Strategizing how to grow your tax business can seem daunting. It’s already a challenge to satisfy your current client base with limited resources. Don’t be discouraged! SurePrep has helped firms of all sizes achieve growth since 2002. We’ve seen tax practices like yours surpass their goals with the right strategies, marketing, and workflows.
Based on our extensive experience, here are six easy steps your firm can take to nurture sustainable growth.
1. Analyze your target client demographics
Before marketing to potential clients, you should first have a clear vision of what clientele you want to attract. Do you want to target select clientele with complex wealth management needs? Or throw a wide net to capture a large volume of clients with simple 1040s? Are your services most appropriate for clients in a specific line of work or in a particular phase of life? Examine your current client base and consider what brought them to your firm in the first place.
Once you understand what needs you serve, ask yourself: What do people with these needs look like? What are their demographic and behavioral traits?
Does your clientele skew younger?
Younger clients are wary of paper and prefer to manage their taxes digitally. If you ask a younger client to “scan” a document, they might take a photo with their smartphone and email it.
Does your clientele skew older?
Older taxpayers tend to be less tech-savvy and need an interface that’s easy to use. They may also prefer a more personal, hands-on approach from their tax professional.
Is your clientele local or are you targeting clients from all over the county?
Long-distance clients need to feel assured that your firm has the infrastructure and technology to collaborate remotely. Local clients might expect a personal relationship that they can’t get from a national firm.
2. Clarify your positioning and align your marketing strategy
You know your target audience; now they need to know you. Reassess your firm’s brand identity through their eyes. What purpose, vision, and values do you want to communicate? What motivates your team? Why should taxpayers choose you over competitors? Answer these questions in a tone that speaks to your target audience.
For example, consider these contrasting mission statements:
“Our mission is to support the financial health of our community members.”
“Our mission is to support the financial success of exceptional individuals.”
These statements tell very different people, “We’re the firm for you.”
Finally, your firm’s specialty should be front and center. Do you specialize in managing clients with international assets? Or perhaps clients with a history of IRS trouble? Do you pair tax preparation with holistic financial services? Whatever your forte is, make sure it’s the first thing your visitors see. Put it above the fold on your website. You can even work it into your slogan or stamp it on your business cards.
Once you’ve crafted the messaging that best represents your practice, revise all your materials. That includes your website, email templates/signatures, and ads—even your phone scripts and voicemail message. Make sure your language speaks to your target audience across the board.
3. Audit your workflow to prepare for growth
As your client base grows, you’ll need to ensure that your firm has the time and resources to process a greater number of returns. The best place to start? Identify the biggest bottlenecks in your current process and address them.
Do partners spend too much time on review?
If your firm spends too much time on review, it’s time to rethink your tax workpaper system. If you haven’t already, make the switch to digital binders and research a good workpaper preparation software. With the right tool, your preparers can hyperlink source documents to their final amounts. This means reviewers no longer have to spend time rifling through the binder.
Do preparers spend too much time on data entry into tax software?
Data entry into tax software creates bottlenecks. The right scan-and-populate solution can automate a large chunk of the workload. OCR has been around for decades, but the technology has made major strides in recent years. Accuracy has improved and it’s now possible to automate data entry for hundreds of new document types. Some documents can even be auto-verified. Learn more about OCR→
Do clients submit documents at the 11th hour?
The importance of a user-friendly client collaboration platform cannot be overstated. Some platforms can now pull your clients’ documents automatically the same day they’re issued. Workflows that make clients scan, print, or mail will cause delays.
4. Build feedback collection into your process
It’s crucial to ensure that your current client experience is satisfactory. Why? Referrals are a powerful way to get new clients for your tax preparation business. Earning long-term loyalty increases positive word of mouth. Client retention is also an essential part of growth. Your marketing efforts go to waste if your churn exceeds your gain.
Survey your clients at the end of every tax season to identify common issues. Make a plan of action to fix those issues well ahead of next season. Communicate enhancements to your clients before they have a chance to consider alternatives.
Positive reviews are also an asset. Ask your highly satisfied clients if you can quote their feedback in marketing materials.
The best way to survey clients consistently is to build it into your process. Send your feedback survey along with the finished return and enroll your clients in reminder emails. If response rates are low, offer incentives for completion.
5. Implement a referral program
Your existing client base is a network that penetrates your target audience. Use it to get the word out. Empower your clients to offer a discount when they refer a friend, family member, or colleague to your business. Clients make genuine referrals when they believe it will benefit the people who trust them. By empowering your clients with a discount, you make them feel they have a “gift” to give.
Wrap the gift for them. Include the referral offer with their finalized return. The copy, graphics, and referral code should be ready-made. The only thing your clients should need to do is click “share.”
This strategy can pay substantial dividends in the long term and should easily make up for the one-time discounts.
6. Work with a partner organization
Remember, you’re not the only business looking for growth opportunities. Joining a CPA organization gives your firm the chance to network, gain exposure, and keep up with industry trends.
Don’t neglect partnerships on the local level. Look for nearby businesses in the financial industry to collaborate with, such as bookkeepers or wealth management groups. Mutual referrals can bolster both your bottom lines if your services are complementary. Besides referrals, you can gain exposure to one another’s client base via guest blog posts, joint seminars, and email campaigns.*
Preparing your tax business for the future
There is no predefined formula for how to grow your tax business. Your goals are more likely to be achieved through several combined approaches. Above all else, it’s important to have a proactive, positive mindset and a willingness to adapt.
As your practice flourishes, you might notice a generational shift in client expectations. Among the youngest taxpayers, the lack of a mobile app can be a disqualifier. This trend will only grow. Embracing client-facing solutions that offer modern conveniences is imperative for long-term growth. If you’d like to learn more, view our webinar, Your Clients Want Mobile Options. Are You Delivering?