Direct Mail Marketing For CPAs And Accountants


In the accounting industry, direct mail marketing can be very cost effective. CPAs and Accountants are fortunate to be in an industry where they are able to purchase a database, which provides precise information on potential clients. This makes marketing with direct mail a very cost effective approach to develop new clients.

The first thing a CPA Accountant will need to do is purchase a list of businesses that meet the criteria a CPA Accountant establishes to qualify a client for his or her firm. There are many criteria a CPA Accountant may choose, but the most common are, location, number of employees, sales volume, and industry. Some list companies will even provide limited credit information. It is best to generally select locations closest to your office. Most compiling companies use databases with zip codes to establish locations. Accordingly, the CPA Accountant should start by providing the zip code for his or her office working a radius outward until the desired number of businesses on the list is reached.

Once the criterion is established, the Accountant is now ready to purchase a database. Info USA and Dunn & Brad Street are perhaps two of the largest companies that compile and sell database information for resale. It is recommended the list be purchased from one of these two companies. They are reliable and have been in business a long time. Unfortunately, there are many companies selling list information that are not reliable and that have high error rates. Many other companies are basically just list brokers who purchased a list wholesale from one of those two companies and then resell it to you. It makes sense to always purchase your list from a database compiling company, which has a proven reliable record.

With the list purchased, the Accountant now has a defined target market of potential business that could be good clients for his or her firm. Direct mailing to the defined target is cost effective. The CPA Accountant is not incurring costs of marketing outside of his or her target market. Radio, television, and newspapers all broadcast or publish to the general public. Advertising in these forms of media would subject the CPA Accountant to incurring cost communicating outside of his or her target market. Direct mail focuses the cost of communication to his or her defined target market.

There are three basic rules the CPA Accountant must follow in direct-mail marketing. The first rule is always use professional letterhead and envelopes. Many times Accountants generate “in house” their own business stationary giving it a “home made appearance.” The CPA’s direct mail piece is the first representation of his or her firm’s work that a potential client might experience. The CPA desires his or her marketing piece to be of the highest quality. A professional appearing CPA Accountant direct mail marketing letter to a profession or business will be opened while a low grade appearing letter is often just discarded.

The second rule is never use bulk mail or mailing labels. When unsolicited mail is received, the business owner will look at it and make a decision. Does this look like something he or she should open? The decision is then based on visible attributes of the CPA’s direct marketing envelop labeling. If the labeling of the envelope was with a pre-printed mailing label accompanied with a bulk mail stamp, most likely the letter will never be opened and will be discarded. However, if the Accountant directly labeled the envelope with postage paid via a metered or regular first class stamp, the envelope will appear important influencing the decision to open the letter.

After the business owner decides to open the Accountant’s letter, he or she will always scan the piece to discern quickly if it is of interest. The third rule is to always keep the letter short and to the point. The prospective client will quickly determine if it is interesting and short enough to read while not consuming much time. A common mistake CPA Accountants make is attempting to write long lengthy letters to “sell themselves”. This is a very costly mistake. The objective of the letter is to initiate a positive response. Once a prospective client responds positively, he or she will be provided an opportunity to convey those things in subsequent conversations and meetings enticing him or her to use the CPA Accountant’s services.

In addition to the three basic rules, it is always recommended the CPA Accountant include a business card with the direct mail letter. This will allow the prospective client to locate the CPA Accountant’s contact information and retain it for future reference. It is also recommended that the CPA Accountant refrain from using postcards in direct mail marketing for the accounting industry. They have a commodity appearance diminishing the perception of the quality of the CPA Accountant’s firm. Finally, always use industry-specific direct mail pieces whenever possible.

In summary, direct mail marketing for CPA Accountants can be very cost effective. The use of target markets avoids spending advertising dollars outside of the target audience. It is important to always follow the three basic rules for direct mail marketing for CPAs and Accountants. The costs of violating those rules can be enormous. Marketing for CPA Accountants does not have to be expensive but can be very cost effective if implemented correctly.


Networking With Tact and Professionalism


Networking is the process of developing strong relationships over time with people who can help you locate information, resources, and other people, to help you locate information, resources and other people. This is accomplished by sharing information, your expertise, your resources and your contacts. Networking is not asking for a job or asking for free services. Most people fail to network with tact and professionalism when they do not realize networking is the process of building familiarity and trust over an extended period of time.

The art of networking has even made it to primetime television. As I sat at home catching up on my TiVo recordings, I thought it would be interesting to incorporate a recent episode of ABC’s “Ugly Betty”. Characters Mark and Amanda provided Betty with tips on how to network at a social event to build her list of “important contacts” to establish her professional reputation in the magazine industry.

Mark and Amanda told Betty networking is gathering information to advance her career by using the following steps:

1. Forge a bond

2. Gather information

3. Perform an exit strategy

They added other information, but for the sake of keeping networking tactful and professional, I decided to omit their definitions and provide my own. When members of your network refer you, they are essentially putting their professional reputation on the line. Establishing yourself as a professional from the very beginning will ensure that your network connections do not hesitate to refer you to others. Let’s look at how to apply these steps in either networking setting.

Social Event

  1. Introduction: Provide your name, where you work, and a mutual bond. This person may not be in your industry, but they may be in the same industry as your best friend or something else’s best friend in your network. This also allows you to learn and connect with someone outside of your normal environment.
  2. Exchange Information: Here is where your listening skills are challenged. Listen with the intent to provide information on how you can help this person. Once you establish a connection, you will be able to get what you need. Keep in mind networking is a two-way street that involves both giving and receiving.
  3. Thank You & Follow up: Thank the person for their time. Ask how you can reach them to follow up with them later. As in the previous step, you want to be able to provide them with information about what you uncovered while listening to them.


  1. Introduction: Provide your name, how you found out about them, and why you are contacting them. Often, I receive request to connect on LinkedIn with nothing attached, other than I want to add you to my professional network. I’m left wondering why they want to connect and how can I help them.
  2. Exchange Information: When networking online, it’s important not to ask for a job or free services. Let the person know why you are interested in them but make sure to include how you can assist them as well. Once I received a one page email that told me more information than I needed to know about a complete stranger. Remember, avoid providing personal details and be mindful of the recipient’s time. How would you feel if you received a one page email from a complete stranger who asked for something and offered nothing in return?
  3. Thank You & Follow up: After receiving information, always thank the person for their time. Be sure to follow up with that person as well. Often times I participate in informational interviews or provide resources and I’m left wondering if the person got the job they interviewed for or if my information was helpful. This allows you to continue building trust and familiarity, but more importantly, it allows you to reconnect with this person again as sharing must be done on a regular basis to build long term relationships.

Implementing the previous steps will ensure you are networking with tact and professionalism. Networking is the number one way to build your career. The last thing you want to do while building your network is to appear unprofessional or non-business like. Keep these three steps in mind as you build your network and enjoy the fruition as you watch your relationships blossom and grow.