22+ Tax Preparation Service Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

Tax Preparation Service Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

Most tax preparation services & tax professionals would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new client. New clients not only bring in immediate revenue, but also lifetime value since they are likely to return year after year. And in an industry built on trust, new clients also represent potential word of mouth referrals.

But it’s hard to find a good client if you don’t have new inquiries coming in.

Some tax professionals – especially those with a large, national brand – have a reputation and client base that brings in referrals and inquiries with nothing but a visible office.

But for most tax professionals and preparers, you have to go out and market your service to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several local insurance agents* and many local service professionals. Based on those experiences, here are some tax preparation service ideas that you can use to bring in more clients.

*I’ve found that some local insurance agents are highly constrained by their national company franchise agreements. Tax professionals are often in a similar setup with the large national franchise brands. These constraints come with major marketing advantages, but also force you to be creative with your supplemental digital marketing. Some of these tactics might be unavailable for your service, but some just need a bit of tweaking.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For many clients, regions are too big and neighborhoods are too small for the right tax professional, but they do want a local service in their own city.

Local Tax Preparer

That may sound obvious, but most professional firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on individual cities within a region. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

Make sure that every city page is actually about that city and includes all your services. Make your page structure “scalable” so that you can easily expand your service area as needed.

Create Niche Service Pages

Lots of clients have specific services and/or expertise that they want.

This is particularly true in an industry like tax preparation. For basic tax prep, there’s Turbo Tax and the 1040EZ form at the library. Lean into hyper-specific services and expertise.

Instead of listing your services & expertise in a giant list, make detailed pages about each expertise. Try to rank for searches like “tax [service]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “tax for” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

Tax Preparer Ideas

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Tax Preparation Service Niches

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Just type in a broad term and see what it’s comes up with.

Create Local Guide Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to or living in your city. Create lots of them.

Local Tax Considerations

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Local Atlanta City Tax

Find niche tax questions, which vary State by State and jurisdiction by jurisdiction.

Make a local version for popular tax questions. You can also search for ideas outside of Google. Check out my guide to researching content here.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.*

*In fact, if you are a local professional who can’t run your own website, your Google My Business profile will be your primary search marketing tool.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka calls & inquiries) from Google Maps. There are many ways to get reviews, but you can use follow-ups emails, retargeting on social media, and many other methods.

Getting creative with reviews is how you’ll leapfrog other local competing tax professionals in search.

Fourth, you need to make sure your categorization is comprehensive and complete. Many listings offer varying and multiple business categories. If you are a tax professional with multiple services, makes sure you are listed in every database.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With tax preparation marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Publications & Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in themselves. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Blogs, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All local publications & blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalists. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

In the tax arena, any statistics, trends, or data that you have can easily translate to free PR, which can then translate into links to your website or service profile.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients. Lean in to local tax problems.

For example, if you live in State affected by the SALT cap – talk about that. If you serve one of the cities with a wage / income tax – talk about that.

Whether it’s 529s, childcare, energy credits, find out what makes *your* area different and talk to the exact people that those tax considerations affect.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “tax preparation in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

In fact, some of the most expensive searches on Google are for tax queries.

You’ll be competing with huge, publicly traded national brands with near infinite budgets and an army of advertising professionals.

But like Facebook, you have an critical local advantage with Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

The key is to run landing pages that perfectly match your ads, and run ads that perfectly match specific, local keywords.

If you offer tailored or niche tax products, this strategy can be particularly useful.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

Even if you have a small market, you can always use Google’s Retargeting setting to solicit more reviews & referrals.

List on Locally-Popular Tax Websites

Tax & financial websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key financial websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

Tax Listings Atlanta

You can use Google Trends, client interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising tax professional.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for professional services.

They also have an accessible, affordable, and useful local advertising service.

Automate Social Media Monitoring

Like Reddit, people often start their professional search on local social media with open-ended, specific questions.

It’s impossible to spend all your time on social media. But it is possible to automate both posting and listening on social media.

Take advantage of Twitter alerts, IFTTT, Zapier, and other tools to automate your social media presence and find great leads.

