Most financial advisers feel that they should be offering a newsletter to their clients. Yet, what purpose and value does a financial client newsletter actually achieve?
A great deal, it turns out. Yet it would be fair to say that many IFAs simply opt for a client newsletter without really thinking about how it ties into their overall marketing objectives and strategy.
In this article, we’re going to suggest a few different ways that financial planners and advisers can leverage newsletters to increase brand engagement, conversion, retention and advocacy:
Financial newsletters & RACE
The RACE model is a very popular strategic framework within the world of marketing. Coined by Dave Chaffey at SmartInsights, the model breaks down a financial advisers’ marketing into four stages:
- Reach: The beginning of your customer journey, where you build awareness about your brand.
- Act: Convincing potential clients to interact meaningfully with your brand (e.g. downloading a resource from your website or signing up to your newsletter).
- Convert: Bringing your customers to the point of sale (e.g. signing on as a new client).
- Engage: Building strong, positive and long-term relationship with new buyers who advocate for your brand and services to others – thereby increasing referrals.
As you can see, the RACE model attempts to capture the entire process whereby a new customer first encounters your brand, interacts with it, follows it/communicates with it and eventually buys. It’s describing the entire journey your current clients took to get onto your books, and also maps the likely journey that your new clients will also take.
Where do financial newsletters sit within this wider RACE framework?
This first stage of your financial marketing is all about getting your brand in front of your target audience. In other words, it’s all about awareness and exposure.
For most financial advisers, certain marketing tactics and channels lend themselves more naturally to this stage than others. Having strong search engine rankings is important at the stage, as it positions your brand in front of targeted users who are looking for services like yours. It makes them aware that you exist and informed about what you offer.
Events, seminars and conferences can be another great source of first-contact with prospects. As can pay-per-click advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn or the Google Display Network.
At this stage, it’s hard to bring your client newsletter to full effectiveness in your financial marketing. Admittedly, one way to build brand awareness with your newsletter is for one of your current subscribers to forward one of your emails on to a friend, colleague or family member to introduce them to what you have to offer.
However, since your newsletter is likely going to be sent out to an email list who is already aware of your brand and has, to some degree, “bought into it” by subscribing, a financial newsletter does not typically offer your marketing much value at the first stage of RACE.
Some might argue that financial planners can use a newsletter to build brand reach. You simply buy an email list of potential clients and send out an email blast introducing them to your brand and services.
However, this rarely ever works. It sounds like a quick fix and a quick win, but usually, these lists have been bought many times by other firms and the recipients bombarded to death.
You rarely cut through the noise, as everything you say has probably been heard before. That’s before the GDPR and privacy issues come into play, which you also have to consider when buying personal information off the shelf like this.
The Act stage of RACE usually refers to “lead generation”. For financial planners, you might define an action as “a social share of your content or business page on social media.” Another one might be “a download of our recent whitepaper/eBook.”
Another common action is a “newsletter subscriber”. In other words, at this stage your prospect is aware of who you are and has read/consumed some of your content. They like it enough to want to hear more from you and spend some time considering your value proposition, so they sign up to your monthly newsletter to hear more of what you have to say and to see if a good offer comes up.
At this stage, a client newsletter usually starts to become useful to a financial planner’s marketing strategy. The key thing here will be making your content and brand attractive enough to make someone want to part with their email address and receive messages from you into their inbox.
A “conversion” under the RACE model usually refers to some kind of transaction. So, for financial planners this might be the point where someone completes their free initial consultation, and signs a client service agreement with you.
How does a customer arrive at that point? By nurturing them from the previous stage up until the point where they trust you enough to buy from you. This is where a financial newsletter offers tremendous value within your wider strategy.
By regularly sharing useful, insightful and relevant content with your subscribers which brings solutions to their problems, you can build up trust and your perception as an industry leader. Over time, by nurturing your prospects along their journey with great content, you can bring them to a point of decision about whether they want to sign up for the long haul with your firm.
This final stage is about building long-term relationships with your clients and encouraging cross-sells and up-sells with them. Of course, a financial newsletter can be a powerful tool here. By drip-feeding great content to them which they continue to find helpful and valuable, you can strength your client relationships and turn them into repeat customers and advocates to others.