I’m often asked by accounting firms, “what’s the best way to market my firm online”. My stock answer is, “It depends”. Each firm is different and has a different target market. So the marketing approach should be tailored accordingly.
But if I had to name one thing every firm should be doing, it’s email marketing. Why? Simply because email marketing outperforms every other type of online marketing.
And if time to do marketing is limited (it is for every firm I’ve worked with) then it’s essential to focus on what gives the best results.
Three amazing stats about email marketing:
- Email has an average return on investment of $38 for each $1 spent. (Source: Direct Marketing Association’s National Client Email Report)
- Email has 2.9 billion user accounts,nearly three times as many as Facebook and Twitter combined (Source: Kissmetrics)
- Emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while Facebook posts get delivered 2% of the time (Source: Forrester)
So why isn’t your email newsletter working?
You probably send an email newsletter. That counts as email marketing. So you may be asking yourself why aren’t you getting great results? Well, like anything, execution is everything and most accounting firms aren’t making the most (or even the minimum) of email marketing.
Newsletters play a part in a good email marketing strategy and are great for reducing client churn. But if you’re sending a bunch of generic tax tips with your logo slapped on the top then your newsletter is unlikely to be of any value.
So what are the ingredients of a successful newsletter? Here are three of the most important:
- Specific and relevant information: if you have clients who are freelancers and clients who are manufacturing businesses, don’t send them the same information. This means segmenting your client database and then creating emails for each segment. Of course, if you focus on a niche or industry, this task is much easier
- It shouldn’t read like a newsletter! What I mean is, don’t send a huge tranche of content via email. Add content to your blog (you really should have one) and then link to it in your newsletter. Your newsletter is then more digestible, especially when read on mobile devices. And you’ll be pushing traffic back to your website where clients are more likely to transact with you
- It’s mobile friendly – for most people, their phone is now their primary email device. If your email if not mobile friendly, it’s a waste of time. There are still some firms sending out branded PDFs of tax tips! They didn’t work in 1996. In 2016, they make you a laughing stock
Beyond the newsletter
If you want new clients via email, newsletters won’t work. You’ll need to start sending email blasts and drip marketing campaigns.
These are single emails, sent to promote something like a new service, product or event. Some pointers for email blasts:
- Only promote one thing per email. Focus is crucial and by trying to promote everything you do, you’ll dilute the message and it will have little impact
- Your list is more important than content. An average email to a highly targeted list will always outperform a great email sent to an untargeted list.
- Repetition is good. Just because an email didn’t get the response you wanted, doesn’t mean it failed. Firstly, it often takes a few goes before people bite. Secondly, your timing might have been wrong and the same email sent in the future might have a better result. Also, recycle successful emails. Some companies have used the same emails for years unedited because they always get exceptional results
Do you want more leads from your website? Then Drip Marketing is the key.
Drip Marketing is where someone gives you their email address and you send them emails over a period of time. Here’s a quick overview of how it works in practice:
- Someone visits your website
- You offer something valuable in exchange for their email address – let’s say a business plan template and a free business planning course
- They give you their email address and you send them the business planning template
- You send them seven emails over the next week – the free business planning course. The emails are pre-written and the sending is automated
- Once the course finishes, you continue to send them one email per month on useful business topics
- None of the emails is “salesy” and the content is focused on business planning – the reason why they signed up. Of course, you include your contact details on every email
So why is this so great for leads? Here are three compelling reasons:
- It increases the conversion rate of your site. Less than 1% of people who visit your site will actually contact you. But a much higher percentage will be interested in useful content. By grabbing their email address, you start a relationship with them whereas if they’d left your site empty handed, it’s doubtful you’d ever hear from them again
- It nurtures leads – the inertia of switching accountants is hard to overcome. This makes the sales cycle for your firm long – months or even years. By consistently sending useful content to someone, you’re building trust and credibility with your firm. Eventually, their current accountant will charge too much or follow up too slowly and they’ll be ready to switch. If you’ve been dropping regular insights into their inbox, who do you think they’re going to call?
- It happens! Drip marketing is automated so it’s largely set and forget. So because it’s not relying on you or your staff to remember to do it, especially during tax season, (when you’re most likely to get new clients) it gets done.
One firm that Bizink works with use Drip Marketing to get these results:
- 16 website leads per month
- 60% conversion rate
- Average annual client value of $4000 (AUD)
Learn how to do email marketing the right way
We love email marketing at Bizink and want to share our knowledge with you. So we’re running a free webinar to show accounting firms the secrets of successful email marketing.
- Proof that email marketing is more effective than search engines and social media
- Why most firms’ email newsletter is worthless
- Practical tips on the right way for accountants to do email marketing:
- Email Blasts
- Drip Marketing
- Email Newsletter 2.0
- How to get started with email marketing with minimal time and cash investment
There are two sessions to fit with your timezone:
I look forward to seeing you there!