Contribute to Local Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a known resource for everyone. It relies on contributors – and authoritative contributors for local cities are often sparse.

Look for opportunities to use your website as an authoritative source for Wikipedia. A tax agency is well-positioned to provide historical documentation, legal background, and more for Wikipedia entries.

Historical Tax Documents in Wikipedia

Don’t be over-promotional or spammy, but you can look to increase your presence there for the links and the potential exposure.

After all, if people are using Wikipedia for research, it’s a great place to have your website & brand.

Identify & Market Popular Client Sources

Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success. It sounds cliche and obvious, but the key is in the execution. I’ve worked with plenty of professional firms who knew where they got clients from, but never thought about increasing that channel.

Cross-Promote Local Professionals

Local financial professionals usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. That’s the same with real estate agents, therapists, and other professional services. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote as many local professionals as possible.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

As an tax professional, you have the opportunity to stand at the nexus of lots of businesses & people. The key to most tax professionals is referrals. Try promoting other businesses in an effort to simply be top of mind for when the need for a tax professional happens.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Coordinate Offline & Online Marketing

Take what your other marketing channels and drive them to specific landing pages with tracking. Create a marketing funnel rather than direct call to action across your on and offline marketing.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like pro bono, Q&A sessions, seminars, college recruiting events are staples for many tax professionals. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of tax issues with behind the scenes explainers.

Video can be hard, but that means you will get a competitive advantage if you can pull it off. Create “evergreen” videos about topics that will last.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of professionals’ marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., client numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts. For many professionals, it’s the cheapest, simplest, and best way to promote your local listing & get links. You get long-term value for a short-term fee.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for tax professionals and tax preparation services. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

This post originally appeared at 22+ Tax Preparation Service Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients via ShivarWeb

“”

What Is Facebook Pay & How Does It Work?

The post What Is Facebook Pay & How Does It Work? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

22+ Insurance Agency Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

Insurance Agency Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

Most insurance agencies & brokers would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new client. New clients not only bring in revenue, but also lifetime value and new referrals. But it’s hard to find a good client if you don’t have new inquiries coming in.

Some insurance agencies & brokers – especially those with a large, national brand – have a reputation and client base that brings in referrals and inquiries with nothing but a phone number.

But for most agents and brokers, you have to go out and market your agency or brokerage to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several local insurance agents* and many local service professionals. Based on those experiences, here are some insurance agency marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients.

*I’ve found that some local insurance agents are highly constrained by their national company franchise agreements. These constraints come with major marketing advantages, but also force you to be creative with your supplemental digital marketing. Some of these tactics might be unavailable for you, but some just need a bit of tweaking.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For many clients, regions are too big and neighborhoods are too small for the right insurance agent, but they do want a local agent or broker in their own city.

That may sound obvious, but most professional firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on individual cities within a region. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

Make sure that every city page is actually about that city and includes all your services. Make your page structure “scalable” so that you can easily expand your service area as needed.

Create Niche Service Pages

Lots of clients have specific services and/or expertise that they want. Instead of listing your services & expertise in a giant list, make detailed pages about each expertise. Try to rank for searches like “[service] insurance”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] insurance that” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Just type in a broad term and see what it’s comes up with.

Create Local Guide Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to or living in your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Find niche insurance questions, which vary State by State and jurisdiction by jurisdiction.

Make a local version for popular insurance questions.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.*

*In fact, if you are a local agent who can’t run your own website, your Google My Business profile will be your primary search marketing tool.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka calls & inquiries) from Google Maps. There are many ways to get reviews, but you can use follow-ups emails, retargeting on social media, and many other methods.

Getting creative with reviews is how you’ll leapfrog other local competing insurance agents in search.

Fourth, you need to make sure your categorization is comprehensive and complete. Many listings offer varying and multiple business categories. If you are an insurance broker or agency with multiple services, makes sure you are listed in every database.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With insurance marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Publications & Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in themselves. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Blogs, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All local publications & blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalists. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

In the insurance arena, any statistics, trends, or data that you have can easily translate to free PR, which can then translate into links to your website or agent profile.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “car insurance in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

In fact, some of the most expensive searches on Google are for legal terms.

