Using the Budget to engage clients and entice new ones
PracticeWeb’s deputy editor James Martini explains how your firm can capitalise on major fiscal events to engage prospects and generate leads.
Last year was the first calendar year without a Budget since 1768 – and before anyone questions that statistic, March 2019’s Spring Statement does not count as it was the dampest of damp squibs for a very long time.
Usually, the Budget takes centre stage for at least one day a year as the Chancellor maps out the country’s fiscal policy for the year ahead. It is about the only time tax dominates the headlines and people outside accountancy really sit up to take notice.
Employers are braced for increases to the national living wage, buy-to-let landlords are hiding behind their sofas in case new tax measures erode their profits further, and retailers pray for business rates reform.
That represents a real opportunity for accountancy practices to engage existing clients and entice new ones with relevant content that matters to them. After all, any tax changes may hit them in the pocket from 6 April.
On Wednesday 11 March 2020, Chancellor Sajid Javid will deliver a “post-Brexit budget which promises to cut taxes for hard-working families.”
The opportunity is there once again, but how do you go about seizing it?
Targeting new clients by sector or location
The Budget presents opportunities for content to reach your target markets, whether that’s potential clients working in a specific sector or attempting to hoover up those nearest to you.
Let’s say an accountancy practice in Somerset wants to attract new clients who work in agriculture. While most of us were seeing in the new decade, the Treasury revealed £3 billion of urgent financial support for farmers after the UK leaves the EU.
Having that agricultural hook from the Treasury presents an ideal opportunity to home in on that specific audience and supplement it with information about tax changes announced in the Spring Budget that are relevant to them.
Whether that’s in the form of a written report, email newsletter or bitesize video, make sure you include a call to action to enable them to get in touch and get the ball rolling. Even luring one new client will mean it was worth the effort, especially when you consider the potential lifetime value attached to that.
Tailoring communications to clients
Most firms produce general summaries of the Budget, but very few practices either have or take the time to tailor communications to their clients and prospects.
If you can add unique commentary from a partner or an expert member of your tax team, you’ll boost the value and perceived quality of the content massively, while also conveying your firm’s expertise and authority.
Not too long ago, content was strictly associated with print publications such as newspapers and magazines. Now, websites, podcasts, webinars, and, more recently, video all come under the content umbrella.
By 2022, online videos are expected to make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic – 15 times higher than it was in 2017. Savvy marketing people have cottoned onto that.
They know the increasing role video content is playing when it comes to reaching clients and engaging new ones. That doesn’t mean you need to be talking heads. It could be a short film of slides summarising key tax changes.
The role of keyword research
If you’re thinking about publishing written content on your website, make sure you do your keyword research first. It may sound simple, but the easiest way to do this is to include the tax year at the end of a keyword.
For example, we know three changes to capital gains tax are likely to kick in from April, even though they have not been legislated for. So, instead of using a heading that simply says ‘capital gains tax’ or even worse ‘CGT’, consider ‘capital gains tax 2020/21’ or ‘changes to capital gains tax’.
Looking at organic search volume alone, the keyword ‘capital gains tax’ averaged 33,100 searches a month last year according to Ubersuggest. Given the high competition for that particular keyword, you would be unlikely to rank for that term.
‘Capital gains tax’ is a broad term and it’s impossible to know the intent behind the search, but you could use ‘capital gains tax 2020/21’, which has a low monthly search volume of 10 right now, and realistically hope for it to significantly improve a few months into the new tax year.
That hypothesis is based on precedent - last year, the keyword ‘capital gains rate 2019’ ended with an average of 720 searches a month, while ‘capital gains tax 2018’ typically had 1,000 searches a month.
You can see how this example of a keyword has specific user intent behind it, it’s more targeted and therefore has a better chance of ranking on Google.
The same keyword principle could work for other headline-grabbing tax changes announced in the Spring Budget, too.
Man bites dog
Ultimately, there’s no better way of grabbing the attention of clients and prospects than news. If something that might affect them has changed, people will pay attention.
The Budget is the best chance accountants have to get a piece of that action – get your communications plan ready now.