Four "Must Do" Practice Management Tips for 2013
With the flood of new tax law changes and increased client tax liability, it is more important than ever to provide your clients with proactive advice. With businesses built on word of mouth, your easiest and most cost-effective way to grow your business is to concentrate on the audience you already have.
Here are 4 tips to protect and grow your income in the coming year.
1) Get Social - Think of social media as another way to communicate with clients and prospects. Just like email or your website, content can be distributed through the media your clients are using every day. For marketing of local services, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can provide brand awareness and viral sharing of your posts. Your audience does the work for you. Just supply them with valuable content and you are on your way. Social media works because it generates a modern-day referral to new prospects. When readers see popular reviews or comments about you online, they are more likely to start engaging you for professional assistance.
2) Client Updates – ClientWhys customers who are the most successful – those with large growing practices, higher fees and more referrals – share one main trait: they constantly communicate with their client base. If you look at your own relationships, open communication is key to keeping your relationships tight. This applies to how you manage your client relationships as well. At minimum you should be connecting once a month. We have seen the best results with bi-weekly client updates. The type of updates that work best depends on your niche. Newsletters, breaking tax law changes, tax planning strategies, case studies and storytelling are all techniques that are very effective. Don’t over-think it and make sure the content you distribute is relevant and timely.
3) Embrace the mobile world - There is a reason HP and Dell stock prices continue to slide. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 61% of customers who visit a mobile-unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor's site. Business Insider predicts global Internet usage will more than double by 2015, and most of these users will be mobile. If you are using an outdated website or email design, you are basically missing more than 50% of the viewing audience. Responsive website design and fluid email newsletters work well in the new mobile world. Responsive websites will dynamically fit the size of the screen of your user, whether they are viewing the site on a mobile, tablet or desktop screen. Fluid email newsletters will make it much easier for clients to read your content on mobile devices. It is imperative that you review the technology you have in place and update before your readership starts declining.
4) Protect your clients' data - If you are still using paper tax returns or emailing sensitive data, it is time to upgrade to a secure portal. A portal that does more than share files allows you to organize your client conversations in one spot. No more searching for lost emails or rolling the dice with unsecured email attachments. The cost savings alone in time and postage, not to mention printing and handling, more than offset the investment. Look for a solution that is easy for clients to use and does not involve application downloads or file size limits. Best yet, your clients are going to love the convenience of having all of their documents available at a click of a mouse.
Conclusion - The next wave of mobile and tablet devices are fundamentally altering the way tax preparers, CPA firms and accounting professionals communicate with their clients. Does your website work in the modern world? What does that say about your firm to clients and prospects? Are you protecting your communications? All of these advancements are an opportunity for market leaders to set themselves apart. So review your own workflows and platforms to see what upgrades may pay off in 2013.
Lee Reams II
I am a marketing junkie who has spent the last 20 years developing and executing "best in class" word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. With over 10,000 happy clients I think we are on to something. The explosion in web marketing and social media have redefined the way independent professionals market their practices. Follow my blog to see if you can take some of our actionable ideas to market your own practice.