10 Tips For Sending Your Clients and Prospects Better Emails

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing techniques available. But, if you’re fairly new to it, it’s important to understand the basics. This webinar is designed to help Accountants and Bookkeepers get the most from their email campaigns to support clients and gain new business.

In this webinar we’ll be covering:

1. Why is email marketing important
2. Marketing is not just sales
3. Getting started – using the right tools
4. Building a contact list
5. How to target and segment your list
6. Who are you talking to?
7. What to write
8. Planning
9. Deliverability – avoiding the spam filter
10. Measuring the results

NB: You can also read a full transcript of this session below.



’10 Tips For Sending Your Clients and Prospects Better Emails’ Transcript

Liz Studholme:

Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us on this webinar, 10 Tips to Sending Your Clients and Prospects Better Emails. Let’s get started. So here’s what we’re going to cover today. We’re going to talk about why email marketing’s an important tool for your business, that it doesn’t have to mean sales, using the right tools, all about registration and building your contact list. We’re going to talk about growing your audience, creating great emails, and lots of tips and advice along the way. So firstly, why is email marketing important? Well, email marketing has been around for quite a while. In fact, about probably 40 years. And the average person now gets a lot of emails, but a study by the Radicati Group found that 86% of professionals still prefer email to any other channel. And in another report, we found that a dollar spent on email marketing made $44 in return.


So it is a great tool, obviously, for business communication and transaction on a day to day business, but it’s also really useful for sending further business advisory support after a meeting or a call. And email is direct, it’s quick, and it’s inexpensive in comparison to other marketing channels you might use. But because we are getting a lot of emails these days, it’s really important to focus on ways that your email can cut through and add value. So I think it’s worth noting here that email marketing doesn’t have to mean sales. Marketing is often translated to mean sales, but marketing can be anything that helps nurture your clients, which is good for your business, or build your profile amongst prospects, which is good for your business.


The trick here is to make sure that you follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the time you are giving, and 20% of the time is sales. So 80% of the time it’s like you’re giving free advice, you’re offering great commentary, you’re sharing your views or you’re providing great advice. And then that 20% of the time you might be telling people about other services in your practise that they’re not currently taking advantage of or promoting something. Email is personal, so you can be really targeted and send something to your client or your prospect that shows that you understand the challenges that they face. You can support and build stronger relationships, whether that’s by a useful compliance reminder or an update on tax legislation, and you can build profile. So it’s good for your business in that respect that you are sending emails off to people that are currently maybe not using your services, but they’re getting a sense of who you are, so when it comes time to choose an accountant or bookkeeper, you’re the obvious choice.


It’s important that you are starting with the right tools. Now, if you’re currently sending your emails through your desktop, you’re not going to have the same tools that you would. If you use email marketing software like BOMA. So email marketing software’s going to give you professional design that always going to look great. When you send it through your desktop you’re never totally sure what it’s going to look like for your recipient. It gives you security, so you’re never going to be in that position where you’ve by accident put everyone in the CC column and then shared email addresses with everyone in your network. You can manage your lists by segmenting and sending specific stuff to some groups within your contact list. Mobile responsiveness, so software will make sure that it’s viewed and read beautifully, whether it’s viewed on a desktop computer or a mobile, et cetera.


It also means that you could follow permission based marketing techniques. You can allow people to opt in and unsubscribe. You’ll get clear call to action buttons with software, which you don’t get… While you can put links into your desktop email, you won’t get those call to action buttons and you’ll get analytics with software as well. So there are lots of reasons why a tool is going to make your job a lot easier, even just that sort of fiddling around with images and design access to templates, et cetera.


When you are getting people to sign up, make it easy. So you want to grow your list, make the registration really simple, make sure that you’ve put that across all your online channels, your website, your social media pages. If you’re using a landing page, which is the best way to get people to sign up, landing pages is basically an online form where people are going to put their name in their email address, obviously, and any other information you need. Use that. You can create these in BOMA if you’re using BOMA, and then you use that form embedded on your website or a link to it on your social pages. So make it easy, only collect the information you need. We’ve all had times where we’ve had to fill something out and we’ve had to enter things like household income or things that you’re not necessarily… That aren’t really relevant and you don’t necessarily want to share. So only collect the information you need and then there’s no barriers to people filling out that form.


