Accountants: Freshen Up Your Email Newsletter
Email newsletters are a powerful way to get your message out to current clients and prospects, keeping you top-of-mind. That said, your brand reputation demands that you include valuable, well-written information.
Your firm may be sending a newsletter already, but are you executing it to its potential? Whether you buy a newsletter from a third-party source, outsource its development or create it in-house, there are steps you can take to improve content and distribution.
- Think about your clients. Are you writing about topics your clients care about? How do their priorities relate to the services you provide? If you aren't sure, ask! A survey or a few phone calls asking for input is a great way to reach out to clients and deepen relationships.
- Take the "canned" out of your content. Buying a newsletter from a service is perfectly legitimate, but oftentimes providers write on topics that may not apply to your audience. If this occurs, ask if there are options. Remember, the email newsletter provider wants to keep you as a customer, so chances are some simple tweaks in content are readily available.
- Tie the content to your products and services. Make sure you have a reason for including a topic. Although there may not be a direct connection every time, the more you can tie your articles to a product or service, the better you can get at establishing your expertise. Think about your secondary services specifically when trying to come up with topics. Although the topics can cover anything you offer, small firms may want to write about incorporation services, financial planning, estate and trust planning, and other topics may increase awareness that you offer these services. Larger firms may communicate information related to litigation support, expert witness services, and estate and trust management. These are just a few examples; use your judgment and make sure what you write is a good fit for what you offer.
- Segment your audience. If you have products and services that fit only a portion of your clients, only send that information to that group. This takes a little effort, but marketing the right products and services to the right audience always pays off.
- Avoid jargon and geek-speak. If you're writing about 529 plans, don't cover the minutiae of setting them up. Talk about your client's goals and explain how you can help your client achieve them.
- Short, short, short: brevity counts. Write short articles for a short newsletter to ensure a higher chance that your audience will read! How long exactly? Long enough to get your information across, but short enough to be interesting
Setting It Up
Write the content so that the email newsletter itself contains teasers that pique the interest of readers, and then link to the full article on a landing page on your firm's website. This drives traffic to the website where readers can read the entire article. Once on your website, the client or prospect can navigate your pages to gain a better understand of your services.
Think of your goals when determining how often to send the newsletter. Once or twice a month is probably enough to get the attention of your audience and the results you want. Remember, though, you definitely want to produce the newsletter on a regular basis because this will serve as a consistent reminder about your firm and its services.
Connect them back to you
Make your newsletter as interactive as possible. Use the newsletter to ask clients to connect with your social media efforts and post it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Get creative and send videos and links to your YouTube channel. Provide special offers, surveys, or information and tools to download from your website.
Newsletters can help organizations achieve four goals. They:
- build loyalty with clients,
- keep you name in front of clients and prospects,
- spread the word about your services, expertise and successes, and
- make a name for yourself as an expert in your field.
Make sure your newsletter is meeting your objectives. Is it helping you retain clients? Did you get a referral as the result of some important information you shared?
How do you truly know it is being read? Use Google analytics and other tools to check how many people open your newsletter (open rate), click on your links or visit your website after receiving your newsletter.
Don't be discouraged! Typically, open rates are 30% or lower. The fact that a client saw your name associated with the newsletter can be powerful, even if they didn't open it.
So, what are you waiting for? Freshen up your newsletter and get better results!
About the Author
Hugh Duffy is co-founder and chief marketing officer of Build Your Firm, an accounting practice marketing and accounting website development firm.Hugh teaches a series of Accounting Marketing Workshops; has a LinkedIn Discussion Group called Modern Marketing Methods for Accountants; and is frequently published in various accounting publications. He can be reached at 888-999-9800 x151, or at [email protected].