But like Facebook, you have an critical local advantage with Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

The key is to run landing pages that perfectly match your ads, and run ads that perfectly match specific, local keywords.

If you offer tailored or niche insurance products, this strategy can be particularly useful.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

Even if you have a small market, you can always use Google’s Retargeting setting to solicit more reviews & referrals.

List on Locally-Popular Insurance Websites

Insurance listing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key insurance websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

You can use Google Trends, client interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising broker or agent.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for professional services.

They also have an accessible, affordable, and useful local advertising service.

Automate Social Media Monitoring

Like Reddit, people often start their insurance search on local social media with open-ended, specific questions.

It’s impossible to spend all your time on social media. But it is possible to automate both posting and listening on social media.

Take advantage of Twitter alerts, IFTTT, Zapier, and other tools to automate your social media presence and find great leads.

Contribute to Local Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a known resource for everyone. It relies on contributors – and authoritative contributors for local cities are often sparse.

Look for opportunities to use your website as an authoritative source for Wikipedia. An insurance agency is well-positioned to provide historical documentation, legal background, and more for Wikipedia entries.

Don’t be over-promotional or spammy, but you can look to increase your presence there for the links and the potential exposure.

After all, if people are using Wikipedia for research, it’s a great place to have your website & brand.

Identify & Market Popular Client Sources

Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success. It sounds cliche and obvious, but the key is in the execution. I’ve worked with plenty of professional firms who knew where they got clients from, but never thought about increasing that channel.

Cross-Promote Local Professionals

Local real estate agents usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. That’s the same with accountants, therapists, and other professional services. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote as many local professionals as possible.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

As an insurance agent, you have the opportunity to stand at the nexus of lots of businesses & people. The key to most law firms is referrals. Try promoting other businesses in an effort to simply be top of mind for when the need for an insurance agent / broker happens.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Coordinate Offline & Online Marketing

Take what your other marketing channels and drive them to specific landing pages with tracking. Create a marketing funnel rather than direct call to action across your on and offline marketing.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like pro bono, Q&A sessions, seminars, college recruiting events are staples for many law firms. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of insurance issues with behind the scenes explainers.

Video can be hard, but that means you will get a competitive advantage if you can pull it off. Create “evergreen” videos about topics that will last.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of insurance marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., client numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts. For many agents, it’s the cheapest, simplest, and best way to promote your local listing & get links. You get long-term value for a short-term fee.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for insurance agencies & brokers. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

This post originally appeared at 22+ Insurance Agency Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients via ShivarWeb

“”

Gusto VS ADP: Which Payroll Software Is Better?

The post Gusto VS ADP: Which Payroll Software Is Better? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

22+ Law Firm Marketing & Advertising Ideas To Find More Clients

Law Firm Marketing & Advertising Ideas To Find More Clients

Most law firms would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new client. New clients not only bring in revenue, but also lifetime value and new referrals. But it’s hard to find a good client if you don’t have new inquiries coming in.

Some law firms have a reputation and client base that brings in referrals and inquiries with nothing but a phone number. But for most lawyers, you have to go out and market your firm to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, local professional firms. Based on those experiences, here are some lawyer & law firm marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For many clients, regions are too big and neighborhoods are too small for the right law firm, but they do want a local lawyer in their own city.

Lawyer Marketing

That may sound obvious, but most professional firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on individual cities within a region. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

Make sure that every city page is actually about that city and includes all your services. Make your page structure “scalable” so that you can easily expand your service area as needed.

Create Niche Service Pages

Lots of clients have specific services and/or expertise that they want. Instead of listing your services & expertise in a giant list, make detailed pages about each expertise. Try to rank for searches like “[service] lawyer”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] lawyer that” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

Lawyer Services
Lawyer Expertise

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Atlanta Legal Expertise

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Create Local Guide Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.

Georgia Laws

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Municipal Laws

Find a niche in legal questions, which vary State by State and jurisdiction by jurisdiction.

