The 3 'M's of Growing Your Tax Practiceby
The three M’s are the foundation you build your tax business on. They are the three-legged marketing stool from which your core tax business promotions come.
If one of the three M’s doesn’t measure up, the stool falls over and your campaign is toast. These are market, message, and media.
Let’s Start with Market
Now everybody’s heard the term “target market.” The problem is very few tax pros can describe in detail “who” their target market is. And if a tax business owner can describe his or her target market to me, there’s usually no intentional and purposeful marketing plan currently being used to target this group.
So before you decide on a particular strategy for marketing your tax business, the first, most important question you must answer is, who?
Who is most likely to want to do business with your tax practice based on all the other tax-related service options out there? There are so many people in your market area that need help filing their taxes. And we both know you can do any and all of those tax returns.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. When you put yourself out there as being everything to everybody, you’ll actually reduce your response rates.
Your tax business marketing has to zero-in like a laser and target one, two, three, or a small handful of specific markets who, when coming across your ad, will say, “Hey, that’s for me. I’m calling them right now.”
It answers the question, “Why?” as in, why in the world should somebody in your market area (or online) choose you? (Having the same answer as your competition is not going to cut it.) Have you given them a reason?
Here’s what happens: Most people who get into the tax business just hang out a shingle saying, “I do tax returns,” and hope for the best. Maybe they think, “I’m going to be over on this side of town because there are no tax businesses over here. I’ll just open up shop and see how it goes.” Or another tax pro will take the opposite approach and say, “Oh, well, the brand-name competition is there, so I’m going to go open an office right next to them because that’s where the people who pay for tax-preparation services are going.”
I understand both of these strategies, but that’s still not answering the very important question of message. You must be able to articulate to your target market why they should choose you compared to the CPA across the street, or the national tax franchise downtown, or even that independent tax firm that’s been in business for decades right down the road.
Note: Don’t forget you need to answer the question, “Why should your target market choose you versus filing their taxes online themselves?” Taxpayers think they can do a good job, but you and I both know they’re nuts to try and go it alone with Uncle Sam these days. They’re way better off calling you, but you haven’t given them any great reasons to do so in your marketing.
Actually, you’ll want to give multiple reasons for your target market to choose you over all the other options available to them. These reasons are called your unique selling propositions (USPs). You stack these USPs up in your promotional campaign and make an irresistible offer your target market can’t refuse!
Properly crafted, your tax business’ USPs answer the “why” question.
The third M (or leg) of this three-legged marketing stool is media. It answers the question how. How are you going to deliver your promotion to a specific group of taxpayers? (Your target market – the who.)
Now media can take many forms of advertising vehicles. Media can be standing up and speaking at an event or even a luncheon. Media can be putting an ad in a local newspaper. It can be TV, radio – all forms of mass broadcasts. Obviously, direct mail, email, and websites are media. Banners, billboards, signs, fliers, social media, and online videos are all forms of media. The point is there are many different ways to deliver your marketing message, and there are pros and cons to all of them.
Because I’m a direct response marketing consultant, I want to measure and track what kinds of advertising work and don’t work. I always want to hold my marketing accountable. Direct response media has to be able to deliver the message to reach a particular target group effectively and affordably.
I want to know my return on investment (ROI) with every media I use so I can decide whether it’s wise for me to redo the marketing campaign or not. The trick is to find multiple different media sources that all yield an acceptable range of ROI so you can outspend your competition.
If you can afford to invest more in your tax business’ marketing campaigns than your competitors, you will “steal” more than your fair share of new tax clients in your area.