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Firm Management

5 Pre-Busy-Season Marketing Campaign Strategies

Marketing word cloud

Now’s the time to begin ramping up your marketing efforts for what looks to be a very busy 2020 tax season. Some of these items take minutes to implement, while others could take a week or two of planning, development, and execution.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When was the last time someone reviewed the keyword searches used to find you site? If it’s been a while, now’s the time to take a look. There are a couple ways to find the information, including:

  1. Reviewing your website analytics. If using Google Analytics, login to your account; from the left navigation click Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords. Remember to change the date in the top, right corner to see what’s been working over a period of time, e.g., the quarter, six months, last year during busy season, etc.
  2. Search Console. If you website developer created a Google search console for the site, you will be able to view additional keyword search details not provided on the general analytics report. Login to the Google Search Console. From the left navigation, choose Performance. Scroll down to Queries. Note the top keyword phrases people used to find your site. If the search phrase is still relevant, use it on new, topic-specific pages.

Also, once you have the data, update high-profile landing pages (i.e., tax-related pages with forms) and content-relevant pages (like tax tips) with the revised keywords.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Don’t wait until March to launch an individual tax return Google or Bing ad campaign. March is too late.

Begin the process in late December to early January. Then, run the campaign through February. Here’s why. The keyword cost per click (CPC) can increase exponentially once March arrives, for example in New Jersey terms like “tax return preparer near me” or “tax filing services” went from $3.00 per click in Q4 2019, to over $10.00 per click during Q1 2020. If your ad budget isn’t adjusted to meet the CPC increase, your ads won’t be shown.

Social Media

No matter which platform your firm is using, consider sharing tax tips now for final, year-end savings, such as contributions, expenses, Section 179, bonus depreciation, home office deduction, stimulus payments, unemployment, and more. Plus, tax document preparation tips in January and February. Designate a tax-tip day of the week for consistent social media posting.

Tips: Create accompanying graphics or video in a free, online tool like Canva ( to help make posts stand out. Use popular hashtags, such as #TaxTips or #TaxTipTuesday, in tax-related posts.

Get inspired by reviewing the IRS Twitter profile (you don’t have to have a Twitter account yourself) to see what they are posting. Here’s how. Open a browser tab. Search for IRS Twitter. Click on the link to view their Twitter profile. If you use their content (image, exact wording, or link) remember to tag them (@IRS on Facebook, @IRSNews on Twitter and Instagram, and #IRS on LinkedIn).

Here’s an example IRS Twitter post:

An #IRS tip: The simplified method of the home office deduction allows for a rate of $5/sq ft up to a maximum 300 sq ft for business use of the home. #HomeOfficeDeduction #TaxTipTuesday @IRSNews

Content Development

Now’s the time to leverage content your internal team can help you build. Begin by asking them one simple question each week. Then, post their answers in a “roundup” blog article or video on your website. Once live, share the information on social media and in client emails during tax season.

Here are some example questions:

  • What is one, simple 2020 tax return document tip you’d give taxpayers as they prepare files for their CPA?
  • Tell me one tax tip you tell clients each year in December to help them maximize deductions.
  • Poll: What’s easier, preparing tax returns or getting your teeth cleaned?
  • How do you keep up your energy during tax season?
  • If you could change one thing about tax season what would it be?
  • What tips do you have for first-time tax filers?

Tip: If your staff is shy and doesn’t want to be filmed, create videos with online tools using images, stock video clips, and text overlays. Remember to use relevant (and even branded) hashtags in the social media posts.


As the year draws to a close, create a referral email campaign. Begin by creating a unique landing page or promotional code to determine the campaign’s ROI. Use an eye-catching subject line to stand out from other holiday-related emails clients may receive. Then, give them something for sending you a referral. Remember to keep the email short and focused on your end goal – gaining referrals.

Tip: Use a headline generator tool (you can search for them online) to help you create a unique and eye catching subject line. Think outside the box on this one. 

Now that you have these five strategies, which will you use to generate leads for your firm before tax season?


Becky Livingston has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and technology in financial services and engineering firms. She is the President and CEO of Penheel Marketing, a boutique marketing firm specializing in social media and digital marketing for CPAs. In addition to being a marketing practitioner, Becky is also an adjunct professor, author, and speaker.

See inside December 2020

AICPA News: December 2020

AICPA News is a roundup of recent announcements by the association.


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