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*Client Spotlight* – Rea & Associates

*Client Spotlight* – Rea & Associates

*BIZACTIONS | PDI GLOBAL CLIENT SPOTLIGHT*

Rea & Associates

New Philadelphia, OH

What do an Amish farmer in Millersburg and a manufacturer in Cleveland have in common?

Rea-VideoBesides being in Ohio, the two may well be clients of Rea & Associates (Rea is pronounced “ray”), a Top 100 CPA firm whose 11 offices serve individuals and businesses throughout Ohio and, through its membership in Moore Stephens, around the world.

“Coordinating the marketing efforts of our 11 offices is my biggest challenge,” says Katie Tolin, the firm’s Director of Practice Growth. “Even though we’re a large firm with more than 200 employees, there are only so many dollars available for marketing and business development. Plus, we serve a very diverse clientele, so we have to tailor our methods and messages to different audiences depending on their needs and how they view the role of a CPA.

But one thing we communicate to everyone is our values-based brand. It centers on the firm’s value statement, The Rea Way, which all of our associates believe in and work to uphold. Essentially, it means being honest, respectful, personable, approachable and passionate about serving clients.

“These values resonate with our clients, many of whom, like us, live in small towns and like that fact that we are local and part of their communities. Being down-home yet having large-firm service capabilities — we’re the biggest firm in nine of our markets — is a positive differentiator for us.”

Rea-BrightPeopleRea & Associates uses “A Brighter Way” theme to show how these values translate into benefits for clients. “Our people aren’t just smart, they’re bright,” Katie says. “By that we mean they tie their knowledge and values together to deliver more responsive, caring and effective service than smarts alone can provide.

“We call our biweekly email newsletter Illuminations to show that we do more than provide information. We help people understand. This theme also helps to differentiate our firm from competitors.”

Big on content marketing

To get the right message to each audience, Katie relies on targeted content marketing. The operative word here is “targeted.” But that wouldn’t have always characterized the firm’s marketing program. Katie explains:

We’ve been sending out newsletters, running blogs and posting articles for some time. But before we hired a professional content marketer last year, Becky Boyd, there wasn’t a strategic direction to it. Becky has rationalized our program by putting together a strategic content marketing plan that uses a spreadsheet to spell out what we will send out when and how to which audience. Now we not only can target more precisely, but also see how to repurpose content for different media. So we get more out of the content we have.”

Rea-IlluminationsKatie has a lot of content marketing to keep track of. The firm emails its email newsletter, Illuminations, (from BizActions) every other Wednesday morning to a list of 21,000.  Recently, it has started incorporating infographics developed in-house in some issues to increase appeal and engagement. Between newsletter issues, Katie sends out monthly email radars (also from BizActions) with content targeted to eight different audiences.

The firm also publishes a quarterly print newsletter, The Rea Report, whose content is developed by firm members under the guidance of an in-house editorial board. The Rea Report is mailed to 5,000 contacts and is especially effect-tive in communicating with the Amish, who account for a large percentage of the firm’s clientele in one office but often don’t have email.

In addition, the firm maintains an online library with more than 600 articles on business and financial subjects that visitors to its website can scroll or search through. And it even has separate websites for its dental division and CPA firm efficiency consulting division (Lean CPA – Six Sigma process for CPA firms), and has another new site in development now.

Rea also runs two blogs (and will soon start a third) with content written by firm members. In Dear Drebit, a frog named Drebit (son of Debit + Credit) answers general business and financial questions from readers (more on him later.)  On the dental website, there’s Brushing Up, a blog on dental practice accounting issues.

Rea-l team spirit

One reason for Rea’s success — the firm celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013 — is that, despite being located in 11 different offices, its people work together as one firm. Katie attributes this collaborative spirit to the firm’s small office “family” environment:

Rea-FunOur people not only know and socialize with each other; they often also know their coworkers’ children and even their dogs. Many are from the same area they work in and know our clients in other ways.  Also, people from our different offices are often brought together to work with each other on engagements, so they frequently interact. We are very much part of the communities we serve, and our clients like that.”

