tax preparation video marketing

Nobody likes tax season, but, it’s that time of year again! So we wondered, how are some of the biggest tax preparation companies approaching video marketing for a subject most people would rather not think about? And, what can the rest of us learn from them?

H&R Block: Focusing On the Ease of Use

H&R Block has a hold on just over 20 percent of the tax preparation market. That’s no surprise considering it was founded in 1955, making it a decade older than the next oldest competitor on this list.

It’s possible their longevity influenced their approach to video marketing, which is a bit silly. After all, they’ve proven themselves over the past 60+ years, so why not have a little fun?

We love this video because it uses a really dramatic example. It features Astronaut Chiao, an obviously ambitious man who is relatable because, whoops, he forgot to file his taxes before heading off into space!

This commercial gives the company a chance to highlight Tax Pro Go, their newest service. It allows anyone to upload their tax documents from anywhere – even in space, “250 miles above the nearest H&R Block!”

The message here is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the entire world (or even beyond), using H&R Block to file your taxes is easy. Point made, H&R Block. Point made.

Intuit TurboTax: Showcasing Their Professional Experience

TurboTax was clever in creating a three-part ad series – using the same character – as a countdown of sorts to tax day. Each video, shared every 30 days or so, serves as a reminder that you really need to file your taxes as the deadline looms.

Here’s the first one, but be sure to check out the second and third videos, too.

Like H&R Block, TurboTax features a likable character. In this case, the character is relatable due to his increasing anxiety about filing his taxes, not because he forgets about them like Astronaut Chiao.

The character (who is a werewolf) struggles with the sense of dread we’ve all experienced when it comes to taxes. But, he continuously reassures himself (and viewers) that TurboTax has reliable, certified personal accountants who can review your return with you to get your maximum refund.

The videos are funny if downright absurd… but hey, they stand out! More importantly, they really drive home the idea that you can trust the professional expertise TurboTax offers, even though it’s perfectly normal to be a little stressed.

Jackson Hewitt: Providing Convenience

Less creative, yet still effective, is Jackson Hewitt. They showcase a variety of customers they work for who all have a couple things in common: They’re hard-working and they deserve the best tax refund!

Beyond showing us that their customers are just like us, they use positive and empowering language as they note their many advantages. Their convenient locations, extended hours, and friendly associates add up to a personable and convenient experience (because you deserve it, too!)

Liberty Tax: Ignorance Is Bliss (When You’re In the Right Hands)

In their #YouDoLife #WeDoTaxes series, Liberty Tax features things most people would probably rather focus on than their taxes. For instance, growing their business, their family traditions, finding new opportunities, engaging with their community, etc. You know, “doing life”.

Unlike their competitors, they don’t actually talk about their own services in detail in their videos. For people who would rather close their eyes and ears to anything tax-related, that’s probably quite refreshing.

They simply remind you three times (five if you count the text reminders) in under 15 seconds that they “do taxes”. That said, in the description of each video in this series, they state that they have “prepared over two million individual income tax returns in more than 4,000 offices and online”, highlighting the customer service and vast experience they offer.

TaxAct: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It’s clear TaxAct is going after a certain type of customer in their commercial and we’re into it! Check out the video here.

While showcasing different kinds of creative, small business entrepreneurs, they use affirmative language to describe these “path less traveled” folks and their career trajectories. They highlight their understanding and respect for their customer, while their accuracy guarantee promises nothing less than a professional tax customer experience. Oh, and it never hurts to work puppies into your video. Literally, never.

TaxSlayer: Value All-Around

Yet another video marketing approach from our final tax prep company: the customer testimonial!

They feature a real customer who shares her experience with their services. Importantly, she mentions using their service for the past five years as her “budget has grown and changed”. This one line may not seem important at first listen. But, consider all that it’s telling you:

  1. TaxSlayer has been around for at least five years which shows legitimacy
  2. The customer has used them year after year so she’s clearly happy with their results
  3. They are experienced in working with small businesses, whose financials change regularly. That’s music to the ears of many entrepreneurs!

Beyond that, in the description of their video, TaxSlayer goes even further to highlight their value. They share that they’ve been “recognized as the leader in six key metrics of customer satisfaction, including: maximum refund/minimum amount owed, ease of use, best value, fastest tax filing process, best customer service, and most trusted in online tax filing platforms”.

While they don’t say who they were recognized by (was it a reputable business organization… their mom… who knows?), a ringing endorsement from a five-year customer is certainly helpful.

Maximize Your Returns with These Takeaways

For an industry that few people are very excited about, tax preparation companies have an interesting approach to video marketing. Each one succeeds in focusing on one or two pain points of the tax filing process and making things seem less bleak, hopeful even. They’ve all succeeded in communicating to the viewer that while taxes may be an unavoidable part of life, they don’t have to go it alone.

What can other industries take away from these examples? Here are a few tips:

  • Note how all of these companies mention a “highest refund guarantee” and use empowering language that compliments their viewer. Always focus on the positive and stay positive in your language.
  • Sometimes, especially if your industry tends to inspire fear or anxiety, you have to lighten things up. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly. Just balance it out by referencing your knowledge, skills, and experience.
  • Find something that differentiates you from the competition and focus on it for each video. If you try to be the best at everything, your message may lose its impact. Viewers won’t remember what makes you special. You can always make several videos, each highlighting a different quality, which is what most of the companies on this list did.
  • Offer supplementary material that helps and educates your customer. Each of these tax firms offer educational tax videos in addition to these more eye-catching, entertaining ones. We suggest using the SproutVideo playlist feature to create organized viewing options that are easy for your viewer to navigate.
  • Lastly, always employ calls-to-action in your videos so you can capture leads while they’re most inspired and motivated to act. This is especially important if your service or product is, like tax services, something they know they can’t avoid purchasing forever.

Tell us what you think of these tax preparation marketing videos! Have you ever faced the challenge of creating videos for a complicated, dry, or otherwise difficult industry or topic? You can comment below or on Twitter @sproutvideo!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted April 3, 2018

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