Worth letting them know what’s in it for them, so you then can say, “We’re going to send you great advice on running your business, growing your wealth and prosperity, and also what they can expect.” So you could give them an understanding of how many times you’ll email them. You don’t need to be specific, but you can say, “We’ll send you occasional emails that help you in your business.” When you’re building your contact list, don’t be tempted to buy an email list because it will often end up in unsubscribes. Email marketing is always, always about building and nurturing relationships, so you’re better to connect with a smaller list of quality contexts than blasting out messages to people that don’t know you. We all get email messages like that, and our first step is often to unsubscribe.


Get permission, but remember you have implied permission to email somebody if you have an existing business relationship with them. So your clients are your first step. With people that aren’t your clients, you can get them to opt in to emails from you. Use your social media. So we’ve talked about that. If you’ve got a landing page where a signup form, put that on your social media. And by sharing your great content and advice and being active on social media, you’re also giving people a sense for the sorts of information that they might get from you. Collaborate with partners. So that might be a local bank. You could write a blog post for them. Say if you work specifically in an industry like agriculture or farming, work with that agricultural specialist within the banking sector and then share blog posts or events. So on that one, run events or offer yourself as a guest speaker at an event. All of those connections that you make then give you the option to share some information with them and get them to sign up for more.


Giving something in return for their sign up is a great idea, so a value exchange. This could be you’ve written a four page ebook or document that you turn into a PDF and offer on tax, for example. You offer that in return for a sign up for them to download it. This could also be a promotional offer. So sign up and then receive an hour’s free advisory with your business. And then remember to maintain that list. It’s a really valuable tool for your business. So make sure you go in. If you’ve got emails that are bouncing back, you may have errors with your email address, make sure you correct those and fix things.


So once you’ve got your list up and running and you’re growing it, personalization is going to be really key. This means making the emails personal to them. By segmenting your contact list, using tags or labels, you can make sure that you’re providing really relevant advice that solves specific problems for people that are reading it. If the email feels like it’s written for them, they’re more likely to not only read it, but find it useful and perhaps share it with others. So adding tags to your group could be based on a number of different things. It could be an industry vertical. You are going to perhaps have clients that are in hospitality and in trade. They’re going to have different business challenges at different times of the year, so you can send them different information.


The relationship they hold with you. So do you do their compliance work only, or do you work with them on a full service level? And there might be different things that you’re going to send to them. You might be promoting your full service to the clients that only work with you on compliance, or it might just be that I’m only going to send compliance to those clients. Company position. Are they an employer or are they a sole trader? They’re going to have different drivers and different challenges that they face. And how they subscribed could be another way that you segment to your audience. Have they signed up just for a newsletter, so they’re interested in your firm and your views, but they’re not necessarily going to be a client, but they’re part of your wider network.


Or have they actually signed up for a business health check, something that you’ve offered businesses in your local area, and then there might be a series of emails that you’re going to send them. Therefore you need that tag on them in their contact list so that you can identify them when you send another email out. So the tags that you make will be specific to you and your business and your clients, and you can create them in order to send relevant emails.


Next thing to think about is now that we’re we’ve got our list, we’ve got good ways for people to sign up, is think about who you’re talking to, because this is going to be helping you when you start writing emails. The best emails that you can send are them focused, not you focused. So they’re going to be focused on the things that are challenges or opportunities for your recipients, but not about what you need. And a nice little exercise to do is to build a client persona. Working out who you’re talking to is going to make it much easier to know what to say. So be specific. It’s not just all small businesses in my local area. Think more specifically about what drives them, what are their needs and goals? What are their pain points and challenges? What interests them? This level of detail is going to show that you really care about them, and they’re going to find those emails way more relevant and useful.


You can also include things like demographics, the stats surrounding them, the psychographics, how they feel and think about things, their location, business revenue, et cetera, and industry. All of these things you don’t necessarily need to make up. You might choose your ideal client and go, “Right, this is the person that I need to think about when I’m writing, because I want more of this sort of client.” And there may be more than one, so you’re not necessarily going to have one client persona. You’re going to have a couple.