To foster this sense of camaraderie, Rea holds a firmwide retreat every October. It also conducts a basketball tournament for teams from its different offices, organizes a bike riding event and holds an annual picnic
to name a few. The result is a feeling of togetherness that spills over into client relationships.

Fun approach to work

Rea-DrebitA great example of how well the firm works together is the “Drebit’s Amazing Race” email address development campaign that Katie and her team ran last year. The goal was to build up the firm’s email database for its content marketing program, as well as to capture information about what specialized content applies to each address.

The concept was that Drebit (the blogging frog mentioned above) is on race around the world to gather email addresses. At one mile per address, the firm’s 9,555 existing addresses put Drebit in Sydney, Australia for starters. To help Drebit move on, firm members were asked to submit email addresses in their professional network from industry associations, LinkedIn, alumni groups, chambers of commerce, boards, vendors and other sources. Along with the email address, they were to provide the contact’s name, city, county and industry, and to identify what specialized content applies to them.

Rea-DrebitAUTo encourage participation, the office of the person who submitted the address that pushed Drebit into the next of 11 “pit stops” on his way around the world participated in a challenge. During an office a luncheon, participants played games that fit with the location; for example, “Mummified” for Cairo and “Indian Spices” for Mumbai, with one person winning a $150 gas gift card. Every address submitted would earn one entry into the grand prize drawing for a travel adventure (there were several choices, each worth $1,000). And if the firm reached its goal of 24,900, everyone who participated would receive a special Rea-logoed item.

What’s so special about the 24,900 target? It’s approximately the total number of miles around the earth, of course!

Katie is delighted with the results:

In the five months between July and November, we doubled our email database to 21,763 email addresses. Plus, we have 7,200 more for which we are missing some information but which our people are trying to come up with. So we’ve significantly strengthened our content marketing program — and had a lot of fun, too.”

Looking — and moving — ahead

To keep a step ahead of the competition, Katie plans to support Rea’s marketing program with internal marketing training, so the up-and-coming leaders of the firm have the skills they need to develop more business. She also plans to expand the firm’s marketing program to include more webinars, increased use of infographics, the development of ebooks, and marketing automation.

Rea-BrightIdeas

“With globalization and the increased use of Web technology, it’s becoming more and more difficult for accounting firms to position themselves against competitors,” says Katie. “Increasingly, local firms are finding large regional and national firms going after their clients. Thanks to technology, a firm based in Pittsburgh or New York can now serve clients in our markets almost as easily as we can. So we do all we can to leverage our local presence, small town values and personal knowledge of the people and communities we serve.

“But we also embrace Web technology and plan to make fuller use of things like marketing automation to give us a competitive edge. Even now, our Bright Dental division is serving clients as far away as California.

We plan to increase our use of the Internet and social media to develop client relationships outside our traditional markets.”

We think our ‘brighter way’ brand, as well as the quality of our content, can position us as specialists anywhere we do business. So, who knows, Drebit may soon be literally traveling around the world.”

 
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Posted in: Client Spotlight, Content Marketing, CPA Firm Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletters, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy, Newsletters, Prospecting, Targeted Marketing

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A Problem You Can’t Avoid And How To Fix It

A Problem You Can’t Avoid And How To Fix It

In a perfect world, your clients become so impressed with the services your business provides that they take every opportunity to tell everyone they know about your business, and these referrals offer enough new business that you never have to seek out another form of advertising. As we all know, word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising. The problem is that most business owners can not simply rely on their clients to always remember them and talk about them in their day to day conversations. Additionally, word of mouth referrals alone are not a trackable and sustainable growth strategy.

In a real world you need to advertise directly through your own efforts on a continual basis to grow your business. Referrals are wonderful, but they become even more powerful when the individual receiving the referral already recognizes your business due to previous advertising efforts. Marketing strategies also help your business reach those who might not happen to come across one of your referral sources. Marketing can even help you increase word of mouth referral traffic for your business.

