We have been approached with many new niche ideas and this was one that I had never heard of. Apparently, the tax code has a classification called “innocent-spouse”, which enables a spouse to protection as a result of evasive or dishonest financial behavior from their spouse. It also covers divorces where one person fails to pay tax on the income and intends to leave the other spouse with the tax bill. Clearly, the person claiming they are innocent must provide the appropriate documentation to prove they did not know about the income or fraudulent activity. And the two year window now appears to be widening to ten years of being duped which opens the floodgates.
Over the years, I have several legal buddies who have shared their juicy war stories over a libation or two. This niche would be ripe with interesting tidbits and worth a few laughs too. I’m sure you can only imagine some of the stories that this unique niche creates.
All kidding aside, the innocent spouse relief niche is one to consider for those that have a developed an expertise in divorce accounting, IRS Problem Resolution, and/or forensic accounting. If this niche intrigues you, take a look at how we organized the innocent spouse relief niche for this accountant.
Lead generation programs using “cold call” telemarketing to capture leads has been on decline for several decades now. For whatever reason, many accountants still consider using cold call telemarketing even though they personally hate the tactic themselves. If you are considering deploying a smile and dial campaign, I strongly urge you to reconsider for the following reasons.
- Telemarketing has been negatively associated with various scams and frauds, which is the opposite association that you want to create for your accounting practice. In a nutshell, most people consider the telemarketing process as an unethical business practice because it uses a high pressure sales technique to turn you into a lead. Most accountants that I know prefer to operate in a consultative manner, and hate the snake oil salesman approach. For example, what would be your first impression of a lawyer in town who started telemarketing small business owners. Would you think he was desperate? Would you think he was ethical? This is how small business owners feel when you cold call them. Cold call telemarketing does not create the appropriate image for your accounting practice.
- Telemarketing leads are hard to convert and quickly turn your service into a commodity because the prospect has agreed to an appointment with very little interest in your practice. And after thinking further, they often cancel the appointment. In fact, they probably know nothing about you and your firm and don’t care until the price is lower than what they currently pay.
- Retention rates for telemarketing leads is dramatically shorter than referrals and inbound marketing. That’s right, the average duration of a new client obtained through cold call telemarketing will be shorter because they will leave you once the next person calls with a lower price.
- Outbound telemarketers are calling as representatives of your accounting firm and hold your firm reputation in their hands. Do you really feel comfortable that the person calling to set up appointments will position your firm’s reputation properly? Typically, the people who will perform the task of calling small business owners are not reliable, trustworthy or professional. Your reputation can be tarnished locally by hiring low end appointment setters.
- People like to shop but hate being sold to. In other words, we all enjoy the hunt and are willing to shop online to find products and services which meet our needs. However, most of us hate being pitched and sold to. Telemarketing is not marketing, it’s a sales pitch which is repulsive to business owners in your surrounding communities. Learn how to use inbound marketing techniques to attract qualified prospects to your firm rather than push your message onto prospects in a sales oriented fashion.
Personally, I can’t remember the last time I agreed to engage in a cold call. I try hard to be polite and wait until they come up for air but quickly depart from the call. Think about it yourself, when was the last time you bought something that started with a cold call appointment?
The emergence of website marketing, reputation management tools, and social media has changed how you should implement your marketing program. Learn how to improve the quality of your marketing system and modernize your approach.
If you are like many other tax accountants, now is the time to revamp your marketing program for the upcoming busy season. With the rapidly changing world of internet marketing, there are many new developments that should be incorporated into your marketing arsenal. Here are some suggestions:
a.) Accounting Marketing Program – Take an educational program to modernize your approach to lead generation, marketing and growing your practice.
b.) Attend some marketing webinars – This is a baby step but can be beneficial.
Below are several tax accountants that have updated their online marketing to generate more business in the months ahead.
There are tons of opportunities to update your marketing for the busy season ahead.
As we all know, each practice in the accounting industry is unique. Some are attest oriented while others are tax focused. Some like QuickBooks while others hate QuickBooks. Some are operated by a sole practitioners while others have many partners and staff members. That’s why it is so important to have a website which is customized around the type of accounting practice that you have.
At Build Your Firm, we customize websites around the type of practice that you have and don’t squeeze you into a design that does not meet your needs. Below are some examples of how unique our industry is:
As you can see from the range of firms above, the content that we write for a CPA Firm with 13 office locations is extremely different that a Payroll Provider and/or a Bookkeeping Firm. That’s why we customize the website that we design around the type of practice you have rather than throw you into a cookie cutter template loaded with tools and features which you don’t want.
Let us customize a pretty website around your unique practice and bring your practice to life. Check out how we design websites by the type of practice you have.
