1040TaxBiz has a number of how to marketing ideas for your income tax preparation services. Contact us to see how we can help you market your tax preparation business. Tax preparation services are in very high demand for a short period of time. The IRS expects over 140 million filed tax returns during the tax season. Early tax filers are typically those who expect a refund. They file between mid January and late February. Late tax filers are typically those who expect to owe taxes or are missing paperwork. They file between early and mid April. According to the IRS, just over 50% file by mid March, about 25% file between early and mid April, and about 7% file for a six-month extension.
Branding your Tax Preparation Services
Branding is related to defining, positioning, and delivering tax preparation services through increased customer loyalty, consumer confidence, and positive emotional connections. Branding defines who you are and how you are different from other tax preparers. You do not want to be just like everyone else. If you are, the primary difference between you and those others comes down to price, and that is not a recipe for success. Finding a Niche Market both brands you and gives you a competitive edge in the marketplace. A niche market is a small well-defined group of potential customers. It is much easier to be successful as a big fish in a small pond than an average fish in a big pond. Niche market and branding ideas for your tax preparation services should focus on your personal and professional strengths.
- Do you speak a language other than English? (Spanish, French, Polish, Korean, Cantonese, etc)
- Are you of a specific cultural background? (Navajo, Hmong, Armenian, Creole, etc)
- Are you of a specific religious background? (Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, etc)
- Do you have experience in a specific profession? (Car Dealership, Medical Doctor, Travel Agent, Non-Profit Organization, Military, etc)
- Are you in an isolated area? (Florida Keys, Aleutian Islands, desert, etc)
- Do you have experience with specific tax issues? (Immigration, Debt Relief, Divorce, Relocation, Real Estate, Hospitalization, etc)
- Are you a leader within an organization? (museum, business, real estate, aquarium, media, animals, entertainment, etc)
Leverage your experience, personal contacts, and professional contacts to brand yourself and gain loyal tax preparation customers.
Financial Plan for Your Tax Preparation Business
Before you spend a significant amount of money and time, you need to develop a financial plan for your tax preparation business. A financial plan is much more that a list of expenses. When prepared properly, it is a road map for the resources you will need (ex: office space, employees, office supplies, etc) and the money required to fund the project. How much money do you need to open the doors? How much do you expect to spend on marketing? How long before you expect to make a profit? A business plan can answer these questions and more.
Visual Design and Graphics
Marketing is something that needs to be done early and often. There are a number of components of a marketing strategy, but the most critical elements are those of a business name and company logo. The business name should be closely affiliated with your branding. A company logo should be a visual representation of your niche within the tax preparation market. If I wanted to specialize my tax preparation services toward those who travel, I might want a business name like Travel Tax Preparation and a website domain like traveltaxprep.com. The logo should have visual components representing both taxes and travel. Once you have a name and logo, you can and should start designing and developing your marketing materials, such as:
- Business Cards
- Office Signs
4 Most Important Marketing Tools
From personal experience, the four most important marketing tools for business are: business card, email, website, and telephone. The business card is small enough to fit in a wallet or purse. People will hold onto a business card longer than any other physical marketing materials, such as a flyer or magazine. The business card should have basic easy-to-read contact name, list of services, and contact information (email, phone, website).
A potential customer goes to a website for more information about your services. A website should be easy to navigate, full of information related to your services and niche market, and easy to find critical information (email, phone, address, description of services provided, and prices). A website is also useful with service and support issues by providing specific solutions to specific problems.
Customers will most often communicate with you and your company through email or telephone. Your emails should contain a footer with contact information, including phone, contact name, contact position, and website. You should have a reasonable and predictable response time to reply to incoming emails. A branded professional email like is better than one like . You should have reliable telephone service, and pick up an incoming call within 3 rings. Your automated messages should be short, friendly and helpful. Phone messages should be returned within a reasonable amount of time. There are less advantages to a toll-free 800 number than there were in the past. If you are operating a local business, you will want a local number. If you are operating a national business, an 800 number might be useful, but not necessarily your best option. Do your research before you commit to it.
Marketing Software Tools for Tax Prepararers
There is much more to tax preparation than having the best tax preparation software. Tax preparers need to have marketing software tools available that can:
- Store customer contact information.
- Communicate effectively with clients.
- Develop, submit, and track tax information.
- Create flyers, presentations, and documents.
- Design, develop and manipulate images, sounds and videos.
Market Niche Visibility
Market niche visibility is about placing your business in front of potential customers. In the branding section above, you identified your target market, such as those who speak Arabic in Eastern Michigan with large families. You are familiar with many of the cultural rules and tax laws that affect this group. You have developed marketing material specifically for this group of people, such as business cards in Arabic, that describes how they can have their taxes prepared and filed to receive the highest legal tax refund possible from someone trusted in the community.
There are numerous ways to improve niche market visibility, such as Social Media (Facebook, Youtube), attending local events where this group congregates, billboards, advertising in local Arabic publications, and advertising in Arabic programming on TV. Be creative, time efficient and cost-effective. At the end of the day, you want to find time- and cost-effective ways to get your services in front of target customers.
Word of Mouth – Your Best Marketing Tool
Word of mouth or friends telling friends always has and always be your best long-term strategy for a steady and reliable customer base. Advertising, pay-per-click, social media, websites, etc, can help you find new customers. If you want reliable income, however, customer loyalty is your secret weapon. If you want a successful business, you need to be focused on two things:
- 1) Solve your current customer’s problems in a way that they want to come back.
- 2) Make it easy and provide incentives for current customers to refer their friends and family.
There are a number of ways to accomplish these two goals, such as providing great customer service and offering referral fees to your current customers. Your focus should not be on price. It should be on value. Why should someone refer a friend? Because you made the whole experience easy and satisfying. Did you submit an accurate tax return with the best legal tax refund possible? Were you friendly and engaging? If they made an appointment, were you ready for them at that allotted time? Your best and worst marketing tools are your existing clients. If they like you, they will help you grow your business. If they do not like you, they will refer their friends and relatives to your competition.
What if I am just starting? Talk to friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, church members, and anybody you talk to on a regular basis. This can be a core group of customers that would likely be more loyal to you than someone else. Find a way to prepare their taxes. Make sure it is a positive experience. Encourage them to tell their friends. If you do this right, before you know it, you will have enough clients to operate your tax business.