wasting Money Marketing to the Wrong Audience.

Sure, you can paper the walls of the local laundromat or coffee shop with tax preparation flyers, but as far as tax service marketing strategies go…

I wouldn’t waste my time.

You can market your tax prep services until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re not reaching the right market with the right message, you’re throwing money away!

Who is your target market? The people who are most likely (and qualified) to use your services!

How do you find them?

Go through last year’s returns! As you’re looking through your files, note the commonalities among your most profitable clients.

Some things to pay attention to:

  • Are your customers mostly personal or business filers?
  • Married joint filers or singles?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their income bracket?
  • What deductions do they have in common?
  • Are they homeowners?
  • Where do they live?
  • Do they own businesses or rental properties?

Were your most profitable clients mostly young, active, married homeowners with multiple children and a household income of $100k or more? Then THAT’S who you target with your tax office marketing!

stick figure family

Now the question is: How do you find more people like that?

5.) Get An Exact Count of Your Best-Client Matches With This 60-Second Online Count.

Don’t waste money marketing to people who aren’t interested in or qualified to use your services. Make sure you get the best possible return on investment (ROI) on your tax preparer advertising by purchasing a mailing list that comprises your ideal prospects.

You can narrow down your list by any number of factors:

  • Income
  • Investable private assets
  • Homeowner
  • Home value
  • Zip code
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Children present
  • Even interests and what they’ve recently purchased!

At PostcardMania.com, you can run a list count for FREE to see how many people in your area fit your ideal demographic.

It’s easy:

  1. Go to http://www.postcardmania.com/lp/mailing-lists

listcount1

  1. Select your geographical area (you can choose by zip codes, city, county, radius, etc.) and how many people you want to target.

listcount2

  1. Define your audience using your selected demographics

listcount3

Even if you don’t end up buying your mailing list from us, this will give you an accurate count of how many matches there are.

If you decide to purchase your mailing list elsewhere, ask your list company the following questions:

  • How often is your data updated? (If it’s less than monthly, move on!)
  • What amount of deliverability do you guarantee? (The answer should be 90% deliverability or more.)
  • Will they refund you for postage and production costs for anything beyond the deliverable guarantee?

You’ll ALWAYS get some undeliverables (pieces that couldn’t be delivered), that’s normal — people move all the time! But if you use a reputable list company, you should get no more than 10% (at the VERY MOST) of your pieces returned. (PostcardMania’s lists generally have closer to a 5% undeliverable rate.)

6.) Get an Influx of High-Quality Leads with Time-Tested Direct Mail Tax Postcards.

The more tax preparation marketing postcards you send out, the more leads you will have coming in. You can’t just send out one CPA postcard — and nothing else — and expect prospects to start banging down your door.

It just doesn’t work that way!

You need a consistent, repetitive, multi-faceted marketing campaign.

Accounting postcards are a PROVEN way to generate leads for your business. Direct Mail gets 50x the response rate of when targeting prospects, according to the Direct Marketing Association (and 10x the response rate of pay per click advertising)!

And check this out: 39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising.

After helping more than 71,200 small businesses (1,964 tax prep and accounting clients — and counting!), PostcardMania can create a revenue-generating tax prep postcard based on proven results.

Our marketing experts recommend including these 10 essential postcard elements in your design:

