You get dozens of e-newsletters in your inbox every week. Your clients probably receive just as many, if not more. How quickly do you delete all those newsletters? Ever wonder how quickly your clients delete yours? Surely, with all the time and effort it takes, sending e-newsletters may not seem worth it. How many new clients would it take to make an e-newsletter worth your time?
One new client or new service engagement would probably far outweigh the effort it takes to send a newsletter. If your e-newsletter takes more than an hour to put together, you're probably not doing it correctly, wasting time that you can use for other productive endeavors and making it less reader friendly.
Tips to Engage Readers
Here's how to draw your client's attention:
- Don't use a template. Many CPA firms subscribe to prewritten newsletters and simply slap on their logo, thinking something is better than nothing. This does little to distinguish your practice, highlight your niche or specialty or brand your expertise.
- Do keep a tab of FAQs. Track all the "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs) your clients, prospects and even junior staff make. Use a half hour to type out an answer to one of these questions? Post the answer on your website. Now, e-mail your database the first two sentences of the Q&A. Add a "click here to read our full answer" link to the full paragraph on your website. You now have the perfect newsletter length: short enough to skim on a BlackBerry or other smartphone device.
- Do repeat on a regular basis. If possible, repeat this once a week or twice a month. You will end up with two or three new paragraphs on your website every month (which does wonders for your Google search results — but that's a topic for another column). With such new content, your newsletter will contain three separate links to your three short answers. With a simple e-newsletter delivery service like ConstantContact, you can see who clicks on which link, follow-up individually and track which articles are most popular. You can also cull the most popular articles per month or quarter and send them out in a separate e-newsletter.
- Do update clients on events. What's happening next week or later in the month? Your clients will appreciate timely and relevant news: deadlines, events, new legislation, etc. These are calls for action, i.e., a reason for your clients to respond to you. Likewise, your subject line should reflect timeliness, such as, Re: due by the end of the month, Next week's meeting or This week's deadline. This is the number one way to cut through inbox clutter. It's human nature to read what's urgent. Just make sure you aren't baiting and switching. When you add such subject lines, they'd better be really important.
- Do not e-blast weekly unless imminently important. Not only is this annoying, it ends up with diminishing returns ("boy who cried wolf" phenomenon). A monthly newsletter is optimal, making it biweekly during urgent times.
- Do use social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook groups are quick ways to keep in constant communication, en masse, with your clients, without flooding their inboxes. If they opt to connect with you in these ways, you have permission to share more of your services. It is an opportunity to move beyond the financial statements and into their lives.
- Do connect through non-accounting events. Your newsletter need not be only about taxes, accounting or financials. Grow your client relationships through your hobbies. Spring is the season for golf outings, making it the perfect time to tee up with your clients and their buddies and marketing through them.
Your love of other sports, boating, food, wine, cigars, travel, wellness, yoga, favorite authors or neighborhood jaunts are opportunities for conversation. Involve your clients in what you love to do. Make that the subject of your next newsletter.
E-newsletters are still the least expensive way to generate new interest from your current clients, past clients, prospects and colleagues. It is a matter of how you do it and how frequently. E-newsletters should be a marketing mainstay. Archive your newsletter on your website and call it a blog. Create a LinkedIn group and communicate throughout the month. It's all connected and it's just a matter of a few paragraphs.
| Rate this article 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor). Send your responses here.
Vikram Rajan is the founder of phoneBlogger.net: Through one phone interview, your newsletter (and blog) is written and sent by you. You can read more marketing ideas on his PracticeMarketingBLOG.com.
(C) 2011 Vikram Rajan