Category Archives: Tax Marketing

Marketing Lessons from Blockbuster Video

You probably read the title of this article and thought, “Wait a minute, is Blockbuster even still in business? I bet this is one of Ed’s bait-and-switch articles…” And you would be right! Blockbuster is still on life support, under the Dish Network satellite TV umbrella. But I’m not here to tell you about anything Blockbuster itself did that will help you grow your business.

So… a guy named David Cook started out in business supplying software services to oil and gas companies in Texas. In 1985, his wife suggested he start renting videocassettes instead, and Blockbuster was born. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had 9,094 stores across the world, 84,300 employees, and $5 billion in market capitalization. Read more…

The More Things Change

I took my summer vacation early this year, and it was a Roman Holiday, minus Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. I started with a night in Milan. Then I took the train down the Italian coast for a few days in Cinque Terre, which is a delightful collection of seaside villages hugging the Mediterranean. Finally, I took another train to Rome. (Leaving Rome was especially hard because it meant a series of three flights to Las Vegas for a speaking engagement. Ugh.)

I think my favorite part of Rome was the afternoon I spent touring the ancient ruins. I started at the Colosseum, then made my way through the various arches, palaces, and temples of the Roman Forum. (A funny thing happened on the way…) Read more…

The Magic Solution to All Your Problems

Yesterday, Keith and I hosted our regular Wednesday Marketing and Management call for a group of about 80 members. It was a larger-than-usual call, with a big group of brand-new members on their very first call. (Welcome to the TaxCoach community!)

As usual, the call featured a lively discussion of both marketing and management topics. Several members had questions about handling problem clients. These included a real estate agent just now getting around to filing three years of taxes, who can benefit from an S corporation, but might not be disciplined enough to manage the paperwork properly. We also discussed a client who insists on bickering over fees after agreeing to pay a member a higher fee than they had paid their last tax professional. Read more…

Tax Strategies for Bank Robbers

Keith and I dreamed up TaxCoach one afternoon over lunch at Tellers restaurant in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park Square. So it’s fitting that our current offices are just down the street from that restaurant, across from a bank and a funeral home (which would be even more appropriate if we offered an estate-planning tool).

Yesterday morning, three spirited youngsters robbed that bank across the street. They took off in a stolen SUV just as a red dye pack exploded in the cash. At that point, our enterprising-but-apparently-underemployed youths panicked and threw the money out the window, scattering the cash up and down snow-covered Erie Avenue. Read more…

You’re Not Burger King

Take a walk with me down memory lane, and tell me if you can recognize which advertiser infused the airwaves with this catchy jingle:

“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce

Special orders don’t upset us

All we ask is that you let us serve it your way”

The answer, of course, is Burger King. For years, they relied on their slogan, “Have it Your Way,” to stand apart from industry leader McDonalds. And there’s no doubt they were different. (When I was a kid, I hated the pickles, onions, and mustard McDonalds slapped on their burgers, and I grumbled at having to wait for them to make my burger plain. Now I’m a grownup and I don’t have time to waste on special orders, so on the rare occasions when I eat there, I get a regular burger, take off the top bun, and use a french fry to scrape off the offending vegetables.) Read more…

Marketing Lessons from the Mall

Sunday afternoon, my daughter Mary Claire came to me with a broken pair of glasses. Apparently her three-year-old brother had mistaken them for a chair, with the result that the earpiece had broken off the frame.

I drove over to LensCrafters, where we had bought the glasses, confident that they could solder the earpiece back to the frame and that would be that. But the clerk at LensCrafters said no, it wasn’t something they could do. She suggested I try a place called “Fix-It-Quick,” which occupied a kiosk at the nearby Eastgate Mall. If “Fix-It-Quick” couldn’t fix it, I could replace the entire frame (if they still sold that style) or I could replace the glasses entirely. Read more…

Sooooo Boring…

If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, you’ve signed up for dozens of electronic newsletters and mailing lists and spent hours cleaning out your inbox. You may have even downloaded one of those apps that goes through your “promotions” folder and periodically unsubscribes you from the periodicals you don’t read anymore.

There’s a reason marketers write those newsletters and send them out. They work.

If you’re looking to build your business and maintain those all-important relationships with clients, you should be doing that, too. The hard part is coming up with content they’ll actually want to read. Read more…

Double Your Referrals This Tax Season

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with one of our members who already has a practice that most TaxCoach members would envy. He’s not interested in “growing” his clientele so much as he is in “renovating” it, with more business owners and more financial service business. I’ll call him “Carl,” because that’s not his real name.

Carl hasn’t done a lot of formal marketing over the years. He’s grown primarily through referrals — and he’s done it without ever actually asking for referrals. Read more…

Don’t Be a CPA! (Or EA! Or Anything Else!)

My 11-year-old son Oliver is a bright, curious kid. He’s especially talented in math and science, which perplexes me. (I took Algebra II three times in high school and never cracked higher than a C and his mom gave up on helping him with math homework sometime back in third grade.) Naturally, he wants to be an engineer when he grows up.

Most of us have a vague idea what it is engineers do. They build stuff and make stuff – unlike us, who shuffle papers all day. To me, an engineer is the guy in Houston who has to teach the Apollo XIII astronauts how to make the Command Module’s square filters work in the Lunar Landing Module’s round filters using nothing but spare parts and duct tape. Read more…

How to Get Clients

(Originally published January 12, 2012)

Here at TaxCoach, our Wednesday Member Call-In has become my favorite appointment of the week. It’s more than just a traditional “Q&A.” It’s become a real group discussion. I know I learn as much from you on each call as anyone on the call learns from me. And it’s become a centerpiece of the TaxCoach community.

Yesterday, a member from Florida posed the following question to me and to the rest of the group:

[An unnamed marketing services company that helps clients find good accountants] keeps calling me about a potential new client. The last guy called and said they guaranteed $10,000 in new business for an investment of $5,000. Has anybody had experience with [the unnamed marketing services company]? Read more…