How much advertising and what type of advertising you do is dependent on any number of factors, including your demographic, geographic areas you’d like to target, industries you serve, and the depth of your pockets. Many service providers in small markets or highly specialized fields need to access efficient marketing strategies that offer sufficient exposure, return on investment and ease of use. Businesses that market to other businesses require high-powered, professional-grade content marketing and communication solutions in order to continually fuel revenue growth.

The problem with traditional advertising for B2B marketers

Traditional advertising, including newspapers, radio and television ads, frequently give your business only 30 seconds to tell your story. The problem is, you might need more than a few seconds to effectively communicate your offerings, and your prospects might need more than a series of radio ads to convince them that you are a competent professional. Repetitive ads can and do help your business name become more recognizable. However, ads that offer nothing other than advertising are often ignored or simply tolerated. Prospects who receive this type of exposure seldom, if ever, give in-depth consideration to choosing your services.

Upon first seeing the ad, even if it is only a cursory scan, the viewer typically believes they have gained a total understanding of the ad’s content, and therefore they will see no reason in the future to read it again. How can you tell if the reader really understood the significance of your ad? Well, did you receive an immediate rush of sales the moment the ad was distributed? If you did not, odds are that your prospects did not gather an understanding of how valuable your products or services are based on the information they received from that ad campaign.

How to fix it

How do you get your prospects to pay attention to what you send their way? The modern consumer is looking for more than just an advertisement to help them make a buying decision, and this is where content marketing can step in and provide real value to prospects. In order to attract and continually nurture today’s consumer, you need to give a little something away in the form of content marketing.

Savvy businesses create communications that inform, entertain and educate, and this is something that subscribers actually look forward to receiving. The best marketing communications not only contain information about your business, products and services, but other content that is highly relevant to your target audiences. Targeted messages pool together topics that specific subsets will find interesting, and they seek to shed light on strategies that will help enrich the professional and financial lives of its readers.

The big bonus is that there are newsletters and other marketing solutions that offer professionally-written content as part of the package. Your business can supplement this content with its own custom pieces or simply utilize the existing content under your business’s branding.

Content marketing also helps your business to leave a positive online footprint. Prospects who receive word-of-mouth recommendations from your happy clients often seek to back those referrals up with a bit of online research. When this happens, your website, blog, newsletter and online guides work together to help demonstrate your commitment to providing thought leadership and valuable expertise to your business community. Content marketing solves the problem of reaching prospects who are looking for more than just another advertisement.

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Posted in: Business Growth, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy

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Is Your CTA MIA?

Is Your CTA MIA?

If your readers love your content, but don’t have the ability to do anything other than read it, then your message might be missing a call to action (CTA). Every piece of content you distribute should contain a clear CTA. Don’t let your messages miss out on the chance to give your audience a worthwhile next step.

Readers perusing your email, website or blog post might want to download your latest report, find your social media channels, or take some other action. But without an obvious pathway toward this information, the pursuit of information may be abandoned. It can actually be quite frustrating for visitors to go hunting through a website or message – unable to find what they are looking for. Clear CTAs help your readers avoid frustration and help you capture opportunities.

What is a CTA?

The CTA is the cornerstone of inbound marketing lead generation. A CTA is simply any type of graphic or text that a prospect can utilize to take a next step. CTAs can be as subtle as a “Visit our Website” link at the top of your email newsletter, or as overt as an image inviting readers to “Download Our Guide by April 30th and Receive a Free Travel Mug.”

Good CTAs point readers in the direction of your valuable resources, better CTAs capture contact information in exchange for a downloadable item, and the best CTAs accomplish both these tasks while also grabbing attention, enticing readers and succinctly offering exactly what your readers want or need from your message.

CTA-Example-NL-Sign-upCTA Examples:

  • Free consultation offers
  • Downloads
  • Sign-ups
  • Enticing give-aways
  • Polls and surveys
  • Opportunities to learn more

Why include a CTA?

