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    11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2008 6:52 PM by DomainDiva

    Small Biz Marketing

    smallbiz63 Newbie

      Hello All,

      Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

      I am going to manage a tax preparation office for a company that has 5 offices and does over 5,000 returns a year. Their goal is to set up at least one new office each year. I see great potential and may be given partnership if this season is a success. We are located right in front of a junior college on a busy street and the college also has a flea market/swap meet on the weekends. The company mainly utilizes referral programs/discounts/bonuses to gain clients. The other source of marketing will be 2 people holding signs all day long for the entire season, which they say is most effective. I have contacted the school and will get free advertising by posting flyers on campus and passing out discount cards to over 3,000 students. I am pretty aggressive when it comes to business and am willing to try things others won't as long as it's legal and a good marketing tactic.

      Please advise.

      Thank you.
        • Re: Small Biz Marketing
          DomainDiva Ranger
          If THEY say the sign thing works ok, but I would not do tax business with a tax firm that had people standing on street corners holding signs. Please tell us, who are THEY?

          The discount cards and flyers at school are a great idea. Also you may want to offer tax services at nursing homes...believe it or not there are seniors out there with no family and no financial help.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Small Biz Marketing
              smallbiz63 Newbie

              Luckiest, I will go ahead and prepare a formal Marketing Plan next year, but I think it's too late this year due to tax season is around the corner, Thank you.

              Diva, they are a growing company trying to compete with the big one's so the signs are their bread and butter. They are honest people and try to provide quality service at fair price. I just wanted to know about the seniors at the nursing homes, do many of them even have to file taxes? Do you suggest taking laptop and printer on certain days to offer services at their sites? Thank you.
                • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  Yes, the elderly pay taxes. However, both the IRS and AARP have free programs for tax counseling and tax preparation for those over 60 that are active in more than 7,000 locations (very often nursing homes or senior citizen's centers), so unless you're in a town without that service, there would not be much of a market for you in the senior sector.

                  Of course, you could always volunteer with the AARP program, provide outstanding service to seniors, and then use a satisfied senior's permission and recommendation to approach his/her children and grandchildren to get their business.
                  • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                    DomainDiva Ranger
                    Seniors need tax advice and prep just like everyone else. Heck after you die, your income taxes have to be filed for the year in which you died!
                • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                  LUCKIEST Guide
                  63, That is how I started many many years ago, doing income taxes.
                  As for marketing, a lot depends on your budget. Prepare a Marketing Plan.
                  Identify the customers, (which you have done), Identify the market and its size.
                  The plan should explain how your service will be advertised and marketed.
                  Flyers, business cards and maybe some thing FREE if clients recommend 2 or 3 friends.
                  I am sure you have already figured out pricing of returns.
                  Best of luck, LUCKIEST
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                    GENEJMARKS Wayfarer
                    ....and all those students could be a great telemarketing resource for you too. Why not trade tax return prep for XX telemarketing calls made by students? If you want to show results this tax season, you may need to expand your marketing beyond the population at the college.
                    • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                      slavaret Adventurer

                      Sounds like you would be going after simple stuff - so volume may be the key. I would try to find out what students want/value but my guess is they hate the process, would procrastinate and want to be done as fast as possible. If that is so, something like:


                      "FAST and PAINLESS tax return in 1 hour or less" may catch their attention.

                      Or: taxes in 2 hours or your tax return is free-e-e-e (something like that).


                      Swap meeters probably hate taxes too. Fast and painless may work for them too. But the firm I used to work for used to offer free tax return reviews for the past 3 years with a promise to find at least $300. Self-employed underutilize retirement plans, health insurance, etc. - so it's easy to "find" $300 by pointing out how they could shelter more from taxes.
                      • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                        aallc01 Wayfarer
                        I would work through HR Departments with the companies in your area.They are always willing to support small businesses. Also, the town that you are located in may have a bulletin board of some type.
                        See if you can post your information with a numberof businesses in your area.
                        Also, if you like, work with a direct advertising company that also does statiscal analysis. If you need one, I know of a really good one.They will help you with your add and track the success. A good ad agency will also help you set up and manage the add tokeep overall cost down.
                        You should also utilize your network being the clients you previously served.The best advertisement is through word of mouth fromhappy customers. people have a strong tendency to deal with either people they know or people recommended. Netw ork becomes very important in all cases.
                        • Re: Small Biz Marketing
                          Wingman Adventurer
                          Hi smallbiz63,

                          You've gotten some good advice from the other respondents. I started by volunteering for the IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program which does taxes for free. When an individual's tax situation was too complex (based upon VITA guidelines) we would have to refer them to a professional for assistance. Naturally, that professional was me.

                          You may want to try and contact the IRS and see if they will have any VITA sites in your area and try to connect with the person in charge of the location. AARP may also be able to provide you with a couple of referrals.

                          Also, because you are in California, you may want to advertise that you have bilingual staff (if this is the case).

                          Another aspect you may want to promote (if you're offering it) is free efiling. I've never liked efiling and the RALs that are pushed by the larger tax prep firms. But maybe that will help get you some clients.

                          Offering a discount for early filers (before Feb 15) may also get you a couple of people in the doors.


                          Good Luck