There are many ways to run a newsletter as a financial planner or adviser. You could run it as a printed version, for instance, or do it solely online. You could run it every month, once every two months, once a quarter or twice a year. You could send it to a select group of special clients, or to a wide subscriber base which includes prospects you hope to bring on board.
There is also then the question of what your financial newsletter should look like. What format and layout should it take? If it’s a digital newsletter, should you focus on company news, interesting blog pieces or animated videos?
These are all common and important questions which we often find ourselves answering here at MarketingAdviser. We wanted to put this short guide together, therefore, to help financial advisers and planners in their thinking on this important area of marketing. We hope you enjoy the content and invite you to get in touch if you’re interested in starting a newsletter campaign with an experienced agency.
Printed or digital newsletters?
Many financial firms like to take a traditional approach by focusing on a printed newsletter, which is then distributed to clients via post, seminars/events or during face-to-face meetings. Many clients prefer this form of communication as well, finding the world of smartphones and PDFs too hard to navigate.
There is something to be said for having some physical in your hands to show to clients, which they can also feel and touch. It makes your brand feel more “real” and can help to create a professional, authentic brand experience.
The main downside, however, concerns the measurability of your printed newsletter. Try as you might, it will be difficult to precisely measure how many newsletters reach their intended recipients, where or when each person reads it, which content inside they skip and which articles they devour. There are also costs and time involved with producing and distributing each printed newsletter.
A digital newsletter, however, can be sent quickly – and relatively cheaply – via email to your list. You can easily measure how clients engage with each edition of your newsletter, allow you to continually improve it in light of the results.
Monthly, quarterly or another frequency?
We recently had a financial firm approach us, asking for six articles to cover the next six months. Their idea would be to send out one article to their clients every month. After much back and forth where we tried to explain that this wouldn’t work, we ended up politely declining.
The problem with sending out just one article in your financial newsletter is that it is highly exclusive. You might have a great piece on inheritance tax, for instance, but if a large portion of your email list is not at the point where they are seriously contemplating IHT, your newsletter is likely to be seen as irrelevant. If, however, you including this article alongside a range of others in your newsletter (e.g. pensions, protection and money management), the chances are at least one of them will appeal.
This question of “article density” also stretches into the question of how often you should send out your newsletter. Here, you need to balance a range of variables. If you only send your newsletter out once every six months, for instance, does that really give clients the opportunity to fall into a rhythm when expecting your content marketing? Is your newsletter more likely to catch them by surprise?
Clearly, sending a financial newsletter once a week is likely to annoy most clients of financial planners. Ideally, you want to avoid both extremes. Send your newsletter too infrequently and you risk being forgotten; send it too regularly and you risk harassing your readers. In our experience, a newsletter sent once every month or bi-monthly is usually a good balance.
Selected clients or everybody?
Your financial newsletter needs to achieve something. It isn’t good enough simply to send one for the sake of it, without a clear goal or just because you feel like you should be “doing something” with your marketing. Here, it’s important to think about numbers. How many people need to receive your newsletter and take specific action for it to be worthwhile?
The problem with sending your newsletter only to twenty-or-so “special clients” is that the impact is likely to be low. For instance, perhaps only ten of the recipients might open your email. From there, perhaps four might click on an article to read it. From there, perhaps one (if you’re lucky) might share it on their social media, forward it to a friend or send you an email enquiry.
There is a strong case, therefore, to build up a good opt-in email list before embarking on a large newsletter campaign. This list might include current clients as well as prospects who are yet to do business with you, but who have subscribed to your content. Here, the important thing is to make sure that your financial newsletter is crafted with each specific audience in mind. It might be necessary, for instance, to create one version of your newsletter for current clients and another version for prospects (with a distinct call to action to book a free consultation).
Just company news, articles or more?
Here, we’ll be quick. If you are one of those financial planners who rarely sends out a newsletter to clients, and then only talk about what’s new at your company, you might want to rethink.
Most people want to hear from a business because they offer them value. In the case of financial planners, most clients will be happy to receive your newsletter, and might even look forward to it, if it contains great insight, tips and information about important financial matters which affect them.
The other advantage of using a digital newsletter is that it gives you access to a much wider range of media to engage your clients. For instance, every month you could embed a compelling animated video within your newsletter template, educating clients about different areas of financial planning. This goes a considerable step further than solely offering text-based content.