Stop accepting the school uniform and show off your individuality.
Over past ten years, we’ve seen a huge shift away from traditional write-up over towards QuickBooks. That’s right, the traditional shoe box type client has become more technologically savvy and is more willing to reconcile their checkbook, code the checks properly, and send their file electronically to their accountant for review, and corrections. By all means, I’m not saying that shoe box clients are extinct, they still exist but the frequency has declined rapidly as small business owners have adopted today’s computer and online world.
If you’d like to acquire more QuickBooks review clients, here are some suggestions:
a.) Consider attending an Accounting Marketing Program which provides you with step-by-step instruction on how to market, price and close these type of clients.
b.) Order a website which demonstrates that your firm accepts businesses which use QuickBooks. Yes, there are many accountants who still hate QuickBooks and are not apprehensive to scare these type of clients away. See examples at bottom of article.
c.) Become a Certified Pro in several ways to demonstrate that you embrace business owners who use this software. Granted, becoming “certified” by Intuit is not a test of proficiency, it’s a badge that you wear to attract more clients.
If you want to grow aggressively, you need to do more than stick your toe in the water. It’s time to put your mouth onto the end of the fire hose and do a ten count. Ok, just kidding but you get my point.
Here are some examples of accountants who are embracing QuickBooks and following a holistic process to acquire more QB clients. In each case, the accountant has elected to dedicate a website to this target audience, even though they have another website which positions them as more of a generalist, jack of all trades firm. Net, nobody is restricting you to just one website.
Stop trying to swim against the current. If you want younger business owners as clients, it’s time to swallow the QB pill.
Occasionally, we all stumble upon a website that is so simple and to the point that the light bulb goes on. It sucks us into providing our contact information.
Here is one example where a accountant has effectively used an free book offer and a free consultation to generate leads galore. Yes, the website is optimized in the search engines and is easy to locate but what makes the difference is that this website speaks to the website visitor so quickly. It’s simple, to the point, and extremely effective.
As background, Rohit is a Northern Virginia CPA that attended our Accounting Marketing Program many years ago when he was still in college attending University of Virginia. Yes, he was determined to learn his craft while in undergrad and has attended a couple of times to learn more.
If you truly want more leads from the internet, consider the free book offer approach that Rohit Kalra has incorporated into his website. By all means, Rohit is extremely effective after he meets with the prospect and can sell ice to Eskimo’s but his marketing message hits it out of park so he generates more leads.
Consider the free book offer if you want to get in front of more prospective clients. Yes, it takes work to write the book, get it printed, and fulfill it but if you understand our industry model, it works in the long run.
Traditionally, Litigation Support and Forensic Accounting services were marketing strictly by word of mouth and reputation based. In other words, the primary way to grow this segment of the practice was to network with attorneys and build a stellar reputation gradually over time. However, as attorneys have become more adept at using search engines to research online, they have discovered that there may be more options out there for outsourcing litigation support and forensic accounting work.
Here are some examples of CPA firms effectively using internet marketing to generate more Litigation Support and Forensic Accounting engagements.
If there is a niche which you’d like to develop in your practice, let us bring it to life for you.
Below is an interesting article on how a Baltimore accounting firm is capitalizing on the internet and social media. The practice is a Father and Son accounting firm that has been operating since 1973. The son has done a great job taking this practice to the next plateau.
While many parts of our Federal Government are temporarily shut down, there are other parts of the government that proceed as usual like our military and defense departments.
One unique niche service that has generated more interest is Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). Essentially, there are accounting firms helping private companies who have contracts/subcontracts with U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Essentially, these contractors and subcontractors need to comply with DCAA Cost Accounting Standards and must be standardized. For prospective companies who are seeking to bid on contracts, it often helps to incorporate this into your bids.
Below are several accounting firms that we’ve helped bring this niche to life:
If you were a small contractor seeking to close a deal with the US Government, wouldn’t you want some to guidance to overcome the endless layers of red tape??
With the endless list of things “to do” during extension season, we often forget about the small things that cut through and connect with our clients.
Connecting with your ever growing list of small business and individual clients is a great opportunity to generate more referrals. Below is one example:
Email Newsletters – You should be sending out an email newsletter twice per month. In the opening greeting of your newsletter, this is a huge opportunity to announce what’s new in your office. This can be something as little as a new hire, new service to a nudge.
In the Build Your Firm email newsletter, the September 15th articles have generated more responses than normal. For example, there is one article about James Gandolfini’s (Tony Soprano) estate tax issues and how the IRS walked away with nearly 55% of his assets. If you’d like to generate some local buzz and stimulate some inquiries about what they should be doing to avoid this same error, then send out the email newsletter twice a month.