finger.jpg  Everyone is interested in branding themselves to their clients (i.e. “touching your client”).  Here are five simple ways to do that:

[I refer to my client-oriented marketing as “touching.”  I helps us, as a firm, to remember HOW we are to market to our clients… gently and consistently] 

1. I try to “touch” my clients twice a year.  I always send out a post-tax season letter talking about the firm, how we are growing, and thanking everyone for their business.  It’s kind of like a newsletter, but I don’t spend as much time writing formal articles (I’ll do that on the blog!).  Then, I usually send out another letter toward the end of each year, reminding everyone of our procedures for tax season, and throw in some updated tax information for that year.  This latter touch letter is usually where I talk about the new people we are hiring, and how our firm is growing.  We always receive good responses from this “growth” touch letter.  People seem to be proud to call us “their firm”.  I always want to get in front of the client – consistently!

2. Take every opportunity you have to show your clients your logo, tag lines, promotional products, signage, print collateral, etc.  You can’t do this enough.  These collateral items say “we’re a big firm” or “we are in business for the long haul” or “we’re big enough to spend money on nice looking things like this bottle opener”.  Needless to say, I send my letters from point #1 on letterhead with cards.  Touch your clients with your logo – you spent money on it so you might as well use it in the “touching” process.

3. “Guard the door.”  No one will ever guard what leaves my firm but me.  That will always be a rule in our organization.  I guard the door (a.k.a. what the client sees) because perception is everything.  Perception, unfortunately NOT reality, normally determines what your clients think of you as a company.  That being said, what clients see must be pristine, clean, nice-looking, tactful, delivered with a smile, in order, accurate and precise, etc.  If my employees know they are doing something that clients will see (and then make a quick judgement about our company), then they know I want to look at it first.  Guarding the door ensures that your client “touch” will be received with happy feelings!

4. Develop a nice looking website.  Smaller CPA firms are notorious for signing up for templates made especially for CPAs.  And guess what they look like?  THE FREAKIN’ SAME.  As a firm, we don’t want to be the same, and neither does your company (let me know what you think about our firm’s web site).  You can touch your clients and customers (and other potential clients) best when you can send them to your web site and they can tell that you spent some time developing and creating your site.  This probably means you have to use professionals (like AMG, the company I own with other partners). 

5. As the head leader and marketer in the company, I spend a lot of time actually really touching my clients and potential clients (in a healthy way, of course).  I shake their hand, take them to lunch, give them gifts, send them thank you cards, hand-deliver a lot of our work, talk about personal things, pray for their kids, etc.  This is simply called customer service.  And if you do it right, then you will probably have to do it off the clock a lot of time (that is, not charge them for it).  This can be costly NOW, but the rewards will be felt later when the referrals come flooding in.  Of course, you have to weigh these types of touches with those who never seem to shut up.  Be careful, but don’t let any bad past experiences keep you from really touching your clients – they need tender loving care!

Thanks, Jason