Nate Hagerty - PNG

Posted by & filed under Growing Your Firm Podcast, Growth, Marketing.

This week we’re excited to announce our interview with Nate Hagerty, marketing expert and owner of Tax Pro Marketer.

This interview is jam-packed with actionable insights and specific tactics on how you can (finally) build a marketing system that brings in (and nurtures) leads and help you actually get ideal accounting clients.

In this interview, we cover:

+ Why (and how) you should avoid the "Free Consultation" trap

+ Common traps Firms fall into when investing in "online marketing"

+ How "me-too", image obsessed marketing becomes meaningless to your prospects and clients

+ How to effectively write emails that engage your client list (... emails that they're excited to open and read!)

+ Why "Direct Response" marketing is the secret weapon for effective ROI driven marketing (and how smaller Firms can use it to "out market" the bigger firms.

And so much more...

Part 1:

Part 2:


Books and links mentioned in the interview: 


Dan Kennedy Books

Jay Abraham Books

GoingConcern (for email subject lines) 

Key Summary:

We all want to grow our business. Make it more effective and get in touch with the top clients that increase our bottom line and are actually enjoyable to work with.

But one of the problems incurred while trying to dive into growing your firm through marketing tactics is that there is a ton of noise on the internet today that does nothing to actually grow your business.

This is where Nate's concept, the ROI Driven Marketing plan, comes into play.

According to Nate, "You need to have a name, value, and purpose to bring to your prospective clients."

ROI Driven Marketing (Or Data Driven Marketing) surrounds the idea that marketing is tangible and you can see a return on your investment. Today, with the use of Facebook ads, landing pages, custom links, inbound & outbound programs, SEO, and social media nearly everything has the ability to be measured and tracked.

Want to dive deeper into learning How To Get Ideal Accounting Clients?

We are offering a book giveaway of Jetpack Workflow's Ebook titled: 47 Lead Generation & Marketing Strategies. To be entered into this book giveaway, leave a comment answering the following question:

What is 1 marketing tactic you have used that has helped grow your business?

So how did Nate learn how to market in a world with so much noise and confusion?

How Nate Hagerty Built TaxPro Marketer

Prior to developing TaxProMarketer, Nate was a Marketing Director of a regional tax firm in Virginia. Nate helped to grow the firm’s tax prep fees to $4.5 million in less than ten years, and the firm surpassed its well-known national competitors in yearly sales in 15 market areas.

Through his efforts, the firm expanded its employee base to over 440 people in 23 locations throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. Additionally, Nate has coached and acted as a consultant to the tax and accounting industry, helping thousands of other tax business owners in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK make more money and grow their companies.

In May 2007 Nate established TaxProMarketer to provide services for tax and accounting professionals who did not have the time, experience, or wherewithal to implement business strategies for themselves all through ROI-driven marketing.

Nate's company is involved in creating and handling his clientsprint newsletters, email marketing and social media in a new, fresh way, and provides a full online marketing suite with websites and blogging capabilities.

Through working as an expert marketer in the accounting space, Nate has picked up on the trends CPA firms are offering and the common mistakes they are making.

Let's dive into the mistakes.

Common Mistakes of First Time Accountants

For the professionals ambitious enough to grow their firms in their ideal way, some common mistakes can be made early in the process, derailing efforts and costing valuable time and money. According to Nate, some of these mistakes are:

  • Not cutting away enough of the marketing information clutter found on the internet
  • Heeding bad advice given by “gurus” on social media
  • Not giving enough thought on their Unique Selling Proposition (“USP”)

The key is to not skip over the basics. Most firms just want to jump right into trying to sell anything they can get. Instead of focusing on what truly matters, which is defining your unique selling proposition (USP).

Want to dive deeper into learning How To Get Ideal Accounting Clients?

We are offering a book giveaway of Jetpack Workflow's Ebook titled: 47 Lead Generation & Marketing Strategies. To be entered into this book giveaway, leave a comment answering the following question:

What is 1 marketing tactic you have used that has helped grow your business?

The Framework for Implementing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition):

According to Nate, the basic take-away for CPA firm owners is to understand, establish, and execute their USP.

Here are the 4 steps in implementing a USP in your firm:

  1. Start by understanding different business demographics and markets
  2. Next, zero in on a selected niche: Do not be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.
  3. Of the niche group, focus on the clients that are great to work with and are profitable
  4. Finally, speak the language of these targeted clients when providing them what they need

"When you implement a USP, as a firm, you are finally able to differentiate yourself among the rest of your competition clearly and concisely and become attractive to your clients. Who doesn't want that?"

Nate goes on to state that many of these professionals can lose their focus when sifting through the overwhelming amount of information on best practices for marketing strategies. This is why a USP is essentialy to every CPA firm. 

How To Communicate with Your Exisiting Client Base

When communicating with an existing client base, Nate believes that email is the most powerful medium when it comes to ROI driven marketing.

"Email is a scalable and an effective marketing tactic that is unfortuantely underutilized."

Nate offers tested suggestions when communicating to clients or prospective clients.

