Do you want to know how to boost your ROI in email marketing? Are you looking for email campaign ideas that you can execute quickly?
Gusto is committed to helping you be at the forefront of your industry, so we’re thrilled to partner with CPA Academy to bring you insights into email campaign ideas, what to send to your accountants email list, and call to action email marketing. The webinar “Five Articles You Can Run This Week” featured marketing expert Matt Wilkinson, and you can watch the video here. Matt explained how accounting firms struggle with their marketing initiatives and revealed what they can do about it.
Matt Wilkinson is a marketing expert with 20 years of experience designing impactful marketing and web development strategies. While he has served clients in industries ranging from sports to healthcare, his expertise now lies in marketing for accounting firms. As Founder and CEO of Bizink, he provides revenue-boosting solutions for firms including content packages, copywriting, and website optimization. Matt is also a gifted teacher, as he is able to distill complex marketing concepts into simple, easy-to-manage action steps.
The case for email marketing
Matt’s company, Bizink, does an annual survey of 400 accounting firms to evaluate their marketing initiatives. The results are almost always the same: Nearly two-thirds of them don’t have a marketing plan in place at all. While most firms regard having a business plan as a non-negotiable, not everyone has adopted that mentality with marketing.
This may simply be because the marketing process is intimidating. Marketing is a rapidly evolving landscape, and there are creative minds who appear to come up with brilliant ideas out of thin air. Yet, Matt showed that marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, so long as you have the right angle and go through the right channel. Email is one of the most effective and straightforward places to start.
But isn’t email old-fashioned? Isn’t everyone on social media these days? While it’s true that an increasing amount of people spend an increasing amount of time on social platforms, email is still your best bet.
“Email has been around for a long time. … I’ve been marketing for … 20 years now, and email has been the constant tool that’s delivered. … Email works, and it will keep on working.”– Matt Wilkinson
According to the Direct Marketing Association, the return on investment (ROI) of email is $44 for every $1 spent. The ROI of paid search is about half of that, and the ROI of social media is about a quarter of that of email. You can run email campaigns cheaply using free software such as Mailchimp. The time investment of email marketing is also low, as long as you’re doing it right. Additionally, Matt shared that email is an especially good channel for accountants.
“It works particularly well for accountants. Every business owner has an email address. [At least every] business owner that you’d want to work with has an email address. Now, compare that to say Facebook or LinkedIn. How many of your clients are on Facebook? It will be some, it might be quite a lot, but it won’t be all. It’s the same with LinkedIn. It might be 50%, but I reckon 100% of business owners who you’d want to work with have got an email address. The saturation is massive.”– Matt Wilkinson
Additionally, Matt’s own business, Bizink, sends tens of thousands of emails for accounting firms every single month through their email marketing platform. The average open rate of those emails is 40%. By contrast, Mailchimp, which is probably the world’s leading email marketing platform, reports that their highest open rate is for hobbies. That has an open rate of 27%. This means that emails from accountants get opened at a rate that is roughly 13% higher than Mailchimp’s highest performing category.
The great thing is that all firms already have access to email, and they know how to use it. With the right angle, they can potentially start boosting revenue through email in a matter of months.
A tax-saving hacks marketing campaign
Choosing a campaign topic that will appeal to as wide a market segment as possible can boost your ROI more quickly. You can reflect on which topics to choose by reading content about accounting stats, best practices for different industries, and techniques for tackling common problems.
To demonstrate what this broad approach might look like, Matt’s used the marketing example “How to Save Money on Taxes.” It’s truly a topic with universal appeal. Here’s the email example he shared:
Subject Line: Spreadsheet that could help you save $5,000 in taxes
Dear [Subject Name]:
I’m guessing you’d rather pay less tax!
If your business structure is a sole proprietor or a single-member LLC, you could save thousands of dollars in taxes by setting up as an S-Corporation instead.
Check out this blog post on the Gusto website which has a spreadsheet for calculating the possible savings. Then if you’re keen to set up an S-corporation, we can help.
You can make a time to chat here.