CTA-Example-learn moreYour content marketing strategies are basically ineffective without CTAs. Your content exists to establish pathways back to your door. Without a CTA, that pathway can dissolve causing your readers to start looking elsewhere for more information or additional resources. When you have a reader already looking to your content to help them solve problems, seize the opportunity to light the way to your next offering.

CTA-Example-downloadWhat does a CTA do for me?

CTAs route readers to your ancillary communication channels and additional resources: blog, social media, online resources, website, and so on. This helps drive traffic to your various marketing initiatives. They can also help you build your list by capturing contact information or new opt-in email subscribers. CTAs also help you generate leads because readers who actively choose to receive your communications are often highly-engaged prospects with a need for the services you provide.

How can I incorporate effective CTAs into my messages?

It is worth your time and energy to plan and track your calls to action. After all, this planning comes back to you in the form of engaged prospects, and impressed onlookers convert into new clients. Take these simple steps, and you will begin taking your messages from MIA to actionable.

  • CTA-Example-FB-like-usBrainstorm - Think about what you would like your CTA to accomplish and how it will achieve that objective:
    • What do I want my readers to do?
    • How will my CTA get them where I want them to go?
    • Is there a deadline for responding?
    • Do I have an incentive to offer?
    • Am I capturing contact information, and if so, how much?
  • Create - Incorporate visual cues, such as graphics, images and succinct text, into your CTA in an aesthetically pleasing and stimulating manner. Be sure your use of color, typeface and imagery cohesively blend with your brand specifications. Here are some things to consider:
    • Is the CTA attention getting?
    • Is the CTA visually appealing?
    • Does the CTA quickly, clearly communicate my objective?
    • Is the CTA at or near the top of my message (above the fold)?
    • Does the CTA make sense with the message content?

Also keep in mind that your readers will become overwhelmed if you are asking them to go in too many directions at once. Make each CTA relevant to the message at hand. Avoid cluttering your messages.

  • Test - You will also want to test the basic functionality of your CTA. Have you ever clicked on a website link that did not work or tried to access something in an email message that directed you to a wrong page? Then you understand the impression that a “broken” CTA can give. Make sure your CTAs are functional.
  • Capture - All of your CTAs should capture click activity, contact information or both (depending on the purpose of your CTA).
  • Respond - If your CTA is for a newsletter sign up, whitepaper or report download, be sure delivery of your resource happens as soon after form completion as possible. If an email newsletter, or a responsive email message, lands in a recipient’s inbox days after the opt-in form was completed, that message runs the risk of being mistaken as junk mail. Your CTAs should quickly deliver on their promises.
  • Track - Don’t do all that work and then forget to follow up on your opportunities. Track the responses from your CTAs and further nurture your prospects with relevant drip campaigns, additional offers or even a phone call.

Make sure your CTAs are not missing in action. After all, the CTA is the essential element of your inbound marketing strategies that helps you generate new leads and offer crucial next steps to your engaged prospects.

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Posted in: Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy

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Tackling Tax Season Stress as You Race to the Finish Line

Tackling Tax Season Stress as You Race to the Finish Line

Have you forgotten what your loved ones look like? Do your dreams (or nightmares) consist of IRS forms and shoeboxes full of unorganized receipts? The filing deadline is almost here, and for many, there is no such thing as a personal life during the blackout weeks of nonstop tax returns. Your patience may be running thin, your attention to detail may be waning and your stress level may be on the rise as you await the onslaught of last-minute filers.

Stress busters

Tackle your tax season tension by learning to stress-bust with a few of these easily-implemented tips:

Few will argue that for most CPA firms, tax season is a stressful time. It’s not limited to the accountants. Administrative staff, receptionists, maintenance crew, and even the families of firm employees feel the pinch.

Who better to ask for stress-busting ideas than the people in the trenches? Some CPA firm employees have suggested that offering soothing perks such as ten-minute shoulder massages during the worst weeks of tax season would help untie even the tightest knots. Additionally, many firms provide free healthy snacks for their staff during busy season to help keep them fueled throughout the season.

