Snowpocalypse now

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Work is not man’s punishment. It is his reward and his strength and his pleasure.
– George Sand

How’s your tax season going? Many of my clients are in “peak season” right now, so as usual for this time of year, I’ll keep this post short–a little “shot in the arm” to make sure you’re leveraging every opportunity available to you to bring in more business, and to get your clients referring like crazy.
I’m currently sitting at a coffee shop looking at the Blue Ridge mountains in the midst of getting SLAMMED by what the “experts” say will be 30 inches of snow. This’ll be the second such storm in about a month–and it’s coming down. My wife’s flight to see her Mom was cancelled, and we’re buckling in for a weekend by the fire with our kids.
I’m hoping at some point that our time together will look like this… 🙂
That’s how it looked in the last snowpocalypse.
So, why am I telling you this?
Simple– the best laid plans can often fall apart because of outside cricumstances.
And, perhaps your marketing hasn’t been what you’d hoped it would be this season, Test. So, I thought I’d reach into my bag of tricks and give you some quick pointers on how you can up the ante a little bit, in terms of effectiveness.
When I ran the marketing for a multi-million dollar tax firm, one of the key “secrets” to the success of our advertisements is we did NOT “mimic” the same ol’ junk so common in our industry. We made it our mission to look a little “different” from the other tax firms…and our results were “different” as a result (to the tune of squeezing out multiple competitors in multiple markets–including the big, bad HR Bl_ck.)
So, some quick thoughts on being different…
Being “Different” Increases Response
First of all, my “offer” was different than every other tax firm .
Not only did I extend a special discount for responding by a certain date, I’d add “extra bonuses” as additional incentive.  Sometimes a unique t-shirt, other times an item our target market would want (gift card, jewelry, etc.).  There are so many options for finding “close-out” inventory items online these days.  You can buy stuff for $3 to $5 bucks which have perceived values of $25 to $50 dollars. Any type of client loves getting extra stuff for free.  It sets you apart and sometimes is the determining factor for doing business with you again. 
(True Confession:  We surveyed our clients annually and one of the questions we asked was “Why did you come back to us this year?”  You would be very surprised how many people mentioned the “bonus gift” as the reason for their return.  Hey, that’s OK with me.  I’ll spend $4 on a gift to generate another $200 “sale” any day of the week.)
Secondly, I used “odd numbered” discounts to be different as well .  Other tax businesses might offer a $20 or $30 discount.  We’ll go with $23 or $27 bucks off any tax preparation service. I’ve split tested the “odd dollar off” offer and in most cases the LOWER “odd dollar off” amount generated more sales. Funny, right? But proven.
(Example:  Two ads running in the same market.  One ad uses $23 off and the other ad $25 off.  The ads are the same except for the dollar amounts.  In most cases, the $23 off ad had a higher ROI.  I’ve done a similar split test with $27 off and $30 off and again, in almost every case the lower, odd number won.)
Lastly, I used what worked in OTHER industries (not Tax/CPA/Accounting). For example, “The WORLD’S LARGEST _________” has been a successful line in many other direct marketing businesses, used in a variety ways.  I used this formula with my offer to, again, BE DIFFERENT and stand out from my competition.  “The World’s Largest Tax Service Coupon” was a postcard that we sent in February which was 9″x12″ and definitely stood out in the mailbox.
You don’t want to overuse this strategy, but you will get a bump in response because it is unusual, not normally seen by your clients or prospects.
Try these small, simple strategies and watch your marketing get a big bump!

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