Matt pulled the blog post from content on the Bizink website and is one of many other articles and topics to choose from. While saving on taxes is an easy sell, you could pick any subject that would appeal to most clients.
The second and final step in this campaign is to email your prospects using content similar to the example. And that’s it. That’s the campaign.
What makes a good email?
Of course, unless someone opens the email and takes action, you won’t see results. Matt broke down the basics of email marketing, touching on four components you should master.
The hardest part of email marketing is crafting the subject line. How do you stand out in a sea of other emails your prospects are getting? While the open rate for accounting emails is high, you need to get your reader’s attention right away.
Since there is typically a limit on how many words are visible to your reader, every word needs to count. An impactful subject line will distill the value you’re offering in as few words as possible. Focus on the benefit you’re giving the customer rather than attempting to summarize the contents of your email.
“Why is it a good subject line? Well, first of all, there’s a tangible benefit right there, ‘Save $5,000 in taxes.’ Who wouldn’t want to do that? There’s also a bit of intrigue as well. [The prospect sees that] the spreadsheet [you’re offering] could help [them] save $5,000. … [They’ll think,] ‘What is this magical spreadsheet? I want to open this.’ That’s a true benefit for business owners. Everyone wants to save tax. It’s dollars in their back pocket.”– Matt Wilkinson
As Matt shared, showcasing the benefit while only hinting at the details creates a sense of mystery.
Matt shared that, as a general rule of thumb, you should keep your emails short. Unless you are a very strong writer, you’re likely to lose your audience’s attention. Get to the point quickly. Show that you value your audience’s time and attention.
Tone of voice
According to Matt, formal language is the norm in many accounting email campaigns. While that tone may seem to fit naturally with the profession, it’s not very effective. Instead of opting for a formal voice, take your cue from the example he gave.
Talk in your email the way you’d talk to a friend or a client you’re taking to lunch. People buy things from people. When you use informal, everyday language, you create a stronger connection with your readers. You want to make the email experience enjoyable for them, even if it’s just for the minutes or seconds it takes for them to read it. Make it easy to read, friendly, and professional.
Your tone of voice can also be a great way to showcase what sets your firm apart. A natural, friendly tone indicates that you’re a progressive firm that keeps up with the latest trends in content marketing. This can help you appeal to new demographics, such as younger market segments. Your tone can endear you to whichever audience you’re targeting, depending on which style you choose to use.
Call to action
Of course, you don’t want people just to look at the content you’re offering them. You want them to take steps toward working with you. So, every email should include a clear call to action (CTA), which is a request for the reader to take some sort of action. In most scenarios, the action will be to set up an appointment with you. Make the CTA stand out with bold letters, or be sure to keep it at the end of your concise email. The less you have going on in the email, the easier it will be to spot.
It’s a great idea to have your CTA link to outside appointment booking software, such as Acuity or Calendly. Matt shared that when he started doing this, he boosted conversions by 30%. He also saved ten minutes of admin time per booking. Using software saves you from having to email back and forth asking, “Are you available next Tuesday?” followed by “What about Wednesday?” Those conversations can be a big drain on your time and attention.
Professional email software
Finally, you want to do your email marketing using professional bulk emailing software such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor. Keeping a separate account for campaigns will help keep you organized and streamline your campaigns. By using software, you’ll be able to manage your email lists and track engagement. You can also enable unsubscribes, which your customers will appreciate and is legally required to include in marketing emails.
Learn more about marketing for accounting firms
Most accounting firms aren’t forming and implementing marketing initiatives, which can negatively impact them. Since two-thirds of accounting firms have no marketing plan in place, there’s real room for improvement.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to market in the accounting industry. It has a much higher ROI than both paid search and social media marketing, and it can be done quickly and easily. It’s important to pick a topic that will resonate with as many people as possible. Make sure all elements of the email are well-conceived, from the subject line to the call to action.
Gusto’s mission is to create a world that empowers a better life. We’re here to help you work smarter, not harder, and deliver exceptional services to as many people as possible. Don’t forget to check out Parts Two, Three, Four, and Five articles based on the same webinar.
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