Long days. Long nights. And long weekends. These are all sure signs that tax season is here. While this is one of the busiest times of the year for many firms, it also represents one of the best times to identify new areas of profitability, right within your existing client base. This is because there are few opportunities during other times of the year to take the kind of close look at a broad range of your clients like the one that presents itself during tax season (unless you make a concerted effort to do so). It’s important to leverage the insights you gain as you and your team are preparing returns to inform future marketing efforts—particularly when it comes to identifying the potential for profitable new services or market niches.
Just as you review your clients from a tax and compliance perspective, consider looking at them from a market segmentation perspective, too. Three key ways you can start segmenting your client base is by individual or corporate tax clients, from there you can use the following segmentation strategies to identify new opportunities for your firm.
Market segmentation strategies for individual clients include using demographic information such as:
Age – Consider grouping clients by age to offer services that fit different stages of the lifecycle through tax planning and retirement planning.
Gender and education – With more women having financial independence and responsibility for household finances, your firm may wish to target this group with services that appeal to single and/or professional women. Younger college graduates may also be a group to target as they begin their professional careers or launch new businesses.
Income – High net worth clients can be another area of opportunity beyond tax season, especially if these individuals also have businesses attached to their profiles.
Location – If you find the majority of your clients are local to your firm, this may represent an opportunity to ask for referrals to their friends and family. It may also signal that your firm could have the potential to tap into markets outside of your immediate geographic area.
Ethnicity – If your firm has in-house expertise and fluency in different languages or a specialty in international taxation that fit with the ethnic profile of your client base, this may be an area that you can leverage for new service opportunities and referrals as well.
Market segmentation strategies for corporate clients include looking at factors such as:
Company size – If you tend to serve a lot of sole proprietorships or companies with 50 or fewer employees, this type of information is a natural segmentation point. However, if you take this data and combine it with one or more of the following segmentation criteria, this strategy will allow you to develop a more effective approach to target marketing.
Revenue – During tax season, you’ll have the ability to get the most current data from your client base about their income. Use it to develop a profile of your typical business client along with the other segmentation criteria here.
Industry vertical – This information is of course, the foundation for a powerful niche marketing strategy. Grouping your clients by the industries they operate in allows you to see if you have a critical mass in a particular vertical that warrants a targeted and dedicated strategy.
Job function – Along with business owners, you may serve a significant number of clients with the same job function or have the opportunity to do so such as firms with chief operating officers, financial managers or legal professionals who need your advanced accounting and advisory expertise.
Psychographic segmentation is a third way to uncover new areas of opportunity for your firm in both your individual and business client bases. Using this approach might require you to do some additional research once tax season is over, but it can be extremely valuable when you are trying to segment your clients based on their motivations for purchasing your services and the pain points that are most salient to them.
Examples of personality and behavioral characteristics to consider include overall values, risk profiles, interests as they relate to financial goals, motivations for considering services and priorities for their business or personal life such as saving time or increasing efficiency.
When it comes to behavioral segmentation you could apply this strategy to individual clients by using their interactions with your firm in terms of reading specific email messages or visiting your website. Business clients can be segmented based on their interaction with lead generation activities such as attending a webinar or even an association or chamber of commerce meeting.
Use tax season to take the next step in your market segmentation strategy. This tax season, keep the opportunity to segment your existing client base top of mind. This strategy can help your firm identify new market niches and client service opportunities that you can leverage after tax season. By using this proactive approach, you’ll be ready to maximize additional marketing efforts throughout the year to increase your firm’s client base, profit potential and revenue streams.