[IMGCAP(1)]There’s probably no one “right” time for tax preparers to start a newsletter, but the end of summer might be an optimum time. Vacation memories are beginning to fade, and people are gearing up to get back into the real world of work, busy schedules and tax.

Preparers who don’t already email a regular newsletter to clients should consider doing so, according to Chuck McCabe, president of Peoples Income Tax and The Income Tax School. “They’re a great way to keep in touch with clients year-round,” he said. “They add a personal touch, keep clients in the loop, and are sharable.”

He suggested the following essentials to develop a client newsletter.

“As with any marketing effort, the first step is planning,” he said. “You should have an editorial calendar that maps out important dates, holidays, promotions, etc. This is the skeleton for what will become your newsletter.”

“Start with a spreadsheet that has important dates (like filing deadlines and start of the tax season), seasonal topics (back to school or tax season), and holidays (Labor Day, Christmas, etc.). These will be the bare bones of your calendar and will help you plan out what to put in each email,” he said.

“Once you have a general idea of seasonality, it’s time to start planning specific things to talk about,” McCabe said. “You don’t want a newsletter full of self-promotion, but you don’t want to sell yourself short either. And, you don’t want to be boring. Think about what your clients will find interesting or useful. What do they need to know? How can you offer up advice seasonally? What are they thinking about right now?”

“Take a look at your editorial calendar and start planning out specific topics,” he suggested. “For example, September is ‘back to school’ season. Decide what tax tips you can offer for parents or students. Write down your content ideas either on a separate tab in your spreadsheet or within the spreadsheet itself, and make sure you include topics that will appeal to all of your clients. For example, our Peoples Income Tax newsletter always has a section specifically for business clients.”

For frequency, McCabe suggests that during the off season, a monthly newsletter is probably the ideal frequency. “But once tax season starts, consider sending out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters to make sure you are top of mind during your peak season,” he said.

McCabe suggested the following items be included in your newsletter: links to your social media channels, links to any blogs you’ve written, contact information and important dates. In addition, you should inform clients of other services you may provide, he advised.

“Email newsletters are fun to put together and they are a great planning tool,” McCabe said. “You may find, once you’ve gathered all of the content together, you have plenty of material to use for posts on your social media channels. They keep your clients informed and engaged all year-round, and help keep their attention on you as their tax adviser.”

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