Hiring a Lawyer

Make a local version for popular legal questions.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka calls & inquiries) from Google Maps. There are many ways to get reviews, but you can use follow-ups emails, retargeting, and many other methods.

Fourth, you need to make sure your categorization is comprehensive and complete. Many listings offer varying and multiple business categories. If you are a law firm with multiple services, makes sure you are listed in every database.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With law firm marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Publications & Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in themselves. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Blogs, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All local publications & blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalists. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

In the legal arena, any statistics, trends, or data that you have can easily translate to free PR, which can then translate into links to your website.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “lawyer in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

In fact, some of the most expensive searches on Google are for legal terms.

But like Facebook, you have an critical local advantage with Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

The key is to run landing pages that perfectly match your ads, and run ads that perfectly match specific, local keywords.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

Even if you have a small market, you can always use Google’s Retargeting setting to solicit more reviews & referrals.

List on Locally-Popular Legal Websites

Lawyer listing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key lawyer websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

You can use Google Trends, client interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

Lawyer SERPs

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising attorney.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for professional services.

They also have an accessible, affordable, and useful local advertising service.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for attorneys and law firms for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to ask open-ended specific, local questions.

Reddit Lawyer Recommendations

Now, Reddit is decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

Automate Social Media Monitoring

Like Reddit, people often start their lawyer search on local social media with open-ended, specific questions.

It’s impossible to spend all your time on social media. But it is possible to automate both posting and listening on social media.

Take advantage of Twitter alerts, IFTTT, Zapier, and other tools to automate your social media presence and find great leads.

Contribute to Local Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a known resource for everyone. It relies on contributors – and authoritative contributors for local cities are often sparse.

Look for opportunities to use your website as an authoritative source for Wikipedia. A law firm is well-positioned to provide historical documentation, legal background, and more for Wikipedia entries.

Don’t be over-promotional or spammy, but you can look to increase your presence there for the links and the potential exposure.

After all, if people are using Wikipedia for legal research, it’s a great place to have your website & brand.

Identify & Market Popular Client Sources

Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success. It sounds cliche and obvious, but the key is in the execution. I’ve worked with plenty of professional firms who knew where they got clients from, but never thought about increasing that channel.

Cross-Promote Local Professionals

Local real estate agents usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. That’s the same with accountants, therapists, and other professional services. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote as many local professionals as possible.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

As a lawyer, you have the opportunity to stand at the nexus of lots of businesses & people. The key to most law firms is referrals. Try promoting other businesses in an effort to simply be top of mind for when the need for an attorney happens.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Coordinate Offline & Online Marketing

Take what your other marketing channels and drive them to specific landing pages with tracking. Create a marketing funnel rather than direct call to action across your on and offline marketing.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open houses, pro bono, Q&A sessions, seminars, college recruiting events are staples for many law firms. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of legal issues with behind the scenes explainers.

Video can be hard, but that means you will get a competitive advantage if you can pull it off. Create “evergreen” videos about topics that will last.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of attorney marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., client numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for attorneys and law firms. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

This post originally appeared at 22+ Law Firm Marketing & Advertising Ideas To Find More Clients via ShivarWeb

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Join The Club: Over 75% Of Small Businesses Plan To Give Employees Time Off To Vote, Survey Says

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How To Start An Amazon Store

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Another Round Of PPP? What We Know Right Now About Another Government Stimulus For Small Businesses

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22+ Web Design Agency Recurring Revenue Ideas

This post originally appeared at 22+ Web Design Agency Recurring Revenue Ideas via ShivarWeb

Web Design Agency Recurring Revenue Ideas

Every web design agency’s core problem is that large, profitable projects end while costs continue month after month.

Steady, monthly, and ideally passive, recurring revenue solves this core problem. Recurring revenue means that –

  • You can be patient and wait for the right clients
  • You don’t have to chase bad leads
  • You can hire & keep quality, long-term staff
  • You can multiply your business valuation when it comes to sell
  • You can smooth your cash flow & expenses rather than rely on credit
  • You have time to improve project processes & profitability

In other words, recurring revenue rocks.

