Small Business Marketing Success Means Starting At The Right Place:
Here’s a secret that the VAST majority of tax professionals get WRONG! In fact, this is true of most every struggling small business on the block!
Selecting the “right or wrong” target market can be THE factor which determines success or failure!
Marketing means: Market first, message second, and media third, in that order! (And the order is important!)
The market is critical. It’s the number one concern. If you don’t get it right, the rest of your promotion won’t matter. (You might as well save your money and go home.) You see, if you don’t have the right market, but your advertising message is outstanding and the media you choose is the most cost effective in the world, you’ll still lose money!)
(If they don’t want what you got, it just doesn’t matter what you tell them, how often you tell them or even how you tell them.)
If the BEST tax office in your region offers the BEST marketing message of anyone else around, but targets the wrong market, they will not do that well.
On the other hand, a VERY AVERAGE tax office with a VERY AVERAGE marketing message can find and target a “well selected” market (that is hungry for their services), and this tax business will be far more profitable than the first. (All because the market they were keying on WANTED what they were offering.)
The Starving Crowd
So how do you find a “hungry crowd” that WANTS what tax services you are offering? (That’s a good and bad question and I’ll tell you why in a second.)
Let me tell you a story first.
Gary Halbert, a world renowned marketing expert, once coined a marketing term about the importance of the “market.” He’d explain it something like this in his seminars.
“If I offered to set you up in a fast-food business like a hamburger joint and you could have one special advantage what would it be? A clown, special sauce, great hamburgers, a big ad budget?”
Well, Gary Halbert’s answer was he would take a “starving crowd” over any other advantage you could give him. So basically he’s saying: it is more important to have a group of people that are hungry to buy what you have than to have a good ad or a lot of money to spend on marketing etc.
Translation to those of us in the tax business: It is more important to find a “starving crowd” that’s desperately looking for tax services than it is to have the best ads in town or the most money to spend on marketing.
Now notice I didn’t say, “A starving crowd desperate to use the particular kind of tax services you offer in your business.”
Remember my question, “How do you find a hungry crowd that WANTS what tax services you are offering?” That is a good next question to ask, but the bad part of the question is at the end, “you are offering.”
You see, you don’t go looking for a “starving market” that wants the kind of tax services you offer necessarily (ie. like high priced CPA services). Believe me, it’s nice when the starving crowd in your town MATCHES up with what you already offer in your tax business. But other times it doesn’t work out that way.
Tax marketing in its “purest” form means finding a “hungry group” of people and selling them the kind of tax services they want!
Let me give you a common example of what I mean.
An owner of a simple 1040 tax prep business asks me, “What’s the best way to market my business?” Now I can tell him a bunch of stuff to do to get more clients, but the REAL answer is “I wouldn’t know until I found out WHO and WHERE and HOW I CAN REACH the groups of people in your town that are the hungriest for various kinds of tax service.”
This particular Tax Professional might want to set up a “retail, strip mall tax shop” so he doesn’t have to do much preparation himself (a noble goal, sure!). But in his area, there are six other tax offices targeting the same group of taxpayers. Now all those other tax businesses are probably doing a good job (including his business) so that target market group is saturated with very little growth in sight.
On the other hand, John Smith CPA is the only game in town offering a high-end service to wealthy clientele. All the other mom n’ pops in the area aren’t doing a very good job competing with them and there is an abundance of affluent clients just sitting there waiting to be taken. What should that Tax Professional do?
The Take Away
Some decide NOT to target the “starving crowd” and just do the same ol’ thing they’ve always done. They will have some success because they will have learned to promote themselves better. Other CPAs will see the group of clients they’ve been targeting in their town has gone flat. At the same time, they’ll notice another possible market with some growth (or “life” to it) and decide to give it a try. It may be a “starving group” interested in their particular services or it may not.
The point is the SMART tax business owner “goes with the flow” (or focuses on the MARKET that’s most responsive to ads) and offers what the HUNGRY taxpayer wants!
His marketing job is made much easier and the profits deposited in his bank account will come much faster.
Now I hope you can see why a “starving crowd” and finding the RIGHT MARKET is so important! We’ll talk more about “how to find” these kinds of target groups through the rest of the lessons. But for now, you just need to know the market is the number one priority when growing your tax business.
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.