In most accounting firms, marketing is typically one of the last things on the ‘priority’ list.
“We have enough referrals right now, we need to focus on tax returns right now.”
That may be the past.
But if you’re reading this blog, you most likely want to be a Firm of the Future. A firm that’s both looking to grow but also adapt to changing conditions in the marketplace.
In the past, referrals were the main way to grow your practice. And that’s still happening today. However, if you’re serious about the long-term growth of the firm (as compared to short-term), it’s important you develop the right habits now for this to happen.
I just wrote a book on how to start doing this now called Double Your Accounting Firm. Click here to get a copy.
One way to immediately stand out from the pack is writing regular emails to your clients.
Now, I’m not talking “invoice due” emails or “send in your bank statement” type stuff. Those will get opened and responded to (hopefully). Those type of emails are expected and part of the job. Every accountant before you sent those to your clients.
Instead, you want to send emails that go beyond the norm. Emails that get opened, read, responded to, and ones that change the perception of your firm in your client’s eyes.
The more touchpoints that connect your firm to your prospect, the more likely they will stay around and want to keep working with you. Not to mention, when you raise your rates, they will not push back.
Here’s some data to feast on thanks to Constant Contact.
- 91% of adults enjoy receiving promotional emails from ones they do business with
- Opened emails are 40X more effective than any Facebook post or Linkedin update
You are always going to have your clients top-of-mind. Bad news…that’s not a two-way street. Your clients have their own business to run. That’s why getting an email ping from you can go a long way to strengthen your relationship with them and your brand.
Let’s first look at the types of emails you can send:
What Emails Should I Be Sending to my Clients?
Writing emails sounds like a chore for many especially if you’re not a writer at heart. I recommend letting multiple people in your office draft emails to keep the content fresh and different.
To start, there are various types of emails to send:
- Requests for information
- Updates from Firm
Unfortunately, many firms only focus on #1 and maybe #5 at times. After that, there is much left to be desired.
The reason for this, as mentioned, is due to ‘priority’ but perhaps also due to what many might consider ‘dry’ topics. I mean, how many posts about ‘cashflow’ and ‘tax deductions’ do you expect your clients to read, right?
But, this is where you can get creative with what you do.
Let’s brainstorm a minute.
If you service many medical clients, let’s say…they may not want to read about “Section 179” on equipment and things like that. After all, that is why they hired you. Instead, what if you thought about “What do these medical professionals want to read about?”
Maybe — updates to their industry, discussions with what successful doctors are doing, blogs about the recent medical conference you attended. These are topics that would perk their interest because it’s part of their world.
If you service a lot of restaurants, they may not want read about “Cost of Goods Sold” on their inventory.
Instead, think about this — ways to save money on [insert food category], how to hire long-term employees in their restaurants, how their servers can get 10% higher tips, stories about Bobby Flay when he was younger and starting out.
This is what they would click on right away.
As you can imagine, this takes a bit of work to do. Luckily, the internet is a vast place. If you become a ‘curated’ source of information, they will happily open your emails again and again.
Meanwhile, you can sprinkle in updates on your firm, entertaining posts of your Christmas party, and the normal stuff.
Now that you know what to write…
Here’s how to begin writing emails that get opened.
How Do I Get my Clients to Open my Dang Emails?
There are three parts to every email:
- Subject line === entices client to click and open the email
- Body === the meat and potatoes of the thing
- Call-to-Action === what do you want the client to do? Click a link, respond, smile?
First, the subject line.
Think of the subject line as the bullhorn that distracts the client from everything else in their inbox, on their phone and on TV. If it’s something boring like “Depreciation limits are extending this year!”, you will get a supremely low click rate. I bet that subject line would be the lowest in history to be honest.
When you think of a subject line, try and think about a few things to stir up creativity:
- Any current events you can tie to (topical)
- What major benefit that matters TO THEM (if it’s depreciation, talk about how much money they’d save)
- Can we use any specific numbers or names (these always stand out especially if a famous person)
- Make a reference to a popular movie, TV show, or fad going around (“The one $1,000 tax tip to rule them all” — Lord of the Rings for all the non-nerds out there)
The key to remember with the subject line === It has ONE JOB…GET CLIENT TO OPEN. So say whatever you need to that isn’t a lie or misleading. It can be fun, entertaining, catchy, but make sure it relates to the body of the message.
Never do a subject line that’s like “We have a $5,000 check waiting for you” (kinda spammy) and then inside the email it’s “Just kidding, but now that you opened this email…etc. etc. etc.”.
Pulling stuff like that will get you into the SPAM box no matter how long the client has been with you. Don’t ruin your brand. The subject line is the first thing the client will see, make it memorable.
Next, you have the body of the message.
The body is what you actually say to the viewer. When it comes to the body, there is no perfect way you can write the message. If you put 1,000 writers in a room, they’d all craft a different message.
If you’re curious about what absolutely must be in a message, here are just a few pointers to remember:
- Make each email about one sole message. Don’t have multiple points to make else the message gets muddled
- Craft each email with the client in mind. We tend to write focused on what we want to say. Writing emails that get read and responded to is all about thinking “what does my client most want to hear about.”
- Trim, trim, trim. You don’t need to write one sentence emails. But try and trim where you need to
The most important piece again…make sure the email focuses on what the client wants, not what you want to say.
Here’s an example of an email for a blog post that could be relevant to your client.
We were just at the medical conference in Chicago last week, and I got to sit down with a few of the doctors there.
One of the doctors I asked about how he has kept the same nurses for the past 5 years. I thought this would be something cool for you to see.
I wrote up what he said in this quick post. Click here to see,
Now, this is a pretty short email. You can add more details about the conference, but notice how I’m offering them something of value (information about retaining nurses…important for doctors). Plus, I tease the point so they actually click.
That brings me to the final part about emails.
Make the Call-to-Action enticing.
Every email, no matter what it is, should try and get some response from your clients. Even if it’s something like:
Hi Dr. Andrews,
I’ve talked with a few other clients who are doctors and they were all asking about cashflow help. Is that something you have a question to ask about too?
That’s basically a ‘check-in’ email. The point is that it asks for a response. In other instances, you might try and entice them to click a link like the email above. The more action they take with your email, the more attached they become to your brand.
So, end every email with something to get them to respond or click. It can be as simple as asking a question (“What do you think?”) or try and get them to click (“Click here to read this”).
7 Quick Last Minute Tips on Emails:
- Please, please have your client name in your CRM. Nothing is worse than “Dear Client” emails…nothing screams mass mailing than that.
- Keep the staff update emails to a minimum. Most clients don’t care you had ‘jeans Friday’ last week. Too many of those and your important emails won’t get opened.
- Only flag emails as “IMPORTANT” when they really are. No crying wolf.
- A P.S. is proven to get more clicks in emails. Try it.
- Don’t bunch your paragraphs together. Keep paragraphs to 1-3 sentences. It’s easier to read.
- Try and speak (write) casually not all business-like. It’s more interesting to read how people talk, not how robots talk.
- The first line in your email is critical…best make it something that entices them to read the next line