Recurring revenue is why so many web design agencies try to add marketing services. It seems natural to complement project-based website design with retainer-based website marketing.

But website marketing creates a whole range of costs and risks. The number one risk is that marketing is out of your skill set…and so you actually lose clients from poor performance.

Instead, I think there’s a better way.

The key is to present your web design clients with an ongoing package of web design-related services.

The package should be invoiced monthly and should automatically recur until the package is canceled.

The package should be high-value for clients. They should be purchasing peace of mind, convenience, and high ROI.

And lastly, the package should be high profit margin with low labor, lots of automation, and obvious performance metrics for you. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

But what kind of web design-related services can be packaged together? Here are some ideas.

Web Hosting

Web hosting is the most natural fit for any web design agency. Your client’s website needs to live somewhere. And if you have a client who doesn’t already have hosting or specific hosting needs, you can provide website hosting as part of a monthly recurring package.

There are tons of options to provide the service.

  • You can purchase and mark up a regular website hosting plan.
  • You can purchase a Reseller Hosting account and host your client’s site there.
  • You can also create a hybrid option if your client has specific needs like Cloud hosting or email infrastructure.

Either way, you can have total control over pricing since you know your client better than the hosting company.

Upsides: You can generate high profit margins with low labor. Hosting companies will provide most backend support along with front-end support tools. You can also set up the account to provide additional services with lower risk (like security & backups).

Downsides: If something breaks, you own the problem. Your reputation is also totally dependent on another company. It will also require careful setup with impeccable quality control. Your client may have specific requirements to maintain website ownership.

Software / Tools: You’ll need good Reseller Hosting from a support-oriented hosting company (I use InMotion Hosting). If you are marking up a plan for each client, use a company with account management tools. For example, InMotion Hosting uses WebPro, and WP Engine has proprietary tools built just for agencies.

Example of a Management Tool

Uptime Monitoring

Websites can go down for a whole host of reasons. And when they go down, speed is critical. Uptime monitoring gives a client peace of mind. They’ll know that if their website goes down, somebody knows about it and can work to diagnose and fix the issue.

Upsides: Uptime monitoring can be completely automated. If you are using a reputable hosting company, they’ll handle most troubleshooting and response.

Downsides: You will be on the hook for getting the setup right. And if there’s a major cause, you’ll have to spend time, energy, and expertise making things right. Also, you can’t charge a lot of money for monitoring as a stand-alone service.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack for all my WordPress website uptime notifications. For non-WordPress websites, there’s Pingdom and StatusCake.

Security Monitoring

Cybersecurity is on every website owners’ mind – no matter how small they are. Even run of the mill spam can dramatically affect an infected website. Security monitoring provides clients with peace of mind and prevention of much bigger, more expensive issues.

Upsides: You can automate most monitoring and charge quite a bit, even as a stand-alone service.

Downsides: You will take on the risk of missing issues and fixing anything that comes up. If there’s a major issue, you’ll have to spend time, money, and expertise to make things right. You’ll also need a lawyer to make sure your firm does not have any legal exposure to potential lawsuits.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack for WordPress website security monitoring and Sucuri for my non-WordPress security monitoring.

Software Updates

Everyone (so…everyone) who has a smartphone knows about software updates. They are annoying, frustrating, time-consuming…but also critical. Unless you are building in pure HTML / CSS, websites are just big bundles of software. Software updates are critical, but can also cause problems. Clients will pay for someone to safely and consistently apply software updates.

Upsides: You can automate most software updates and charge a consistently high fee. Your client is unlikely to ever cancel the service. Your client will also benefit by saving money on future fixes.

Downsides: If a software update goes awry, you’ll be on the hook to fix the issue. You’ll also need to stay up to date on exactly what different software updates do to prevent conflicts.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack to manage my multiple WordPress website updates. I know that a lot of people also like ManageWP (now GoDaddy Pro). For non-WordPress websites, you’ll have to seek out a platform-specific solution.

