In the public accounting industry, the practice of client advisory services involves much more than compliance-based work—it’s a relationship business. To grow and scale your Strategic Advising practice, your efforts need to be aimed at nurturing your clients and developing a personal connection that will set you up for repeat business.
Email marketing is a tried and true way to build trust, shape loyalty, and share your valuable expertise with the right clients. If you focus on taking good care of your existing clients, they will become your biggest promoters, bringing a surge of new leads through your door.
You can reach thousands of people in minutes with a newsletter that is low-cost, feasible, and keeps your services top of mind.
Why is an email newsletter relevant?
Your clients prefer email
Recent data from the Adobe Consumer Email Survey shows that 50 percent of consumers prefer to interact with companies via email, while only 7 percent prefer social media channels.
We check our emails all the time—while laying in bed, during vacation, and even in the middle of the night!
Email is heavily integrated into people’s lives because it's free and ubiquitous, unlike other messaging platforms. It is the one channel where people can directly reach everyone on their contact list.
Newsletters are a great platform for sharing helpful information
Newsletters are the perfect opportunity to share your expertise with current and prospective clients. It’s your knowledge and experience that attracts small businesses, and email marketing is your chance to offer a glimpse into your unique skill set.
Displaying your capabilities upfront will break down initial hesitation, and turn your general, compliance-only clients into advisory clients.
They help keep your clients engaged over the long term
Growing your Strategic Advising services is a balancing act of keeping up with market trends in the short-run, and building genuine relationships with your clients for the long-run.
Keeping customers engaged and loyal is a top priority, and email is the relational tool that will win them over. Creating customized newsletters that make personal recommendations will build trust and form a welcoming environment.
They’re a good tool for lead generation
If you have an email list of people who have shown interest in your services, the next step is turning their curiosity into a lead. This is best done with an informative newsletter.
By identifying what service your prospective client is interested in, you can send a nurturing email sequence that provides additional information. The customizability of email marketing allows you to engage with individuals who are at completely different stages of the buying cycle.
A customer who has recently become aware of your services can be urged to make a purchase through an email that highlights client testimonials, and includes a clear call to action. On the other hand, an existing client can be further nurtured through a regular newsletter that includes blog articles and opportunities for growth.
For more on why and how an email newsletter can help Strategic Advisors build connections with current and prospective clients, check out this webinar:
Email marketing versus social media marketing
The power of social media is undeniable. A viral photo or tweet can travel like wildfire, catching the attention of millions of people across the world. As social animals, these platforms have become our playground, where we spend hours indirectly connecting with the world. But how meaningful are these connections?
The downfall of social media is its lack of real connections—ones that harbor warmth and sincerity. The overload of information causes users to skip over anything that fails to catch their attention.
This illustrates the problem with social media marketing. You are sending your valuable insights into a black hole, where you constantly have to compete with hundreds of other posts that are struggling to surface. The option to create a sponsored post not only costs big bucks, but it reaches an audience that is not unanimously interested in your services. Your message is being spread, but not to the right people.
With an email, you are landing directly into a person's inbox. Not only that—they reached out to you and gave you their email address. As leads, they’re much more qualified than the average social media audience. Because you’re right in their inbox, there is a much higher probability that they will see your content, and the personal nature of an email inbox gives room for meaningful connections to begin.
Email marketing is a better investment of your time and money because you are taking back ownership of your content. By controlling who sees your message and how often they see it, you get to pick your own pace. After coming to the conclusion that a newsletter is the superior marketing tool that your business is missing, the next step is constructing the message that will captivate your audience and deliver results.
How to build a newsletter that is right for you and your clients
Start with the subject line:
- Use seven words or less for peak engagement.
- Keep it intriguing and concise.
- Create a sense of urgency by using a call to action.
Establish value in your newsletter:
- Create meaning in the first few sentences with a personalized introduction, storytelling, by providing a free offer, or by addressing pain points.
- Share what truly matters, and focus on providing appropriate content.
- Be mindful of your clients' time—keep emails short.
- Give a hint of information that piques interest, giving them the opportunity to reach out for more information or visit your website.
Create a clear call to action:
- Have one call to action; don’t overwhelm your audience with too many options.
- Make the key point of your newsletter clear by reiterating it through call to action buttons, hyperlinks in your text, and links in images.
- Keep your call to action above the fold—don’t make users scroll!
Design with purpose:
- Use templates that are mobile-friendly.
- Pick a consistent color scheme that avoids harsh shades.
- Have an organic flow of information from top to bottom.
- Remember: Your layout does not have to be fancy. A simple design can have powerful results.
- Don’t spend too much time on the visual appeal—people will continue to read your emails based on the content.
Common mistakes to avoid:
- Using clickbait, where the email does not deliver what the subject line states.
- Sending emails too frequently, or not frequently enough.
- Being inconsistent with the frequency of emails.
- Overwhelming your recipients with information and multiple calls to action.
Composing a lengthy email that is bland and general.
An advisor’s most important asset is trust. Clients, now more than ever, are in search of value outside of traditional portfolio management. The pressure is on for Strategic Advisors to establish personal connections that cultivate real relationships.
The versatility of email marketing makes it the perfect platform to send customized messages. Newsletters give your prospective clients a glimpse into your services, and create opportunities for conversation.
Start initiating intimate relationships now, with an email newsletter that your clients will value.
Nina is a Summer 2019 Business Development intern at Palo Alto Software. Her recent work has included strategic writing, social media campaign management, and collaboration on creative content for Advertising. She is currently studying Business Administration at the University of Oregon, and will be graduating in 2020.