  1. A clear, bold headline: Don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness. Tell your recipient right away what service you’re advertising. A good guideline is for the headline to take up at least 15% of the postcard front.
  2. A graphic that supports the message: The main image should be easy to understand and should help convey the message (it should be of money or something related to money — like a piggy bank).
  3. Color that pops: Make the headline and other important text stand out in a color that contrasts well with the rest of the postcard elements. Ask yourself what you see first when you look at the card — it should be the headline!
  4. Sub headlines that lead into text: This gives recipients a “point of entry” on the back of your card — it tells them where to start reading! If you just slap a ton of text on the back of the card, no one will bother to read it.
  5. Benefits, not features: This is the one our clients struggle with the most. Don’t just tell prospects how great you are, tell them what YOU can do for THEM. For most of them that’s going to mean either saving them money or getting them more money back.
  6. A valuable offer: Your prospects have hundreds of options when it comes to where they’re going to file their taxes. Give them a good reason to come to YOU. Be sure to include an expiration date to encourage them to act sooner rather than later!
  7. Your business name and logo: This is important, but it can be small. Don’t let it overshadow your message.
  8. A call to action: Many business owners assume people know what to do once they see your marketing piece: THEY DON’T! Tell them exactly what step to take next with a clear call to action (CTA), e.g., “Call today for an appointment!”
  9. Your contact information: Make it easy for your prospects to reach you. We suggest our clients include this data on the front AND back of the card.
  10. Your return address: You need this not only to get back those undeliverable postcards, but it adds legitimacy to your business. People like to know they’re dealing with a real business with an actual location.

Click here to see examples of tax preparation postcard templates that are working for our current tax clients (and request free samples)!

7.) Maximize Your Results with Two Campaigns: Early Filers and Late Filers

When thinking about your tax office marketing ideas, consider this:

Our data suggests splitting your tax preparer marketing into two campaigns yields a better ROI — one for early filers and one for late filers. You want to reach each group with the right message.

Using the options listed in #5, you can create two mailing lists:

  1. Early filers, who are generally in the lower income brackets and are eager to receive their refund
  2. Late filers, who generally have higher incomes and may owe money

Then, include a valuable offer that makes switching income tax preparers — or having them done by a professional for the first time — worth their while!

For early filers, our successful tax prep clients have found that using dollar amounts is effective:

  • $50 tax prep
  • $30 off tax prep

And for late filers:

  • Flat fee ($99, for example)
  • Free e-file

8.) Increase Your Response Up to 400% with Google Follow-Up Ads.

Repetition and follow up are the keys to success in marketing!

Not only does repetition help get your prospect’s attention, it keeps you top-of-mind when they’re ready to call a tax preparer for help. It also helps create a sense of familiarity and credibility — sending multiple postcards to your prospects tells them you’re not going anywhere any time soon.

In addition to sending multiple income tax postcards, studies show that retargeting (also called remarketing) your prospects online can provide awesome returns. According to CMO.com:

  • Google follow-up ads can boost ad response up to 400 percent
  • Website visitors who are shown Google follow-up ads are 70 percent more likely to convert

DirectMail2.0 combines direct mail postcards and Google follow-up ads to create exponentially better results!

Here’s how it works:

  • An unobtrusive piece of coding is added to your website that “cookies” your visitors
  • Your prospects get your postcard in the mail
  • They need someone to help with their taxes, so they check you out online
  • They’re not ready to make an appointment yet ¾ or perhaps they’re still shopping around — so they leave your site without taking action
  • They start seeing your ads on other websites all over the internet, reminding them that they were interested in you!

tax

9.) Join the 77% of Marketers Finding New Customers on Facebook.

Your prospects are on social media. You should be, too. You already targeted your past customers on Facebook in step 4 above, but now we’ll tell you how to reach out to people who haven’t used you yet.

It seems complicated, I know — and Facebook’s ever-changing rules can be frustrating. But you NEED to be there:

Go into your Facebook Ad Manager and make your selections. What action you want your prospects to take…

creating fb ad step 1

Then choose your audience…

create fb ad step 2

Choose your budget…

create fb ad step 3

And create your ad.

create fb ad step 4

10.) Send Google Searches to Your Website and Snag Tax Filers Looking for Help.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is when you run a sponsored ad with Google and pay every time someone clicks on your ad. In a competitive industry like tax preparation, creating a cost-effective PPC campaign is an expensive proposition.

Here are some of the suggested bids for tax-related keywords:

tax preparation keywords

The key to Pay-Per-Click success when advertising tax services is showing your ad to QUALIFIED prospects and avoiding wasted clicks. One way to do this is to include negative keywords in your bids.

For example:

Someone searching for “Free tax preparation” is NOT a qualified prospect, since they are looking to file their taxes for FREE.

