Are you struggling to find new business for your accounting firm? Having trouble with clients who keep missing appointments or forgetting about quarterly filings? Maybe you just need a new approach to keep employees engaged? There’s an easy, effective, and affordable answer for all that—text marketing, or SMS marketing.
Text marketing is by far one of the best ways to ensure your messages are read. Check out these stats:
90% of texts are read within 3 minutes of receipt
97% of marketing texts are opened and read, compared to around 10% of marketing emails
Plus, the cost of text marketing campaigns is minuscule.
In this guide, we’ll begin by briefly reviewing some of the challenges for marketing in the accounting industry. Then, we’ll offer some ideas for how accountants and tax firms can use SMS marketing to meet some of those challenges and succeed in a competitive marketplace. Finally, we’ll offer suggestions for building a subscriber list.
In 2015 Hinge Research Institute surveyed 530 firms and published research on the top 5 business challenges within accounting and financial services. And November 30 2016, AccountingToday provided insights for 2017 based on input from over 800 accountants, CPAs, and tax professionals. Here are some of the main takeaways:
Advances in technology. Automated solutions and the approach of more comprehensive information-sharing systems are forcing accounting firms to adapt for the future and streamline their processes.
Smarter, savvier clients. People in the market for accounting services are embracing technology, demanding broader services, and expecting better and faster communications. This means that in order to attract and retain new business, companies must diversify their portfolios to include specialty services and/or consulting. It also means they must improve client communications.
Smaller talent pool. The Baby Boomer mass exodus is creating competition to acquire and retain top talent, which means employee engagement is a crucial consideration.
SMS Marketing Ideas for Accountants
If you’ve been reading between the lines with us, you’ve already guessed that SMS marketing might be a good tool for tackling those challenges. But how to use it, exactly? Well, we’ve got a few ideas, so read on, numbers ninja.
Texting ideas for individual clients:
Send out appointment reminders to cut down on no-shows
Provide a countdown to the April tax filing deadline with a series of text messages. Here’s what that might look like:
Send tax return status updates so clients know where they stand
Let people know when their refunds are ready. You can offer cash advances on tax refunds, too:
Texting ideas for business clients:
Send reminders about recurring accounting tasks like recording transactions, filing receipts, and tracking accounts payable and receivable
Give clients a nudge about employment taxes, information returns, and other tax requirements
Remind independent contractors of their responsibility to make quarterly estimated tax payments:
Some other great ideas for texts:
Offer free tips about financial planning and ways to save money. This kind of added value is a great way to retain clients
Send out links to informative tax-related content, like webinars and how-to videos, to help address a common pain point—over half of Americans “dislike doing their taxes and most commonly cite the complicated paperwork or the inconvenience and the amount of time it takes to do their taxes” (Pew Research Center)
Text about new services and platform capabilities to get the word out fast:
Include texting in your internal communications as an additional tactic to engage employees and hang on to good accounting personnel
Use SMS to stay in touch with your customers during the tax offseason. January through April aren’t the only months you work—but do your customers know that?
Ask for referrals. Word-of-mouth is one of the main ways accounting firms generate new business, and a text message can quickly get that conversation started
Text about tax policy updates and/or news, especially items that your clients would consider to be of interest, like new deductions or credits
Finally, since you’ll have your clients’ DOBs on file, you could send out birthday greetings:
How to Get Subscribers
Now that you’ve got an idea of how SMS marketing for accountants can help, the task is to gather subscribers. Textafied makes that easy, whether you’re building a list from existing customers or starting from scratch.
The first step is to complete our quick sign-up process for your free trial—there’s no credit card required, and not a single string attached. From the dashboard, you can easily import contacts from a spreadsheet or add them manually.
Don’t forget, though, that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires you to follow a few important compliance rules before beginning a text message marketing campaign.(see more info in our anti-spam policy) For instance, you must have express written consent before sending out marketing texts. You should also familiarize yourself with the distinction between marketing texts and transactional texts, the latter of which does not require express written consent. Transactional messages are any texts “facilitating, completing, or confirming a previously agreed upon transaction.”
Promotional messages, on the other hand, are any other texts that aren’t directly involving an existing transaction.
Here’s how to turn existing customers into subscribers:
Write up an email blast announcing the new campaign and push it out to your clients. Include a link for people to confirm their interest
Add the announcement to existing user messages, like auto reminders about taxes and deadlines
Pitch your new texting campaign to current customers who walk in for an appointment
You’ll also want to make use of keywords to bring in new customers. With our free trial you can create un-limited keywords. Once people know your keyword, they can text it to your long code to subscribe.
Textafied`s SMS marketing campaigns use this basic structure for opt-in messages: Text [keyword] to [long code] for [offer]. So, for example, you might end up with something like this:
Text “taxesRfun” to 555 8888 for free tax tips and reminders
Here’s how to use that opt-in to get new subscribers:
Feature your opt-in message prominently on social media and encourage your followers to share/retweet
Include your campaign in Google AdWords messaging
Set up a contest with prizes for customers and/or employees who refer the most new subscribers
Offer new clients discounts on tax and accounting services if they subscribe
Update your company’s email signature to include your keyword (this could actually convert existing customers, too)
Include your keyword and CTA on your business cards
Include an opt-in checkbox on new client intake forms
Add the details to your voicemail and on-hold message
Create space on your website where you can place an invitation to new subscribers. Our platform allows you to quickly build such an invitation with web sign-up images and web sign-up forms. Visitors who sign up will automatically be added to the list you specify
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