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 campaigns is minuscule—as little as a penny per text sent.
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 last November, 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. SimpleTexting makes that a piece of cake, 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 a free 14-day 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. 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.
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. Our free trial comes with one custom keyword right off the bat. Once people know your keyword, they can text it to the short code 555888 to subscribe.
Most SMS marketing campaigns use this basic structure for opt-in messages: Text [keyword] to [short code] for [offer]. So, for example, you might end up with something like this:
Text “taxesRfun” to 555888 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 (compliance team approval required for the latter). Visitors who sign up will automatically be added to the list you specify
Here’s what a web sign-up image looks like:
And here’s a web sign-up form:
Try It Out for Free
At SimpleTexting, we make SMS marketing a breeze. If you’re ready to see how text messaging can help your accounting business succeed, we’re ready to show you just how breezy it really is.
If you like how we roll, you can upgrade to one of our affordable plans. You’ll enjoy all the same great features and crackerjack customer service you had during the trial, plus two things nobody else offers—unlimited keywords and free incoming text messages.
It’s simple—just see for yourself!