Tax season is the busiest time of year for bookkeepers, and a great time to add new clients to your roster. In the first three months of the year, business owners begin to prepare to file their taxes and panic often sets in. If your bookkeeping business is top of mind, you may get the call for help from a new client. It’s important to note that with any new influx of clients, you also accept a certain amount of risk, so make sure that your insurance for bookkeepers and tax preparers is up to date. Here are some tips for building your business in the weeks and months leading up to April 15.
1. Use Paid Advertising for Bookkeepers
Paid advertising is not just for major corporations. It’s possible for you to create a big spike in your business development by adding some advertising dollars to your marketing strategy. If you have ever considered using paid advertising on Google or any social media site, now is the time. The nice thing about these advertising methods is that you can measure your results so you know exactly what’s working and what’s not. You can also tightly control your budget by setting a limit on how much you spend each day or each month.
A quick note on using pay per click: when you are trying to decide which keywords to use, think about the way potential clients would search for you. If you’re looking for new customers for your business, Smith Bookkeeping Services in Anytown, Alabama, consider keywords like ‘bookkeeping in Anytown’ or ‘business tax help in Anytown.’ Terms like ‘Smith Bookkeeping’ won’t help you because your prospects don’t yet know who you are. Try to think like a prospect.
2. Enhance your Bookkeeping Business on Social media
This is a good time to fine-tune your social media strategy. The occasional tweet or Facebook post is all well and good, but if you understand the best way to use social media to promote your business your efforts will be far more effective. If your social media efforts have been hit or miss so far, follow these steps:
- You need a business Facebook page (separate from your personal page), a Twitter account, a Google+ page and a LinkedIn profile. This will get you started.
- Invite people to like and follow you on these sites. Ask your current clients, your friends, your business associates and anyone else you know. Like and follow other small businesses in your area and they may return the favor.
- Your website and your email signature should include the icons for each of these sites that link you your pages.
- If you don’t already have a blog on your website, add one. This is just a place for you to write articles that will be of interest to your clients and prospects. Write about tax planning strategies, appropriate deductions and how to best track your expenses, for example.
- Every time you post a new article on your blog (something like ‘bookkeeping tips for small business’, for example), announce it on social media. Include a link to the post. This will direct your social media followers to your web site, where they can contact you.
- You can also post articles by others about topics that are of interest to your followers, but the ones that lead to your blog will be the most effective. All roads should lead to the blog.
Meeting other small business owners is a great way to build your business. If you aren’t already a member, join your local chamber of commerce and attend their events. Ask other business owners that you know if there are other networking groups they belong to. Many of these groups allow members to bring a guest to events, which is a great way to make new contacts and also to determine if the group is worth joining.
4. Word of mouth
Word of mouth is one of the best – and most elusive – marketing methods. Getting people talking about your business can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips:
- Let your current clients know you’re taking on more clients. Some people shy away from doing this, but your current clients are your best source of new clients. They know that you do a good job, and they probably know others who would benefit from your services.
- Ask for referrals. Don’t be afraid to come right out and say, “Do you know of anyone else who could use my services?” Your clients might be happy to sing your praises, but they just might not think about it.
- Be sure to tell your friends and family, too. Some of the people you see often may not know that you have a bookkeeping business, or it may not occur to them that you’re seeking out new clients. Just a quick mention that you are taking on new business may be all it takes.
5. What to do after April 15
Start planning now for your marketing strategy after the filing deadline. This is the time when you can capture those businesses that scrambled to do their own taxes at the last minute and felt the pain. Blogs and social media posts in the second half of April should focus on the benefit of having a bookkeeper track your income and expenses year round, and how that will save you time and money when tax time rolls around next year.
Are you a small business bookkeeper? Let us know how you are preparing for tax season in the comments section below!