Website Backups

A website backup is Website Ownership 101. Website backups have to be created and stored securely. Like software updates, clients know that backups need to happen, and know that they are time-consuming. They are buying peace of mind and convenience.

Upsides: You can automate the backup process and charge for both the service & storage. Your client is unlikely to cancel the service.

Downsides: You are responsible for creating a foolproof & consistent process. You’ll also have to adjust fees depending on how often a clients’ site gets backed up.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack’s VaultPress module to keep an automated backup for my WordPress website. Many hosting companies will also bundle a backup manager with your subscription. InMotion Hosting has its Backup Manager available on Reseller plans.

Software Warranty

Software breaks, especially software that has prerequisites or integrations. A software warranty is a guarantee that you’ll fix any software issue that comes up for free in exchange for a regular fee. Clients are purchasing peace of mind and convenience.

Upsides: Like appliance warranties, you can provide high value for high fees and little labor. Since you designed & built the website, you should have an intimate knowledge of software risks.

Downsides: You are getting paid to take on risk. If something happens, you are on the hook for fixing the problem. You’ll need to carefully understand your clients’ needs and software risks. You’ll need to budget for hiring any needed expertise if something happens.

Software / Tools: No tools needed. However, you’ll need to maintain a familiarity with all your client’s software needs. Keep tabs on every software update so that you can fix any potential issues.

Analytics Reporting

Every client wants to know how many visitors their website has. But few want to learn how to dig around in Google Analytics. Most would be happy with a PDF of some key takeaways. You can provide this ongoing service by setting up Google Analytics with metrics that matter to them and sending monthly PDF reports.

Google Analytics Report

Upsides: Analytics Reporting is a low labor and high value service. You can automate the reports and let Google do the heavy lifting. Additionally, it can allow you to dip your toe into retainer marketing services.

Downsides: You’ll need to learn a bit about Google Analytics and set up the account correctly.

Software / Tools: I use Google Analytics to set up regular monthly reports. There is a lot of scope for customization though. Spend time getting the right Dashboards, segments, and KPIs (key performance indicators) set up, then automate.

Marketing Reporting

Most clients also love to know how their Google rankings are doing, who is linking to them, and how their local listings are doing. There are many marketing intelligence tools that will provide white-label marketing reports in PDF format for you to pass along to your clients.

SEMrush-Reports

Upsides: You can subscribe to a marketing intelligence tool and have your clients basically pay for your subscription. Find one that has PDF reports (like SEMrush) and set it to automate your reporting. It’s low labor and high value.

Downsides: Few downsides, except that you may have to field questions about what the metrics mean and propose solutions.

Software / Tools: I use SEMrush to set up regular marketing reports. These reports can complement Google Analytics. They are also *very* high value for many clients. SEMrush has a clean setup with white label reports available, so you can provide proprietary data at very high markups with your brand everywhere.

SEO Audits

There are three areas of SEO –

  • Off-page – promoting your website to other websites.
  • On-page – creating content that is relevant to search queries.
  • Technical, aka “in-page” – make sure your site is crawlable & indexable.

Unless you are running a large site, most technical SEO and on-page can now be done with automated tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Even if you don’t provide SEO services, providing automated audits can be worthwhile for clients.

Upsides: You can automate this service and bundle it with other reports for higher fees. You can also use it to show the quality of your web design work or recommend new content or new initiatives. It can also allow to test marketing retainers.

Downsides: You’ll need to understand the terminology and reporting to field any questions from your clients. You’ll also need to be able to fix or at least diagnose any major issues that come up.

Software / Tools: I use SEMrush to provide SEO Audit reports in addition to Google Search Console. These reports will pull usability and small technical tasks. These reports allow you to maintain a conversation about ongoing improvements. You can bill to fix any issues or refer the client to an SEO firm.

Expertise Retainer

Expertise retainers are when clients pay every month for the right to speak to you about their project. At a project-based agency, new projects demand all your attention, because that’s what pays the bills. But many completed projects will inevitably need some support.

Expertise or Support retainers allow your previous clients to stay at the front of the line when contacting you about a problem. Expertise retainers are common at the higher levels of professional services (e.g., corporate law). By definition, they require no deliverables. They only require that you remain available.

