Starting a home-based tax business can be very rewarding once you have the tax education under your belt. Aside from preparing taxes for family, how do you build your business with essentially no marketing budget and no storefront? In this blog we’ll lay out some of the top ways to grow your home-based business using guerilla marketing tactics.
Start with your own network
Your friends and family are the obvious first place to start when trying to gain new clients. But friends and family are not the extent of your network! Here are some great ways to reach out to your existing network of colleagues, acquaintances and friends to start building a strong base of clients.
- Announce your new business on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Reach out to your neighbors – maybe even put an ad in your neighborhood newsletter.
- Invite people from your local church to a free seminar to gain interest.
Sticking to friends and family will only get you so far. Now that you’re a business owner, it’s time to expand your network. Joining associations and networking groups is one great way to network but another way is to attend business events.
Many tax professionals neglect this important method of attracting new clients – especially during tax season, when people are thinking about taxes. Check out the programs at your local Chamber of Commerce, civic clubs, business clubs, and Retail Merchants Association. You can also check your local news’ events calendar for business events to attend.If you want to get a head start, set-up a meeting with someone who is well connected in the community and active in networking. Ask them help you “plug in” to the network and introduce you to key people. There are always networking opportunities – it’s up to you to seize them.
Be sure to hand out and collect business cards at every event you attend. Write notes on the backs of the cards you collect to remind you of important details about that person. If you made a connection with someone and want to follow up, send them a LinkedIn request to connect. Once connected, you’ll have no need for that business card! Their LinkedIn profile should have everything you need to know. Head to the My Network tab and under “Connections” search for their name. The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can add notes, additional contact information from their business card, tags, and even set a reminder to follow up with that person.
Offering your expertise as a guest speaker is a great way to get the word out about your new business. The same networking groups and civic clubs you’ve planned to network within will likely have speaking opportunities. This is a great way to reach a large audience and show your expertise.
Referrals are always the best resource for new clients; and happy clients will be your best salespeople. But clients may not think to recommend your services to their friends, co-workers and relatives unless you ask them to do so. This is why asking for referrals should be a standard part of the closing of every interview. Many tax firms go a step further to provide an incentive for their clients to make referrals. Consider giving each client some sort of a referral bonus when they bring you a new client. Some clients may not need or want a referral bonus or “finder’s fee”, but will appreciate a simple thank you note for the referral and for being a valued client.
Sending letters to targeted prospects is a great way to increase your client base. The more personal you can make the letter, the better your chances are of gaining a new client. Some mailing lists can be obtained in electronic form, which makes it easy to import and produce personalized letters with your letterhead.
Customized form letters can be used to appeal to taxpayers with special needs. You can write them yourself or purchase sample letters from tax professional suppliers. Try to be selective and have a special offer as many of these people are getting offers from many different services and some of them are your competitors.
We live in a digital age. Potential clients should be able to not only find you online, but learn more about your services. A website allows you to showcase your services and expound on your knowledge – consider it your brochure. A good website can be better than a salesperson and it’s a whole lot less expensive.
In addition to a website, you’ll want to have a presence on social media. Social media helps you stay engaged with your audience and helps build upon your credibility. LinkedIn will be the most important social media channel for you, but you should also create a Facebook page for your business and a Twitter handle for yourself.
These marketing tactics should get you on your way to building a solid base of clients for your home-based tax business. Want to know more? Check out The Income Tax School’s Tax Practice Management Manuals. From day-to-day operations to specific marketing plans, these manuals have everything you need to know about growing a successful tax business.
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