Making Your CPA Firm Newsletter Stand Out
We’re all bombarded with emails 24/7. And most people don’t have the time (or energy) to sort through even half of them.
This is why investing resources in your CPA firm’s client newsletter is critical. When done well, email newsletters allow your firm to share what matters and cut through the “white noise” in your client’s inboxes. A client newsletter is also one of the easiest ways to market your firm’s services year-round.
Of course, there are many things to consider so your CPA firm newsletters don’t end up in the Trash folder. Whether you’re struggling to get started or just looking to improve your current newsletter, read on for our favorite tips to stand out!
How to Measure Success for CPA Firm Newsletters
Like any marketing initiative, your newsletter has to be guided by a clear definition of success, or it will not generate the right kind of engagement. You don’t want to spend weeks revamping your firm newsletter only to find that you can’t measure its value. (And let’s face it, we’ve all been there.)
Not sure what you want to accomplish? Set a time to brainstorm with your team and answer key questions like:
- If we could only accomplish one thing with our newsletter – what would it be?
- What gaps exist in our client engagement strategy? How could the newsletter help to bridge those gaps?
- What topics come up most often in our client touchpoints?
- Which topics do our clients need to understand better?
- Do we have regular classes, promotions, or events to share?
- Do we want to promote any new products or services?
- Do we have a referral program in place?
- Which of our in-house topic experts might be willing to contribute?
Choosing Your Email Metrics & Cadences
Once you know what your newsletter should accomplish, you must choose the right metrics. For example: If your main goal is to increase client engagement with your helpful tax resources, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your click-through rate. The click-through rate measures the percentage of email recipients who clicked on links and shows how clients actually engage with your content.
Or let’s say you want to boost brand awareness throughout the year. Here, you’d look for a couple of indicators. Signs of success could include a low unsubscribe rate paired with strong open rates and steady month-over-month engagement.
Want more insight on this topic? Check out this blog post from HubSpot on the eight email marketing metrics you should be tracking.
What Are the Typical Email Response Rates in Accounting?
According to statistics from Mailchimp, accounting and financial services businesses tend to see open rates of 21.25% and click rates of 2.72%. Those numbers may seem low — but they align with the national averages across all industries. So bottom line: no matter your goals, your newsletter needs to stand out with topical and useful content.
And spamming your clients with weekly email updates isn’t the best idea until you see a steady return on your newsletter investment. For one thing, it can cause unsubscribe rates to skyrocket.
Try starting with a simple layout on a monthly or bi-monthly cadence. This approach will give you time to evaluate the new process and see how your clients respond.
Setting Up Your Email Marketing Process
Before you hit “send” on a single newsletter, you’ll need to ensure you have a strong email marketing process.
Some marketing vendors will manage this channel for you and include client newsletters as part of your agreement. But if your team has the capacity, you can easily use an email marketing service to manage the entire process in-house. Just be aware that setting up your newsletter template and maintaining client distribution lists may take some extra work.
Another tip: No matter how you divide the work for this project, it’s best to pick a single primary point of contact within the firm to be the newsletter editor. This has two major benefits: 1) it creates a consistent editorial voice and style, and 2) it will be easier to keep everyone on track and on time with their contributions.
Email Marketing Services for CPA Firms
Finding the right email marketing service doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are three options that could work for most CPA firms.
As one of the “gold standard” platforms in email marketing and automation, Constant Contact allows you to customize your newsletter with hundreds of pre-built templates. Their Core solution gives you the email marketing basics at affordable rates, and you can test it out with a 30-day free trial.
MailChimp is best known for its email marketing platform, which still includes one of the industry’s most intuitive “drag and drop” email builders. It also offers advanced behavioral targeting and audience segmentation. Pricing is based on contact volume and can get expensive – but if you’re ramping up your email marketing, it’s a good investment.
Quickly becoming one of the most popular email marketing services in Europe (and here in America), Sendinblue is an affordable option with all the email marketing basics. There are also SMS and chat options included.
What to Include in Your CPA Firm Newsletter
You’ve got a well-defined email process. You’re ready to track the right metrics and meet all your newsletter goals. So now what? How do you make all the planning come together for that first release?
The rest is straightforward as long as you’ve set a strong roadmap. It’s just about curating timely content that aligns with your brand.
Don’t scramble at the last minute for content. Here’s an article from GoDaddy on creating a newsletter editorial calendar.
Tip #1: Keep It Simple!
Too many email newsletters suffer from “content crowding” and get deleted over time. Remember that less is more here: It’s best to focus on just a few interesting and easy-to-read features so the reader can skim.
Here’s a great newsletter example from one of QuickFee’s partners in Australia, Generate. The layout is airy and clean, with lots of white space and minimal imagery. It starts with a simple message from the team, followed by a couple of content sections (including an eBook download) with practical tips and suggestions.
Tip #2: Get Buy-In from Leadership First
A strong marketing culture comes from the top. If management gives the thumbs up to your newsletter strategy, email template, and reporting process, you’re more likely to get the assistance you need from the rest of the firm.
If you already have a newsletter, book time with the relevant team members or vendors to evaluate what’s working (and what you need to refresh.) Just getting started? Create an action plan covering some of the items above and present it to your managing partner.
Tip #3: Stay Relevant to Your Audience
We’ve all clicked on a great subject line only to find that the email has nothing useful inside. To keep your audience awake, put yourself in their shoes. Every single content feature should offer some extra value to the client.
Here are some basic value offerings to consider if you’re stuck on this month’s content:
- Answer a common client question
- Talk about a typical business problem (and how to solve it)
- Provide tax savings and financial tips
- Link articles on relevant news or emerging market trends
- Offer your insight on a complex issue
- Share a content download or toolkit
- Invite them to an event or giveaway
- Remind them about upcoming deadlines or requirements
Tip #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Feature External Content
One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating newsletters? Feeling the pressure to create absolutely everything in-house (and from scratch.)
Not everyone has the time, team, or resources to produce tons of quality content each month. So if you find outside articles, podcasts, or books that you’d like to refer to your clients, newsletters are a great place to feature them. You may also want to consider cross-promotion within your network and features on trusted partners.
Use Your Email Newsletter to Promote Payments, Too
If you’ve got high accounts receivable (AR), it’s a good idea to include regular features with links to your firm’s payment landing page. You can even include a “Make a Payment” section in your primary newsletter template to keep it top-of-mind when clients need to pay.
When you offer financing with QuickFee, you can also feature your Pay Over Time plans to promote a new service or product. Letting clients know that they have payment flexibility is proven to reduce friction during the sales conversation.
Want more tips on growing your firm? Schedule a demo to learn how our payment options can help you drive revenue.