Don’t cut off communication

All of these ideas are useful suggestions, and they probably all help boost firm morale. But the most important plan may be to ensure good communication. The pressure to see countless clients while still remaining responsive to general inquiries can be enormous. The last thing your staff needs is for communication to break down, resulting in missed appointments, double-booked schedules, misplaced documentation, and eventually, short tempers.

Some accountants may have a tendency to bury themselves under stacks of client files and not see daylight for days or weeks. Staff members need to know that partners and managers see and appreciate their efforts. Upper management could take a few minutes to walk through the office periodically offering a few words of encouragement.

For your next busy season, consider displaying a global calendar that your employees can all view. This common appointment board could be updated every morning so that staff members and administrative professionals are all aware of each professional’s availability to receive messages or answer questions. This process can also help eliminate scheduling mishaps and forgotten clients.

Besides keeping communication open within the office, your clients will be less frustrated if they know how they can reach you. Email is the least intrusive way to remind them of appointments or to ask simple questions. The simple phone call seems to remain a favorite method of communication. However, online meeting technology allows you to connect with clients in real time without either of you leaving your offices. Imagine being able to share your computer screen with your client in his or her own office and discuss the details of the client’s tax return, ask questions, and get the missing information you need to complete the return in a matter of minutes. The ease of communication available by using online meetings can lighten the load of every member of your staff, and make you an even more valuable partner in your clients’ successes.

Don’t put other client needs on hold

Keep in mind that while you are neck-deep in tax returns, your clients still need information from their trusted advisors. With only a little forethought time, and planning on your part, you can keep clients up to date on news that affects them through your various marketing and communication strategies.

Focused, targeted communications are your most effective tools when reaching clients. A successful CPA newsletter should include timely information based on recent events that affect your clients. It might also include an online survey tool that provides a way for readers to give their feedback.

Establishing a system for communicating with your clients through your various marketing initiatives can help you reach your clients more effectively between your in-person (or online) meetings. A well-informed client who has received deadline reminders and other important updates from your firm is far more likely to show up on your doorstep early, prepared and educated to handle tax prep issues that a client who receives semi-annual communications.

Keep these tips in mind to help your tax season deadline crunch go from tense to tranquil.

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Written by Teresa Ambord, Editor and Author

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Posted in: Communications, CPA Accounting Firm Management, CPA Firm Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy

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Blog Roundup: Oodles of Ways to Get New Subscribers for Your Email Marketing List

Need to get more new subscribers for your list? We’ve got tips! In fact, we’ve got a slew of strategies to take your online marketing database from ghost town to mob scene. Here is our roundup of list building techniques that will help you make the most of your online marketing strategies:

Building the Perfect Email Marketing List for Positive Results, Part 1

Building the Perfect List Part 1 120pxSome professional service providers hold off on implementing online marketing initiatives because they feel they simply do not have enough contacts to get a worthwhile return on their marketing investment. However, a lack of contacts is really a significant indicator that demonstrates a firm’s needs to increase exposure and gain new opportunities. There are some common misconceptions about initiating new online marketing strategies… Read on.

Building the Perfect Email Marketing List for Positive Results, Part 2

Building the Perfect List Part 2 120pxIt is important to conquer the obstacles often associated with getting an email marketing list off the ground and seek out strategies for list management and growth. Your email marketing list should be constantly growing and evolving, but it may stagnate if you are not continually creating opportunities for prospects to find you and sign up to receive your communications. With a little creativity and forethought, list building does not need to be a chore… Read on.

Building the Perfect E-Marketing List for Better Results, Part 3

Building the Perfect List Part 3 120pxMake it easy for clients and prospects to subscribe to your email newsletter by putting your subscription form on the home page of your website above the fold. Your email newsletter sign up form should also be displayed on your blog, microsites and any ancillary online resource pages. Be sure your forms and links are eye-catching and easily accessible. Websites and other online presences should offer visitors the opportunity to access your sign-up form… Read on.

Building the Perfect E-Marketing List for Better Results, Part 4

Building the Perfect List Part 4 120pxIn my last post I shared some unique ideas to help you generate buzz and drive subscribers to your email newsletter program. Marketing strategy is a constantly evolving process that should move with market trends, prospect preferences and needs. The next generation of entrepreneurs is seeking and extensively more online relationships with their professional service providers. Position your firm today to connect with tomorrow’s clients…  Read on.

