With the ease and low cost of electronic communication, some CPA practitioners question the value of continuing to send paper newsletters. Paper newsletters serve some functions that electronic communications can’t, and that makes them valuable as a way to grow your CPA practice.

A customized newsletter that is sent to all your clients and prospects can be a very powerful tool to increase client retention, cross sell other services and obtain referrals. They still prefer paper to electronic communications; the paper newsletter will give them that “valued customer” feeling.

Done well, a newsletter can help to position you as an expert. The newsletter is an opportunity to reinforce your central marketing message. And depending on how often you issue the newsletter, it immediately increases your number of contacts or touches per year to help you retain clients. In addition, if your newsletter is interesting and attractive, it might find its way into the hands of potential clients you haven’t even identified yet.

What should go in your newsletter? Be sure to include timely issues based on the date that issue will come out (still time to make charitable contributions for this tax year, etc.) But also be sure you’re filling the newsletters with material that will be of interest to your clients. It doesn’t have to be 100% related to your services-if there’s a trade show or conference coming to a nearby city that will interest a large number of your clients and prospects, why not include some information about it in your newsletter?

Also, when brainstorming for content, take a quick inventory of your expertise. Have you had unusual clients, who have familiarized you with a particular niche of clientele? Have you pursued continuing education in a particular area? Do you have personal knowledge-say, from a previous career or a hobby-that might be of interest to your clients? Something new, fresh, and interesting can help keep readers from setting the newsletter aside without reading it.

Here are the subsections of my newsletter:

• Welcome & main article
• New tax laws or a tax reduction strategy
• Client feedback / testimonial
• Ask for referral or cross sell other services
• Humor / jokes / short interesting articles on a variety of topics
• Q & A

As far as getting the newsletter into print goes, the skills you need are relatively easy to acquire. If you have an administrative assistant, that person should either have or develop these skills. They’re valuable not only for newsletters but for other printed materials you might want to use to promote your practice from time to time.

If you’ve never done this kind of marketing before, you might want to start with a quarterly newsletter and later shift to monthly. As time goes on, you’ll start thinking of ideas for the newsletter without even trying. Also pay attention to newsletters you receive. Which ones do you read? Which ones do you toss without a second glance? Paying attention to your own reading habits can help you think about ways to make your own newsletter a keeper.

A customized newsletter that is sent to all your clients and prospects can be a very powerful tool to increase client retention, cross sell other services and obtain referrals.

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