The single biggest complaint that small business owners have about their accountants is “My CPA doesn’t stay in touch with me.” That is by far the biggest reason why a client will change their CPA…..because the CPA does not stay in touch with his or her client.

So, if you want to retain your clients, a keystone of your client retention system will be a regular program that makes sure you keep in regular touch with each client. Don’t wait for them to get in touch: be proactive and be in touch often.

An Ezine is a great way to increase your client touches. What is an Ezine? It’s a short email you send to your list weekly, semi-weekly or monthly that contains information that you feel will be useful to them. Mine goes out weekly and I use a program called “Constant Contact.” The program costs less than a couple of hundred dollars for the year, but with a weekly Ezine you now have 52 client touches a year (multiplied by the number of clients on your list).

Your Ezine list can (and certainly should) also help you with converting prospects into clients. Sometimes it will happen that I will meet with a business owner and they are not ready to come aboard for one reason or another when I meet with them. I just put them on my Ezine and they will receive something from me on a weekly basis. I can assure you their existing CPA is not keeping in touch with them (this is one of the most common complaints clients have about their CPAs). This simple act of sending them snippets of information can convert a prospect into a client.

When putting your Ezine together, keep in mind a couple of simple principles that will make sense if you think about the Ezine from the client’s (or prospect’s) point of view.

• Focus on practical information the reader can use. (Don’t worry about selling yourself-you’re doing that by giving good information and building goodwill.)

• Keep it short, especially if you’re sending weekly.

• Be as timely as you can-if a new tax law is announced, try to hit that in your Ezine as quickly as you can. This builds confidence in your services.

• Be sure you have a system in place to be responsive if people write back after they’ve received an Ezine, and respond quickly.

Keeping your Ezine easy to read and full of good information will give real value added to everyone on your client and prospect list, while only costing you the work of writing a single email each week.

Of course, in the course of a week you have a lot of other things to do, so here’s a way to get started on a weekly Ezine. Make a list of general tips and points of information you think many of your clients could use; add to that list the questions you’re asked most often. You probably just generated at least a few months’ worth of weekly topics. Set aside an hour or two of your marketing time to write these up. Once you have a “stockpile” of Ezines, you don’t have to write one a week. But what you do have to do is keep an eye out for newsworthy topics-and write a new Ezine when something comes up. Also be sure to start writing down ideas for Ezine topics whenever one occurs to you.

An Ezine is a very simple and effective way to stay in touch with your clients and prospects. Once you start, it won’t be long before this method of keeping in touch with your clients will become routine and you’ll start to see real effects in client retention and recruitment.

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