Set some goals. So now that we’ve got to the point of going who are we talking to, what do we want to do with your email marketing? By setting some goals that’s going to help you in thinking about what sort of content you need to send out. So it could be something like strengthening existing client relationships by really demonstrating our understanding their business and our expertise and sharing useful guides for them. You might be more specific by saying we’re going to build loyalty and reduce churn by this percent. You’ve got a number of clients that over the years you feel are not as engaged. They’re not providing word of mouth referrals for you. You want to improve that. You could be talking about growing your revenue from existing clients by a certain percentage or attracting new business.


Content marketing is often about positioning you so that even if you’re not looking to grow right now, when you are replacing, say, you’ve got a client who’s retired or you’re wanting to bring some new businesses and you are in a good position to choose the best client for your business, because your inquiry level is going to be based on some of the stuff that you’re starting to talk about and the thought leadership that you’re gaining. So now we’re going to start looking at content. Creating contents for its own sake runs the risk of turning into unsubscribe, so you want to really think about serving your firm’s business goals, but it must serve your customer’s needs too. So make sure that you give value more than you sell, because if every email is about selling, then your open rate might drop.


So here are some ideas. You might want to share your… You’ve got unique expertise and that’s why your clients are working with you, so share that in your emails. Think about the things that your clients are often wanting help with. Remind and support with key compliance dates. Obviously that’s going to give your clients a sense of being really supported and a sense of security that you’ve got them covered, they’re not going to miss a lodgement date and face penalties. Share recent news and updates that directly affect them. This could be employment law change or tax rebates for research and development or some kind of new news that is going to be relevant to them. You could comment on updates in the industry, whether that’s immigration law change, it could be economic forecasts. Those sorts of things are showing that you are the expert and you know how these things are going to impact them.


Events that you’re going to or events that you’re holding. Often these events are places where new thinking is being presented, so there may be something there that’s worth adding into your email. News from your firm, obviously. There may be new staff with specialty skills you want to share with your audience and with particular businesses that you work with. And then a newsletter can obviously be a combination of the above. A good tip here is if you’re not quite sure what sort of content people would value, think about the things that you have been asked frequently. So look at your inbox. If there is a question you’ve been asked by one client, the chances are other clients are going to be interested in that same answer. So use that as a basis for your email marketing. And ask your clients. Every time you’ve had a meeting, talk to them about the content that you’re sending out or what they would find useful. That obviously shows that you’re interested in them, but it’s going to give you some ideas as well.


Now that we’re down to writing, some ideas for how to make it easier. I always think writing the subject line is quite hard and I always go back to it and write it last. Put your bullets into what you want to write and then come back to your subject line and choose the thing that is probably the most important message in that email. Try to avoid generic headings if you can, like newsletter, and actually say something that’s a little bit more catchy that motivates them to open that email. And let them know what that email’s about in a way that makes them want to open it. Let your personality shine through. So if you’ve got a reputation for a bit of a sense of humour, then use that. Talk like you would in your day to day. Try not to stay too formal. Keep it relaxed and then keep it short and easily readable.


So numbered or bulleted lists are really helpful with headings. Main takeouts at the top of the email. We’re all reading emails in different ways nowadays. It might be on the bus or train on the way to work on your phone. Make sure that you’ve got that really easy takeouts in that email, rather than long essays. If you’re including links or buttons, and if you’ve got really long content, put that on your website with a link back to read the full content. And if you are using links and buttons, call to action buttons, then make sure you check those before they go. Always proofread and send a test to yourself or someone in the office and send it from you. Don’t just say admin or support or from the team at. Say it’s from John at Acme Accounting.


Creating a plan, always a good thing once you are going to decide you’re going to do something and start putting some dates in the library in the calendar, I should say. So there may be certain times of year that are going to make more sense to send content out. There could be tax dates, holidays, end of year, your own or partner events or key dates for the industry sector. Put those in first and then think about how often you think your firm could send a newsletter or some kind of email communication out. Be realistic about what you can achieve and start with that and you can always build on it.


And don’t worry if you say, “I’m going to send it out on the 20th of the month,” and the 20th comes around and you haven’t written it. You’re much better to send something of value than to try and send it for the sake of it. Add other topical dates into your calendar, like general elections or legislation changes or things that are coming up. And if there are specific stuff for industry, as we’ve said, then put those in, and that will start building your plan for the year.