If you include the negative keyword “free” in your bid, your ad won’t appear in searches that include that word.

Likewise, people searching for “tax preparation software” aren’t good prospects, since they are looking to file their taxes themselves. People searching for “tax refund tracking” have already filed — so they’re not good prospects, either.

You see where I’m going with this. You can include a million other negative keywords — get creative! As your campaign goes on, you can add more and more — negative keywords cost you $0.

On the other hand, unqualified clicks DO cost you — literally!

negative keyword examples

 

With so many variables and the constant monitoring necessary to maintain a profitable campaign, it might be worth the expense to hire a PPC specialist to handle it for you.

11.) Optimize Your Accounting Website for Local Search — it’s FREE!

Your prospects are looking for you ¾ or SOMEONE local who provides tax preparation services ¾ online. Make sure they find YOUR BUSINESS!

According to recent Google research, people who conduct local searches are ready to take action:

  • 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within ONE day
  • 34% of people who searched on a computer or tablet did the same

That’s why you should create your FREE local business listing for your accounting or tax business, if you haven’t already.

That way, when your prospects search for “tax prep” and your city, YOUR business appears, not just your competition.

This is what it looks like:

local business listings

All of the major search engines offer these free listings, but they don’t always make the sign-up pages easy to find. (This local business listing tutorial has links that will take you directly to the forms you need.)

Tip: The more information you can add, the better!

12.) Close 50% More Customers with an Email Drip Campaign.

Smart email marketing is one of the most effective ways to build relationships with your prospects and customers, generating 50 percent more sales for businesses, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

Set up an email drip campaign to keep your message in front of people who reach out to your business. (If they reached out to you, they’re a LEAD, by the way!)

An email drip campaign, if you’re not familiar, is just a series of messages that are sent out in a predetermined order on a predetermined schedule.

For example:

  • Someone joins your email list and they immediately receive email #1
  • A few days later, they get email #2
  • A week after signing up, they get email #3
  • And so on!

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It’s not. MailChimp and other email marketing software can automate it for you so that as soon as you get a lead, that person gets an email — and you don’t have to even think about it.

You do have to write them, though!

Some tips:

  • Keep them short — or no one will read them!
  • Use their name in the subject line to increase open rate up to 26% (Capterra)
  • End the email with a question that they will feel compelled to respond to (e.g. “Do you need help figuring out your deductions?”

You can also hire a company (like PostcardMania) to write and send your email campaigns for you!

But wait — how do you get those email addresses?

Like this:

  1. Create a dedicated landing page for your prospects to visit that continues the message on your marketing materials.
  2. Include a lead capture form on that landing page that offers prospects something of value — an extra 10% off your services or an email newsletter full of money-saving tips, for example — in exchange for their name and email address.

13.) Start Blogging For a 13x Better Return on Investment on Your Tax Peparer Advertising.

A blogging platform like WordPress is easy to use and can be hosted right on your website.

Starting a blog today might not help you this season, but by the time next tax season rolls around, you will have established yourself as a knowledgeable source and built up a lot of good content and keywords for Google to find.

And that means more prospects finding your website through search engines.

The best part about blogging? All it costs is your time. Learn how to get started on your business blog here.

I’ll end this post with one more marketing tool that costs even less than THAT…

14.) Attract 88% More Clients with Online Reviews of Your Accounting Services.

Let’s take a closer look at some of those Google search results.

5 star review

Which of those listings capture your attention first? The one with the 5-star ratings, right?

Not only do those stars help your business listing stand out in the search results, but they add IMMEASURABLY to your credibility.

All other things being equal, I’m going to call the business with the 5-star ratings over an unknown quantity.

And I’m not alone:

Don’t assume that just because a client leaves happy, they’re going to run straight home and give you a 5-star review. YOU HAVE TO ASK!

Questions? Call our consultants at 800-628-1804 to talk about anything I discussed here or any other tax preparer marketing ideas — it’s FREE! Or you can email me directly at Joy.Gendusa@PostcardMania.com any time.

Best,

Joy

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