Brick-by-Brick Building Tips for a Bigger, Better Marketing Database

Brick by Brick List Building 120pxWhy is it important to have a full-bodied list of contacts in your email marketing database? The answer is simple. Even in this age of modern communications, email remains the most cost-effective and far-reaching tool available for broadcasting your message to a large audience. Shakespeare’s name would not be known around the world today had his audience not grown in numbers and diversity, and in much the same way, your business would not be what it is without your list… Read on.

Another Brick to Help You Build a Bigger, Better Marketing Database

Brick by Brick List Building pt2 120pxJim Rohn once said: “Whatever good things we build end up building us.” Being in touch, staying in touch, developing contacts, strengthening business relationships, being remembered and being referred are the standing ovations we hope to garner in our daily business practices. Without a strong list of contacts, we are essentially performing to an empty house. So how do we fill the seats and keep contacts coming back for repeat performances?… Read on.

The Final Brick to Help You Build a Bigger, Better Marketing Database

Brick by Brick List Building pt3 120pxA great way to continually build your list and help get the word out about your firm is to get out and gather up opt-in contacts during networking events, conferences, charitable events and other community activities. There are also some savvy ways to get your online marketing presences working for you to help continually build your list, and you don’t have to be a technology genius to master digital list building… Read on.

 

There you have it – an onslaught of great list building tips to help you build your online marketing database. Once some basic puzzle pieces are put into place, your online platforms can become a vast net constantly capturing new contact information. But keep in mind that all of your contacts should be choosing you. Remember to use opt-in best practices and always get your contacts’ permission before adding them to your online marketing list.

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Posted in: Email Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing

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If Emily Post Had Written ‘Etiquette’ About Email Marketing

If Emily Post Had Written ‘Etiquette’ About Email Marketing

Etiquette is something that appears to be slowly dying in our modern society.

My mom and I talk about it all the time – how children are seemingly being raised in metaphorical barns, adults scoff in the face of propriety, customer service is more about the server than the customer, and we all have to specifically ask to be put on “do not call” lists and request to be removed from spam email lists that we never wanted to be on in the first place.

Emily Post would be horrified. These are certainly not the behaviors that she wrote about in her book, Etiquette, in 1922.

There isn’t much we can do about the newest generation’s lack of manners, and we can choose not to dine at restaurants that offer less than desirable service, but we can make sure that our email marketing campaigns are free of faux pas and make our recipients feel warm and fuzzy about our organizations.

Make sure that your company adheres to contemporary niceties in its email marketing behavior and messaging.

Here are several tips (and a lovely infographic, courtesy of Vertical Response) that Ms. Post would have been proud to include in her book had she been born into the technological age of email marketing.

1. Ask for permission

Before adding someone to your email database, make sure that you have requested permission first. Opt-ins are vital to the health and longevity of your campaign, as those who did not subscribe to your messages will eventually report your emails as spam or junk, if they do not do so immediately upon receipt of your first unsolicited email. Business cards exchanged during networking events do not necessarily represent subscription requests; you should not add them to your database without receiving opt-in requests first.

2. Give subscribers a graceful way out

All of your recipients, whether clients or prospects, should be able to easily and quickly unsubscribe for any reason at any time. Unsubscribing should be a simple process, without too many hurdles to jump, pages to go to, forms to fill out or any other online hanky panky that merely delays the inevitable and irritates the unsubscriber. Maintaining compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act is your legal motivation, but Ms. Post would probably say that it’s just the right thing to do.

3. Talk to your subscribers

Remember that your recipients are people, not machines. Even if you are using marketing automation tools to facilitate your campaign, your content should be relevant and valuable to each of your subscribers. It should not sound like it was generated by a computer. Use the same kind of language you would use if you were having a conversation with your prospects face-to-face.

