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Why aren’t your client enewsletters getting better results?

13th Jun 2024
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Coconut’s simple bookkeeping and tax app is specifically designed for sole traders, helping them...
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Most of us regularly receive email newsletters (AKA enewsletters). We look forward to the ones we enjoy reading and get value from, but we ignore or unsubscribe from those full of poor or irrelevant content.

Enewsletters can be a highly effective marketing tool for accountants. They can be created for very little cost, which means they potentially offer an excellent return on investment. You may already be sending out your own client enewsletters, but the results could be absolutely average. Here are six common reasons why this could be happening. 

1. Frequency issues

Many retail businesses send weekly enewsletters and their recipients are fine with that. Most accountants send them once a month or every quarter, because that’s about as much tax news and know-how that most clients want. Problems arise when you take a random approach to frequency or you send too many or not enough enewsletters. Don’t bombard recipients. Aim to keep them connected, engaged and well informed.

Top Tip >> Send an email questionnaire to your clients and ask them what content would give them the most value. Also find out what they don’t want.      

2. Dull subject lines

We all get emails with subject lines that fail to engage or excite. They’re much more likely to go unread. If your subject line doesn’t make your clients want to click through to find out more, they probably won’t. Some subject lines (eg “FREE offer!”) trigger spam filters, so beware. Don’t overuse capital letters (IT’S ANNOYING), correct all typos and “clickbaity” subject lines (eg “Become a millionaire the easy way”) are naff.

Top Tip >> Keep your subject lines to 30-50 characters (about seven words). Personalise your subject lines, be creative, make them interesting and include keywords.

3. Wrong content mix

Pick a good mix of high-quality, relevant, topical content and your click-through rates can be high. Latest news, tips, updates and key-date reminders are all proven elements of an accountancy firm’s enewsletter, but longer-from content can also work well. Including offers and new services is fine, but you need to strike the right balance between informing and selling. Go overboard with your sales messages and adverts and some recipients will soon delete your (largely unread) enewsletter.

Top Tip >> Including competitions and giveaways can work well within enewsletters. Subscribers are happy to hear about new offers or latest deals, but don’t overdo it. Think “tell, tell”, rather than “sell, sell”. 

4. Boring content

No one wants to read boring content. Even if a subject is complex, your challenge is to make it accessible and interesting, always explaining the relevance. If you provide valuable information that genuinely benefits recipients, they’re more likely to know, like and trust you. Your content should show that you’re in tune with your clients’ everyday challenges, concerns and realities. Write about things that really matter to them and keep it real. Don’t just copy other accountants’ enewsletters, be original and make your content different and superior.   

Top Tip >> Vary your enewsletter content. Make sure it’s engaging and interesting. Seek to increase your clients’ knowledge, solve their problems, save them time and money, make them more profitable and minimise their tax bills.

5. Full of jargon

Good enewsletter content provides a clear explanation and guidance, no matter how complex the information or topic. Always use plain English to explain key points. Don’t use waffle, jargon or business speak, because people won’t read it. If you can use simple words or explain things in a simple way, always do so. If you have to use jargon, do it as little as possible and clearly explain its meaning in accessible language. 

Top Tip >> Use your enewsletter to tell your clients what they really need to know in as few, simple words as possible. Make sure all of their likely questions are answered.

6. Bad design

No matter how great your copy is, it may never be read if it appears in a poorly designed enewsletter. Bad design can put off recipients within seconds of opening your enewsletter. Your design should look engaging, attractive and professional, regardless of what size screen it’s viewed on. Your design shouldn’t look boring or behind the times. If your enewsletter design is poor, replace it. Some solution providers offer excellent customisable enewsletter templates, which makes things much easier.

Top Tip >> If you’re going to use a template, don’t change too much. Avoid using predictable images of calculators, tax returns and stock library “accountants”. Be more creative.    

Test and learn

A/B testing different ideas and executions and carefully assessing your email analytics data can enable you to quickly find out what works best, whether that’s subject lines, topics, content format or when to send your enewsletter. If something isn’t working, find better alternatives. Over time, you can learn and get better results. Continually to seek feedback from those who receive your enewsletter.  

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