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Digital marketing spotlight: How to generate a stream of online leads, part 4

You’ve worked hard on your digital marketing strategy in the first three articles of this series, and today is the sweet reward. In this article, we’ll wrap up this series by learning how to nurture, and pitch to, your leads so that (at least some of) your followers will become paying clients. 

As a review, we first showed you how to create a lead magnet to get started generating online leads. In part two, we described how to build a landing page. Last month, we shared how to drive traffic to your landing page by enticing them with your lead magnet. If this is your first look at this series, I suggest you read the first three articles before tackling the steps in this article. If you do these steps out of order, you won’t reap the long-term benefits of this process.

Hopefully, your list of followers is growing. Now, we need to nurture the people on your list who received your lead magnet. Staying in touch with them on a regular basis will help them stay engaged with you. The best way to do that is to send a newsletter via email.

The newsletter does not have to be complicated; it only needs to add value for your audience. The format I use is to write a couple of greeting paragraphs, mainly introducing today’s article. Then, I write an article that is 300-500 words. After the article, I have an announcement area, sharing any upcoming courses or deadlines. And, last, I have a brief bio, no more than two paragraphs, in case your followers forward the email to a friend. 

The format of the newsletter should be one column. Don’t spend too much time selecting a template – find the simplest template you can and use it. You can include a banner header graphic if you wish. Use someone at fiverr.com to create one and model it after your website design. It can then be inserted at the top of your email. 

Consistency is the key to nurturing your list. Your newsletter articles should contain business or accounting tips. Sending the newsletter via email twice a month, or every two weeks, is ideal. I prefer every two weeks because you can send it on the same day of the week. Right now, Wednesday and Thursday are good days to send an email. 

This is less work than you might think, so stop panicking! Set up an editorial calendar with the dates your newsletter will be delivered, and write in topics next to each date. Then, carve out a day or two and write six or seven articles at the same time. Once you’re done, you have a quarter’s worth of articles, and you only need to sit down four times a year to write. Use the scheduling feature in your list management software to post your articles.

If you can’t stand the thought of writing, you can purchase articles and newsletter content from various vendors that specialize in accounting newsletters. You can also hire a writer to create fresh, original content for you, which is preferable.

Once you have your newsletter done, you’re ready for the payoff. Because you’ve delivered so much value to your followers, you’ve earned the right to ask for their business. Maintain a ratio of three to one, or four to one: For every three to four value pieces (the newsletter articles), send one pitch piece. In one year, if you send 26 articles, you can pitch six to eight times.

A pitch piece is an email that asks for business. There is no article in this email; the email is dedicated to pitching only. This is important because it’s far more effective this way. The content of your pitch should include what you’re selling, the benefits, who will benefit from the service and, possibly, why you offer the service.

For example, let’s pretend it’s just before year-end and you want more payroll clients. You can send out a pitch, asking your followers if they are unhappy with their payroll service, because year-end is a great time to switch. Let them know what you offer, why it’s better and what the very next step is if they want to talk with you.

Create a pitch calendar and decide on the dates you’ll pitch, as well as the services you want to promote. Then, write your pitch emails and schedule them in your list management system. A pitch can replace an article, or it can be sent on a different day.

Accountants who are sending newsletters often forget to pitch. Don’t miss this step! This is the payoff for all the other work you did. Even if you don’t get an immediate response from your list, you’ve planted the seed and educated your followers about what services you offer.

With these two steps today – the newsletter and the pitch emails – and the steps in the previous three articles, you’ve now mastered how to generate a stream of online leads. Your list is a precious business asset that will continue to generate clients for you for years to come.

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