How to run an MTD communications campaignby
With time running out before Making Tax Digital for income tax self-assessment is due to roll out, keeping your clients up to date with new announcements on the scheme is critical.
It’s no secret that the Making Tax Digital (MTD ITSA) scheme, and HMRC’s handling of it, has split opinion across the accounting profession.
For some, it’s both a challenge and an opportunity: to convert more clients to digital processes, to take a more active role in advising them on accounting technology, and to expand to new advice and services. For others, it’s a costly and complicated exercise, hampered by delays and confusion along the way.
Wherever you stand, the fact remains that unless further changes are announced, MTD ITSA is still due to take effect from 2024. Keeping your clients informed is essential – especially in the face of uncertainty from HMRC.
For those accountants who do want to proactively help clients prepare, there are several different ways to go about it.
To reach as many people as possible, we recommend using multiple channels to spread the message, as part of a targeted campaign.
Make use of social media
When new changes to MTD are announced, social media is one of the most effective ways to get the word out to a wide range of people. Regularly sharing links to recent news articles or blog posts from your own website can help to keep the topic at the forefront of your followers’ minds.
It’s also a great way to share your professional opinion on the scheme, engage directly with your clients about it, and reach new audiences.
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to a social media campaign. Content moves quickly through these platforms, and can quickly disappear under new updates, so it’s best to schedule multiple MTD-related updates over a sustained period of time if you want your message to be seen.
Reach out over email
Compared to social media marketing, email can sound a bit old-fashioned. But as a cost-effective way to reach a targeted, curated list, it has several benefits.
By segmenting your client base and setting up different email lists, you can make sure you’re sending the most relevant information to the right people. If some of your clients have been operating under MTD for VAT since 2019, for instance, you’ll need to take a different approach to those who are completely new to the scheme.
Email marketing software also allows you to get more out of your campaign by integrating with your website, or providing insights on how your content has performed.
Build a dedicated content hub
If you’ve been communicating with your clients from the early days of MTD, the chances are you’ve built up a wealth of information in the content you’ve produced for them.
Again, it’s easy to lose this content if it’s buried under blog articles on your website, or if you sent it once in an email then forgot about it. Content distributed this way can be difficult for clients to find unless they go digging for it.
If you’ve spent time and money producing good quality content, it’s a shame to let it go to waste – or to spend time producing the same thing again.
A more efficient solution is to create a section on your website that’s dedicated to MTD. This can be populated with content of various formats – explainers, updates, videos and so on – making all the key information on the scheme available for anyone who needs it.
This should also make it much easier for you to revisit and update your content, keeping it relevant and improving its longevity.
Set up an MTD landing page
If it’s doing its job, your content should inform your audience about MTD and help to answer some of their questions. But if your clients or prospective clients want to know more, you’ll need to point them in the right direction. An MTD landing page is a great way to do this.
A landing page is a type of web page that’s designed for a specific purpose, as part of a marketing campaign. It’s where people will ‘land’ on your website when they click through from a campaign email or social media post, and it should give them a clear ‘call to action’ (CTA) on what they need to do next.
In most cases, this CTA will be to contact you for more information on MTD, so your landing page should display your contact details, and perhaps a contact form, in an easily accessible way.
We won’t pretend any of these methods are a quick and easy fix to informing your clients about the complexities of MTD. Producing a targeted campaign takes time, and requires sustained effort to really work.
We know that not all accountants agree with MTD, or think it's their responsibility to communicate it with their clients. There's no right or wrong, and it's ultimately a decision for you and your practice to make.
But, if you're in the camp of those who do want to communicate MTD and aren't sure how best to go about it, PracticeWeb can help.
AccountingWEB MTD Bootcamp
Even after a 12-month delay, there’s still plenty of work for practices to prepare their sole trader and landlord clients for MTD ITSA. We’ve teamed up with AutoEntry, FreeAgent and Xero to run a series of MTD Bootcamp webinars through August.