Avoiding the spam filters. Now when you’ve got your contacts are mainly your clients, then obviously your email will be recognised by them so this is not going to be as much of an issue, but I think it’s worth covering. There’s a number of things that you can do to avoid spam filters. Firstly, you’re going to really respect your email list. So by sending really good high quality emails out, it’s valued by your clients and they’re never going to be tempted or prospects are never going to be tempted to hit the junk mail button. Now frequency is going to be what’s relevant to you and your clients. So perhaps avoid sending three a day. There may be times when obviously a higher frequency is important, but once a fortnight. Try to aim for that sort of frequency. Permission based marketing techniques we’ve talked a little bit about. Including a unsubscribe button, which obviously will be in your email software. That makes it easy for people to remove themselves from the list if they want to.


Spammy language, what I mean by that is if you are saying things like “get in quick” or “amazing offers,” they can sometimes be picked up by spam filters. Telling people who you are, so make sure in the bottom of your email footer, you’ve given your name and address and a way for people to contact you. And the last one sounds a bit technical, but SPF and DKIM are two security mechanisms that protect not only you, but your recipient from spam. So they’re basically a way of proving that the email is coming from you. It really is you that’s sending it. If you are unsure about these and you think that you may have had some issues, if you are also a user of BOMA, then you can come back to us, we’ve got a blog on the subject. Have a look at that, and there’s some key steps as to what you need to do in order to fix those. We’ll give you the records to put on your domain and that will help make sure that you’re protected.


Measuring your results. Once you’ve started sending emails out for a while, you can start looking at what’s working and what’s not. Remember that unless your email’s asking directly for a sale, then the return might be slower burn. And it might be the result of a number of things, an iterative process. You may have met a prospect at an event. They may have heard you speak. They may have read one of your blogs. They may have visited your website and had a look at what sort of services you offer. And then they may be part of your newsletter. Those things might be adding up to going, “Yep, this is the obvious choice for me. This is the one. This is the partner I’d like to work with in my business.”


Email marketing is about nurturing contacts and allowing them to come to you when the time is right. But in terms of looking at the emails that you’re sending out, it’s really worth looking at the things that you can measure. Obviously open rates. Checking on those open rates. That’s going to tell you whether the time of day you chose was right. Maybe that that needs tweaking or there may be other things. And those things might be obvious to you. If you’ve got links in your email, what was your click rate? And if those links were back to your website, then look at the traffic to your website and the engagement rates and see how those have tracked after your email went out. If you’ve got signups registrations or you’ve got promotions that you’re sending out, what was the uptake on those? And of course, ask your clients. Once you’ve started sending emails out, ask them, “Are you finding this valuable?” You’ll get great feedback from them and they’ll also be able to perhaps give you some ideas for further content.


So we’ve talked about building your contact list, keeping your registration simple, using the right platform, so don’t use your desktop email, use a piece of software that you can track results, and you can also send out beautiful emails and you’ve got all that functionality, plus allowing people to sign up. Personalise your emails, make them from you and show your personality in them. Segment and tag your list so that you’re sending really relevant content out. Set some goals, create good content, and I’m going to talk about that in just a second, have a bit of a plan, and measure the results. In terms of good content, if you’re still thinking, “What am I going to write,” and you’re not a BOMA user, I really recommend that you try a free trial with BOMA. BOMA was designed specifically for accountants and bookkeepers and business advisors. It is a email marketing tool, but it also allows you to make campaigns for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. One campaign and BOMA will auto format for whatever channel you choose.


But BOMA has another point of difference that I think makes it really valuable, and particularly for email marketing. BOMA offers you access to a library of business advisory articles, and it’s added to every week across all aspects of business advisory. You can choose that content. You can edit it and customise it and make it your own. There’s a million free images, over a million free images in BOMA. You can choose images so you can use BOMA to really kickstart your email marketing. Finally, don’t forget that you have a great deal of knowledge that you can share to help build prosperity and gain efficiency. The knowledge that you have that is common sense is often really valuable to your businesses. So think about those things and how you can impart that knowledge that you have in email to not only nurture clients, but grow your business as well. Thanks for joining us.