I was asked by an accountant the other day about how he should create a newsletter program.
Most of the newsletters I've created to far have been aimed at consumers - for example real estate newsletters that Realtors can use to send to their clients, mortgage newsletters for mortgage brokers' clients, etc.
But really, there's a lot of opportunity for B2B businesses to create a reputation for themselves as trusted advisers by creating a newsletter.
Anyway, here's what I told the accountant. If you are an accountant - or other B2B service provider - do you agree with this advice?
1) The biggest mistake people make is writing too much about themselves and not focusing enough of the needs of clients. So instead of going into detail about changes to the tax code, think how those changes affect clients. Instead of paraphrasing info from your trade journal, make the info accessible and useful to clients. Don't make the content self-serving, instead provide useful, interesting and entertaining information that adds value to readers. That's how you'll get people to look forward to, read and keep your newsletter. That's how you'll build a relationship.
2) Newsletters are all about maintaining and building a long-term, trusted relationship with clients. Think of the relationship you have with them face-to-face and build on that in your newsletter. That means doing all I mentioned in point 1, and doing it on a regular basis. After all, real-life relationships die without regular, valuable contact.
3) As your business is mainly B2B, you have lots of opportunities to provide valuable information. Article ideas include:
- which accounting software should you choose?
- key rules to save cash at tax time this year
- how to build a commission structure that makes sense - and makes money
- should you incorporate your business? - the reasons to do it - and reasons not to
- is liability insurance worth the money?
- how to build your business' brand (maybe have a marketing consultant write this in return for a mention of their website)
- how to buy ads on Google - without losing your shirt
- how to motivate staff in tough times (again, get an expert in the field to write this)
Don't be afraid to give away valuable information. You are positioning yourself as a trusted adviser - immediately putting yourself above every other vanilla accountant. They will still need you to implement this advice.
4) You don't need to invest thousands in a flashy, colorful design. The aim is to create a personal relationship, not look like a corporate brochure. So it's OK to do it as a simple Microsoft Word doc in black and white. Get it proof-read though.
5) Include engagement devices, as I call them. People love puzzles and quizzes. Maybe put the answers on your website or ask them to call you for the answers. Gives you another chance to engage with them.
6) Put in an offer. I notice on your business card you offer a free consultation, so offer this in the newsletter. Or maybe, if you can go further, offer a free, 30 minute business tune up, where you'll find 3 ways they can save money in the next 6 months.
7) Be personal. Share some opinions and personal stories. Don't be afraid to mention where you went for vacation this year. Share the kind of information you might share when you meet clients face to face.