CPA Practice Advisor

OCT 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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OCTOBER 2018 ■ www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com 35 BUILDING YOUR NICHE PRACTICE Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, rather than LinkedIn. There are many free tools that provide pre-defined image-posting sizes for each platform along with templates. When choosing images, consider business images with groups of people versus one person, images that resonate with the candidate’s values/causes, and images that stir emotion, like family, healthcare, retirement, and military, etc. Content posting can be tricky. Consider when your target market might be online most often – early mornings, evenings, and maybe midday. Facebook posts can be reused throughout the month, while Instagram posts should be reused less often. Twitter posts require more maintenance and could be done multiple times a day over a period of weeks/months. Also, if you’re considering an informational video for your practice, post it directly on Facebook rather than linking it to your firm’s YouTube channel. It will get more visibility than if you just post a link from another platform. Online Advertising If your firm is not listed on Google or Bing’s free business pages, that’s a first step. Next, consider your marketing budget. How much are you willing to spend over a period of months to draw in clients? Rather than spending money on search ads, consider graphical or video ads placed on politically- and geographically-focused websites for your target market; it’s called managed placements on Google Ads. They are just as budget-friendly as text ads, but often have more impact and better return on investment. Lastly, social media ads can also be effective when targeting specific audiences. Traditional Efforts In addition to your online efforts, traditional efforts, can also increase your brand and draw in leads. Consider a postcard or email campaign that is very targeted with a link to a trackable call to action. For example, send a message about an event you’re sponsoring. In it include a link to a website landing page that has a short, registration form. If the link is memorable and short, it’s more likely to be clicked, e.g., “Register now, before we’re sold out! https://FirmName.com/SaveMySeat.” In-person presentations can also be very effective. Creating A Process The process takes a good deal of time, effort, energy, and sometimes money. You’re in this for the long haul, so start from the end goal. ■ When is the campaign season in high gear? Back up from that date by at least six to nine months or more. ■ Create a project plan outlining what is being done, by whom, the message, delivery mechanism, and launch. Also remember to build in review time and measurement. ■ Include time to meet people. All of the online activity you can muster may not have the same impact as meeting someone face to face. ■ Develop a good amount of content to share socially, including quotes, images, tip sheets, Q&As, videos, podcasts, interviews, infographics, and more. ■ Update website SEO keywords on specific landing pages for the political audience. ■ Split test marketing campaigns so you know what’s working and what needs to be adjusted or ditched. ■ Identify new opportunities and decide if you should leverage them, e.g., radio or television talk shows, speaking events, political rallies, trending topics, etc. ■ Take time to review successes and failures along the way and decide if you should continue with the current plan or adjust it. ■ Track incoming leads to identify where they are coming from. You can also gain insights from social media and website analytics tools. The silver thread that ties all of this together is the pain point. What problems are you helping politicians to solve? How are you helping them to solve them? When you answer those two questions, you are well on your way to attracting new clients. ■ Becky is the President and CEO of Penheel Marketing, a boutique marketing firm specializing in social media and digital marketing for CPAs. sum of general election disbursements made. ■ If an individual who has contributed more than $200 during the election cycle fails to provide the required recordkeeping information (i.e., name, mailing address, occupation and employer), the committee must be able to show that it made “best efforts” to obtain, maintain and report that information. o To demonstrate “best efforts,” the committee must be able to show that it requested the information – first, in the solicitation materials that prompted the contribution and, second, if the information is not obtained, in a follow-up request. Possibly illegal contributions When a committee has reason to question the legality of a contribution, it has specific time frames in which to clarify whether the contribution is permissible. While investigating a contribution, the committee must keep a written record noting the basis of concern for each deposited contribution which: ■ Requires a written redesignation and/or reattribution from the contributor; or ■ Requires confirmation that it is not from a prohibited source. Prohibited sources include: Corporations, including nonprofit corporations (although funds from a corporate separate segregated fund are permissible); Labor organizations (although funds from a separate segregated fund are permissible); Federal government contractors; Foreign nationals; Contributions in the name of another. Reporting Requirements: Registered candidate committees are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission. Form 3, Report of Receipts and Disbursements, is required to be filed quarterly on April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 31 of the following year. ■ When a committee files its first report, it must include all receipts and disbursements that occurred before registration. This includes any receipts and disbursements made during the “testing the waters” (or exploratory) period. The coverage period of the first report should be adjusted to date back to the beginning of the committee’s financial activity. ■ In addition, in election years, committees of candidates in the general election (as opposed to primary election) must file a pre-election and a post-election report. o The pre-election report is due 12 days before the election and covers the first day of the current reporting quarter up to the 20th day before the election. o The post-election report is due 30 days after the general election and covers the period from the close of the previous report filed through 20 days after the election. ■ Committees must continue to file quarterly reports even if their candidate retires, withdraws, loses the primary or otherwise drops out of the race before the general election. Generally, committees must continue to file reports until the committee completes the termination process. This process involves filing a final Form 3 and checking the “Termination Report” option.

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