During the pandemic, I’ve heard from a number of firms who say they have greatly ramped up their email marketing efforts. It’s a great way to stay in touch with clients and prospects and demonstrate your firm’s knowledge and ability to help. So, now that you’re sending more email, how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts? Here are some key metrics and best practices for email marketing for accounting firms.
Three of the key metrics you’ll want to track are open rate, click-through rate, and bounce rate. According to Constant Contact, the industry average rates for the Accounting industry as of September 2020 are as follows:
Open Rate: 16.19%
Click-Through Rate: 7.42%
Bounce Rate: 12.22%
These numbers are useful as a starting point, but you’ll also want to establish your own benchmarks, so you can see how your emails are performing over time and by topic or segment. Once you have an idea of how your emails have performed historically, you can identify areas for improvement. For example, if your open rates are lower than average for one of your email newsletters than the others, try changing the from name and/or rewriting your subject lines. Look at your top performing emails and see if you can apply what you did there to your low performing emails (keeping in mind that what works for one segment may not be best for all).
You’ll also want to look at other metrics such as best days of the week and times of days to send email. According to Benchmark One, reaching business clients usually works best if sending on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Another item to look at is click data. Which links received the most clicks within specific emails? Which calls-to-action receive the most clicks?
A/B testing is a great way to learn what is working for your audience. Some email tools have A/B testing built-in, but you can also do so manually by just splitting your list in half and sending different versions of emails to each half. Things to consider when testing include:
- Subject Line
- From Name/Email Address
- Preview or Pre-Header Text
- Send Day/Time
- Email Design
- Body Text
- Landing Page
So, for example, you may send an email with two versions. In version A, the From Name is “ABC Accounting” and in version b, the From Name is “John Doe.” Everything else is identical. If you see a 10% higher open rate on version B, that may indicate that going forward you should send your emails from John Doe rather than ABC Accounting.
According to HubSpot, mobile opens now account for 46 percent of all email opens. Optimizing for mobile means more than just using a mobile-friendly template. Think about the experience of opening and reading an email on your phone vs. on your computer. You’ll want a subject line and preview text that are short and concise and a call-to-action that is easy to find and to click on with a thumb or a finger. Also consider how images and text will appear on mobile.
Making sure you have a healthy list can help improve your results and ensure that your efforts are not being wasted on invalid email addresses. Most tools for email marketing for accounting firms have automatic unsubscribe options and tools you can use to review bounces and remove as you see fit. I recommend setting a schedule to review bounces and sticking to it if you feel it is too much to check after every email send. You should also be monitoring auto-replies and removing inactive email addresses as appropriate. It is also a good practice to regularly review your lists with a critical eye. For clients, have your service providers review to ensure the contact information is current and complete. For non-clients look at your list from a performance standpoint to see if anything stands out, but also to make sure your list aligns with your content and with your goals for your firm. Things change over time, and that may mean you should take a look at changing either your content or how your list is segmented.
Grow Your List
Now that you’re sending great emails to a healthy list, you’ll want to grow your audience as well. In addition to making it easy to subscribe on your website and social media, you can increase your audience by offering valuable content in exchange for joining your list. This could include webinars, whitepapers, e-books, technology demos, etc. You may also consider paid digital advertising, direct mail, or phone campaigns to help grow your list. Whatever tactics you use, be sure that they are targeting your ideal audience so that you can ultimately generate quality leads. For additional ideas and tips on how to grow your list, check out this list from Mailchimp.
We hope you find these tips on email marketing for accounting firms helpful. AAM Members can learn even more by joining the discussion in AAM Connect to ask questions and learn how other firms are utilizing email marketing as a tool for growth.
About Sarah Stage
Sarah Stage is Director of Marketing at Insero & Co. CPAs where she focuses on digital marketing strategies for firm growth.