4. Treat their time as if it were your own

Your subscribers have about the same amount of free time that you do. You know every minute in your day counts, so remember that your email recipients feel the same way. Be courteous and keep your email messages brief and concise. Give your subscribers an option to continue reading items of interest, but keep the introductions to longer articles short and to the point so they can decide if it is worth their time. Along the same lines, tell your subscribers what they can expect to read in your email by using an appropriate subject line.

5. Represent your company elegantly

Keep in mind that your email marketing campaign represents you and your organization. Your brand should be well represented through aesthetically pleasing design, error-free messaging, and readable typography. Avoid spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, which will quickly diminish your credibility, as well as gimmicky tactics that could turn your prospects off, such as symbols, slang or abbreviations. Sophistication will always trump trend.

According to Emily Post’s family, who keep her legacy alive with blogs, books, a charitable foundation, seminars and other exciting ventures, etiquette means “treating people with consideration, respect and honesty. It also means being aware of how our actions affect those around us.” The goal of etiquette is to help us build more successful relationships. Apply these principles to your email marketing campaigns, and you will reap the rewards now and in the future.

For more tips on how to practice impeccable manners in your email marketing, review this lovely infographic:

email etiquette

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Posted in: Content Marketing, Email Design, Email Marketing, Email Newsletters, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy, Reputation Management

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When is the best time to market tax services? Right now!

When is the best time to market tax services? Right now!

When the brunt of tax season ends, you may feel like putting your tax practice marketing activities in mothballs until next fall, when you start to get ready for next tax season. But right now is actually a great time to market your tax services. Why? Because taxes are top of mind for the many taxpayers who recently filed returns, especially if they feel that they paid more than they thought they’d have to.

Here are four things you can do as tax season ends to position your firm as a thought leader in tax planning and compliance and encourage taxpayers to look to your firm for expert tax services.

1. Share information about tax planning year-round.

Because tax planning is (or should be) a year-round activity, your tax practice marketing efforts shouldn’t end with tax season. Instead, use tax alerts, tax newsletters and social media posts about tax subjects to show thought leadership and keep your firm’s name in front of clients, prospects and referral sources.

Also, if you haven’t already, consider posting an online tax guide on your website that’s continually updated for changes in tax law, so your website becomes a resource taxpayers will turn to again and again for tax-related information. Then periodically use emails, Facebook posts or tweets about specific tax topics to push people to your online guide.

2. Offer free reviews of recent tax returns.

Many people, especially those that do their own returns or work with sole-practitioner tax preparers, may feel that they paid more tax than they had to. So they’re often willing to have their returns reviewed by a firm that’s willing to do that on a complimentary basis. If your firm is amenable to this, consider sending postcards to select prospects — those who fit your criteria for being likely to be a profitable client — offering a free review. If nothing else, the postcard will strengthen market awareness of your brand and let recipients know that you offer tax services. But if you follow up with an email and phone call, this kind of marketing can also help you win new clients and boost your revenue.

3. Show clients you appreciate their business.

Thanking clients for their business is a good way to strengthen your relationships with them and make them more likely to turn to you for other services. A good way to show your appreciation is to send them a thank-you note with a tax planning guide, tax rate card or other tax-related resource that will remind them of your services and encourage contact for more information or assistance with various tax matters. Even long-term clients will appreciate getting a helpful gift and the concern about helping them maximize tax savings that it represents.

4. Speak and write on tax topics.

Positioning yourself or a member of your firm as a tax expert will help make your firm be seen as the go-to place for information or assistance with tax matters. To this end, encourage tax partners to give speeches and seminars on tax-related topics to business, trade and community organizations. Also, contribute tax-related articles to trade journals, organizational newsletters and the local media, and run a blog on tax issues. The more you show that you’re knowledgeable about taxes, the easier it will be to generate more tax business. And don’t wait until the end of the year or tax season to do this. Taxpayers are quite sensitized to tax issues after they’ve filed and paid taxes, so now is as good a time as ever to let your tax expertise shine.

 
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Posted in: Business Development, Client Retention, CPA Firm Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices

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