I have some ideas for Harris County small business owners to chew on today about how to connect more clearly and deeply with your clients and prospects, but before I get there, some news:
There is still no word about automatic PPP forgiveness for smaller loans (under $150K), and Congress is having trouble coming to an agreement on a host of issues in a new economic stimulus bill. Here at our Harris County accounting firm, these issues are of significant importance to our clients.
So, as a result of the impasse the President signed a series of executive orders over the weekend to continue unemployment benefits (now at $400/week), to put in place a moratorium on evictions and give financial assistance to renters, and to suspend certain student loan interest and payments.
But the big one for Houston business owners is the payroll tax holiday. I’ve written separately about the details for this as they impact employees, but business owners will also be receiving a significant measure of savings beginning on September 1 and until December 31.
Essentially, the 7.65% employer portion of the payroll taxes in paychecks for employees who are making under $104K annually … will no longer be necessary to be withheld. This might be GREAT news for you if you have a decent-sized payroll (assuming it is in the Harris County area, or domestic and not overseas).
That said … keep your powder dry, as it’s technically Congress’ role to enact these orders. The executive order only suspends payroll taxes — it doesn’t eliminate them.
But this President isn’t the first to successfully issue these kinds of orders, and as such, it just might stick. Here’s a link to this particular order. We’ll keep the Harris County business community informed.
If you need to talk any of this through, use this: 713-942-1040
Moving on — 2020 has brought us a whole new world of communication, in priorities and in style. Many Houston small businesses that we serve have SHINED in this shift; others, not so much.
So I thought I’d cobble together some thoughts based on what I’ve seen that has worked well…
How Harris County Businesses Can Market More Effectively In This “New Normal”
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” -Mary Lou Cook
I’ll be honest … I hate the buzz phrase “new normal”.
None of us want this present reality to remain the permanent reality.
That said, I use it because I think you understand what I mean — the ground has shifted under our feet.
So, what will we be doing about this?
I should state from the outset: I’m not a marketing guru. I come alongside businesses to make sure their finances match up with what they are hoping for (while keeping their tax bill LOW).
But I’ve also learned that there are plenty of other accountants out there who would love to take my clients away from me.
So I’ve had to learn to stand out a little bit in the past few months and years — and the best way I know of doing that, today, is by writing to connect more deeply with the people that we want to serve.
How do you do that?
1) Share Yourself
Chances are, you’re not the only person selling what you’re selling, right? But people will listen to what you’re saying, not only because of your content or products, but because they enjoy hearing you share your actual experience.
If you’ve had a specific experience that relates to what you’re talking about, share it. Believe it or not, this can actually have a big impact on people feeling like they can trust you. They’ll feel as though they know you more. The internet has torn down the false wall of impersonality. The pathway to profit lies behind it.
Further, here in 2020, trust is at a massive deficit. But when you share more of yourself, you signal that you’re worthy of it.
2) “What’s In It For Me?”
The old “WIIFM” question is one you should answer as quickly as you possibly can, in any kind of marketing piece. Marketing content which rambles on and on without being crystal clear about what the reader is getting does not get read (or acted upon), period.
Not only should your WIIFM be totally clear, but you should state it as early in your content as possible. That way, people will know why they should keep reading as soon as they start reading.
3) Be Conversational
Write like you talk. Don’t use corporate fluff-speak. You’re having a person-to-person conversation — just over the internet, or through a piece of mail.
Use slang. Start your sentences with “and” or “because” if it sounds natural to you. And, most importantly, put your passion and spirit behind your words.
4) Let It Sit
Before you publish or send out your content, let it sit for a day or two. Then, come back and review it one more time before you publish it. Often, the second time around, you’ll pick up on things you didn’t the first time. These could be grammatical mistakes (though these aren’t always a killer), or it could just be more information you can add that will make your content even better.
5) Show Your Credibility
There are so many people on the internet giving different advice, it’s hard to know who to listen to. Have you helped over 1,000 people solve this specific problem? Make sure they know that. Have you been featured on Fox and CNN? Make sure that’s plastered all over your website. Have you done exactly what you’re teaching, in spades? Make sure they know that.
In short, the questions of, “Why should I listen to you?” and “Why should I trust you?” should be answered before you ask your readers to take your word on something.
Here’s the bottom line for communicating in this “new normal”: if you write in a way that really connects with your readers, you’ll get more internet traffic, more responses, more loyalty, more referrals and more sales.
So write to connect with your prospects.
Edward M. Gardner, PC CPA
Feel free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.