How To Find That Elusive “Starving Crowd”
(And Tips on “New Homeowner” Letters…)
Media Selection To Successfully Target That “Starving Crowd”
I want to stop to remind you that the BEST kind of media will directly reach the “starving crowd” for your services. This is one of the late, great Gary Halbert’s key principles: “I’ll forsake EVERY other marketing advantage, but give me a starving crowd for my product, and I’ll kick your tail from here to Hoboken!”
So here are some practical ways to find out which “niche groups” in your area are STARVING for certain types of tax services.
First of all, if you’ve been living in your town for any length of time, you kind of have a “feel” for population statistics in your area. You should know about what percentage of people are in lower, middle and higher income brackets, about where they live in and around the city and other general information.
You should also know (or have a decent idea) who your competition is and what kind of clientele they mostly service. Do they just handle mostly high end customers? Or do they electronically file a ton of low income returns? And if you have many competitors offering what seems like a full range of tax services, look and see WHERE their offices are located and what sections of the city and surrounding county would be convenient for the different target market groups to use their offices.
Once you’ve done your homework (if you are not familiar with the town you’re in, it will take you a little longer) you might already “see” a few possibilities for some “starving crowd” groups NOT having certain tax services easily available to them because of location or just very few tax business owners are actually offering a “particular” tax service.
But let’s say you are still not sure what “starving” markets might be available to promote different tax services to (you actually never TRULY know until you test anyway), so you want to choose a few media vehicles that you feel will be reachable and affordable for your “hunches.”
The media you choose should normally have a way to try and capture taxpayers who may be in TRANSITION. People who have major (or even minor) changes in their tax situation tend to become VERY EAGER to get it straight before the IRS deadline. So what media examples are the best?
Personally, I like to use inexpensive (per potential lead) media. The kind like the coupon decks that will hit a whole section of one side of the city. If I know that side is where most of the lower income folks live and I’m thinking this is a target market that is not getting serviced properly in this town by H & R Block or other tax businesses targeting the RAL market, then I’ll run some test ads.
The headlines and subheads will be the same proven ones we’ve been using, but the actual sales copy might talk more about the problems they may be having with other tax firms and here’s a deal, come try us this tax season. If it is a hungry market, the phones will ring in our office. (Whenever you find a really hungry market, you’ll know it. How? Because your phone calls and normal response rates will go through the roof and you’ll see a pattern of the same calls and new customers coming from the same place.)
The more small, inexpensive tests you do during tax season, the more potential “starving crowds” you may be able to find. The more you find this year, the more money you can invest into reaching them NEXT tax season.
And if you know what groups are in a “feeding frenzy” for what kinds of tax services BEFORE tax season starts next year, you will have a huge competitive advantage over everyone else in your area!
Here’s One Starving Crowd…
I know many tax business owners in this country buy and use mailing lists targeted towards new homeowners and new business owners. There are even mailing list firms that do nothing but target other businesses (like us in the tax industry) and try and sell us as many names as we can use. (So there must be a lot of accountants, tax professionals etc. using these lists.)
So what’s the main pitch most tax professional use? “Congratulations on your new home purchase. Just welcoming you to town. Here’s a coupon for a free consultation.” Blah, blah, blah.
Do you think they got a dozen other letters from other service professionals saying about the same thing? You bet they did. (And probably some of them came from the same mailing list firm you got your names from.) So what can you do that’s different?
First of all, unless you can offer them some kind of tax services on the “off season” DON’T send anybody on your mailing list anything until the first of the year. If you send them a newsletter or a magnet with your name on it, for the most part you are wasting your money.
(Some people will disagree with me on this. That’s fine. I’ll mail my sales letters during tax season to that same group of new homeowners you’ve been mailing throughout the summer and fall. At the end of tax season, I’ll bet you a steak dinner that my overall mail campaign “hitting during the buying season” NETS more profit than yours, hands down.)
And if you are going to take the time to buy this targeted mailing list (of usually “hungry” taxpayers looking for a new tax professional to help them), then don’t just send them one sales letter and that’s it! Test as many as three mailings during the tax season. (One in the first week of January. One in the middle of February. And the last in the fourth week of March.)
What would I say in my sales letter that would be different than what most of the other services professionals (and especially other tax practitioners) would say? Easy. I would and STILL almost always use FEAR selling! (Hey, we’ve got a built in “scare factor” called the IRS. Why not use it to our full advantage?)
My headlines are going to start off by saying, “WARNING: New Homeowners!! Uncle Sam is targeting people like you for IRS audits this year!” Or if a person just started a new business, “WARNING: New business owners must learn the three things that “red flag” the IRS and guarantee you an audit of your personal and business finances!
Believe me. Using this technique will far outsell saying, “Congratulations on your new home etc.”
Chauncey Hutter Jr.
Tax Marketing Expert
Chauncey Hutter, Jr, is a best-selling author and leading marketing consultant and success coach to the tax industry. Mr. Hutter grew his father’s $50,000 per year tax preparation business to a multi-million dollar empire with 24 locations, 400+ employees and over 27,000 tax clients all coming from his marketing campaigns.