Upsides: You’ll have potentially 100% profit margin fees. Taking care of past clients will no longer come at the expense of current clients, since everyone will be a current client. You’ll be able to maintain longer relationships and make recommendations without your own financial considerations.

Downsides: You’ll need to be in business for a long time with lots of happy clients to pull off an expertise or support retainer. Many clients are not used to paying monthly fees for no deliverables. You’ll have to position this service well for clients to see the value. You’ll also have to carefully define scope so that an expertise retainer doesn’t scope creep into a website maintenance retainer.

Software / Tools: I use FreshBooks to set up recurring billing for any retainers if you don’t already have an invoicing software setup.

Graphic Design

If you provided custom design for a clients’ website, then they will likely need a similar design for all their social media channels and website updates.

A graphic design retainer allows the client to request a certain number of graphic designs per month that fit with their brand / website.

Upsides: You’ll solve an immediate & tangible need with a low churn rate and potentially high fees compared to the amount of labor. There are lots of tools that can speed up the process.

Downsides: This service is hard to automate, but it can be low labor and high value with the right software tools / designers. There’s a risk of scope creep and revisions increasing labor costs.

Software / Tools: I use a mix of Fiverr, Canva, and Stencil to quickly work up basic graphic design. There are also services like DesignPickle that provide unlimited graphic design.

Content Editing

Even if your client’s website has a content management system, I’ve found that most clients simply don’t want to edit their own website. It’s too unfamiliar. They’d rather email a “website person.” You can charge monthly fees to be their Webmaster.

I’ve had clients pay me more to edit their website over the course of 2 years than they paid for the entire design.

Upsides: You’ll solve an immediate and tangible need for potentially high fees, depending on the client.

Downsides: It has the risk of lots of tedious, high labor tasks in addition to scope creep.

Software / Tools: Most content has to be edited manually. But tools like WordPress’s new Gutenberg blocks and apps like Grammarly make it fast.

Content Refresh

This service pairs well with an SEO Audit service. Think of a content refresh like pressure washing a website. Website content gets stale over time. Businesses need seasonal content. You can go ahead and schedule out the updates on a monthly retainer.

Upsides: You’ll have an easy, straightforward sell with tasks that can be planned well ahead of time.

Downsides: You’ll have to define scope and budget for writers. There’s little to automate, though you can plan for labor costs ahead of time.

Software / Tools: Most content refresh will need manual updates based on existing knowledge. But I have hired freelancers on Fiverr to help with large edits along with WordPress plugins like Better Search & Replace.

Content Creation

Clients always need new content. Traditionally, agencies will sell content creation as a stand-alone project or sell it as part of a marketing campaign. But you can also sell it as a part of a monthly retainer.

Upsides: You’ll have a tangible service with a low churn rate. You can also budget for a long-term freelancer or employee. You can test out marketing retainers without a large commitment.

Downsides: It’ll require labor costs and will be hard to automate.

Software / Tools: I write a lot of content myself. But I’ve also used Fiverr, WordAgents, and ProBlogger. I’ve also worked with copywriting pros like Katelyn Dramis, Evan Porter, Nebo Agency, Knucklepuck Media, and Copywriting Course to scale up campaigns.

Social Media & Email Scheduling

Social media / email marketing presence is essential for every business, even if the business doesn’t really need a social media strategy or social engagement. You can sell your clients on convenience and take on their tedious social media tasks.

Upsides: You can charge a high fee for low labor, tangible tasks. You can also use software to automate most of the process and outsource a lot of creation.

Downsides: You’ll have to be careful and considerate of your clients’ reputation and maintain communication around posting details and project scope. You don’t want to accidentally take over social media response and customer support.

Software / Tools: I use TailWind for Pinterest & Instagram and Buffer for Facebook / Twitter. I use MailChimp my email marketing. My clients mostly use either Aweber or ConstantContact.

Software Revenue Share

Many website & software platforms offer a revenue share for agencies who use their platform. You’ll get recurring fees from the platform as long as your client’s site lives on that platform.

