4 Benefits of Changing Your Approach to The CPA Newsletter

The good ol’ CPA newsletter…Love it or Hate it?  Either way, here’s some thoughts on increasing it’s ROI. Let’s start with some interesting stats from Sidekick on email open rates based on the subject line: 

Stat #1: There is an 18.7% decrease in open rates when the word “newsletter” is used in subject lines.

Stat #2: Using “Daily” or ‘Weekly” in subject lines boosts open rates whereas “Monthly” hurts them.

In a roundtable discussion with some high-level CPAs, we exchanged ideas on how they were transforming their traditional CPA newsletters. Instead of sending out a general monthly newsletter, they hired a 3rd party provider to draft and deliver client-specific content based on certain criteria (i.e. industry, size, etc.).

While the underlying concept is excellent and could significantly increase the value of your newsletter, I think the real opportunity lies in the delivery strategy.  Based on the stats above, what is the likelihood that the content (client-specific or not) is making it to your intended audience in the first place? If you’re using the typical, “CPA Firm ABC’s Monthly Newsletter” subject line like most of us, chances are pretty slim.

So, thought #1: If you’re going to take the time and energy to create content, or even pay a 3rd party to do it for you, you should do everything you can to make sure the intended recipient actually receives it. Take the time to test different subject lines until you find something that works.

And, thought #2: Content aside, why not take the CPA newsletter to another level altogether? In the typical CPA newsletter scenario, a monthly email (or maybe even a hard copy!) makes its way to one target group: your current clients. Not to short change the value of nurturing your current clients, but what if you could expand the outreach of the content within the newsletter to others, most importantly potential clients?

So what’s my point? B.L.O.G.

I know what you’re thinking…oh just another person pushing this blog, social media, twitter thing down my throat. Believe me, I get it. We’re CPAs, not creatives. When we put something out there in black and white it has to be perfect. Finding the time, energy, and discipline to generate relevant and accurate content is a big undertaking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I know we should, but it just takes so much time!” So, here’s my suggestion:

Take the exact same content you’re delivering to your current clients through your monthly newsletter and publish it to your blog. No additional content creation, editing, verifying, etc.

Benefit #1 : Allows your current clients to come to your website in search of valuable insights on their own time.  Let’s face it, our inboxes are flooded. Yours. Mine. The dogs. It’s just the world we live in and it’s here to stay. The last thing a client has time for while weeding through their laundry lists of to-dos, spam, personal emails, etc. is YOUR newsletter. That doesn’t mean your content isn’t meaningful or establishing credibility amongst your clients. It’s just that it’s never making it to them simply because the delivery method doesn’t work for a lot of people.

Benefit #2: No need to tailor messaging to industry-specific targets.  By using categories within your blog, readers can determine what information is and isn’t relevant for themselves. While we continually strive to understand our clients and their needs, we aren’t in their heads. You never know what might be relevant to them at any given time. Giving them the opportunity to access any and all of your content might spark an idea leading to new consulting engagements and other general services.

Benefit #3: The information is always accessible.  When you make content available through a blog, people tend to get lost in a sea of information. They’re directed to additional content through hyperlinks to other posts, your website pages, etc. that they may have missed altogether in last month’s newsletter.

Benefit #4: Not only are you reaching your current clients (on their time when they can actually engage) but you are also extending your outreach to potential new clients that can begin to see you as an expert before you even meet. Your CPA newsletter just turned into a source of new revenue generation.  At the end of the day, a blog gives people the opportunity to learn more about who you are and what you do. In a way, it serves the exact same purpose as a newsletter, but the vehicle for which information is delivered allows for a much broader reach. So, here’s my challenge: try it. Once you start, it really isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. Especially if you already have a source of content to fall back on!!