Here are the steps to successfully communicate with your existing client base:

  1. Speak in a personal tone vs. a corporate tone
  2. When writing subject lines, use curiosity content and keep it short and informal
  3. Avoid using headers, images, or banners in the body of the email
  4. Identify the voice of the firm, either the owner or the face of the firm, and then send all communication from that person
  5. Communicate in a warm, fresh way and in a first person messaging
  6. Send email periodically – a weekly basis is suggested
  7. Make the client feel appreciated and build a deeper relationship
  8. Harvest the client relationship over time in a nurturing way and through personalization
  9. Sequence/engage: Ask questions, post content, put out offers, and evoke responses

Further to the point of engaging the target audience, whether it is the client or a prospective client, Nate says to "invoke a bit of fear in the messaging. Address regulatory changes and current events in an unbiased fashion."

To invoke fear within your communication, Nate advises his clients to direct the conversation towards a great article that may be helpful in addressing the situation. This way the client feels like thier problem will be solved *after sweating a few minutes with worry".

Then, provide a follow up email or call with solutions and business capabilities.

The aim is to differentiate the email messaging in an already busy email inbox. "Create messaging that encourages subscription and builds the mindset of the clients."

By identifying and showcasing a USP, tax and accounting firms will stand out from an industry that is typically known for being bland. Nate recommends looking at other industries such as law firms, financial services firms, and real estate firms, which are growing in creative ways and are providing value to their clients, as models for success.

When discussing successful marketing tactics, Nate believes it is best to embrace Direct Response Marketing over Image Oriented Marketing.

Let's jump into Image Oriented Marketing vs Direct Response Marketing.

Image Oriented Marketing

Image Oriented marketing (or brand building marketing) focuses on the image of the company using photography, slogans, tag lines, and logos. It emphasizes the company and its services.

According to Nate, about 80% of advertisements across all industries utilize image-oriented marketing strategies yet they are ineffective. Image Oriented marketing is the most common form of marketing and probably, the least effective in today's day and age.

Direct Response Marketing

Direct Response marketing focuses on a call to action and provides an offer to the recipients. The message speaks directly to the recipients and encourages them to respond. Examples include direct mail, newsletters, email, podcasts, and social media interactions.

Direct Response marketing is an old-school version of marketing yet it can provide a more quantifiable return on investment (“ROI”) as opposed to Image Oriented marketing, Nate says. It creates a reason for the recipient to act upon the message and that data can be easily identified, tracked, and analyzed.

As an example, Nate suggests, is to find a way to market a business offer with a compelling value. A “free consultation” has become overused. Instead, position the service by attaching a time value such as rewarding the first number of recipients who act now or by ascribing an exact monetary value to the product or service.

The Key To ROI Driven Marketing

Remember that you need to stick to the basics when it comes to seeing a return on your marketing efforts. Make sure that with each proposition that you offer a prospective client, there is a name, value, and purpose attached to that proposal.

This is the key to providing clarity to your customers and making them feel understood by you. Your prospective client will know exactly what you are offering and can ultimately make the decision to become your next top client.

Want to dive deeper into learning How To Get Ideal Accounting Clients?

We are offering a book giveaway of Jetpack Workflow's Ebook titled: 47 Lead Generation & Marketing Strategies. To be entered into this book giveaway, leave a comment answering the following question:

What is 1 marketing tactic you have used that has helped grow your business?

11 Responses to “How To Get Ideal Accounting Clients Using a Bullsye Marketing Message”

  1. Jay Holmes

    Great stuff. And as always, thanks for providing awesome content! We have internalized our efforts to gain external clients. We look at each client (mostly business clients) and determine what extra thing we can do for them that would add great value at a nominal time investment for us. Our clients’ referrals have gotten more and the quality higher.

      • Jay Holmes

        We normally are so focused on the actual accounting/tax work, that we often miss, or don’t have enough time to bring up business stuff. The goal is to take 10 – 30 minutes a month (in the slower months) and look at the client’s books/situation with a different perspective. We spread out our clients over the year, so this is not every month with every client. With that time we can come up with real value added stuff. Some of the things that have come out of that quite time are: better bank financing, introductions to key-partners/complimentary services, incentive programs, price increase tactics, etc. From there we call the client or set up a lunch/breakfast and talk about our ideas. Clients love it, and they show their love with better referrals.

        • Jetpack Workflow Software

          Jay— LOVE THIS IDEA (just sent you an email as well). I think consciously scheduling time to do this is a great way to add more value to existing clients (and thus increasing referrals), vs focus purely on new user acquisition channels.

        • Helen Devries

          Jay, Thanks for sharing and Sounds Great once I have additional clients. I do add value and new pricing yearly for my clients. I am moving into more of financial coaching with my audience vs the accounting and taxes. Which I don’t enjoy taxes therefore, I don’t offer that service. I refer the client to a trusted CPA that I work with. Helen

  2. Helen Devries

    I have been using Thumbtack with not too much success. I bid hourly and then also bid more info and let them know I will give them a monthly service. Since all my clients are on monthly services. I respond to accounting and bookkeeping with craigslist and this has been my best response and acquiring customers method. I do post on twitter, FB, Linkid. But, no success with those sources as of yet.

      • Helen Devries

        David, I work remotely, so not primarily in my own backyard.
        I am working on serving my local community as well.
        My mission to help persons/business improve their finanicial and personal life through accounting. Giving my clients the organization, sources, tools and training.



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