We talk quite a bit about holiday marketing here at Palmer, but more often than not, it involves holidays that people actually like: Christmas, Halloween, and even Easter.
Then there's the holiday that we all despise: Tax Day.
As awful as tax day can be, it provides those in the financial services marketing world with an opportunity to reach leads who normally may not think about tax preparation, banking, or investing. The trick is to come up with marketing ideas that don't come across as silly or unprofessional. For example, the pizza maker Papa John's offered a pizza for $10.40, in honor of the IRS 1040 form. That's a good idea for Papa John's, but a bad idea for financial brands who need to exude trust and expertise.
Therefore, use tax day as a springboard to provide articles, videos, and tools for educating leads, customers, and website visitors. Here are specific topics that can serve as an inspiration:
In December 2014 the U.S. Congress renewed the state sales tax deduction for 2014 returns. This means that folks itemizing their taxes may choose to deduct either the state income taxes or state sales taxes they paid, whichever amount is larger. This deduction could include online purchases, if the seller collected sales tax for the their customers’ home states. Use this news — we call it "newsjacking," by the way — to publish informative blogs like "That Recent Amazon Purchase May Just Be a Business Deduction."
Electronic filing has made tax preparation a bit more pleasant, but that doesn't mean users aren't at risk from the bad guys. Educate readers on how to avoid tax-time fraud, encouraging them to keep their software updated, use strong passwords, and delete suspicious emails.
Tax season also shows taxpayers that with a some foresight, next year's bill to Uncle Sam could be less painful. Therefore, use tax season as an opportunity to remind readers on how to save money. Similarly, consider rolling out financial planning tools to help taxpayers get organized or plan ahead for the upcoming year. For example, some credit card companies offer end-of-year reports that break out purchases accordingly (Automotive and Gas expenses vs. Retail, etc.) Provide a similar tool to checking account holders.
Also don't forget the power of in-person human connection. While it may be too late for 2014's tax season, next year have an in-house advisor on hand to address questions, or hold seminars on tax issues for segments of your customer base like small business owners.
What do you think? What are other useful season-specific financial services marketing strategies — including tax season and beyond?