Upsides: You’ll get truly passive, guaranteed revenue in addition to other platform perks. The platform will also handle a lot of the support & security. Your clients will also benefit from a solid platform and can reduce their “vendor risk” away from your agency.

Downsides: Your client will be less attached to your agency (though that can also be a sales point for you). You’ll also have to sell your client on the platform for their website.

Software / Tools: I use Affluent to keep track of all partnership / affiliate revenue, though some software requires manual checking. Shopify offers a 20% revenue share for ecommerce websites (more for Enterprise sites). Aweber also offers revenue share for email. WP Engine offers revenue share for WordPress hosting.

Software Licensing

If your client’s site is using software that you’ve developed, you charge licensing fees.

Upsides: You’ll have recurring revenue with 100% profit margin for as long as your client uses your website.

Downsides: Software licensing can introduce some obstacles to closing on web design contracts. Many clients expect a single upfront fee, so you’ll have to position the software licensing carefully.

Software / Tools: No need for tools, just an understanding of copyright and software licensing – especially if using WordPress.

Marketing Revenue Share

If you don’t provide marketing services, you can still refer clients to partner firms in exchange for a referral fee or revenue share.

Upsides: You can generate marketing retainer revenue without starting up a marketing division. Your clients can also benefit from working with a reputable marketing firm with a close relationship with their design firm.

Downsides: You’ll have to balance the referral process with your client. You’ll also have to find the right marketing firm, since you’ll both depend on each other to provide good work and good referrals.

Software / Tools: Tools will depend on your partner company. The best solution is via similar CRM software like HubSpot or SalesForce.

Website Upgrade Installment

You’ll sign a client to basically pre-pay for a future website redesign.

Upsides: You can secure a client for future projects while smoothing your cash flow.

Downsides: This arrangement will only be interesting for a certain type of client.

Software / Tools: No tools are needed, though you will need to scope the project well.

Website Optimization

You’ll make regular data-driven optimizations to your client’s website.

Upsides: You can provide a tangible, recurring service for a high-fee.

Downsides: You’ll have to tackle many misconceptions and really sell the service without harming the reputation of your web design work (i.e., “why isn’t my website optimized from the start?”). You’ll also have to scope the work well.

Software / Tools: I use Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Mobile Friendly Test, and SEMrush’s Site Health tool to find website elements that should be improved.

A/B Testing & Reporting

You can provide regular A/B Tests and updates for clients based on a regular, consistent schedule.

Upsides: You can provide a tangible, very high value service for a high fee. You can also automate portions of the process.

Downsides: You may need to coordinate and/or compete with your client’s marketing firm. Not every client is a good fit for A/B Testing, since you really need a significant amount of traffic for relevant results.

Software / Tools: I don’t do a lot of A/B testing, but tools like OptinMonster are great for testing email opt-ins while Google Optimize and Optimizely will help you test entire pages.

Surveys & User Testing

You can run user feedback surveys and regular user testing for clients.

Upsides: You’ll have a tangible, recurring service for a medium to high fee. You can also automate portions of the process.

Downsides: Unless you have the right client, it can be hard to prove the service’s ongoing value. You may have to compete / coordinate with your client’s marketing firm.

Software / Tools: I use Google Surveys and Forms, but there are plenty of other tools available, depending on exactly what you are testing or surveying for.

Next Steps

One-off projects will always bring in most of the revenue for a web design agency. But that doesn’t mean that recurring revenue isn’t important.

Investors diversify between exciting stocks and dependable bonds. Car dealerships push car sales, but rely on service centers. It’s the balance & diversification that’s important.

Start by making a master list of recurring services that you can offer. Put them in different packages. Make sure they are upfront and known for your leads. They can help position you as the agency that will take care of your clients before and after the website launch.

You’ll build a stable, consistent business that will benefit you and your clients.

If you found this post useful at all, be sure to link to it from your blog or share it across your social accounts. Peace!

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How To Build A Wix Website In 6 Easy Steps

The post How To Build A Wix Website In 6 Easy Steps appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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