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An Introductory Marketing Guide To Building A Client Payroll Business

How to Profit from Payroll

From the January 2006 Tax Season Survival Guide

You may have actively avoided payroll preparation entirely, or you may be preparing only your firm’s payroll. Or you may have one or two payroll clients. And you’ve been hearing others talk about their payroll practices. You may have even seen for yourself: Payroll can be profitable. You can get client payroll work done in just a few minutes. If you need assistance, payroll experts are available to back you up. Best of all, really great payroll solutions are available, providing the services you need at a very affordable cost. The time has come. You’re ready to grow your payroll business.

So now, you may be asking yourself: “How can I get even more payroll clients?”

A special guide has been designed to give you guidelines, tips and suggestions to answer that question, and it’s available in *.PDF format at
Marketing.pdf. It has been developed based on the successes and failures of other accounting professionals like you. These practitioners have decades of small business marketing experience and are happy to share it with you. We’d like to offer special thanks to the team at PayCycle ( for helping to put this valuable guide together.

The most important thing to remember is that marketing is more than a one-time project. It is an ongoing commitment. You should always be consciously marketing your services. Marketing is about trying and evaluating different approaches and techniques. It never stops. Test a new program. Assess how it worked. Continue if it is successful. Improve whenever you can. Try something different if things aren’t working. Never stop. In
marketing, you will want to relentlessly try, try, try again.

The following is an excerpt from this special guide. Read on for a taste of what the complete guide will provide for you and your practice:


The best time to promote your payroll services is at the end of the calendar year, for an early January start date. This is the easiest time for a client (and for you) to switch services, since there is little to no historical information to enter into your payroll solution.

Promoting payroll during the month of January is still not too late. As you well know, many clients procrastinate. They will be looking for a payroll solution well into January, even February and March.

After March, just before each quarter end is a good payroll promotion time. Many clients will be open to a mid-year switch in June, and you can even catch a few more in September.

You will also be presented with the opportunity to pick up payroll business when your existing clients run into problems with their current solutions. (The most common occurrence is a payroll tax penalty notice.) Clients always turn to you to “fix problems.” This is a golden time to “take over” handling their payroll.

Finally, if you pick up new clients throughout the year, whether they are a new business or just a new client, make sure you promote payroll. Because of its year-round nature, payroll is a great way to build a close client relationship.


Choose a Unique Tagline & Stand Behind It

Choose one to three key benefits you want to uniquely emphasize when you promote your payroll services. In marketing speak, this is called, “positioning.” It means that compared to any other competitive offering, your clients can count on you to deliver the benefits you promise. This also means you will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide these highlighted client benefit(s).

Likewise, specializing in a particular business type or industry may also help you acquire more clients. Some options to consider are restaurants, professional services, construction, medical or dental, etc.

Use the benefits you want to emphasize and/or a business type specialty in a tagline. Remember to only choose one to three key benefits. If you pick more, your message will be too long and difficult to remember.

Remember that your tagline should be unique to your business. It’s what makes you stand out from your competition. That also means you shouldn’t choose a tagline that is similar to another company (especially in the payroll or accounting services field).

Whenever you can, be sure to always include your company name, tagline, logo and contact information (address, phone and fax number, e-mail address and web site). This includes letterhead, your capability brochures, signage and imprinted giveaways.


Introductory Offers

When you’re first getting started in payroll, sometimes it is essential to provide a compelling offer to gain your first clients. Even if you have an existing client base, a good offer makes your message stand out, and it provides an added incentive for the client to switch services. Highlight your special offers in all your payroll promotions.

Based on our experience of what works and what doesn’t, here are some offers you may want to try:

  • One month free trial
  • Introductory discounts
  • Sign up for payroll services and get (some other service, such as 1099 filings) free
  • Free direct deposit, W-2s, and electronic federal tax payments and filings (include state if available)
  • Guaranteed accurate calculations or we’ll pay penalties
  • Free set up
  • Free evaluation or price comparison quote

You can find this and the rest of the Introductory Marketing Guide to Building a Client Payroll Business in *PDF format at 


Back to the 2006 Tax Season Survival Guide